You vanished and I lie awake and barely remember if you were real or smoke and vapor and meaningless words. Blurs of a walk, a kiss, a laugh, the edges of your eyes crinkling into tiny rivers on the map of your face. Brown eyes under white covers and words whispered into flushed necks; August nights that stick to your skin.
Your mouth engulfed me like flames, a burning building off in the distance maybe, full of screams. Or were they my screams you welcomed with your bewitching tongue, leaving a charred aftertaste of sugar and rainfall on my palate. The scream of sirens, the stream of salty IVs trickling down my arm, the scream I sank into your jagged shoulder when I gripped your bed sheets and you knocked the breath from between my lips.
Maybe it was your smile that transfixed me. Beguiling and fraudulent, the perfect phantasm to distract from the delusions that spewed from between those bright teeth. Or the way the words tumbled off your tongue and onto the back of my neck. Warm and tantalizing, setting my nerves on fire every time you spoke to me. Or the anticipation of your touch. The palpation of your hand on the small of my back, hand in my hand, hand through my hair, rough, callous, masculine.
You became an apparition and I toss and turn and try to consign to oblivion the walk, the kiss, the laugh, the edges of your eyes flooding into a cataclysmic memory. I would have preferred the hollow staccato of your voice turning my unworthiness into nightmares rather than the ghost that keeps me company and resigns me to sleep. I try to close my eyes but my stomach is coiled into knots because your absence screamed to me what you weren’t strong enough to speak.
You left me haunted. You left relieved.