We listen to Amy Winehouse’s “Some Unholy War” as the crickets outside our bedroom window rub their wings together, clicking along with the melody. Your voice tries to match Amy’s – low with a certain sadness that has always troubled me.
There is too much hurt inside of you for us to call any of this holy.
You reach for the pack of cigarettes on the nightstand, the same one I try to hide whenever you’re at work. And I say try because I always end up putting it back. Like a mother who thinks twice before looking inside her child’s closet. She might discover something she’ll wish she didn’t. She may find out her child isn’t something she alone can save.
I know, I compare myself to your mother far too often for it to be healthy. I don’t know why I’ve always loved boys who seek a dose of parenting in their romance. I’ll talk to my therapist about it, I promise myself. I’ll tell her about how I take your cigarettes and put them in places you won’t think to look. I’ll tell her how I put them back before you see. The words “savior complex” and “nightingale syndrome” will echo throughout the room.
Amy continues to croon and the neighbors next-door let out big belly laughs, the kind of joy you can hear through insulated walls. I like it. There’s a warmth there. There’s a warmth to hearing people so at ease in their happiness.
“He can’t lose with me in tow / I refuse to let him go”
When you laugh, the left side of your lip curls up a little higher than the right. It’s always been my favorite. I’m not sure you’ve ever even noticed. My uneven boy. This unholy war we’ve decided to call love. Maybe we just wouldn’t know anything else.
You light a cigarette and my insides burn.
Sing, Amy, sing.
“At his side, and drunk on pride / We wait for the blow”
Another day, I’ll tell my therapist about this. I’ll read the writing on the wall and pretend I’m illiterate. None of this is holy. But who said love was?
Who said we couldn’t find something beautiful in all this mess?