featured on Thought Catalog
photo by Melissa Grimes
I’ve been trying to say I’m sorry. I’ve sent out search parties, and they’ve come back dejected and empty handed, hunting for words that never went missing in the first place. I’ve wracked my brain, trying to understand why this simple phrase, all gift and humble emotion, cannot smash its way through the gaps in my teeth. Why these two words will not inject themselves into my bloodstream, and come out like paper cut trails of crimson on blank sheets of paper, to send to you.
I look back at us, or whatever we were, and all I see is where I took something sweet and pure, and injected it with poison. Where I set black fires and buried the extinguisher beneath my critical thoughts. Where I took the blame for all of the things that went wrong; how I didn’t communicate, how I wasn’t open. I allowed the broken carcass of us to rot until the smell proved too overwhelming to stomach; just like that, we were done.
We met the way two souls often do; through hunger, through loneliness. Under pulsing lights, and music so loud it leaves a permanent ring in your ears. Where chemical-influenced thoughts rage against the dying light of day, and all that is left are low inhibitions and primal desires. We were a classic tale of hourglass love; the moment our eyes met, the glass had been flipped, and we only had hours to make our mark before the final grain of sand would fall.
We shared a gentle, pure type of intimacy. The kind that settled into sweet memories like gumdrops gathered in your temples, the nook where you organize your reckless youth, wrap it up in a pretty bow of nostalgia as you surge forward into adulthood.
We were supposed to be one night. We were meant to be a fleeting memory, lust filled lip prints on my neck that should’ve lasted longer than our relationship.
Days passed, and texts turned into caring conversations, that became dates filled with roses and promises of the future. I felt as if I had missed my train stop, and was stuck, trapped on this cart moving at light-speed, with no stops for miles ahead.
I knew so early on that my feelings for you could only go so far. For me, we were a rubber band stretched to its limit, but I was so afraid of it breaking. I was so afraid of how hard the band would come back to smack me, leaving a red welt that would never heal.
I was so afraid to be alone, and to lose all that came with you. I built this person, a custom doll for you to play with.
She was sweet, nice and gentle. She wore her hair in gentle curls, laughed at all your jokes, and never complained.
She did what you wanted like some sick game of follow the leader. She forgot how to say no, she forgot what she wanted, she forgot who she was.
I hated her. I looked at her in the mirror, and was disgusted with who I had become, all out of this need for connection, regardless of how empty it was for me. I found myself in roomfuls of people, and I felt hollowed out. I was thin skin and bones with a wide grin and pink lips, gusts of air passing for a laugh, surrounded by people who couldn’t care less.
I thought with you I was normal. I was doing what I was supposed to at this age; for once, I belonged. But it wasn’t enough.
You wanted someone you could take home to mom; I wanted someone who could put me back together.
And finally, I snapped. I cringed at the thought of your kisses; I grew agitated when your name popped up on my phone- hell, I would gag when you showed me you cared. I didn’t deserve it. But even farther than that, I put all of the weight from my self disgust onto you.
Man, you didn’t deserve that burden, that blame. That was an internal struggle, waves that came so high they crashed over the edge and drowned you.
But damn, I can’t help but wonder what you saw. I was hunched shoulders and barely concealed sobs; I was brittle bones wrapped up in sexy dresses and heavy gazes, I was selfishness and sadness passing for normalcy. Maybe I was too much for you, in all reality. But you just saw what you wanted, didn’t you? Your perception of me, of us, became my reality, and no matter how much time passes, I do not know who should carry the weight of that bluff.
I wish it didn’t come as such a surprise to you when I struck like lightening and set fire to what we had. I take the blame for my actions, and how they may have hurt you.
But baby, didn’t your mama teach you to run for cover when you saw those storm clouds rolling in?