As much as I let something go,
it never really leaves me.
I want to believe I’m moving on
but I found myself sitting in the
shower again thinking that I
I can wash my hands thirty
times a day and still find dirt
under my fingernails.
You don’t know they exist. You are unaware that they are on this Earth. You wake up, you brush your teeth, you do whatever it takes to make it through the day, you lay in bed and play out fantasies of finally finding the right comeback when somebody is mean to you and the like, and then you sleep, and everything starts over again.
Then you meet them. You might know it right then, or you might not, but God, you are in love with them. It’s the little things. You keep checking your phone to see if they have messaged you. You find yourself having to read the same sentence three times because you were too busy wondering if they were thinking about you too. And when you do talk to them, it’s better than it even is in your head and the way they smile sticks your tongue to the top of your mouth. Maybe you’re too scared to hold eye contact for too long because they might see how you’re feeling, but looking away makes you feel weak and when the blush creeps up your neck onto your cheeks, it’s too warm and uncomfortable and you wish you had just kept looking at them instead.
You’re going to kiss them. The first kiss probably won’t be that good. You might both tilt your head to the right and then awkwardly both shift to the left to try to get the angle just perfect. There might be too much saliva involved and you quickly wipe your mouth against your sleeve the second they avert their eyes. Maybe your mouth will be too dry because you are nervous and all you can focus on is how quietly they kiss, like this moment between the two of you is a secret. Don’t worry. The first time will not be the best time, and even the best time will not be the best time, because each and every kiss will change as your feelings change. Love is a learning process, and you’re going to be fine.
This is how they’re going to go.
You’re going to open your eyes one day and your phone will have been silent since you plugged it in at night. You are going to roll over and realize that everywhere you are not laying feels like the cool side of the pillow. You’re going to shower alone for the first time in months. You forgot how much work it is to wash your hair. When you go on drives, you realize how bad you are at directions and finding where you are supposed to go. It’s the little things. Their laugh, that you thought was so funny and unique when you heard is, is suddenly the loudest noise at any crowded event you go to. It’s never going to be them, so stop straining your neck. You’re going to stop comparing their heart to the flowers you pass on your way to work in your head and you won’t even realize it. You are going stop waiting up until you are too tired to keep your eyes open. Love is a learning process. You’re going to be fine.
I was put together one lazy Sunday afternoon
by two flawed human beings that swore
they loved each other so hard that their
marriage bent under the tension. There
was twenty years of life between them
but he promised her he would never call
her baby girl because she was a woman
and he would treat her like one.
I was thrown together twelve years later
in December, the day he pressed his
trembling lips against mine for the first time.
The snow fell on my eyelashes and melted
and I wondered if maybe I was just crying
because I wasn’t ready for this. My mouth
burned for the next three hours and I
swore it was frostbite. We still talk
but I think he’s forgotten who he used to be,
all teeth and broad shoulders and
wanting to impress his parents, as he
sits in his basement and calls me.
“Want to come over?” He asks,
his trembling lips against the phone,
and maybe he was crying because
he wasn’t ready for this.
I tried to pick myself up another four years
later when I felt the pieces of me unravelling
from years of being hot-glued into place,
all art-class and self-doubt and failed therapy.
It was so good to laugh each time I saw
which piece hit the floor next, wondering
who I was shedding this time.
“You broke my fucking heart,” she said,
sitting in my lap, her hair tickling my chin
as she shook and shook and shook.
“You’re my best friend and I love you
but you broke my fucking heart.”
And I wonder if this was what life
consisted of. Falling in love like
you were roaring down a highway,
all speed and lights and euphoria,
then falling out of love like a
I was melted together in the pot
of everybody I’ve ever touched,
and I was hardened by everybody
I’ve ever left, wondering if
people can still fall in love with statues,
wondering if people even
cared enough to still go to
museums to see them.
Just because you won the heart of the person that was hard to get or difficult to handle doesn’t mean they’ll be that little spark to set your life ablaze. I know they say that if it’s hard, it’ll be worth it in the end. But in the end, you’ll just be tired. You’ll be so tired. Chances are that you’re trying to force what should be easy if every day is like composing a list of things they don’t make you feel shitty about. You can call it love all you want, but trash is still trash no matter how many times you cover it in glitter.
I think about love so much that I am not surprised that I don’t remember addresses or phone numbers because there is simply not enough space in my brain. I wonder if the graffiti downtown makes you realize you haven’t spoken to me since your hand waved goodbye like a windshield wiper trying to sweep away a hurricane. I wonder if you look at the moon and think of how excited I get every night when I can guess the number of stars. But then I remember that there are a lot of places that you could be, and with me is not where you are.