I Will Always Love You, So Tell Her To Be Good To You

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“There is a part of me that will always love him,” I exhale, wishing I had a much cooler sentence to tell my mom.

I could say I’m fine, that I’ve never thought about it. I don’t cry when the moon smiles, reminding me the nights he and I stared at it together.

I could lie. But she’d see through it. My mother, an angelic being who has always kept me afloat, even when I’m not sure I deserved it. She still threw me a lifeboat and I figured out a way to shore.

Really, it’s not even like I’m out with a group of girlfriends, drinking our weight in margaritas and lamenting the men who we’ve loved and lost. I’m here, a full-fledged grown up curled up in the fetal position in my mother’s bed as she reassuringly pats my head. A 23-year-old woman, resembling something much more like a child, needing my mother to make it better. I want my Mommy to hug me and make the hurt stop.

“It’s been so many years and he still always finds me. I don’t understand.”

My tears are silent, but still find a showing way to roll off my cheeks. They do not make a sound, but refuse to go without notice. I try to wipe them away before she sees, but it’s useless. Because 23 or not, I still find myself crawling into my mother’s arms and expecting it to be better. For it to hurt just a little less. For it to feel like I can survive. I can, I remind myself.

“I know. I know,” she kisses my forehead and I crumble into 18-year-old me again.

His face dances in front of mine like this projector mind of mine when night falls. I see us falling in love, this innocent kind of romance, but birthed out of darkness. How the two of us knew death and found each other inside it. Our intensity makes sense when I remember how we came to be. We fell in love through grief, and shared everything in-between.

It’s getting overplayed, this lost love sentiment of mine. I tell myself this every time I sit down to write. It’s done. It’s over. Move the fuck on, I cry.

I throw glass against the door just to hear it shatter so something else feels broken. I don’t want to be the only one.

Years ago, he told me to find him when we were in the same place again. He asked that I’d always look for him, that I’d never give up trying to find us again. Who we were. The flame we shared. And I agreed.

So, I did. But it came too late. And now she’s there, warming him with her own flame. I can’t even hate her, just envy the man she gets to speak to when things are tough.

I hope she holds him with the knowing that he’s the best thing. I hope she kisses him with the knowledge he’s the one-of-a-kind type. That he’s all the romantic bullshit we roll our eyes at. He’s Nicholas Sparks and shit you think is too good to be true.

As a teenager, I always wondered if he was too good to be true. Our love felt too perfect for real life. Maybe that was my mistake, pushing away something from fear of it being too Hollywood.

The truth is, he’s all that. He’s Honey Bear kisses and late night phone calls that make falling asleep not so scary. He’s silliness and intelligence that makes you want to read every book ever written just so you can keep up with his brilliance. He’s everything I wanted and had, and I’m so glad I ever had the opportunity to love him.

I hope she kisses him with lips that know how lucky they are to be the one who wishes him goodnight. I hope she kisses him for me. TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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    I can feel it all. This is too good.

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