I saw you, with those familiar, sparkling eyes, the deep rumble of your voice, the smirk you were never without.
You were across oceans, deserts, and storm-tossed skies, obstacles in every direction.
I saw the gleaming teeth of sharks; the parched throats of wild horses stumbling over red sand; wyverns curled beneath a lengthy dawn; other women you’d loved, with their prowling gaits and barbed words.
But you’d crook your finger and…
And what did I do?
I kicked off my shoes, and ran to you.
I was delirious, foolish, crazy.
Madly in love.
I ran to you.
You dissolved, laughing, a clever mirage.
I scarred my knees when I fell down, and I cried.
You did that.
But I did that, too.
Now, here we are again. It’s only been a few weeks – months? – but I feel like I’ve aged centuries.
Not in the way that withers my skin or cracks my smile; old, papery hands touching tarnished glass.
I feel like I’ve seen lands and worlds only ever dreamt up in thick, leather-bound fantasy novels. I feel like I’ve touched the sky with my fingertips as I flew over your head – but you didn’t notice, eyes always downcast. I feel like I’ve tasted pirates’ salty lips as we battled hurricanes, danced in faerie rings unscathed, tore down kingdoms with these bare, scarred hands.
I feel like I’ve lived.
There you are again.
My heart wants to fly to you.
But these feet are grounded, rooted to the earth.
I remember the tricks of water and light that made my head spin, the way you trailed your fingers over my tattoos, how I’d sink into your lips and find a dark sort of bliss and ecstasy that took me so, so very high…
Before I fell.
I remember the way you looked at me, and how you made me feel like some earthbound angel you’d like to hunt down, pinned to the ground beneath my wings.
I remember curling into you like a cat, and purring when you stroked my hair.
I also remember:
How much it hurt when you faded away.
How I fought bloody battles to forget you.
How I came away battered, a veteran home from war.
So you may appear.
Again and again.
I won’t be the girl
who runs to you.