I still have the flowers you brought home the day Sweet Vi died.
They themselves are long withered and dead, but I can’t bring myself to throw them out.
Those blossoms were the last beautiful thing you ever did for me and maybe I just want to hang onto them.
I don’t know.
You didn’t understand how I could go to work, and I couldn’t understand why you thought sitting alone with my thoughts would be a healthy thing to do.
I didn’t understand then that I wasn’t the only one who had trouble dealing with my mind.
In the end it was those fundamental differences that made this whole thing impossible.
Beautiful things always wither and die eventually, right?
We all like to think that we have the antidote, that we can make it last.
But the night they pulled the tubes out and my oldest friend died,
I could barely breathe, and I don’t know if it was from the pneumonia, or the shock and panic of facing a life without that man, but you didn’t understand why I wanted to smoke instead of use my inhaler.
It was to focus on anything but the pain, or maybe to pass out.
Either way, you never understood that my reaction was always to run.
For awhile you kept me stationary,
Your thick arms and solid shoulders chased the night terrors away.
I never saw you hit a man, but I felt secure enough wrapped in your muscles that you would die defending me if it came down to it.
Maybe I was right, I’ll never know;
What I do know though is that you’d never put that effort into understanding me.
At the first sign of darkness you left,
When all I needed was for you to stand back, let me go, and stand guard while I fought the demons.
I didn’t even ask you to fight with me, just show some solidarity.
You were always full of superficially beautiful things though.
Jewelry, flowers, food, and sometimes words.
And always life, you brought greenery I had never seen.
You built me a balcony garden after my surgery so that I could heal to the smell of lavender and the sight of butterflies.
You were gifted at distraction.
You knew the time and the place and I was dazzled by your connections.
Everyone knew your face, and everyone adored you just the same.
Even your ex-fiance wanted to be your friend.
How special I felt to meet the people who thought you walked on water.
How jealous I was to hear your adventures that you wouldn’t repeat with me.
Then I saw you shove coke up your nose while we played trivia, and I realized that there was nothing beautiful about how you ran away in a different way.
I wanted to run in the same direction, but I could never lose control like that.
I could never be so selfish as to not consider you.
The problem was that my consideration meant I had to hide the darkest and deepest parts of me, and when they came out, usually with alcohol.
You always yelled. Then you ran, and then you yelled some more.
And so you left, because I drank a lot, and you didn’t want to handle that me.
I turned into deep water and rip tides, you never learned how to swim.
So I drowned myself in alcohol while you slept a room away.
The day of the funeral I was alone, and I wanted nothing more than to drown inside your smell and float in your arms.
You chose that day to move out;
Which is fine because I was already empty inside, so why not make my home empty and quiet too?
Once I was sad and you just held me while I cried, and didn’t ask questions.
That was the only time you got it right.
You said “no more“, and your frost was thick enough to kill every living thing, including me.
After ten days of silence the words came pouring out like ice in a broken freezer and your icicles hit me in the heart.
I couldn’t get out of bed for days.
My family called you to make sure I wasn’t dead.
Then you yelled some more, but I had nowhere to run anymore.
Now you have your own place with plants and no animals to complain about.
Still there is no me, and you seem to be missing that.
Seller’s remorse I suppose.
Before you left I put a potato with spuds on the counter with a note that read “This is our love potato, please don’t let it die. Put down roots with me.”
You are gone, but the potato is now a plant with leaves and buds.
So look at that,
Things grow without you here, and I stopped running.