I am learning to mask over the waves of disappointment that filled my chest when you left me for something better. I am learning to fight the heartbreak that washes over me in the middle of the night. I am learning to accept the emptiness that fills most of my bed and all of my heart. I am learning to accept that my words will never shine as bright as the city lights that stole you away.
There was once a time when you would fill me with stories about your life that existed over oceans and continents; of Christmases at your grandparents’ and fireworks on their rooftop; of our future plans together in a house made with glass; of childhood dreams that lived in the clouds and under leagues of lakes. A dream is still a dream regardless of the shape it takes. But yours seemed to shine brighter than the others that were softly whispered to the dark. Yours was the only one that ever really mattered.
As we sat by the harbor that overlooked the city, you explained to me the tattoo that echoes the distance between you and your mother up in the skies above. You said my kindness reminded you of her, and how she would have liked me for the empathy I seemed to carry with grace. Even after all these months, I remember the feeling of your warm gaze as I traced the circles tattooed across your ribs. I remember trying to find myself in the cracks of your silent pauses, and thinking you were the kinetic energy that sent sparks into motion. I remember you until I make myself forget.
You were as lost as I was, setting fire to every paper-thin hymn that showed any ounce of promise. Paper catches fire so easily, leaving behind a trail of ash that can turn the whitest snow to the darkest hue of black. We danced with fire and prayed that the flames wouldn’t burn us alive. But I let your carefree words burn stars into my skin, and I let you feed me plans for a tomorrow that would never find me.
I wonder if you felt a part of me pulsing through the letter I wrote to you in December. I wonder if you could read my truth and honesty in those words. I wonder if they fell to the floor with the loudest crash, sending shocks to the core that strings your bones together. Or did they evaporate like smoke into the world, running wild like the winds that brought you to me.
My brother taught me that disappointment follows those who have too much hope buried inside of them, so I will focus on counting the scattered stars alone tonight. I guess they are a lot like us, just broken pieces of misplaced collections trying frightfully hard to be something else.
And with that, I learn to forget you. I learn to let time zones and clocks remind me of our choices to be in different cities that don’t feel like home. I learn to let the words we once said to each other soar up to the night sky. I watch them flutter their wings like the planets’ butterflies, glittering like light particles into the open air.
I must learn to accept this.
I must accept this.