Prospect (n.)

Just the prospect of you
is enough to send me spiraling down
into this beautiful maze of unending ‘what if’s’

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Tiptoe

I tiptoe around the room, not wanting to wake him up as I pick up discarded clothes strewn haphazardly around the floor, shed from last night’s coition. Coition. I laugh to myself. Fancying up this messy dance between two strangers who barely know each other yet pretending to change the game and saving each other from a night of binge watching in pajamas and sipping wine or beer by ourselves.

It’s not the same when it’s not with you. I never let his hands linger too long on my skin. It feels wrong. Almost violating, to be honest. A small voice in my head protests with every contact, “Don’t! Stop! She is not yours to touch!” Silly.

His breath feels hot yet cold at the same time. It’s not the same with you.

Your breath fans the inferno in me. Your touch was always warm enough that it wraps itself like a fleece blanket that comforts my soul.

We tried to do everything and when I think we’ve exhausted all our options and move past the phase of exploration as if you’ve inhabited my body and I, in yours, there is always something to discover, new music, new rhythm to dance to.

But perhaps that was our undoing – we had everything and it still wasn’t enough.

So for the last time, in my effort to romanticize the word tiptoe and make it seem at least a bit poetic, I tiptoe out of the room and permanently out of his life.

Joe

I wasn’t honest with you. You asked me if I wanted to get coffee with you sometime but I said I stopped drinking coffee 3 years ago. When you asked me why, I had two choices to answer that – lie or tell you the truth. It was so much easier to lie and just tell you how I hate that coffee stains my teeth and gives me a bad case of the jitters.

You didn’t know I was lying. You didn’t even suspect. I guess, my theatre training really got me far in the game of lies. I’m almost always winning.

I’m so tired of losing. I’ve lost you because we didn’t fight for each other hard enough. Sometimes, I feel like I’m losing my battle with coffee, too. Why am I denying myself something I really love? Why did I even go cold turkey? It’s just coffee. Right?

I haven’t had soda in years, I’ve been sober from alcohol longer than I have been with coffee.

When my favourite uncle passed away, I wanted to call you up so badly. Let you know. He really liked you and I know you enjoyed his company as much. But I couldn’t call you because I realized if I did, I’d just fall back into the habit of seeking you out whenever I needed comfort. You were so good at that. We were so good with walking hand in hand, going into the dark and coming out brighter than when we came in.

Even through all the good, it wasn’t enough.

I went into a coffee shop we’ve never been to together. The whole place just smelled liked the best brew in the world. I ordered my first cup of coffee in a year. When I got to a table, I sat down, put the mug in front of me and just stared at it for a good long moment. My heart hurt so bad. My uncle is gone and the void he left was so huge that I wanted to just say ‘fuck it all’. Rebel against the unfairness of the universe by chugging every last drop of coffee in that mug. To hell with all this ‘no more coffee’ bullshit. I grabbed the handle of my mug, the familiar warmth was the kind of comfort I needed. I tried to raise it, but I couldn’t. I left feeling even more lost.

So, I decided I had to give up everything I associated with you if I wanted to move forward.

Coffee included.

You see, when I told you I hate that coffee stains my teeth, I wasn’t lying about it because I know I could always just visit the dentist.

It was you. You’re the stain I wanted out because that stain is a reminder of everything that went wrong, of everything I’ve lost. You’re the caffeine in my blood that gives me jitters even after you’re long gone.

One day, I’m going to get myself a cup of joe without thinking about you. I’m going to take my first sip and it will be like meeting an old childhood friend.

As a young girl,
who wore her heart
on her sleeves,
I’ve placed
trust in every
palm that
was held before me.

I drove out, given, taken
laughter where it suited.

My dreams were stories
I openly told people
who would lend me their ears.
In return, they treated them
as if they were gifts
they were too eager
to receive.

The questions I had
were met with answers
as if my life and theirs
depended on them.

The thrill of growing up
and knowing my words
could pull people
like magnets was a gift
I took for granted.

I discovered that words,
that left the tongue,
and fell on ears
and caught by eyes,
was like a daisy,
plucked from the roots,
never to bloom again
from the earth,
but would forever
seek residence
in the heart and
foster in the mind.

I found that words
could be both –
the reddest of roses
and sharpest of thorns.

Slowly, unknowingly,
the sleeves of my shirts grew longer.
Open and willing palms turned into
clenched fists.
laughter was unlike the oxygen
I breathed.
it was a rare stone,
worked hard for,
slaved over,
only to find out,
on occasion that
they were fake.

(I doled out laughter and smiles
as if I had them in abundance
to get me in and out of
situations that suited me.)

I didn’t know.
I was already a player
in the game of pretend
they called ‘adulthood’,
which I thought was a myth,
but all too well,
discovered, bruised,
burnt, that no one plays
this game willingly,
but we’re thrust upon it,
pretending to know the rules
from the get-go.

no wonder when I was a child,
the adults craved
the company of the naive girl.
realization struck me –
the innocence of a child,
is unlike the innocence
of an adult.
the innocence of a grown up,
is a weapon of destruction,
whereas to a child,
it is a shield of comfort.
It is endless possibility and hope
until it is broken down
by messy hands
and clumsy tongues.
but rebuilt with the will
and strength formed from
years of falling down.

there’s an innocence to holding hands.
that first brush of the tip of his fingers
against my palm.
the way they glide across it,
aiming for the gaps.
the way his fingers curl,
almost hesitantly,
as if i am delicate,
as if holding me too tightly
will break me.
because he knows,
between us,
holding hands will never be just
about hands touching.
so gently, he continues.
fingers clasping.
breath held.

so much for innocence
and the promise of more to come.

That is How I Met Hope

after a resigned sigh,
she said “you are amazing.
you deserve the universe
and all good things in life.
but you have to realise
that sometimes, what you want
isn’t always what you need.”

and I looked at her.
really looked at her.
seeing the hollowness behind her eyes
for the first time since we’ve met.
my heart squeezed tight.
almost to the point of unbearable pain.
I wanted to ask her,
‘who hurt you so badly
that you started to believe
that you’re unworthy?’

but I don’t.
instead I say,
“i have all I need
in front of me right now.
do you trust me?”

she nods slightly.
what she’s not saying is
that she doesn’t trust herself.

so I assure her,
“leap. and I promise
i will not let you fall.
instead, i will teach you how to fly.”

i have never seen a flower
bloom before my eyes.
but in that moment,
if hope was a flower,
then by God,
does it bloom beautifully
behind her eyes
and her smile.

Tomorrow

Today, I close a chapter of my life hinged to you.
Tomorrow, you start a new chapter of your life unhinged from mine completely.

Today, I ask myself for the nth time – Are you okay?
Tomorrow, tomorrow I will be.

Today, I listen to the same song I played to death 6 years ago.
Tomorrow, I will listen to it again and mean it.

Today, let me keep this day, let it be mine, yours, ours.
Tomorrow, it will be mine alone.

Today, let me remember everything good.
Tomorrow, let me forget everything good.

Today, everything I can be, I can do, I can say, let me say they were for you.
Tomorrow, everything I can be, I can do, I can say, will be for someone who isn’t you.

Today, I will remember the night I was enchanted to meet you.
Tomorrow, I will forget everything you made me feel.

Today, is as monumental for me, as tomorrow will be for you.

So, cheers for me today, and cheers tomorrow, for you.