He deleted all of our e-mails in July. Or, to be more precise, his entire e-mail account.
The best part of me is happy about it. He’s moving on. Maybe he’s forging something honest and real and true with his wife. This is good. This is what I want for him.
The worst part of me is furious.
His e-mails to me number 4,355, according to my gmail, but it’s much more than that, as I used a secret e-mail account for a while too. I have no idea what my e-mails to him number. Probably about the same, placing the grand total somewhere around ten thousand. Ten thousand missives of which I am now the sole curator.
The thing about secret love affairs is that you don’t have any proof. You actually spend all your time erasing the proof. Covering your tracks. Deleting your call history, your browser history. Shredding receipts. Using cash. Emptying your cache. No pictures. No public announcements or declarations. No Facebook posts. No movie ticket stubs. You were always somewhere else when you were together. No blip on a radar. No mention in a eulogy. No call from a deathbed.
We exchanged some books. I forget now which ones on my shelves came from him. The other day I pulled down all of my Billy Collinses to search for a poem about a dog. I enlisted Boyfriend to help. He stopped helping when he found a note from CL.
But maybe CL’s rid himself of those too. Franny and Zooey. Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Anna Karenina. The Virgin Suicides. I was never any good at subtlety.
I will never meet his family. He will never meet mine. We were never really real. We were always underground. All we have now are the memories from a handful of days together, which I’ve begun to question the reality of as well.
And all those goddamn e-mails.
Gmail has a feature that allows users to label their e-mails. A different way to sort and file than folders. I chose “Exit 62” for ours. Something to do with our favorite numbers–mine 6 and his 2. I don’t know. It made sense back then. Everything is synchronous when you’re falling in love.
We met up for the first time in the spring of 2007, at a bar he chose. It was in his area, not mine, so he gave me directions there. I was to take exit 62 from the highway.
This was at the very beginning. He was already lying. I wasn’t yet. He knew something I didn’t. I hadn’t been married a year. We sat on barstools and watched the Kentucky Derby and whispered. He drank beer. I drank whiskey. He got tipsy. I was dizzy, but not from the whiskey. I gave him a mix CD. He made me blush. Then we sat on a bench in the sun. He touched a small scar on my face. I fell and fell and fell. I wore a polka-dotted dress. He wore a blue shirt, the color I chose for the “Exit 62” label. We hugged goodbye. His hand lingered on my bare back. I returned to CH. He’d waited for hours. We were late for dinner with his family. I started lying after that.
The odd thing is, the directions CL gave me that day were wrong. The correct exit that led to the bar from the highway was 61.
Exit 62, as it turned out, was nothing but a dead end.