I never felt at peace when you were around. I wish I had. I wish every cell of my body hadn’t sprung to attention when you walked into a room. But they did. I tried to convince myself that it was the sadness in your eyes or the way you could actually make eyes feel like windows. I could almost swear you knew my darkest memories and that you held them close to your chest. There are all of these things I had to tell myself. I spun story after story, hoping that every word would somehow bring us closer. What’s worse is that now that you’re gone, there are all these things I remember. We were standing on a train. You were slicing a lemon for our tea. Your sad, dark eyes never strayed too far from mine. But none of that was enough. When you love someone – I mean, when you really love someone, it is impossible to keep those words to yourself. They must spill from your lips. Accidentally or incidentally. But it was possible for you to walk away from what we could have been. What’s worse is that you left all these ghosts in your wake. They trail like shadows. Even in a different country, I can feel your eyes and see the longing and despair. They were always in equal measure.
I tried to convince myself that you didn’t have to say anything, that I could find peace in stolen glances and half-smiles.
But love, the love I felt (and still feel), spilled from my lips. It could not be contained. You never could be had in doses. It was all or nothing.
That’s why it hurts. This silence. This life without you. There are songs I can’t listen to anymore. I swear, I try. I press play only to click pause. We danced on tiles. We danced on concrete. We danced on linoleum. I tripped over my own feet, wiped dark strands of hair away from my eyes to find your own locked on mine. I have tasted the salt of tears and sweat. I have leaned the back of my head against your blanketed legs and whispered, “You are perfect.”
All the while, I knew you were telling the truth when you said, “No, I’m not. I’m a fucked up mess of a person.”
I made excuses. I saw the beauty of who you are without the lies and shadows. But you are a totality, not a composition.
As for my heart, it still pulses hard and fast in the dead of night. I can almost swear I can reach out and touch you the way I never did when you were around. But we don’t need sad stories to be interesting. We just need to be real. And you never could be. Not enough or never at the right time.