i visited your mother today, walking down deptford high street with the wind and the rain. new cross smelt like it was on fire, and i remembered the way you drew your fears in burnt orange crayons.
it’s almost october and the air has turned blue with cold and the leaves are losing their golden edges as they fall to sludge. i met you in autumn on the swings in a park in south east london, you were waiting for your life to end before it had even started.
it’s been over a year since you left, and i’m still surprised.
i’m sorry that i can’t write any more, that i can’t sleep and i can’t even dream, when that’s all you have left. i’m sorry that you were invaded by the mutation that calls in the night and leaves you dying for breath in the daylight. i’m still so sorry that i could’t take away your pain like the moon calls away the tide. i’m full of so many apologies that my throat is swollen and i’m gasping, gasping for something.
i gave up telling stories to sick children when you died. i couldn’t take away the pain and the hurt; but most of all, i couldn’t deal with my failures. i could sing you all to sleep, but i couldn’t make sure you always woke up.
je me souviendrai toujours que vous aimez.
What will have changed in the morning? You’ll be older, taller, stronger, but you’ll still be the same, it’ll still hurt that he touched you in places he shouldn’t have. it’ll still hurt that there was that one person you loved, left you when you needed them and you can’t even recall their face. but i’ll still love you he whispers. stating it proudly as if i can’t remember the feel of his fingerprints against my eyelids and back of my knees.
my hair shall be longer, the date will have changed and the sun, moon and stars will rise and fall. but otherwise, nothing will have changed. nothing. and that is fine, everything is just fine.
When someone touches you, for good or bad, they take a part of you with them. the fingertips that graze your wrist lovingly and the prying fingers trying to invade you; they all take something away and leave you with a little less and a little more. the boy who shares my bed, takes a lot of my heart and leaves a lot of himself behind and in my arms. the man who shares the earth, took a lot of my strength and courage leaving only the taste of bile behind.
vulgar impressions of bruises on a thigh and sickness in my bones. wondering what it was that i shouldn’t have worn this time that granted the invitation. was it the wrong time to leave the house, should i never have been on the 11.03 jubilee line train to stratford? should i have gone to liverpool street even though it was more expensive? slowly, people are stealing any sense of strength that i have left.
the people who skip in and out, the people who stop by to say hi before disappearing for a fortnight, the people who come in once and leave a lifetime of impressions; everybody who comes in, takes something away from you, but today, someone took more than i had wanted to lose.
où avez-vous, mon amour?
did you sit with broken ribs, punctuating the silence with the inane, with your life underscored by nirvana and the french classes you took in secondary school left to the wayside. reach into your pocket and feel the small change, feel the scraps of paper full of odd words and strangers phone numbers. are you watching at the window, feeling the clouds drift by because nothing is enough, for you, for him or for us.
i walked past you once, red baseball hat and piano fingers. i watched you dance to the vision in your arms and i watched you walk down the street, until you were nothing more than a string of notes wandering through another crowded street. i watched you until i was unsure that i had ever seen you. i watched you and now i don’t know why.
i never slept when i was with you, i never slept when i could be examining you like mess below a cuticle or freckles upon an apples core. bleeding into months and years of sleeping at six awaking two hours later at eight am. i never slept when i was with you and now i am exhausted, sucking from the wind all the oxygen i can muster. is this what it is like to die? is this how it feels when your body puts up no more resistance than the unavoidable pants of exertion. we bleed and bruise, but when will it end?
where are you, my love?
darling, am I not who you fell in love with, with half moon eyes and tears crumbling at a cliffs edge. darling, can you not watch whilst I pull at the threads that keep this package oh, so neat. darling, darling I love you, I’m just not quite as wholesome as that delight you first met, my love, my only. I am fragile as a vintage button, holding on to sanity on a mouldy, bleeding thread. darling, hold me closer and tell me all the lies that I need. tell me darling that I am breaking all of the boundaries set aside for those with melancholia and this chronic sadness. tell me my love, that I will not break our children with this instability. tell me love that I am not contagious, tell me that I don’t make you regret the day that you stumbled across this swollen heart and bird cage chest. brittle, the hatred of myself rattles around these putrid veins as the rain pours upon porcelain cheeks.
I’m sorry that you were intrigued by skin like snow and a lion’s mane of sunshine, that blue eyes lit up like christmas drew you across our subtle horizons. I’m sorry that my insides and outsides are a paradox. darling, though, dearest darling, I love you with these moon tears and threaded sunshine. just don’t watch whilst I decay, please darling.
seemingly, we were once everything and we couldn’t have climbed any higher. Splitting the stars and dancing over the moon as we grasped at winds and urged the clouds to hold us. we were once everything and somehow, never more than two strangers. how did we become purely strangers? How did we?