How Are You Doing

A Poem by Ruth Nineke


How are you doing??
He asked,
and I could almost feel
his genuine excitement and interest in me,
until I remembered
he was far away
and we were no longer
lovers, but friends now,
communicating hours apart,
and over days and weeks,
between two screens

Was there anything genuine
about digitized characters
on white backgrounds
if what I wanted was the kind of romance
where devotions were written
in cursive
upon scented stationery,
and shared with urgency?

I wanted to ignore him longer,
but I couldn’t.
I wanted to tell him everything,
but I didn’t.

I’d been here before,
but I hadn’t.

This was my new life,
in a new year, being a new me.
I had gone away
and left behind all the derangements of society,
I’d made plans
to find myself,
follow my dreams,
pursue my passions
and prove to myself
that I could do it –
I could make something from nothing,
I could manifest a whole new reality
from inside of me

I could do anything probably,
except deal
with the unexpected,
comprehend my feelings,
except know
what to do
about a visitor and his bags,
a boy and his smile,
a man and his mind,
a shape-shifter and his lies,
a force
and his will in my way,
his face in my eyes,
his silence in my space

I didn’t ask for this, or maybe I did.
But I don’t know what to say now.

How am I doing??
Double question mark

I miss you.
I wish I was with you.
I wish you hadn’t said what you did.
I wish I hadn’t said what I did.
But I don’t want to force anyone
to do anything.
I’ve learned that much in life.
Let people go.
Let them be.

Let people go.
Let them be.

I’m doing fine.
I’m doing well.
My ankle is healing.
I am working.
I am earning my living
and it looks like
my company
will get off the ground.
I’m going to write a script
and keep working and traveling.
I’m doing all right for now,
And that helps, mentally.

But I’m still really sad,
and really scared that
I’m destined to be alone.
And it just sucks.
And it haunts me.
And it’s okay,
because it isn’t his fault,
or anyone’s.
It’s the stars and it’s fate.
So in that way
I’m not doing so well.
But it’s constant
so you know,
you learn to live with it.

And I don’t want to be friends
I wanted more.
I wanted all of it.
I have always wanted all of it.
I have never
fallen in love with someone
in an instant,
and not wanted all of it.
And feeling like an afterthought
to someone
who consumes your thoughts
is wretched.

But it’s constant
so you know,
you learn to live with it.

I am not doing well with that.
I am making my peace with you
like you’re one of my now three
deceased ex lovers.
He is gone, I tell myself.
He is never coming back.

And then days later,
a text.

How are you doing??
He asks
with his digital smiles and I
cannot say anything at all
because I don’t want to lie
and even though
I’m through crying
I still can’t see my way to what I want.
And so I just freeze up,
and message
any and everybody else
in my contacts list.

Neurotic. That is how I’m doing.


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