Crop couple clinking with coffee cups

So We Meet Again

Crop couple clinking with coffee cups

I’ve decided to treat you as typewritten letters to a long lost lover—the one who is supposed to come back, stashed away scrawled on napkins and a cup with littered lipstick smears—lips that long to meet yours but settle for a cup of coffee that spills all over the floor—pouring out of a container that’s just a little too small for it.

I’ve decided to treat you as if you were him, across the room, half glances in my direction—hoping I notice—I do, but we’re both hoping the other builds up the courage to say hello.

You can feel the tension of how badly I need you, not in a sexual sense but as a protector and a sense of calm.

Silent words flutter out like breathes and gasps as sheets wrap around our bodies.

—all this to say, I will write as if he was across the table,

Sipping on morning coffee,

As if I’ve seen this exact scenario play out a billion times—it has become ordinary but not any less beautiful or extraordinary.

This is me writing like he was here and I could allow my body to fall onto the couch, wondering what I ever did wrong to warrant a small niche of writers to attempt to smother me in bullshit and made up drama.

“It says nothing about you,” my agent says over coffee, laughing to herself, she sighs, “You did not do nor say anything wrong—this is just the way they are.”

The publisher doesn’t hesitate, having seen this before, lived this for years—”They are nobody.” She says confidently. In a past life, she headed some of the largest publishing houses in the world—there is nothing she hasn’t seen. “We all see it.” She says. “It wasn’t you.”

And I sit here waiting for you to tell me something.

Because I feel inadequate for someone taking words out of context. I want to crawl out of my skin and hide in the dark corners of a room until it blows away in the dust bowl.

I look for you because you wouldn’t allow me to run. 

You’d lock the doors of the closets, guard every exit, and slowly walk me into the center of the arena. Because you have an unnatural belief in me, almost as if God plucked you awake mid-dream and entrusted you with guarding my hopes and dreams. You know all I can be when I don’t want to be here.

You’d stand behind me, preventing me from running and forcing me to stand up straight when I wanted to run for the hills and burn everything in my path.

I see myself as a mouse dancing across the floor, always wondering if I’ll be killed for being too small and hiding from view.

And you stand in front of a mirror, attempting to make me face my reflection. While it shouldn’t bring me to my knees, I can’t look, the very thought of it makes me want to run—I don’t know what I’ll see and I don’t want to.

You hold my shoulders steady, waiting for me to turn and I twitch like I’m in an exorcism, crying out to do anything but.

But you stand firm, done waiting or playing games.

You know it’s time and there’s no way around it.

While I picture myself as a mouse that can be crushed in your hand, always in the wrong place at the wrong time, and attacked for being small—you see everything that I cannot.

For some reason you keep waiting for me to open my eyes, but I’d rather pour cyanide down my throat.

I would say how much safer life is when you hide in the corners,

How no one can see me and I can survive just a little bit doing things that others want and expect of me.

You’d laugh.

You can see it.

I refuse to.

The taunting outside gets louder and I’m convinced they’ve broken through the windows and are getting prepared to take me away.

You’d whisper to look.

I can’t.

You lightly nudge and I hold my breath until I’m blue.

They’re coming to take me away.

“Open your fucking eyes,”

You start to count and I don’t have a choice.

I open my eyes, and there’s only rain pattering on a window,

A Frankenstein mob off in the distance, caught by the bloodhounds that guard the perimeter. 

I keep watching for one to get away, it only takes one.

But you dug a moat and filled it with electric eels. 

Pulled the draw bridge up.

Commissioned the Swiss Guard to stand the perimeter.

You built up castle walls when I refused to look,

Made a fire and handed me a torch.

In these months where I cowered away and refused to look, refused to even fully see you—you built up every safety guard I could ever need.

Look, you say sternly.

So I finally look in the window reflection, contrasted by the night sky. 

Clearly I see it.

There’s a galaxy filled with supernovas, dancing around bright and unbothered by everything around it.

Acting entirely on its own accord and filling every single space the eye can see.

You’d ask me to look through the window and mob being shooed away by dogs or falling prey to eels.

They’re so small, it’s almost funny.

Like a Where’s Waldo, but you’re looking for the spec instead of a person.

Honestly, my love to call it a spec, wouldn’t even be adequate.

It’s much more the dust of mana set to disappear in the morning.

This is me wishing he was here to whisper the words and grant me bravery on loan,

But he’s looking off in the distance. Both beside me and far away—knowing full right, a galaxy doesn’t concern herself mice, lions, specs, or the miniscule details. You cannot contain her, only observe as she does whatever she wishes.

I look for you, my love in corners and hallways, breaking down doors—because I cannot do this without you. I simply refuse to.

If I must be everything in the world,

I must also do it with you.

There is simply no other way to.

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