On What’s Left

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It is easy to believe no one will ever understand you, and most often, this will be true. You can lie next to someone and still have no idea how the birds move in their brain, how their songs weave in and out of your breathing, or how they might be imagining they are a separate version of themselves, set in motion in a separate direction by a single decision. What if, what if, what if.

If she were here she’d have wild eyes like you, hair like yours too, and a tendency to brood like me. We would say all sorts of things we never say, and in the mornings you’d still go out for coffee and I’d lay in bed. And in June there would be peonies on the coffee table and none of this would have ever happened. What if, what if, what if.

I wake up in a panic, or better to say I sleep in a panic. Even in my dreams I am crashing into seas, saved only by the grace of someone else. I am upside down and searching for someone, I am winded and waterlogged. I wake with that familiar feeling in my chest because my body knows what day this is far before my mind.

I tell myself it gets easier, and this is true for seven days. And then it rolls back in like I  didn’t didn’t read the forecast. I think about empty beds, and I think about car rides, and I think about what you say to me in the kitchen of the house we don’t own.

When the noise starts to fade there are only a few things left. A cold winter street in Vermont during a spring snowfall. The whistling hush of riding on the back of your bike. And unexpectedly my feet in a river so cold every little bone aches and turns my skin a bright glowing white.

I cannot say what happens next, nor can I explain what has happened thus far in a way anyone understands. I am made out to be the worst version of myself, and again, I don’t correct you. Now and then we must remember that we are the only person we have to come home to and there is no way to outrun the little truths that we keep bound up in our mouths. Even when they are all that is left.

image: Toby Harvard 

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