We met and loved, in a whirlwind dust storm. I was stumbling through the wake of the girl with the orange dress, rubbing hot ash from my stinging eyes, and you were fresh from your own trauma’ed life, so much so I could taste His name on your lips every time we kissed. But being with you was familiar, so comfortable, like my old alphabet quilt hand stitched by my grandmother before her sight and needles became too weak to sew and see. So we saw each other through. You leaned against me, and I leaned against you. And suddenly we weren’t two torn and tattered sails whipped by the whims of the wind anymore, no– we were a pup tent; where your damage ends, my damage begins. And we lay curled below the canopy’ of you and me– nestled in the afterglow.
We fit. And it worked. When He called broken and bawling at two am, I didn’t get jealous. When my phone went off, you didn’t go through it; you just let it ring. Your bed was softer than the rack I’d been stretched across. My jaw unclenched. My fist-shaped-heart unballed. And I never laughed so hard or so long as when I was with you. You joked once, how I always stroked my chin like I was getting ready to be a wise old man; in truth it was the unfamiliar shape on my face clinging to the corners of my eyes and cheeks. Smiling. Me, smiling, something I never thought I’d do again.
You carried with you a history the scribes of my mind had all but forgotten. Like the Matchbox Racers of our childhood, on our knees through cobblestone courtyards, and across wooden pews turned raceways. In truth I don’t remember this at all; but the way you described me through your eyes, through your eyes like I was something worth beholding.
But it was too easy too quickly. And I began to worry that we were both dancing in someone else’s ash filled shoes– still warm. So I went out into the wilderness to explore. And since then I’ve slipped in self-esteem puddles and slept under unstable bridges, I’ve been bruised and I’ve gotten stitches; each encounter more unremarkable and obtuse– each traveling companion never measuring to the mettle of you. No one makes me laugh the way you do.
And I bought these for you months ago, thinking how fun it would be on our hands and knees in the stone courtyard laughing like we did more than a decade ago as kids.
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