i. I absolutely cannot stand the snares of your hands,
or how I catch myself on your barbed wire mouth,
when I choke on your gasoline voice,
or cut myself on your switchblade fingers.
I loathe these weapons of yours more than I loathe the actual tangible knifes you keep hidden under your sleeves.
I hate that somebody did something so awful to you that you were forced to wear hatred as a second skin.
I hate myself more that I wasn’t there to shield you from it.
ii. I wonder how different our lives would be if we had been switched.
Me: Given up on.
Would everything turn out the same? Would we have led completely different lives? Would we be broken again? Made whole?
(Would she have hit you, too?)
(Would he have used me, too?)
iii. I hear the way people talk about you when you’re not there.
Like you’re this awful thing.
Like they’ve taken a bite out of you and realized you’ve gone bad in the middle.
When they speak, they’re trying to get the taste of you out of their mouths,
Spitting and spitting until there’s nothing left to expel.
Sometimes I want to say something.
Sometimes I want to argue.
But we come from the same batch, after all.
How can I argue when I taste just as bad as you do?
iv. I went to the Circle K around the corner one night and bought myself a pack of cigarettes: the same brand you use.
I stood outside and popped one in my mouth,
lit it with unpracticed hands.
I had seen you do this so often,
I thought maybe it would come almost naturally, like I had been the one catching fire to things all these years instead of you.
But the weight of it felt so wrong between my fingers,
the motions unfitting for me,
the taste acidic and raw and awful.
It reminded me too much of him—of that stray dog that follows you around all day—and less like you,
less like home.
I’m trying to understand this. I’m trying to be okay with you-and-him.
But there are some things that people shouldn’t get in the way of. This was one of them.
The box cost $7.89 and screamed your name. I didn’t even hesitate when I threw it away.
v. Every once and a while I’ll dream about that night.
Sometimes it’s me instead of you, or I can’t move at all and I’m forced to watch, or I beat him over and over but he keeps getting back up.
Either way, the entire time you’re just laughing.
Like I told a joke and you think it’s the funniest thing in the world.
I’m beating him to death and sloshing his blood around and you’re laughing like you’re at a comedy show.
Whenever I wake up from those dreams, I never want to sleep ever again.
vi. I never understand our fights.
Normal people throw around words they don’t mean and slam doors they would usually leave ajar.
We fight like our lives are on the line.
We fight like it’s a race and there’s only one winner.
You leave me aching and I leave you waterlogged.
We become such ferocious animals, all sharp teeth and heavy claws, ripping and tearing without a care to give.
The entire world comes to a stop when we have even the slightest disagreement,
a spotlight shining down to showcase our own personal brand of hate.
I sometimes wonder if that’s us making up for lost time.
All those years we never got to spend fighting like brothers.
Maybe we’re finally making up for that.
Maybe we’re trying to meet our quota before our time is up.
Before we can’t fight anymore.
vii. One time when you weren’t looking, I stole one of your pills.
I saved it for when you wouldn’t be around and swallowed it dry, felt it run down my throat.
I thought that if they made you smile all the time, maybe they’d make me smile, too.
But all I felt was this hallow ache in my chest,
like something bad had grabbed hold of me from the inside.
I was used to flying high, higher than most people would dream to go,
But this was just wrong on so many levels.
It lasted only four hours before I started to wind down, but that was one of the longest four hours of my life.
I wasn’t happy. But I smiled anyway. I couldn’t stop. My cheeks hurt after.
I think I understood you a little better after that day.
viii. I voted to name your cat Sir Fat Cat McCatterson. And I’m not even sorry.
ix. (I’m sorry.)
x. I love you.
Ten Things Aaron Wants To Tell Andrew (But Never Will)