Will You Remember That Night?

Sifting through the ashes of a failed relationship

Michael Rudden
Human Parts
Published in
3 min readJul 2, 2019


Photo: Visoot Uthairam/Getty Images

II have forgotten the pain of heartbreak long enough for it to feel like the first time. I can’t eat without the nausea of dead butterflies rotting in my stomach. I don’t have the stamina to lift my head, only enough for restless nights and endless thoughts. God forbid I should go a day without crying in empty conference rooms or on dimly-lit streets. This pain is implacable against everything but time. I know that, and I am watching as the seconds linger.

You were the first man whose hand I held in the street. Will you remember that night?

I don’t understand why you burned it all down. Why you ended it like this, razing the whole damn thing. I don’t know what our time together meant anymore. I don’t even know what I can salvage. I’m crushed beneath the rubble of everything I cherished. Searching through gray piles, I’m desperate for something, anything, to prove my heart did not shatter in vain, but I come up empty-handed.

I couldn’t think of something clever, so I just said I wanted your hand, and you gave it to me. Will you remember that night?

Everything is smoldering. Our first kiss in the subway, and the echoes of our laughter off the wall. Calamari getting cold at our table, and a careful exchange of what I thought was meaningful. The pressure of your fingers moving down my back. All of it is decomposing like a burnt photograph in my head and I can’t do anything about it. Tell me, were you just passing the time?

I can still feel the interlock of our fingers, the occasional bump of our bodies. Will you remember that night?

I wonder what I did wrong, or plainly, what is wrong with me, spinning in sleepless, tear-filled circles in my bed. You were the last man I held in that bed, and I hate the fantasy that I will see you there again. I will let it suffocate in this smoke. The memories are choking with it, and I want to save them. But I’m afraid I can’t.

We had no idea where we were walking, and I didn’t care. Will you remember that night?

I didn’t love you yet, but I wanted to. And I thought maybe you wanted to love me too. Last night I found myself leaning against my bedroom wall. I…