When you were younger, your brother told you that there’s always a chance the sun has gone out and these are our last eight seconds of light before a darkness that would freeze the earth into extinction.
One day you met a boy who reoriented your universe and became your sun. Your mama would cry if she knew how hard you loved him because good god it as if you have found home in the riverswift touch of his skin but
you are talking about your favorite tv show the first time he pulls out his phone in the middle of a conversation. It is dark in the room and the white light frames his face. You blink in the brightness. Your words slow down. You don’t know why, but this moment in particular feels like a handshake with the end, feels like the first meeting before how bad things would get. Feels like the moment he no longer felt you were worth his full attention.
You forgive him because you know there’s no reason for your discomfort. Besides, you do tend to chatter a lot when you get excited. Besides, this is karma for all the times you had to text your little sister back in the middle of a conversation because you always put family before him. Besides, when the sun goes out, there will be light for about eight seconds.
The drowning is slow. He doesn’t hold your hand anymore, you are dirty now. The silences between you stretch out like high tension wire. He forgets your favorite things, you don’t remind him. He kisses you from the edges of his lips as if he’s trying to avoid being poisoned - but he kisses you, doesn’t he, and that’s all that you want, that’s all that you need.
You blame yourself because even though you’ve never wrung out your bones for the want of a boy, this one has a something-special that ties you with barbed wire. Maybe if you just make this relationship all about him, you’ll get him to smile at you in that way again. Maybe if you scrape yourself into nothing, he’ll think you’re of so little substance that you’re no longer a burden. You begin to trim back the wild branches of your body and soul. He fucks you on a bed where other girls have spread their legs. You no longer wear comfortable clothing, only the hottest things you own even if you are shivering with self-conscious and he never seems to notice. He frowns when you start talking about your passions. You cease your idle chatter, you are not a bird even though you used to feel free like one. He doesn’t think your jokes are funny. No more annoying. He responds to every text with two or three words if he answers at all. No more complaining about your day, don’t make him bored. You used to be a forest but you have burned, burned, burned. You are all desert now, sand dunes and wasteland and bleaching body lying beneath his warmth, begging him for just a little bit more.
You’re not like this. You’re not. If your friend was in a relationship like this, you would have advised her to leave him a long time ago. You would have egged his house and refused to let him break her. You would have told her that human beings are not cigarette smoke, that there is no way to truly be addicted to someone that can kill you, that even if her memories of his kindness are the things she built her childhood dreams from - even if he’s her prince charming, she was born for more than a knight who has kept his armor shining, she is better than needing saving, she is the dragon, the castle, the thicket of thorns, she is wind and fire and fiercely strong, you’d say, “dump him, he’s got no idea what’s in his arms,” you’d say, “show him your heart is a beautiful storm and you won’t tame yourself just because he prefers the calm,” you’d say, “I will care for you, I will protect you, I will fight for you - even if he does not.” But you are not your friend. You are alone.
You watch him slowly fall out of love with you and you stand there with empty palms, feeling your heart hammer in your chest, feeling empty, feeling the cold blade of space threatening to take away any form of life inside of your blood vessels. You don’t know how exactly, but there’s a moment while the two of you are driving that you realize he is completely gone from you. Maybe it’s the angle of the sun off of his cheekbones or the way he holds the steering wheel or the downturn of his lips - some part of you says, “That is it. The last of it has left.”
Your sun has swallowed itself and these are the last eight seconds of light. You use them to beg him back to you in ways which break your own heart. You aren’t the dragon or the fire or the forest. You’re only a little girl with hands that shake and knobby knees and you are standing there in the wind and you feel like crying, watching the as the sky goes dark in his eyes.
You are alone and good god, good god, but is it cold, cold, cold.