“This is what I want to remember in the end, how we held each other just like this. Your face buried in my chest, my legs wrapped around your hips. Both of us trying to drown in this sea of flesh. In any other universe, I could love you until time forgot itself. But this is the one we live in, and here, we will never be good enough.
Neither of us are capable. Our hearts aren’t big enough to hold the kind of love we want to have for each other. Our bones could never bear the weight of it. If I promised you forever, I’m sorry I lied. What we have is real and the thing about real things is they always die. Science has taught us this. This world is only designed for letting go. Despite all its hands, no shore was ever able to hold onto its tide, or write ‘stay’ in the sand. Nothing ever survives. Love here is futile, and we are either brave or foolish for having the audacity to even try. Given time, even our bodies will begin to forget one another. It takes human skin 28 days to fully replace itself. In a month, this body will be covered in a layer of cells you have never touched. Baby, you wouldn’t even recognize me then.
Maybe we should end it now, while everything is tender and even the hurt still feels good. Before my soft-edged memories of you become serrated blades, or saying my name feels like a rusted knife in your throat. Maybe we should stop. Maybe killing it now would feel something like mercy. Salvation from a more painful end. I don’t want to watch it die or feel the weakened pulse of it. The trembling last breath, the slow bleed and twitch of it. But if we’re going to lose each other anyway, at least we can say when.
This is what I want to remember, you telling me that the stars hold their breath to hear the melt and magic of my voice at night. How you undressed me the very first time, stopping to ask what each tattoo meant, or for the minor tragedies behind every scar. Learning each other’s bodies. Me being constantly overwhelmed by the glorious landscape of you, your marshes and wilderness.
How beautiful we are, how tragic all of this is. The stains of our lovemaking on this mattress will outlast the love we made. Nothing could ever be more cruel than that.”
Anita Ofokansi, Elegy to Impermanence