I don’t really know if I can forgive you yet. But I’m not supposed to say that. I’m supposed to say that my heart is bottomless, that I understand that life is more than hard sometimes, that blood is love and pain is love and everything else were details I was supposed to shut the fuck up about.
I’m a little angry, a little melancholy, a little – What’s the word for that feeling when the back of your head slams against a wall and you’re not sure what’s actually happening?
That’s the way it felt for years.
But, like I said, we can talk about something else.
We can talk about olives and dates and the way I still owe taxes from two years ago. We can talk about God too but I don’t know if we’re talking about the same thing anymore. I mean, I’d like to be kind, to be soft, to be whole. But…
It hurts more often than it doesn’t. It hurts in a way that language can’t grasp or maybe I just don’t know the words and I need to figure out a different way to say the same things.
Maybe I’ll learn French. Maybe I’ll whisper, “L’appel du vide*.” Maybe I’ll go back to school and learn Latin so I know the roots of all the words that describe how it feels to want to hold on and let go simultaneously.
But if you called for me, if you said, “I’m sorry that I didn’t know how to love you in a way that was safe.”, I’d erase the 19 drafts, the three stories, the…
You and I both know that you won’t do that, that you’ll cling to everything you did and everything you said because pride is more important.
*the call of the void
Here is what I’ll do:
I will think of life as an axis. First, we were lines. Then we became a point. Then we were lines again. Infinity requires me to believe that the process of us meeting will always exist. We will always be sitting next to each other. We will always be riding home. We will always break the silence and know for certain that we were meant to become everything that we did. I must also come to terms with the fact that we were never to move in the same direction.
And that’s okay.
It must be if I’m to stand a chance of existing alone.
(Forgive me. I always say too much. But I will always miss you. I will always wish that I had shown up or you had. I will always wish that we had known how to when it mattered.)
My highest self knows how to get out of bed and do things. But I’m tired and I’m lonely and I’m afraid that I’m going to be lonely forever. Some days, I’m a queen, a goddess, a bearer of light. Other days, I am lying in bed, wanting to sleep but refusing to because it’s 2:59PM and I should be doing something. What exactly is it that I should be doing? Writing, reading a whole book instead of fractions of many, applying for a student loan, figuring out exactly what it is that I’d like to do right now with this one wild and precious life.
But the forms are too long and my patience is thin. And I wonder if I should pack it all up, head to another city, and try to find the answers in the ocean.
But I lived on an island and only went to the sea twice. I didn’t find any answers there, only questions. And maybe I’m just tired of the relentless circuit of how to live a meaningful life and wear my heart on my sleeve and be both happy and sad at the same time.
When I think about it – I mean, when I press my ears against my soul long enough to hear, I know the truth. People change. The girl I used to drive around with for hours is still alive somewhere but it isn’t in this world. And that’s the part that breaks my heart. That’s the question I’m too afraid to ask:
How do you let go of the people you love?
See, I have written my way out of sadness for a long time now. But I don’t know how to talk myself out of this. I don’t know how to talk myself out of you.
There are years between us now – that’s the ocean. There are things I’ll never be able to say – or maybe just not right now but they linger like the craziest of aftertastes. My God, I can still taste the mangoes.
And to think that I had thought I was writing about a boy.
I was talking about you – my pink gem, my first friend, my first partner in crime, my Bonnie and my Clyde without any of the romance.
But we still died.
And I get confused sometimes. This world is… This world is a terrible place. But thank God for Einstein. This world is also beautiful. This world is all-so-beautiful.
I’d still choose to be sitting next to you though. That laugh, that pain disguised as innocence, that way we tried so hard to stay the same before imploding.
You were everything. You were nothing. You are every cliché I’ll write: But you won’t be the poem, the magnum opus that all of this was leading up to. And we all knew this was leading up to something but I never wanted it to be away from you. I never wanted to leave. But we always talked about the other rooms. We wondered why they would need all that space.
The ghosts, my love, my dear, my sweet angel of mercy who quickly became a demon that chased into the night just as fast.
Maybe this is the river Styx.
Maybe this is the place we chose to get lost in somewhere along the way. When they ask why I still love you, I almost laugh. They don’t understand and that isn’t their fault. They didn’t know you then. And I’m not saying who you are now is who you were then. But I refuse to believe that sweetness like that becomes bitter. But I have always been an optimist. I have always been waiting in the passenger seat. Not because I don’t know how to drive but because I just liked being next to you. It was always enough and that’s the funny part. But no one’s laughing, not anymore. Or if they are, I’m too far out of earshot.
When they ask –
When they tell me to just stop, I think about the way you wouldn’t spit your gum out on the sidewalk because you read an article once about birds and how they’d see the gum and think it was food and their digestive system would get fucked.
I am not really ready to talk about what happened but I’ll try. There was a lot of blood – some seen, some buried, some scrubbed away with mud. There were a lot of holes in our backyard too – a lot of dust, a lot of prayers, a lot of half-assed attempts to make it to the driveway just in time. I remember the weeds, how they grew in between the bricks. Or maybe they were just pieces of concrete – grey, ugly. And to think that we tried so hard to make everything beautiful, to pretend like we could actually make it to a place where something was finished. Like a house – almost a home, almost something more than a profile picture of something that hurts, like a spider with its pincers in my chest as he or she spins a web.
I will make it out of here.
I just need time.
Rage is a serpent that coils around our flesh until we begin to look like caricatures. I see you standing there with foam at the corners of your mouth. And I wonder how long we will stay like this, how long our fists can remain clenched before either of us admits defeat.
It’s been years now and my wrists are tired. So are my soles. But I know that neither of us really meant for this to happen. Neither of us really knew what we were doing back then. So, I’m willing to stand here a little bit longer. Or maybe not. Maybe I’d like to call it a draw. Maybe we can say that you beat me to a pulp, blood pouring from a wound an inch or two above my forehead. I’ll say it was something else. I’ll say that I made you angry, that you had no choice, that everything that came before was a reason. But that’s a cliché, isn’t it?
I feel the music now, the notes you wanted me to hear. I hear the words inside the strings. I feel the strings inside, each one pulled until I have no choice but to say, “No, I never really wanted to be here. I never really wanted to know what this was like.”
The florescent lights are a poem that I don’t really want to write. Not anymore. Not like this. Not with every scrap of grace cast to the wayside, like we were wading in a community pool and we were stuck near the waves and chlorine clung to the back of our throats like a regret.
And you were always standing there with those quarters, halves, whole of tuna fish sandwiches.
So this is what it’s like to want to know how to go back.
But I wouldn’t know what to say when I got there, maybe, “Hey, it’s been awhile.”
But that’s not the truth and we know it.