The sudden light punches hard after the suffocating gloom inside. I don’t need to look back to know he isn’t following.
I steal a glimpse at the roses, their scent slipping away through the warm air as I reach the gate. The cat tiptoes past, her question mark tail demanding answers I can’t give. I stroke her soft ears, whispering that this is the last time.
I say it every time.
I pause, holding the space, daring an action to come.
I do it every time.
There’s no soundtrack to mark my long, determined walk to the other end of the street. I breathe in the blossom that rains down like confetti, a delicate storm of swirling cherry and white. The never-bride, marching down the leafy aisle, leaving the never-groom behind.
Laughter across the street, now — a couple hand in hand. Their newness cuts through me like a knife. I smile anyway, biting down the bitterness, banishing it from my soul. She knocks his cap from his head, glittering with laughter as he pulls her in for a kiss, loud love spilling on to the pavement.
I glance behind to confirm that he isn’t following; that he is never following.
My phone buzzes; my heart sinks. I pull it out, turn it over, then let the relief wash over me — a friend asking if I want coffee, am I nearby? Am I ok?
I don’t know. What does ok mean anymore?
I head towards kindness. As I walk further away from where my soul once lived, my dead words scatter as ashes in the breeze.
The thoughts rise as my distance grows. The words I banish every time, the words I don't allow.
Why don't I matter?
All the minutes of the day and night, yet I never appear inside the fortress of his mind for just a second.
When will I matter enough that the caresses join together like a blanket of daisies across a wild field?
I dare to think of them, giving them life in my womb, my heart, my mind. Planting tiny seeds, dreaming of their flowers.
That first coffee in the morning.
That intentioned, “Have a good day”.
That stupid meme that demands a smile.
Those Valentine’s flowers, any day flowers.
That automatic plus one for gigs, parties, funerals.
That text because you danced through his mind.
That unashamed need to spend time with you, just you.
Those open eyes and ears that stay on your words.
That surprise that he booked, because he knew.
That anything that means everything.
That anything that says with loud, fierce love, “I choose you. I choose this. I choose us.”
I wished them into life over and over, but they never lived where he lives.
© Beviathan 2021-07-06