(This is a collaboration piece we worked on for The Writing Club. Parts in regular font are by Mimi, parts in italics are by me.)
When you left I painted all my walls black, because you took the colour out of my life.
I find all these shades of grey soothing, but they all remind me that I am alone.
I stand here, empty. I lay here with an ache in my heart and I am constantly trying to keep these porcelain bones from falling apart. I find my arms are always tightly gripping at my rib cage because I am afraid I’d one day let go and collapse.
Without you, I am tied up in knots; I cannot be untangled. Lover, I miss your warm hands on this currently unwelcoming body of mine. I loathe this thirst I cannot relieve. I still remember the time you undressed me with your eyes and how I truly felt naked. And how that spark in your gaze dulled with time, till I could no longer see into your thoughts. I understood my heart wasn’t considered home any more.
You are gone now, my dear, and I still cannot fathom a life without you. I refuse to build an existence around this black hole that is myself, I seem to reek of depression and suck up all the sadness these walls have to offer, and you should know that there is much despair in the blackness of it all.
You should also know I piled all the letters you wrote me into my fireplace,
but I still don’t have the courage to burn them down to ash. I doubt I’ll ever be able to muster it up, you were always the brave one, I long for your shadow in the face of this glaring sun.
I can’t find my way home in this city any more.
You left me here to wander.
Lust taints my after-midnights and keeps trying to feed the ghosts that reside in the shallow holes I’ve dug inside myself. (It fails drastically, but I keep telling myself that maybe the next time’s the charm.)
Every time I inhale, I exhale a thought of you. In my efforts to forget, I have tried to suppress my breathing, but I have confirmed what science says about the body always being able to resist that – I wish it would resist your memory just as strongly.
I find you in the ellipsis at the end of my every broken thought, dot-dot-dotting my vision like a light that has shocked my pupils with its divine brightness.
I find you in my four a.m. cigarettes, threatening to end me faster than the devious clouds of carbon monoxide.
I find you sleeping on the collarbones of every lover I have undressed after you, assuring me that no one else will ever measure up. (And no one ever, ever does.)
I find you in every night sky I look up at, reminding me that every shooting star – every flicker of light is more a death than a chance at redemption.
I broke all my rules the moment your lips met mine, and I broke myself in the process. How I wished to be able to wash all those loveless love affairs off my pores and present myself new and pure for you, but I knew that I could never be what you deserved.
You kissed me so full of faith and you made a home out of my bones even when I told you they were fragile enough to shatter at any given moment.
So even though I left, Lover, I never chose to leave; leaving picked me out of the 490,000 other babies that took their first breath on the same day I did and branded me with a fire beneath my feet that always had me running. For you, I have tried to withstand the flames that ate at my soles but it wasn’t long before I grew weak again.
(I would have asked you to chainsaw right through both my ankles if I knew you’d have had the guts to, but I knew all too well of your aversion to blood, so instead I amputated your waist from my arms and was left to deal with the blood myself. No matter how many times I wash my hands, it never leaves my skin.)
So even though I left, and even though you don’t belong with me, I want you to know that you belong within me – you are the phantom limb every cell of my skin aches for. My vagabond heart had settled for you, even though I couldn’t get my hands to do the same, and still in every corner of the world I run to, even the phantasms take your shape.
I am forever haunted by all the hope I saw fading off your face.
So if every pair of lips I’ve ever kissed is a country, I am backpacking my way through state lines to forget you.