Look at brown eyes and say they look like two shots of whiskey. Sink into unsafe waters and pretend you’re not drowning. Claim that you like the cold temperature, how it wakes you up and that the rush of the waves are not pushing you around but are caressing you softly. Gentle and loving.
Remember it all and believe that this means something. After all, you don’t forget the important things, do you? Reminisce and contemplate and look back and back and back and call this nostalgia when it’s nothing but a lonely haunting.
Think about the times you used to tread water and say how this made you stronger. Ignore the dull ache of your sleepy bones, the same ones that chased cites and people and other fleeting things that were never meant to be home. At least not for you. And most importantly, believe that this means you’re in love. Believe that this makes all of the hurt beautiful. Believe that you’re lucky to have known them at all.
Spend too long on the outside but say you like the frostbite because it’s better than feeling nothing at all. Stay, stay, stay, even though they’re gone. Label this as romantic. Reach for phantom limb hands. Breathe in and let your lungs fill with cold air and the ghosts of people who were never there at all. Feel them anyway.
Light a cigarette because you’re drunk and it’s late and it tastes like him. Watch the smoke dissipate into the air the same way he did. Recall the time he made a motel out of you and how security deposits mean nothing because he left you damaged and it was up to you to pick up the pieces. It was up to you to pay the price. Not that you’re not to blame, not at all. But it sounds more romantic to say that he mattered so much to you that you stayed through the pain. That you just wanted to love him a little longer, that this infliction was an addiction. That has to mean something beautiful, doesn’t it?
Because the truth is he was never going to save you and strong arms were never a place to hide. Human beings aren’t meant to be placed on pedestals and toxicity can sure as hell get you drunk but the hangover will always arrive.
And no matter how much you are tempted to believe things were better than they were, maybe look again.
His eyes were never a shade of whiskey. They were just brown.