Was like eating glass.
I didn't want to do it
And it hurt the entire time
And ultimately, nothing come from it but pain.
I'm not sure why I did it, even
Except that I have this pesky rule
About telling people the truth when they ask.
If you think it hurt to hear me tell you the truth,
Think about how much it hurt to hear you ask me
And know what was coming.
Think about how the question itself leaving your lips
Was like watching you take a glass
And place it in a sack
And smash it against the table.
Think about how when you asked "Please?" after I tried to say no
It was like watching you take your shoe
and smash the shards into tiny chunks.
And when you looked at me that way
That way you know I can't resist
It was like watching you open the bag
and offer me glass to eat.
And because you asked
Because YOU. Asked.
I reached into the bag
I took a handful of broken glass
I placed it in my mouth
And I bit down.
I could feel the sharp edges pass my teeth
I could feel them slice into my lips and my gums and my tongue
I could taste my blood as it poured from my mouth
And none of that even compared
To watching your reaction as I sat there
Chewing the glass
And attempting to make you swallow it.
If pain is a teacher,
That was a powerful lesson:
Never ask a question
You don't want to hear the answer to
Because you're not the one who's going to bleed
When the pain hits.
There was one second in one minute of honesty one night
I saw a glimpse of promise in you
Where you saw yourself for yourself
And you found, for the first time,
The truth about who you should be.
But you weren't strong enough to follow through on that.
The memory of that night is forever burned in my mind.
When I think of you, I don’t think of dinners
Or long drives
Or any of the things we did.
I think of that night, and that one second in that one minute of honesty.
The look on your face as all the tension left it.
The way your eyes went soft.
The way your lip quivered.
The way you fell into my arms.
The way your tears felt on my chest.
Then, it was gone.
Like a prison door shut
I could nearly hear the steel as it slammed closed in your heart.
Your face smiled a practiced smile
Your eyes dried up
Your body took on a soldiers posture
And you were “fine.”
And you still are “fine” as near as I can tell.
We don’t talk much.
We don’t see each other.
But I hear about you from time to time
And the few times we have talked
You use words that sound like they mean all sorts of things
But all I hear is “fine.”
I hope that one day, you find that place again.
I hope that you are able to clear the rubble
from the wreckage in your head
and find a way
and to be loved.
And that’s why I won’t be there for you when you do.
But I still hope you find that place
and realize what you really are.
Because love never leaves when it’s real
And in that one second of that one minute of honesty one day
I fell in love with you
And I realized then, I will always have to love you from afar.
It’s a shame that someone I know
will always be nothing more than a memory to me
Even when I see you next
When I talk to you next
I’ll be looking at and talking to the embodiment of a memory.
I hope that you can become that person again, for your sake.
For my own, I choose to remember you as that woman
Who was real
For one second of one minute
That one day.
I dreaded the sunrise every morning.
It meant the night was over
and I was that much closer to leaving.
I cringed when I saw the dim light
slowly glowing brighter
in yellows and oranges.
It clung to her skin
like its only job
was to wash away the darkness
and highlight her body.
And as I watched
early morning poured through the window
it landed on her
I soaked up every minute.
Every second, even.
I counted them
trying to slow them down.
I hoped that
by counting the seconds slower than the clock did
I could slow down
and maybe even stop
And I could just hold that moment.
Just hold it.
Just a little longer.
I could keep it from slipping away from me.
It's the same reason
I think of her
every minute of the day these days.
Because I don't want her to slip away from me.
Maybe you still cry in department store bathrooms when you hear that one song playing over the intercom.
Maybe you can't bring yourself to go into that one coffee place because it only smells like memories.
Maybe you drive blocks and blocks out of your way to avoid going through that one neighborhood.
That's all okay.
For today, that is enough.