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I know there is nothing I can do or say that will make you change your mind, make you accept me—accept us—into that void in your chest. I know there's nothing that would make you decide to love me when everything you've ever known or thought says such a love is impossible. So all I can really do now is try to heal the puncture wound you left in the fabric of my being, that separation of fibers once woven so tightly together. And I've been trying.
I've been frantically struggling to thread a proverbial needle, which I would then draw in and out of that precious fabric, skillfully erasing evidence of you. But every time I pick up that needle, you stay my hand, and I think, for a moment, that maybe I like that wound right where it is. Maybe I love that reminder that you were violently there for a moment and now you are gone. Maybe I need to remember how it was to be so close to you, to breathe in the same darkness and displace the same air, however briefly. You don't seem to want to let me heal, and maybe you're right to stop my sewing.
I don't want to say that I wish you were with me instead, but I wish you were with me instead. You are such a treasure, and everything you touch turns to gold or ashes. Let me be golden, and let everyone else be ashes. They would fly away at the slightest breeze, but I will bend to your will, soft and pliable, but beautiful in your hands. You are fire to me. You threaten to consume me entirely, but you're mesmerizing to an unbelievable depth.
Do you remember New Year's Eve? How you looked at me, only me, all night? You called me "baby." You kissed me twice—real kisses, not the playful pecks everyone else got. You kissed everyone, but I think you only did that so you could kiss me.
Remember last summer, by the lake? You held my hand, made just brave enough by the wine to give me that burning look. And then we all decided to jump in the lake, but for me, you were the only one there.
Do you remember the end of August? Do you remember that long look - everything we said with that look? Do you remember killing me?
Before, it was easy. It was simple and exciting and not dangerous because it was a fantasy. But then you made it real. You brought the game into reality when you said, "Can I kiss you?" and then you didn't stop kissing me. You made it a memory instead of a dream and that memory coursed white hot through me and everything I am or ever dreamed I could be. And then what?
And then nothing.
You left me, molten gold, to go stir your ashes, and here I am trying to fashion myself into something worth looking at before I cool and harden, shapeless and ruined.
I know you must be so conflicted. I know you must also be in pain, caught between who you are and who you've been told you have to be. I had hoped I could be the one to show you that you can love more than one person at once. I had hoped you would break free, and I would be the one to unlock the shackles. I thought we could both make room for a different kind of love. I thought we could share this unique thing, be honest with each other in a way we've never experienced—we can't experience—with anyone else.
More than anything, I thought you would be there. You inspire me more than anyone else ever has. You show me a reflection that smiles even when I can't. You make me brave and reckless, and I would give almost anything for another shot of that fearlessness. In such a short time, I felt that you knew me. Knew me, essentially. Accepted me without reservation. When you looked at me, I felt that you were truly, sincerely seeing.
I don't expect you to ever say you love me. That would be too real, too declarative. So here I am to say that I love you.
I love you essentially and without reservation.
I have been unable to patch the hole in that fabric because I've been looking through it all this time. Looking through that wound into scenes I will never see.
A whitewashed house on the coast of Maine, windows open to the breeze coming off of the water. Our bedroom is distressed white wood, from floor to ceiling. It's 9 am on a Saturday, and you get out of bed and look out the bay window onto the vast expanse of blue, the distance between you and the sea nothing but waving cattails. You walk through the French doors to the kitchen, and I watch you go, pieces of hair falling in tendrils from your bun, white t- shirt swinging from your hips with each step. You make French toast from the leftover baguette from last night and then spend the rest of the day testing recipes for your bakery. I sit and watch you, in awe that this life is mine and you are in it.
But then I have to look away. When I look away, I see your eyes avoiding mine. I see your happy family pictures and your smiling motherhood. I see unanswered text messages and tear stains on my journals.
I see my fat, my stretch marks, my awkward form, and wonder why I ever thought I was something worth a risk, worth rebellion. I see your furtive glances in my direction when you don't think I'm looking. I hear your perfunctory "Hi, how are you?" and I wish you'd just stop. I thought I was ready to heal a few weeks ago, ready to sew myself up, and then you said "I miss you." You were drunk, of course, but that small, three-word message made me wonder if you miss me when you're sober, too.
I miss you every day.
And it didn't have to be like this. It still doesn't.
God, I miss you so much. And I feel so guilty for missing you. I shouldn't miss you. I shouldn't want something that was never mine. But to see you is to want you, and I see you. I see how you hold the world together, kneading it like your bread dough. Everything you do, you do it like an artist.
I always thought I'd fall in love with an artist. Some dark, brooding, screenplay-writing guy with tattoos and just enough emotional unavailability to drive me crazy.
Well, I have fallen in love with an artist. She just looks drastically different than I expected, so maybe I was caught off guard. You make me believe there's something beyond this life.
You make me believe in God and Heaven and the transcendence of the human soul. You make me believe that love is real and spontaneous, that it doesn't depend on practicality or planning or even anatomy. You make me feel the age of my soul by reminding me how it feels, what it is, to wonder.
I know I've loved you in a past life and, at the end of the day, I hope I can love you in another.