Sometimes when we fold ourselves at night, we pretend to be tiny origami cranes. Delicate, unfeeling, simple.
Sometimes when the dark finally sets in and shadows come to play, we pretend they’re our drunk dreams warding off the bad ones.
Sometimes when our eyes have to be pried open in the dimly lit room and the ache sits so deep in the morning air, we pretend it’s Christmas morning just to get out of bed. We’ve got a life to live, let that be our gift.
There are days our heads feel so heavy and our chests feel like caskets. There are days our skin feels ragged and our muscles feel sore. There are days feeling our heartbeats is the scariest thing in the world and each breath feels like razors scrapping on our every soft surface.
But our legs still carry us and our necks still hold our heads. We manage to survive another damn day because that’s what we do: we survive.
When I look around to see all of the survivors, the warriors, the ones who made it, I see lights that refused to dim. I see hearts that didn’t get the best of us and I see bravery in the exhaustion.
And I say congratulations.
I can’t think about it. If I think about it, I feel and if I feel it…
I miss it.
I start missing my heart before it was covered in scars and I miss him when we had no lives to get on with. I miss her and her outrageous laugh and the way she looked up to me.
I miss being looked up to.
I miss the freshness of my blood and the way every feeling hit me like an electric shock. Every breath would fill the outline of my chest, take it’s time on the soft parts of my mouth, and become an invisible cloud I could still somehow see.
If I think about it, I’m older. I know more and I’ve felt so much and I know how to keep things at bay. Every arm’s length-distance I place between me and whatever-it-is makes me wish I could go back to how I was before I hated things touching my heart.
Maybe I’m not as messy as I once was. Though, was it all bad to be that raw to the world? To drink from a glass and let it dance from the edge to your tongue and feel it like it was the first time?
I can wield my words like magic, but what’s the use if I know the secret behind the tricks?
Maybe I want to be awed by it, too.
I want to feel for the first time, again.
You can leave me in the cold and like a loyal dog, I’ll stay. The dark can creep up on me and shroud me in its claws, but I’ll picture you and feel at home.
They shake their heads at me like I should know better, and I should.
But my heart beats for you and I can’t change the source of heat in my blood. So I’ll make friends with the shadows and tell them your name.
When you come back (and you will come back) don’t be afraid of the devils on my shoulders. Don’t be afraid of the cold in my skin or the damage in my eyes.
Your name will be forever on my lips and I have signed over my soul for you. The ink left bruises on my heart, is this love?
I will call it love as long as there is air in my lungs, even if it leaves me with smoke between my lips. I can learn to love the taste of toxins – just as I have learned to love the bruises on my heart. Just as I have learned to love you.
Don’t forget to tell me good-bye when the time’s right. Don’t forget to hold the door open and watch me leave. Don’t forget to keep that smile on your face and, please, don’t forget to dream about me every night after.
When the next one whispers how much they love you when they think you’re sleeping, don’t forget to hold your breath and pray they don’t know you’re awake. Don’t forget to distance yourself and stop answering the phone. Don’t forget what those words sounded like when they came from my lips.
Down the road when you hold the-one in your arms and look at their sleeping face, don’t forget to picture mine. Don’t forget the feeling in your arms as they ache to hold me instead.
When things stop working and they leave you, don’t forget about the way you left me. Don’t forget the sway of my hips, or my tensed jaw.
Don’t forget me.