Remission, or something like it


How will I know, when I am in love? She whispered under the covers

I closed my lashes.

I think you will say their name different, like it’s a secret on your lips. I think it’s when you know the back of their hand better than your own. I think when you don’t need a photo of them in your wallet, because you could trace the lines on their faces in your sleep. I think it’s when you are too scared to take the next breath without them”

I think we are in love

People say that you fall in love when you least expect it. This was never more true than you and I. Do you remember the first night we met?  I woke, still warm from the heavy cloak of sleep, and found you nestled around me. Mummy heard my screams.

For five years, every birthday wish has been sent to you. While the flames danced on the cake, they looked at me expectantly. Make a wish they would chorus. And they would flick their eyes across the scars, the blood trickling down each vein. And their eyes would meet mine. You know what to wish for their lashes would cry. And after the dishes were cleared, the wrapping paper scattered on the floor, I would climb under the covers, and feel your hand around mine. Another twelve months of our fingers entwined. And I would silently begin to weep, while the stars watched on.

You cannot live without me. You need the dance of my heart, the gentle pump of droplets, the steady zig zags across the monitor.  I think you are confused. You need me so desperately, and yet you have tried to take me. Your breath cannot be without mine.

For five years we have been the ugliest of tangos, a bloody kiss. You have taken everything and more, and I have given. Packages wrapped in papers of skin, tied together in slivers of screams. For everything you took, you gave me something in return. Muscles were replaced with wheelchairs, hydration replaced with IV’s, a piercing in my vein. Giggling with friends became sobbing at their casket. Life quietly traded place with existence.

A mere two weeks ago, I traced her name in the sand, my aching for her nestled in the grains. I watched the waves creep closer, the occasional grain returning to its watery bed. And then, after an eternity of missing, I realised her name had crept away, the slate washed clean.

There was never any clear moment, any flash signifying the beginning of your goodbye . All I know is that your grains are beginning to slip away, and I do not understand why or how.

Why me? Why now? For every prayer, every wish, every scream sent into the night, you decide now. Once more, you call the shots, make the decisions. Did my sobs ever mean anything to you? Or did you plan this all along?

People, they say that this is to teach me a lesson. But do I really need to learn such scary stories? I could send a million question marks into the sky above, but the truth is, I will never know, and I will never understand.

All I know is that, you love me. And now, it’s time for you to leave.

Soon you will leave, and you will not come back. For five years, you have called the shots, made the decisions, pulled each tear and sliced open each scar. And now I will sew them closed, call the final bell, seal the note with a kiss and whisper my goodbyes.

You love me, and I love the lessons you have taught me. But I hate the screams into the night, the steady decay, the underwater breaths on land. I have learnt all I need from you, your time is here.

I promise you, I will always say your name different. A story which only the two of us understand. Some might call it a horror. I call it Ours instead. I promise, I will never need a photo of you, a black and white ultrasound nestled among the folds of my purse. I know every scar, every whimper, every trickle. I know where you turn, and flick back again. I know you better than myself.

But am I too scared to take the next breath without you?

Absolutely.

But I also promise you this. I will not forget you. I will never take my freedom for granted, a careless expectation. I will always respect you, your power and your ability to destroy. Your ability to pull the petals and pronounce the thorns.

And now you must promise me. You must look into my eyes, and speak from your heart to mine. Tell me, this is not a mirage. A false glimmer of hope, cleavage bones, a crocodile smile. Tell me this is real. Whisper to my ground zero, and tell me you are done.

You love me, but I do not love you

You will miss me, but I will not miss you

You are me, but I am not you

So if you really love me, you will kiss me, whisper your promises to never return

And then, you will grant me the wishes on the cake, the prayers sent into the sky.

 And you will set me free.

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