By Lois Evans
What I’ve learned, again and again, is that I love you.
And I wish you’d lay your edges and scars in my lap like fallen stars in a broken constellation. Wrap them around me. Wrap you around me.
We argued a few hours ago. Well, it wasn’t really an argument, now that I think about it. I was (partly and only partly) wrong and was unprepared to be wrong and unprepared for our bickering to thicken into mudslinging. I realized that I was about to strike a nerve with you only after I had done it. I watched the warmth of your eyes cool on me, your smirk vanish. The tension between the two of us make the air stink. And I felt like a little girl.
“I think we agree with each other.” I said, my words an olive branch, the closest I’d get to begging for reconciliation.
“We never do.” You said, knocking my branch to the ground.
So I’m the hurt one now. And I wonder if you’re up replaying my words in your head. My gut instinct is to apologize, but I know it won’t help my heart much. Never is a burning word. Sorry feels like a bandaid sitting in my mouth, buckling behind my teeth before I can conjure the strength to be audible. Perhaps the strength is not saying sorry. You don’t say it enough.
We look blue in this light. Or, rather, you look blue in this light. I’m not too sure of myself.
You seem so calm—head pressed to pillow, eyes closed. My body is still buzzing. Somehow, I can feel everything, but can’t move at all. This is paralysis, I think. But a kind I don’t mind so much.
This is what making up feels like. Darkness and moonlight and silence except for the colliding of bodies. I blink, remembering the warmth of your breath on my neck, the careful movement of your fingers through my curls. And for a moment, I can forget everything else.
You wake up as I’m finally about to sleep. Neither of us says anything. We’re better not talking at times like this. I want nothing to sour the lingering taste of you all over. Just for a few more hours. So you can keep looking at me in that way you do; like you’re carrying a question. And until I fall asleep, I’ll pretend to hold answers.
I hate watching you eat. You make a mess out of what should be beautiful, just like I do. And you always make me laugh when my mouth is full.
You, in some way, are in all my drunk stories. Pouring a shot, holding open a door, making me feel like a woman.
I’ve been a woman for a while now. Longer to some than others, but only a little while to me. You, if I’m honest, don’t matter much in the calculation of that time. Be aware of that.
Loving you, as silly as that sounds and feels and is, reminds me of the youth I’ve almost had stolen so many times. This loving thing is stupid and misguided and indulgent. Thankfully, I’ve got some time to be all those things. The trainwreck, that is me, chooses to kill time with the car crash, that is you.
A friend of mine once told me something I still think about every time I write. She said while chewing on white cheddar Cheetos, that no man is worth more than one poem or story. I lay on my rug agreeing with her at the time, but my opinion has since changed.
One unearned thing. This is all you get. This is all you have earned.