and that is how you lose her. //
you see the hollowness in her eyes. quick “love you’s” fall down short from your mouths, and you rush out the door, forget to inquire about it. that was your own undoing. minuscule salt particles are scatted upon the pillowcase, the remnants of dried tears—nights she had spent stifling her crying, chest heaving with effort as she maintained her silence, body wracked with inexplicable grief and regret. when you reach out and touch her, she slips through your fingers, and it’s as if she’s not really there at all. a cloudy substance fading to a dying mist. her collarbone has become more prominent these days. when your hands run down her torso, you feel her bones shatter, splinter, beneath your lightest touch. she welcomes it though, closes her eyes, her mouth forming a silent ‘o’, a slight breathy gasp leaving her lips. any pain is preferable to this self-induced coma of nothingness. the first time you see her, she’s commuting on the train. she meets your eyes and smiles a wane smile—a tired, slanted, broken crescent that takes away your breath, leaves you enraptured, hazy. you took her home that night, poured whisky over ice and offered it to her. she declined. made you drink it all instead. the whisky tastes different on your tongue, she said, as she lapped it from your mouth. less burn; more distilled alcohol. she said once that she wanted to try smoking a cigarette. you warned her against it, made her promise you. she promised you—a contrite smile playing on her face—she would never pick one up. but you come home at night, and she’s already sleeping—a hunched, curled up figure beneath the sheets—and the room smells of stale smoke. you kiss her closed eyelids, trail your fingers down her cheek, press your lips against hers, and all you taste is that wretched smoke.
and that is how you lost her. //