I think maybe you were the first person I could never really have.
So I stole your boyfriend.
Because I’m a bitch. Because I’m passive aggressive. Because I don’t know how to say, “I love you.” Because I felt burned and because I lash out at people who burn me.
I remember being stupid, eighteen-years-old and running my fingers through your natural, unfathomably wild and beautiful hair when you would pass out on my lap on our Craigslist couch, or when it would pan over the floor of our bathroom after too many sips of $4 wine. It’s always been hair for me. And freckles. And lips. And tiny hands that I just wanted to clutch in mine.
I remember kissing you on dares. I remember our tongues dancing together because of the intoxication seeping out of us from cheap vodka and ripped tights and the need to feel rebellious. I remember grabbing at your knee and laughing out loud about the stupidest things when we would drive home from the bars. No boyfriends, no expectations, just us. I remember never wanting to sober up, never wanting morning to come, because I’d have to pretend like I didn’t just want to hang out with only you. I’d have to pretend to not be codependent and completely infatuated with the idea of getting lost in counting each and every freckle on your cheeks.
I remember kissing him. All lanky limbs, floppy hair, all shy and full of hesitation.
And not because I was feeling guilty, but because I was jealous.
I was jealous because he got to see the way you looked in that pink bra we picked up. I was jealous because he got to pull your hair between his fingers, and feel those tiny nails race down his shoulder-blades. I was jealous because he got to taste you.
And I wanted to know if I could have done it, done you better.
I wanted to know if I would have been able to kiss away the pain, muffle out the confusion. I wanted to know if I could have pushed back your hair, if I could have cupped your shoulders, if I could held those tiny hands in mine and said stay, stay, stay.
And that darling, was absolutely petrifying.
So I shoved it down.
I compartmentalized every last piece of loving you and wanting you and needing you until I was absolutely sure I didn’t. I bit down and suppressed every piece of missing you until I could believably say that I didn’t care where you were. I convinced myself that I hated you and that we were oh-so-incompatible as even friends that it was a blessing that you were out of my life.
I pushed you down, stored you away, hid you down so far, and so deep, and so inside of a repressed space I forgot the soothing, almost white noise tone of your voice, and the way your smile made me instinctively bite my lip. I tried to forget your eyes and the way they lit up at Shakespeare and Fred Astaire movies, I tried to forget how your laugh was always borderline husky chuckle and little girl giggle.
Because you hurt. Because you ruined me. And you left scratches and wounds and scars as you left. You came in like a lamb and raged out like a lion and left all of the completely torn and messed up pieces of me behind in your wake.
And try as I might to say I was fine without you, I was anything but.
I tried to swallow you down like alcohol but you burn, burn, burn.