What terrified me the most was the way you started breaking promises as easily as throwing breadcrumbs to birds–tossed off, discarded crumbs of gluten that wouldn’t matter to a girl Iike me who has to spit out cold pizza when I forget AGAIN that I’m allergic.
Old habits die hard.
After 9 years of dependability you started small:
“I’ll be there at 11.”
“I’ll call you later.”
“I’ll talk to you soon.”
This final promise a nail in the coffin of a friendship which may or may not still breathe. We forgot to check. Perhaps it’s a vampire and it will revive if we open the casket in a few months?
But, maybe it really was fragile and human all along.
All humans have an expiration date. Like milk.
I keep remembering your arms. I thought I had you memorized but still you’re fading away. I remember how fiercely you held me and lifted me into the air– your embrace a thing I could call into.
I remember trying to forget you in Italy. Rumpled white sheets, Gotye on the television.
My boyfriend attempted to build a fort around me.
I remember Tom kissing my hand in the theater, lifting me into the air for Listerine kisses–his towering frame filling the doorway.
I have always sought out the safety of height.
But I always came back to you. You were my home. Not just an island in my ocean. A place where I could go when rains fell.
But, you don’t define me. Lack of you does not make me less whole. I thought you were my missing rib.I thought strings attached our hearts and that cutting those strings would leave me gaping open, bleeding internally.
But I’m still me. I’m still warm, my skin is still a healthy color. Curly-haired, blue-eyed, left-handed artist. Christian pagan, 5’2″, vibrant dancer, massage maven, world traveler, writer, yogi, cat woman.
You wanted me to be Harley in love with a madman who never loved her back. But as I write I remember who I am. I remember how I feel. I remember what I’ve lost and what I’ve kept. I realize I don’t need to be afraid.
In the morning I wake up sweating. Overnight the seasons have changed.
&I am a little blast furnace. A little engine who can.
-written by Joy Boardman, March 10, 2016