Your skin haunts mine, sending shivers and bursts of ice-nine through my pores. In presence you made me of shattered teacups and recycled matchsticks. You taught me that love was too big to swallow, chew it up, let it linger on my taste buds. You stuffed me full of pretty lines and hopeful stories and then you hung me up to dry. I was your masterpiece for a time but like all artists; you moved on. I didn’t have yours but you still had mine. In your absence life broke me. Rain fell on me and I grew mold upon my skin, soon even that dissolved in heaps to reveal the parts of me you hadn’t cared to complete. My joins fell out from under me, I fought but you didn’t equip me with much fight, I sobbed but my makeshift tear ducts dried out. As time went on I found that I could exist without you, but every piece of skin that grew back would be full to the brim with you, my coffee would be sweetened by you and all the songs that would bring me joy would be written by you too.
It was the middle of December when I dozed off next to the space heater in my grandparents creaky, white house. I dreamed of fudgesicles and black bikini tops. I romanticized the image of the sun kissing my fair skin, how she would draw the freckles out to dance openly. We’d explore city streets at night and our whispered laughs would create a ghostly anthem. But now its end of August and all I’m longing for are grandma sweaters and thanksgiving turkey. I’m lying in bed with the blankets thrown off, sweat matting hair to my sunburned face and I can’t wait to use your body as a pillow and lounge inside of your warm skin. Countdown to hot cocoa and coffee in the middle of the afternoon that isn’t watered down with ice, to wearing makeup that won’t melt away and vintage dresses with thigh high stockings, to snuggling as we walk to protect ourselves from the cold and to a thousand used chapstick tubes. To staying up late and painting inside, to midnight trips and smoking far too many cigarettes. Here’s to the cold days where we’re the most alive.
Through my scraped up palms I allowed a creek to run. It whistled through scar tissue and the torn muscle fibers of my broken fingers. Filaments of minerals danced and dusted, blending with bruises as I lowered a bare soul in to bathe. Centimeters of my skin peeled back to expose pale bones, sprinkles of my sins contaminated the water around me. I allowed my lids to grow heavy with the despair that was constantly begging me to allow the two to brush lips. My sternum fell into a crib to sleep after it had stayed awake and thriving for so much time. My mind traced journal entries into any pure skin I might have had left, it carved apologies into tendons and the creek quickly washed it away. My physical being had long ago become disconnected from my tarnished spirit, they functioned at two different planes of my existence and as my cloth like skin absorbed crystals and creatures that thrived in the water I felt as if perhaps my two lives could come together again in harmony, but instead the war would just rage on for the rest of time and I would only have moments like this, moments of rest, once in awhile when I stumbled upon this creek.
For some, signs came from the hope in a stranger’s eyes, the tingle in your palms when you got a side way glance from someone you had been watching for awhile. Mine was found inside of big red doors. I could be having the worst day, the worst year of my life and I could be walking home when the sky opened up and began sobbing over me, but a red door in my peripherals could set the clouds in reverse, it could draw the sun right back into the sky with permanent marker. A red door was the beginning of hope and the end to an age of suffering. Inside of the fine crevices of the wood, I knew, awaited answers to unasked questions. Red doors were that sign, they meant I was falling in love, or still complete in it. The enveloped my passion, my desire, my failing ambition being born anew right there, on whatever street the door was located. A red door could stop me in my tracks the way that a lover’s first whisper of the day could pull someone from a terrible nightmare. Red doors meant millions of cups of coffee over intellectual conversations, it meant surviving that heartbreak from seven years ago, it meant finished manuscripts and undiscovered abilities. Red doors were the opening of new realms of thoughts.
I miss the simplicity of insomnia. What a dear lover, a grand friend she had always been to me. Her intoxicating stories that dragged me effortlessly through the night; awake and attentive. I miss how her hair fell in waves, stars filled each strand so spectacularly that I never thought to even blink. Sleep is a danger man, he batters me down and pulls my lungs from my chest so quickly that I can hardly process what has happened. He taunts me, lays me down to the sound of a delightful symphony only to play horror stories across my closed lids. Insomnia was always kind, cradling me but Sleep has taken her place and he’ll be the death of me.
It starts in a coffee shop, all grins and dancing brows. Static glances laid out on tabletops, found somewhere in the mess of strewn notebooks. Pulsing fingers lace secretly around another’s as coffee shop music sets the tone for another love story gone wrong. This one takes us back to a bare apartment, she’s just moved in, a love seat sits haphazardly atop dark stained wood, two cups are scrounged up, whiskey split unevenly into them. With alcohol comes loose lips, memories that had been pushed away to rediscover during spring cleaning, childhood games of truth or dare land them on a flimsy mattress, fits of giggles and chaos make them undress. He thinks to himself that this night had not turned out as planned but this was a girl he might want to let in. Tension builds in unique muscles as her nails grasp his bare neck. Kisses between strangers had never been such a great match. Lungs fill with liquid mystery that one can only find in the midnight hours, where the world is stretching out and releasing all the lost souls that she holds. And she thinks to herself, no this was not what I wanted, how can I let him in? His ribs are quaking, moving fiercely as he rearranges beneath the blankets, tears are staining her porcelain cheeks and neither of them could comprehend what they had just started.
The tiny frailness of my bones escaped through molten red blood, my dreams had bled out onto pale skin and even paler sheets and I sat alone and rotting inside of an empty apartment to cradle decomposing thoughts. My hair became thick with the stench, the waves of torture washed up around me, encasing me in a cocoon of tantalizing agony so fair and sweet but filled to the tip with a poison kiss. The house moved me, shook my body like a carcass out on open sea, she whispered to me, things not meant for the human mind to ever hear, the intricate tinkering of how the heart breaks. It does not break all at once but ever so slowly, starting with one little slit and the edges will dissolve, falling inward to your lungs so that you cannot breathe at all.
You’re not in love with me, just the mirror image of me where my frown has been flipped into a sly, childlike grin and my heart beats inwards instead of clawing out through my skin as she truly does. You love the artistic me, the cynic me that lives and breathes through others but not the me that’s drowning under all of my thoughts, the one who fights every day to keep those silent things at bay behind my eyes.