The Parking Lot

Essay

I found myself trying to get into your old parking lot last night. I swore to myself I would never go back, but I did. As I drove to the entry gate the sign on the button said, “Out of Order”.

“No shit.” I stammered to myself as I backed up and drove around to the 2-hour street parking.

As I climbed out of my car old habits came back to me. I began to scan the parking lot for your yellow truck, even though I knew it wouldn’t be there. I almost got out my phone to call you and say I’m here, even though I knew you wouldn’t pick up. I wanted to start walking up the back alley to those steep stairs that led to your loft, even though I knew you wouldn’t be there. So instead, I walked past everything as if I had never seen it before.

But we met in that parking lot. We had our first kiss in that parking lot. We walked hand in hand for the first time in that parking lot. You took my dog for walks around that parking lot. We watched a fire truck try to rescue stuck people in a parking garage elevator in that parking lot. You danced with me while we waited for an Uber in that parking lot. You were generous to strangers and let them use your code to exit and enter that parking lot. You listened to me sing off key in your car in that parking lot. And you walked me to my car each morning, gave me a kiss, and told me to have a great day at work in that parking lot.

But I also have to remember the nights I walked myself back to my car in that parking lot. Or the night I ran out of your place after a fight and waited for you to come find me in that parking lot. And those nights I would come over but sit and debate with myself if I should actually get out of my car or just leave that parking lot. Because now that I’m walking down memory lane I can only think of a handful of times I saw that parking lot in the daylight.

So when I saw that the sign said “Out of Order”, I knew it was over. It was an actual sign telling me that our time was up and I couldn’t go back even though a part me still thinks about it every day.

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