Your laugh has the cadence of forgiveness, so we pick up its rhythm where we left off with banter and mirth and the kind of idiosyncrasies that clapped like toy cymbals over and over, a touch point pulse while heat built beneath our feet. In the laughing absolution, one of us steps too far and we’re walking on hot coals, forgetting that our soles haven’t thickened as much as we pretend they have, and each burn is fresh to our tenderness. And we apologize all over again and forgive all over again and regret it all, all over again.
Of all the ways I’ve loved, his lives in me the way cold rain clings to cotton against skin. Yours lives in me the way a Rachmaninov melody lives in the space deep beneath my heart and comes out of my fingers to strike wet piano keys; you give me music. Either way, I dance and drown with a smile.
Each time I walk away thinking you still don’t understand why I left and can feel your resentment of his ghost, and no matter how carefully I choose to paint the words to describe what he was to me and what you were to me, the realms still intersect to you. I’ve lived a thousand lives in my mind and have loved a thousand hearts in thousands of ways. And it will never be enough to satiate this little heart of mine.
Originally written between scraps of paper and tossed sheets. August 1 2018. Photo: Downtown Fort Myers, FL.