the one you’re with

If I die as soon as I fear I will, my greatest regret is that I have never loved anyone I’ve actually been with to the point of madness. The passion attached to the unrequited has proven to be unsurmountable when faced with possibility. I fear I cannot truly regret this. It is out of my control. Still… I desire the love described by Marquez in “Of Love and Other Demons,” the sort of love that compels two to trail the night with kisses and sonnets. All my hexameters have been reserved for those who will never be capable of even breathing in my direction.

I don’t feel sorry for myself. If their love doesn’t come as naturally as breathing, I don’t want it.

Still, I read Neruda and Cummings and Brautigan and I wonder what it’s like to love the one you’re with. I wonder what it’s like to feel like the sun and moon can rise in another’s eyes and it’s my privilege to be a witness to both. Not just a witness, a participant.

C’est la vie. C’est l’amour.

“You can cut all the flowers but you can’t stop spring from coming.”

Why didn’t you love me?

That’s the question I ask myself in the middle of the night. My own company is enough, I swear. But I still remember everything.

I remember but I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to ask how you’re doing, if you’re happy.

Maybe I do want to know though. If I didn’t, what’s the point of this?

Sometimes I wonder if the truth has gotten lost in translation, if I was too busy deciphering silence to understand that it meant you didn’t want to talk.

I don’t know.

I’m getting used to this life, the one I’ve been breathing my way through, sometimes in gasps, sometimes mere exhales.

There is someone else and he’s so beautiful that I almost choke on my own nerves. I’m ready for it though, ready to be acquainted with what can very well be.

I want you to know that I will not try to deny how much I loved you. I will not betray our memories through any sort of diminishing. You were… an impossible dream, a poem I read in one of Neruda’s books, maybe two or three. And I wonder if you remember me as the girl who loved you too much or simply the girl who could love.

Either way…

You were beautiful in a way I still don’t really understand. And when my nose is cleaved to the ground, I will always think of you and wish you the best.

I would like to…

I would like to be a little more fearless and a little less reckless when it comes to matters of the heart. They say I live in a fairy tale, that the terms of reality have not yet been agreed to. But I’m negotiating. I’d like to be a dreamer, a hearer of the whispers a little too faint for everyday ears.

I’d like to look at the moon, appreciate its beauty while still feeling the concrete beneath my feet.

I don’t know.

I’ve lived a long time with the same mind. I’m not exempt from feeling pain. I just choose not to focus on it too much, unwilling to become a prisoner of what could have been.

I think about courage.

Was that what it took to watch you walk out of the door and into the car that weaved you out of my life?

I would like to know what it’s like not to second guess myself. One insecurity too many to take the chance and ask for a second or third coming.

My God, I love you. I mean, I think he’s fabulously attractive and all but it’s you who keeps me up at night. Do you remember all the nights we went out? Do you remember the way I exchanged his arm for yours and we walked straight back to your house? Do you remember the night after we broke up, how we went out and you stayed up all night listening to music with me?

Nina Simone has a beautiful voice, hey?

I wish you hadn’t tried so hard to prove I didn’t affect you. I wish I had tried harder to make you talk to me. But it wasn’t as easy as memory would have me believe. You rolled your eyes, made it seem like I was a nuisance instead of a dreamer searching for strings.

So… is this the first month in a lifetime? Will it get easier? What do you think about before you fall asleep? Was our time together as inconsequential as you would have me believe?

It’s hard. Some nights are harder than others. The past few have been nearly unbearable. But I trust that… I don’t know… Honestly…

it’s hard

How are you? Are you happy? Did it hurt to leave?

I’ve been staring at the moon. I’ve been wondering if you take the time to notice how beautiful it’s been. Maybe it’s cloudy where you are. I know the streets are occupied with the seeds of a revolution.

I woke up at 4 AM last night. I recorded a 4 minute and 20 seconds voice message that I didn’t send. I spent the next two hours trying to find my way back to peace.

See, you weren’t the greatest. I mean, you talked about yourself and rarely asked any questions about the nature of my soul. Then you cornered me against a wall and a door and said all these things that made it clear that questions had never really been necessary.

Between us, there was liquid heat. It pooled at our feet. I tried. We drowned.

People say you’re not good for me, that even the thought of you could trip me into despair. But I’m already sad and you’re too far away to read the stories in my eyes.

I want to move on. I’m not entirely sad. I just think about you sometimes and I get restless. With wonder, with defeat.

I worry no one will ever look at me the way you did. I worry that no one will ever have to go to the second floor of a building because he knew his eyes would give him away.

I regret the loss of opportunity. I regret the way you cared more about fulfilling an idea than creating a new reality.

See, the truth is… – well, there are many truths – but I suppose the one that is most relevant is that I am afraid my future is more beautiful without you.

tell me where you left them

It’s been nearly a month since we last spoke. I can’t believe I’ve made it this long. A part of me feels like this is normal for you, like this is what you wanted all along. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know if I’m comfortable with the silence. There are the questions I’d like to ask, all the words I’d like to share in permutations and combinations I’ll never send.

I met someone. Well, I like someone. He paid attention when I told him that the moon was beautiful. He looked through the stained window, glared at the fact that he couldn’t appreciate it.

He’s not you. But we’re not together. So, maybe that’s a blessing in and of itself.

I don’t know.

How are you? Are you happy? Does it matter?

You’re still standing in the dark, reaching out for lights that danced on the white wall I leaned against.

I’ve grown tired of convincing myself that you cared. I mean, really, there was never any doubt. But caring doesn’t make up for silence. Most of the time, the things you do mean more than the things you say. I did everything I could. I’m left with words. As beautiful and intricate as they may be, they don’t weave a path to you.

I could bury the dreamcatcher and the hamsa but the other day, I was walking and saw a man with your smile. I guess what I’m asking is this:  where do the memories go? Will you tell me where you put yours?

I need to learn how to move on in silence, not decay.

some more questions to hurl at your closed door…

What is the half-life of love?

Am I getting closer?

Are all these words a form of decay?

Will I always want to know what our future would look like?

Why does it still hurt?

Do you eat apples?

If you do, what’s your favorite kind?

Do you miss me?

Will I be able to wake up soon without thinking of you?

Was it me?

Will I ever be able to wear that necklace again?

When you come for me, will it be too late?

Are we capable of being real long enough to form a decent relationship?

Have you forgotten the way we used to look at each other?

Do you look at her in the same way?

Why wasn’t I enough?

Why am I the option, never the priority?

If it’s not you, will the one I end up with make me feel a fraction of the best I felt with you?

How long will that conditional, “If it’s not you…”, linger?

Would we always find time to dance on bridges?


I’ve been trying to figure out an appropriate way to say goodbye. It’s been a while since we last spoke. By that, I mean, it’s been more than a hundred days since we connected in a way that can justify holding on the way I have.

Bear with me here: there are a lot of things I want to say.

I love you. By that, I mean, I’ve cared for you to the point of speechlessness since the first night we met. Your dark eyes were obstructed with sadness to the point where I had to keep looking just to make sure you didn’t disintegrate before my eyes. It would take a while before I understood why.

I wanted to believe that the way in which we met and every moment in between then and now could make up for the silence. But this lack of sound has proven to be a gaping wound.

I love you in the sense that I wake up every day noticing your absence. I wish I could attribute this to a past, a shared history in which we slept and woke beside each other. But we didn’t. It’s more like you were in the attic or a makeshift bed beside my own. I wanted to believe that the hollow didn’t matter, that the way your eyes would find mine anytime we were in the same room would make up for all the words you didn’t say.

But the truth….

The truth is that no one’s on your side. No one has begged me to make a declaration of love or hop on the next plane. Instead, there’s a nagging sense of wonder as to why I think of you at all.

It’s hard to defend an idea.

I want to tell you what happens from the moment my eyes open to the instant they close. Or really, I want to hear how you occupy your days. But you were a million miles away when we occupied the same space. Or no… you felt closer than my jugular. But none of that seems to matter now. Or none of it should.

In all my stories, we never end up together. Maybe fiction is trying to tell me something. Or maybe I’m just not creative enough to write about a world where we stand side by side.

I don’t know the reasons. I don’t know how to be okay. What I do know is that I can’t continue to think of you in the same way. I have to move on… whatever that means. I don’t really know anything anymore. I mean, I go to work and I walk and I converse with friends and I eat breakfast and I do all these things but you are the intermittent pause. When I look out the window and steam the milk too long or when I don’t answer a question within an appropriate frame of time.

It’s all for you, chico, all these words and poorly grasped sentiments and haphazard attempts to make you understand one simple fact: you move(d) me.

this is masochism.

I wore the necklace you gave me for days. As I slept, it carved itself into my palm. I took it off, placed it somewhere I couldn’t see. But still, I feel this phantom noose. Sometimes I tug just to feel it scrape.

I like to remember how you used to look at me. I like to remember how it felt to taste light and breathe sound. I wonder if I’ll ever tell my children how I met a man who set everything on fire, how I would’ve done anything to burn. I miss the way it felt to feel. Now, I know that I should not have considered myself kindling or ash. I should have been the blue of the flame that set your entire universe on fire. Still, it’s nice to know I’m capable of disintegrating and becoming whole.

What am I talking about?

I miss you like the smashing of my favorite orange mug that lies in a hundred pieces at my feet. It is painful, like the recollection of a time that will never happen again. It is everything and nothing. By that, I mean that I don’t really understand why things have to be the way they are.

The other night, I went to a punk rock show and felt a twist in my heart when the frontman looked into my eyes. I shook his hand the way I used to shake yours. I guess I was hoping it would feel the same. Or maybe I was relieved by the difference. I don’t really know. I’ve become a bundle of nerves that walks and walks and walks. I don’t really go anywhere though. Sometimes I see the mountains in the distance. Sometimes I want to pause in the middle of the street and scream. Why can’t we speak the way we used to? I want to tell you that she’s getting better. The house is sold. She loves him. He doesn’t feel the same. I go to work. I’ve gotten better at steaming milk. I still don’t know how to dance. I want to kiss you. You made me tea with lemon and honey. I haven’t felt like myself for a while now. You would like it here. We were a family once. Dysfunctional but still.

It’s only a matter of time. Or so I’ve been told. But I miss you every day.

I don’t know how to tell them that it’s only getting worse, that if I could, I’d hop on a plane and show up just so we could go to the beach for a day or two. I’d wear sunscreen but I’d soak you in.

It hurts in a way I barely grasp with words. I read all these books. Others seem to be better at describing how it feels to love and lose. I don’t know. I’m still trying to convince myself that you were an idea. That way, I can use the left side of my brain instead of my whole heart. But it’s hard. You felt realer than anything else. You still do. I guess that’s why it’s hard. I wake up hollow. I go to work. I hang out with friends. I try to write my way out, like this, like all the other times.

One day soon, I will have to move on.

Until then… te amo, mon amour.

all the questions I would ask if your door did anything more than close

1.) did you really mean it when you said you didn’t feel the same way?

2.) why did you look at me like I was water?

3.) when I found out she had cancer, why didn’t you ask how I was?

4.) when I cried in the middle of the street, why did you assume those tears were for you?

5.) why did it take you so long to apologize?

6.) why couldn’t you have left me alone after you said you didn’t feel the same way?

7.) why did you have to find me just to say that you didn’t know how it would work?

8.) why do we have to know how it would work?

9.) why did you let your fingers trail across my face?

10.) why didn’t you explain yourself sooner?

11.) why did you lie?

12.) why did you pretend like we didn’t mean anything to each other?

13.) do you regret it?

14.) do you think of me? I mean, really, in the middle of the night or when you catch a glimpse of something beautiful or when the two of you get into a fight, don’t you ever wonder what it would be like to catch a plane heading North instead?

15.) you do realize that we had to travel 14,100 miles to meet, right?

16.) did it hurt to leave?

17.) how was it possible for both of us to walk away?

18.) why can’t you say what you mean?

19.) why did you wait so long?

20.) will it always hurt?

21.) do you know what it sounds like to step on pinecones?

22.) who do you send the songs you love?

l’esprit de l’escalier

For every word I say, there are others I don’t. When I ask, “How are you?”, what I am really trying to ask is this:

“How is your heart? Has it been beating fast or slow? Did you already miss her when your eyes met?”

I don’t know why I don’t say more. Maybe I’m hoping that you can latch onto the meanings in between. Maybe it’s the same for you. I find myself trying to decipher pauses, breaths, the enunciation of particular words, the ellipsis.

Or maybe what I’m doing is filling in blanks with all I wish you’d say:

“I love you. I want to be with you. I made a mistake. When I said I was sorry, what I really meant was, ‘Forgive me for being a coward. I want to know how it would work before I decide.’ You’re beautiful. I couldn’t stop looking at you. I wake up and I feel your absence and I want to scream. But I never do. I go on with my day knowing that it could have been different. I consider texting you. I consider buying a plane ticket to where you are. But I don’t. I will go to her. I will take her in my arms. There will be moments when I wonder. I’ll choke them down with copious amounts of wine. Maybe I’ll kiss her to rid the desire for you off my lips. But I’ll always know and you’ll always know. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I wish you well. I wish you love. I wish it was me.”

How ridiculous when it could have been.