That Samson song comes out through the speakers, "you are my sweetest downfall, I loved you first," and for a minute I feel the words are for him. But then I remember. No, that wasn't love. That was some fabricated version of it. A cheap knock off. If it were sold down on Canal Street it would be called lofe; something close to love, but not quiet.
He was the one before Mike. Technically, in the ways that matter, he shouldn't even be counted in the same sentence as Mike, but he is, because I thought he mattered. When I was with him, I thought I mattered. Even though he only really knew me when we were at the bar. Or late at night after the party cleared out from his house and I was left over. For a long time I didn't know anything other than that feeling of watching and waiting for him to open the Town Tavern door and walk in, his tall frame filling the doorway. That flip in my chest as he took up the space and noticed me. Of watching and waiting for a clue, a hint, a signal that I was his that night. And of those early mornings, of the cloudy hangover sounds of church bells and his breathing, of how much I wanted him then. Of how little he really wanted me.
We build these things up over time. In truth it was just a handful of nights over a handful of years but now they are solid, inked, permanent in my memories of then. I seem to be able to make them more than what they were. For a minute listening now I can almost convince myself that it was something, that I loved him first. But not quite. Maybe only in a Canal Street kind of way.