The road was particularly slippery the day I drove home after seeing you. My heart had taken a sullen color, the kind of color that secrets turn when you rest them under your pillow for too long. I wanted to call you as soon as I walked through the door that leads me into this house. I wanted to call you and tell you that you are the best thing that has happened to me since I learned how to write and read and listen to good music. I wanted to tell you that you shook my bones and picked my brain apart in ways that I never dreamed I could ever write about. And there I was, standing in this living room like it was the best day of my life. Because it was. But I didn’t call you because it didn’t matter. It will never matter because you were probably just naping on your couch as I was conjuring up the right arrangement of syllables to make sure you were mine forever.
I was six, and I ran across my front yard with the girl across the street. She was brash. She was brave. She had long, indecisive hair. Some called her repugnant, but I always thought she was just brutally honest. We spent evenings pretending we were super heroes and nights hoping we had another adventure soon.
I was twelve and on my way to the school bus when I saw her again. She was quiet. She cut her hair. She walked with a limp. She let him yell at her. She was expecting, and I missed the bus.
I am now twenty, and she has four kids with different fathers. And I sometimes pass by and see those children yelling and breaking things and running around the neighborhood as though they are untouchable. And I start to wonder whether growing up was a choice for her. Or a way to cope. And maybe I’ll never know. I can only hope that the evenings in my front yard are tucked somewhere in the pockets of her soul. I hope they were happy times. I hope for this because I don’t think she has many of those anymore.
It was never about the beginning for me. It was about reaching the end. It was about the color white. The subtle sighs that escape sullen lips when the dismal heart thought of the future. It was about the way your shirt flowed around your body like it was the last time, but there never was a first time. I don’t miss you. I miss us. I miss the way white was the essence of all things . Now it is the absense of everything.
That’s the way that it goes. You spend all of your time wondering why you are doing the things that you are. Why you work. Why you go to school. Why you fix your hair. And then, almost out of nowhere, you meet someone that makes every question irrelevant and superfluous. You meet someone that has a different smile every morning- someone that isn’t afraid of the mortality of happiness. And you love it. You adore the way their hands move on your skin, like they are creating a mental map of love. This excites and terrifies you at the same time because you know that they always go back to familiar places.
Please always remember me as the one you always wanted.
What if you saw everything that crossed my mind? Would you think I was crazy? Maybe you’d think I needed help? Maybe you’d decide never to speak to me again.
But maybe you’d like me and want to see my heart instead of my mind.
My eyes were trained to see the truth and nothing else. When I saw you, I saw beauty, kindness, courage, bravery, intelligence, and love.
Where was the truth?
She looked at me, and I figured she was awaiting my response. I wanted to tell her to be happy with who she is. That she is beautiful and amazing and the exclamation point at the end of my every sentence. But, I couldn’t. My lungs were dust, and my eyes stayed on her lips. I couldn’t find anything to fidget in my hands, so I grabbed hers. It was a moment like no other, where she could read what I was thinking, and, for once, I was glad that my voice failed me. This was more. She didn’t feel like a vagabond anymore. She was loved by me, and that’s all I hope she ever feels.
When the world shivered and the grass ran away with the sea and the moon was angry with the shoreline and everything collapsed, you made me tea and told me stories and sung my favorite songs off-key and I caressed your face with my intangible glance and your hair started to cling to my fingerprints and I wanted so badly to get up and write about how beautiful you look as you sleep but averting my attention for such would seem vulgar and regrettable in the morning and I traced every nook and line that is your body and spent all night planting seeds of love on the indisputably marvelous canvas that is your face and you awakened with a smile because you knew I moved no muscle all night just so you would sleep comfortably.
The sun never came up.
It dived into the sea, but we couldn’t care because you were right there with me.
I ponder if you can feel my pulse scrape against your words. If you can feel how my veins become temporary and disoriented. How the structure of my blood stream has confused itself with the structure of my bones. How each syllable merely elongates each detrimental minute of your voice down my throat. Such an arrogant love that you possess has blinded you from the prologue. You have plagued my heart; I’ve been dead from the start.
There are billions of lies strung across the sky, a daily reminder of the inadequate features of the human soul. We can’t expect so much, dear, when no one thinks about anyone other than their selves. So, please, stop clinging to the ropes that loop through every cloud. They’re fragile and lovely and lethal.