A perfect metaphor

Before you, I didn’t really understand why they call it falling in love. I thought it was exaggeratedly metaphorical, a hyperbole just for the sake of it. Too theatrical, without a doubt.

I thought of love as perfectly written poetry, red roses, soft kisses, a familiar perfume, a way to find home.

But to my surprise, the expression was perfect. From that day in October when a girl with freckles painting her cheeks and eyes dark as the night walked into that bar I used to hate, just a little brighter than everyone else, the word began to make sense.

Through looking for the words that you would want to listen to, discovering that your laugh was my favorite song, crossing my fingers under the table like a child when I asked you for your number, through the hours I spent thinking about which date would charm you the most or wondering the exact right moment to call you, through the things I said and was always disappointed when you didn’t say back, through all of it, I kept thinking about that word. Falling.

The shortness of breath, the blurry vision of everything around me, the adrenaline felt on every spot of my body and most of all the desperate uncertainty of what will come next. Pain, death, the heartbreak of a lifetime, a story I will never want to tell, a dive into crystalline water. Falling felt like a beautiful possibility, but mostly it felt like a sharp fear of the unknown. At best I could see eight feet in front of me, and whatever would come next was a complete mystery.

For a while, it felt almost like a nice kind of thrill. Those are the butterflies, I thought. The suspense made things exciting, somehow, although I could have done without the unbearable nerves. I though about you all day, wondering where to go or what to say or when to kiss you or how to tell you the things I wanted to tell you. There was something about the beginning of the relationship, about discovering the mysteries of you.

But as it does, time passed, and it was always there. Every day more butterflies, and more seeking of your laugh, your smile, your kiss, your words. Every day, a little disappointment. Every day another evidence that love in fact is like falling, a perfect metaphor, not at all a hyperbole, as much I have wished so.

There was I, falling at maximum speed, no way back, the wind blowing in my face, and you were nowhere to be found.

I like to think love could be perfectly written poetry, red roses, soft kisses, a familiar perfume, the way back home.  I like to think after you fall and your heart is to your throat there is the sweet quietness of a waterfall only you and I know where to find, the peaceful and simple beauty of everyday waking up to your eyes. Maybe if as I feel you had jumped too. Maybe if you had held my hand.


“I am over you”, she said blandly, over the perfectly loud music, not in anger or love or passion or hope. She said it as if just stating a fact, like she was informing me that the sky was blue or the Earth was round or like she would if I asked her the day of our first kiss (she always remembered, she was so good with dates). I stared into her dark eyes, waiting for her to say anything else.

I couldn’t see my face at that moment, but I am as sure as I can be that my eyes were begging. I swallowed.

I looked at her, illuminated by the flashing lights of the club, waiting for her next words, for the but. Nothing came. She just kept staring back into my eyes as I searched for any sign of a lie in hers. I didn’t find it, but maybe I didn’t look enough, I told myself. Maybe. She seemed honest, too honest, maybe more than I had ever seen before. More than when she said no when I asked if what I said drunkenly hurt her or if she minded staying home with me instead of going out just tonight i promise or just one last time please please please.

I wanted to yell at her. I wanted to scream louder than the very loud music, louder than the very very loud thoughts, to scream until I stopped feeling so small she could squeeze me between her thin fingers. I wanted to scream myself into the size I once was when I stood next to her. I wanted to scream at her why why why are you saying these lies just to hurt me, how could you be so heartless after I loved you so much, I loved you, I love you, why can’t you appreciate that, I love you you bitch. But I also wanted to pull her body close to mine and kiss her, and more than anything I wanted her to kiss me back, and I was drunk, confused, a little very surprised with her confidence and way smaller than I was used to being, so I stayed frozen, staring at her.

She looked so beautiful. She always did when I missed her. The longer we spent apart, the more beautiful she was. The colorful lights illuminated her perfect face, changing from pink to red to yellow to green to blue. Behind her, bodies merged into each other, completely interchangeable, and everything was dark. She was the light, and I just watched.

She started to turn away from me, officially nothing else to say, and I grabbed her hand. Please, I whispered, though I don’t think she heard. She didn’t look back like she used to all those times before. She untangled her hands from mine, back still turned to me, and she kept walking. I waited. I looked at her walking away and waited for the moment when she would look back. The moment she would run back to me, the moment I would find the lie in her eyes.

But from a moment to the next, just like that, her body merged into all the other ones, and I no longer could see her. Everything was dark and then colorful, but the lights weren’t illuminating anything specific. One second she was there, right in my hand, about to look back, I’m sure, and then she wasn’t anymore. Just like that.

In that moment, as I had in more ways than one lost her, it crossed my mind that maybe it was true. Maybe she was really over me. Maybe she wasn’t coming back. I ignored the thought and waited a few more minutes, and still nothing. So I shruged and went to buy myself another drink. Okay, not today, I thought to myself. I’ll text her in a week. Make her think I don’t want her anymore, make her almost sure I have given up on it, and then a glimpse of hope. She won’t resist. She never does. I bought my drink, absolutely sure of it.

What I didn’t know then, as I sipped my twenty dollar whiskey, was that I could not have been more wrong. That I would text her the next day, the moment I woke up, and that she wouldn’t answer. That I would go back to my initial strategy and wait long enough for her to think I had given up. That the thought that O actually had would be a relief for her, and when I called her again she would block my number. That she was really, truly over me, that it was the hardest thing she ever had to do, and that it hurt her more than I could ever imagine, but she still did. She was over me.

I didn’t know then that I would go on feeling small for a very long time, and I definitely didn’t know I deserved it. What I didn’t understand and would keep not understanding for years to come was that she wasn’t making me feel small; she had simply stopped letting me believe I wasn’t.

What I didn’t know was that I would go on living my tiny little life, and when I finally understood how small I really was, she would be living the big life she deserved.

I didn’t know exactly what I had just lost, and I also would never know what she had lost because of me.

I give it two weeks for her to come back, I thought as I took another sip of my drink.

And the sun will keep rising

He died on Wednesday, late at night. Heart attack, completely unexpected. It was the bacon, maybe. He smoked sometimes, a lot when he was younger, almost every time he drank. Did he have a stressful life? (who didn’t?)

His wife woke up with the noise and called 911, but he was dead before they got to the hospital. Her older brother helped her with the paperwork, her mother took their daughter for the night, her younger sister organized the funeral: ordered the lilies, found a caterer, offered her house. They met at the cemetery early in the morning. His wife cried as her brother hugged her and the daughter held her hand. A few teenagers who knew the girl from school sat silently in the back. Old friends from college looked at each other fondly, suddenly reminded of how much the missed the people who were once the closest. His sister cried desperately as her husband tried to control their son, who followed the woman’s lead even though he was too young to know why. Distant cousins regretted not going to his last birthday. His wife saw his body one last time, watched him be put down where he’d lay forever, and she felt as if she was dead herself.

They got in the limo, the empty space and 16 minutes all filled with crying and a sharp, painful lack of words. The house smelled like food so good it didn’t belong on such a sad occasion. They ate and tried to tell stories without acknowledging how depressing it was, and then night came and people went to their houses and she paid the caterer and was taken home. She told her daughter goodnight, and they slept.

She felt as if she was dead herself, but here is the thing: she woke up the next day. Her heart was still beating, and the sun was shining because it didn’t know anything was wrong.

The college friends went home to their families, secretly happy they weren’t the ones who, statistically, would have to die young. The distant cousins took their long drives back to their houses and promised they would go to more birthdays, but when the day comes there will be so much traffic or a friend’s dinner party or they’ll be feeling sick, so let’s leave it for next year. The baby cried all night and will cry for a few more days until his mother stops, and then she will, and he’ll grow up and understand and pretend to miss the uncle he doesn’t remember. The caterers packed their things and went for a drink after work, because it’s Thursday and Thursday is almost Friday. The owner of the flower shop used the money from the lilies to buy her boyfriend a late birthday gift.

The man’s daughter cried all night, skipped school the next day and then she will skip Monday and the next and the next and the next, and then she will wake up and put her uniform on and take the bus. She’ll have first kisses and last kisses, she will go to college and find a job, she will be let go and go broke, she’ll get married and cry because her dad can’t walk her down the aisle, she’ll have a baby that carries one-fourth of the man around the world and adopt a dog; she’ll keep breathing (until she doesn’t).

His wife will cry for days straight and then a little every day for months, until one day she won’t. She will go back to her job after a couple weeks and go back to actually doing a good job after a couple of months. She will be caught by surprise by a piece of clothing or a smell or a song sometimes, and cry until she feels her lungs dry, but in between these moments there will be good movies and delicious meals and a funny joke and PTA meetings and long phone calls and beautiful weddings and a unexpected visit and her grandson being born and days so, so happy that they become a little sad because he isn’t there to share it with her.

The sun will keep rising every morning, as if it doesn’t know anything is wrong.

They will hurt and cry and miss, but they are as alive as he is dead, and the world is too big to stop when we request it. He is gone, and that is so much for so many people, but for the world it’s nothing at all.

The sun will keep rising, and they will keep breathing.

There is too much life, even around his death.

His wife will feel as if she’s dead herself.

But no.

She’s alive.

And the sun will keep rising.

A good man

“I like him”, I say, in a whisper too low, almost like I don’t want him to hear.

I look down at my worn out blue converse, waiting for my father to say anything at all. Nothing. Only silence, painful silence, like a cold hand wrapped around my neck tight and tighter until I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

I wait for maybe two minutes that feel like two lifetimes, and still nothing. The silence is poison in my blood, killing me over and over every second that goes by. So I look up, because I think I rather he just kill me once and for all. I wait for the yelling, the hateful crying, the slap on the face or all of it in just a look.


“Okay.”, he says blandly, like I just told him I’m going to walk the dog or I have extra practice on Saturday. He says it like he does on the breakfast table, sipping his coffee, eyes still reading the paper. He says it like it’s not a big deal at all, even though I know and have always known it is. It is not “okay” for him.

I try to look into his eyes, but fail, so I look everywhere else. From the empty coat rack to the stairs behind him to the outline of the couch to the television, still on, and he still has not said anything else.

“Dad.” The words sounds like a plea, my way to beg for him to please say anything else, punch me in the face, say you love me or say you are ashamed I am your son, say something or anything.

“You like him.” He nods at the door behind me as he says the last word, even though by now Ian is long gone. I wish he weren’t. I wish he was here to see me finally say these words, because he would be so proud. He would say I’m brave and amazing and maybe I wouldn’t be so alone right now.

“Yes.” My voice sounds small. It makes me feel two inches tall, as if he could just step on me and go back to the couch to watch the movie he paused to say hi and shake hands with my friend. He was excited to meet him. “Good thing you made friends with a man, son. I know you get along with girls best, but comes an age in a man’s life he needs a brother.”, he said this morning, when I told him Ian was coming over.

More silence, more poison, and I am afraid I will shrink until I no longer exist. “Yes, dad, I like him.” I find in me the courage to look at him right in the eye. I will not let myself be small, and despite everything I do not want to stop existing.

“Okay.” He says again, though now it sounds more like he is just thinking, wondering what to say next. It occurs to me that maybe, like me, he simply has no idea.

“Is it? Okay?” I just want to run out the door or upstairs to my room or to the other side of the world. I want this to be over, and I would rather he says it now all at once than to keep being poisoned by the silence.

“No.”, he says almost immediately, finally no infinite silence in between our words. For something so expected, it hurts me more than I thought it would. “You know me, son. I’m not going to stand here, look into you eyes and say it is okay. I am no liar. I am a man and a man doesn’t lie. That said, I have taught you to be a man too. And you are my son. I know you as you know me, and I know you are the man I have taught you to be. You are good and you are honest. Standing here and saying the truth to me, that is proof enough. So I’m not going to lie to you or say I can change, but I will say that I will try, because you are my son and you are a good man. And I am proud of you.”

A tear falls down my face. I feel it, the warm drop, tickling my cheek all the way to my neck. I don’t clean it. I let it fall, looking my father into his eyes. Dark brown, a small hint of caramel, just like mine. I feel a quiet kind of happiness. It’s not the best thing he could have said; he could have smiled and hugged me and said it doesn’t make a difference. But I am still happier than I thought I would be, both because he is my father, proud of me, and because it feels better than I could have possibly imagined to finally say the words. I wait for him to break the eye contact, and I think that, secretly, I wait for him to tell me he loves me. I think I have been waiting for him to say it since the door closed behind me.

He doesn’t. He looks at me and I think that if it was possible to read eyes, his would have said he loves me. But there are no words, no smile, no hug. Nothing, except a hint of what his eyes may be saying. But it’s okay. It’s okay because my father is a good man, an honest man, but he is not perfect. It’s okay because he breaks the eye contact, nods and goes back to the couch and the television still on, and I am left standing by the closed door, finally free, and he may not have said it, but my father loves me.

Strangely, extraordinarily

She doesn’t realize I am looking at her. She is staring at her hands, spread on my bed, naked except for that necklace I have never seen her without, the one with the blue rock. She has told me what that specific kind of mineral is called a few times before, but I keep forgetting; what I always remember is that it is the exact shade of her eyes.

I wonder if she knows I spent almost an hour organizing my room before she got here. I folded the clothes that had been on the chair for almost two weeks and put them in the closet. I took a book I had never read and knew she liked from the shelf and put on the nightstand, just in case she noticed. I set a glass of water next to it, planning to offer it to her, but turned it on the sink when I realized it might be too much. I found a white candle in between number shaped ones and thought about lighting it, but that too seemed like an exaggeration, so I let only the lamp by my bed turned on. I chose a CD I loved and put it next to the book, just in case the moment was right to put it on. I made my bed and then unmade it and made it again, so that it wasn’t overly made. (It was probably overly made.)

When the doorbell finally rang, the entire room seemed totally wrong. The image of her there, the most beautiful girl I could think of, standing in the room where I have been sleeping in my entire life, the room where I have had numerous dreams about her, seemed too indescribably good to be true. It seemed like a shortcut in the Universe, like pages of different books glued together.

But now she is laying on my bed and she has never ever been this beautiful, and somehow, in some absolutely strange and completely extraordinary way, it makes perfect sense.

She cracks her knuckles, one two three all the way to ten, and catches me looking at her. She smiles at me. I can’t believe how beautiful she is, and I smile back.

She keeps her eyes on mine. She is looking right at me; not at the book by the nightstand, at the lamp next to it, at the one shirt I left unfolded, at the water stain the glass left on the wood and I totally forgot to put that CD on. She is looking right at me, and she is smiling.

The day we met

The first time we met, we had been dating for about four months.

The first time we talked was because a friend thought we would be a nice match, gave me her phone number and I called because I couldn’t find a good reason not to. The first time I saw her was when I picked her up with my old beaten up car, and she was pretty, I thought. Not extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably sweet like say the poems about love, but far too pretty for me anyway.

It was a nice date, nothing too wrong with it, so naturally there came a second, then a third, then a fourth, then a fifth and without previous questions I referred to her as my girlfriend on the phone. She was a very good kisser, though not the best of my life. She was funny, ironic sometimes but never rude. Her taste in movies was much better than mine, but she was never pretentious about it. My parents liked her and my mom said she probably had good genes. She gave me books I always loved on our month anniversaries and pretended very well she liked the ones I gave her. She was perfectly okay.

Then one day, a regular Thursday four months and a few days in, I met her. She rang the doorbell to my apartment, as usual. I opened the door, as usual, bottle of wine set up and television turned on for our usual in night. She smiled at me a painfully artificial smile without a hug or a peck, definitely not usual, and sat on the carpet next to the sofa, not unprecedented but also not usual. And before I could say anything, she started crying. I had never seen her cry before. She never cried during movies, even when I could not help myself.

She cried for a long time. First, I tried asking what was wrong. She kept crying. I tried touching her arm or lightly holding her, but it was like I wasn’t there at all. So I quietly set next to her for the long time during which she cried, and I waited in the silence wondering if there was anything she was herself waiting for. I really needed to pee, but I didn’t want her to feel, even if for two minutes, that I was done with her crying. I didn’t want her to feel like she was alone, because she was my girlfriend and I liked her and she was pretty and she was my girlfriend, so I sat there and waited.

When she at last stopped, I asked again, and she looked right into my eyes, as if deciding if she should answer. I saw a glimpse of her pulling away, and with my eyes I begged for what I didn’t even know I wanted. Then, she started talking.

She told me about where she went to visit her little sister every Thursday. She told me about the nurses around her and the way her eyes seem devoid of life, more every week. She told me about what her mother hides under her bed, and how her  eyes too seem to be losing their light. She told me about that guy she used to date and what the things he said when he was drunk. She told me things so filled with darkness I did not comprehend how I could have known her and not seen any of it escape through her eyes.

Then she told me nicer things. She told me about how it feels to hug her sister when she lets her, and how every Christmas her mother cooks and doesn’t take pills and it’s almost like it used to be. She told me about the day she broke it off with that college boyfriend, and how she grabbed what would fit in a backpack, drove and drove until she was at the beach listening to the sound of the waves. Her favorite sound, she said.

And I saw her. And I was sorry, in a way, because I understood so clearly the reason why she ever let herself be with someone who didn’t see how phenomenal every single part of her was.

That Thursday night, after I finally peed and she washed her face, something so simple and yet more important than anything else shifted. When I looked at her, puffy red eyes, cheeks tinted magenta and lips curved in a smile sad but so real, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen before. She was an unbelievable collection of so many fascinating details, so many little things I had yet to know. I could not believe how I had ever looked at her and not stared deep within her eyes, in them a question which I could spent a lifetime answering. I could not believe she was there, all along, on every date, and I had, still with her by my side, almost let go this unremarkable truth within her eyes. And that night, when we kissed, it was the best kiss of my life.

Fifteen years in the making

Right at this very moment, the man of quiet eyes who I today love is sitting at table in the back of a crowded restaurant, not so far from our apartment, with an old friend of his I have met a few times, and he is telling her about how he doesn’t love me. That might be more than slightly self centered, and though in a way completely true. But it isn’t about me, as much as it will eventually feel that way and yell at him for that, and hate him on some nights. It’s not about me.

He is telling her a story that goes way back to before we had even met. A story that begins when I had just gotten my braces out and had another boyfriend and really wanted to be homecoming queen; when he had pimples and still lived in that very small town across the country. He is telling her a very long story in which I am only a chapter, the last one, although he doesn’t know that yet.

In fact right now he couldn’t even imagine to believe that the ending is that close. It feels like the beginning, although, as it is clear from the story he is telling, the beginning was a very long time ago. Right now, it feels like it has all just started, because he is finally saying the words. It feels like maybe it’s the first thing he ever said in his entire life. It feels like the first sentence, but it is the climax – the beginning of the end.

He says it. He is going through everything, every single chapter, from the first thoughts, to his old best friend from high school, to his dad’s unfortunate jokes, to the fear of playing truth of dare, to meeting me. He says the words, all six letters, in a whisper so low she almost can’t hear it i am gay and he so desperately begins to cry, completely unable to stop. He cries out of his body the stories he never thought he would tell and the love that has turned to hate and all the times in which he didn’t say anything. Tears of so much pain, fifteen years in the making. In the quietness of his sobs, he is free.

His friend is listening quietly, and after he is done she will hold his hand and say it is okay. She will ask if he plans of telling me anytime soon, and he will cry more. He will say he knows he has to, and it is not fair to me because he could never love me in the way I want him to, in the way I think he does, but he can’t find the strength to do it. When I find out, in a couple of months, I will hate him for this. In between glasses of wine, I will scream in anger, calling him selfish and mean and heartless. I will hate him.

And it is true he was selfish. But he was also in pain, lost and confused and most importantly he was human. It will take a very long time for the anger to fade and for me to accept that he isn’t a villain in my story but instead the very brave amd only human hero of his own. He is only human. And he always had kind eyes, even when every breath of his body held a lie which came out of fear, even when he let me love him.

One day, three or so years from now, when he will finally know that today is the beginning of the end, the night in which he is free, I will see him for the first time since the ending of the end. I will be in the line at the supermarket, buying the ingredients to make myself pasta because it is my favorite, and when I hear my name and look behind me, he will be there. The same, but so very different. A light to him which I have yet to see. His eyes so, so blue, almost unrecognizable, because before all I could see in them was a certain sadness I didn’t even quite recognize. He will look more like him than ever before, and it will make me smile. There will be nice, maybe quick small talk, because we both have somewhere to be, and though I won’t say anything I will catch a glimpse of a ring on his finger. I will go home feeling in my heart the warmth of forgiveness and of understanding, the warmth of being human, and I will never see him again.

Of course, right now, I don’t know that yet. Right now I am watching a movie on TV and eating frozen pizza, wondering how long it will take for him to get home with the cupcake I asked him to bring. I am in love with a man I am sure loves me back, completely clueless of the fact that in two months he will sit me pour me a glass of my favorite wine and sit me down across the dinner table we bought together and tell me news that will shatter my world. I will hate him, then forget him, then forgive him, and never see him again. And in the quietness of a forgotten love I will know we were only a single chapter, and for a second before I forget forever, I will be convinced the sweet happiness of his eyes is the single most beautiful thing in the world,

Happily ever now

When I was a little girl, all I wanted was movie love. I was obsessed with those cheesy movies there are so many of even though they all seem the same. I cried and laughed and dreamed of the day it would be me, the girl who got to kiss a perfect man as the end appeared on the screen.

I waited and waited, I grew up and understood life is not like the movies and I am not Julia, Sandra or Jennifer; I grew up, but maybe secretly I kept waiting. Through high school boyfriends who were still learning how to kiss, through college guys who wanted my virginity but never to be boyfriends, through men with actual jobs who seemed like actual adults until they weren’t, I waited. Every day I am closer to him, one way or another, I thought. I waited and waited and waited.

And then came you.

Glasses too big for your face, that awkward scar on your left shoulder, the undereye bags from the nights you spent writing instead of going to sleep, a smoking habit that you kept trying to kill but just quite couldn’t. You were too imperfect to be a prince.

We fought about stupid things sometimes, like who was the last one to do the dishes even though you aren’t supposed to keep score. Sometimes we ate too much on special dates and by the end of the night we couldn’t move, even if just to touch each other’s lips. When we were too drunk I forgot you tickled when I kissed your neck, and it totally ruined the mood. After my mother met you, her first comment was that your brown eyes probably meant our kids’ wouldn’t be blue. You proposed to me in the car, on our way to the supermarket. We were not movie love.

Movie love is chasing someone in a crowded airport, kissing in the rain, declaring your love at the top of the Empire State, falling for the newly made-over girl as she goes down the staircase, making outrageous bets that somehow always end well, realizing that after seven years it was your best friend all along, running in a wedding dress because you love someone else. No, we were not movie love.

We were something else. I loved you enormously through and for the little things. When we did the dishes together, listening to the silence. When you put my favorite song on without me having to ask. When you picked me up from work and took me to the movies on a Tuesday afternoon. When we held hands despite being too full to move. When I kissed your cheek before leaving for work, trying not to wake you. When my mother said I seemed so happy she didn’t mind us losing our blue-eyed genes forever. When you asked me to marry you on the car because you didn’t want to wait for the dinner planned the week after.

We were not movie love, no. We were real, flesh and bone, flawed and imperfect, far from princes and princesses. Our love was not movie love; it was infinitely better, because it was here and it was ours. And when right now is as sweet as nothing, there perhaps isn’t such a desperate crave for happily ever after.

As we burn

I remember so clearly the fire, a single spot of comfort within the coldness of the dark beach that night. You were sitting on the sand, close to the sea, eyes closed, fire-colored shadows illuminating your body. My head was pounding and my vision blurred by the light and darkness of the memories that sparked in my mind, so fast, so sudden, things I didn’t know I remembered with such painful detail. The kisses, warm and sometimes cold, the sleepless nights, talking or not talking, the Sundays hidden in your small bed, the home-cooked meals that almost always went wrong, the uneventful days in between the beginnings and firsts and the lasts and endings; I remembered all of them, all at once, looking at you. You looked as beautiful as always.

I remember watching the bonfire during the infinite silences that lived in between our sentences. I watched it as if it was the most important, fascinating thing in the whole world, because I was so afraid of the moment we would run out of words. It was yellow and orange, with blue spots that appeared and disappeared. You thanked me for coming, and said you had been gathering the courage to call for months. The yellow was bright, so bright for a few seconds I forgot. I nodded, and I wanted to ask why, what did you need to say to me so badly that you asked me to come here and see you, you know it hurts you know it kills me and you know I will always, always say yes, why?

You looked at me, and it was strange, the reflection of the fire in your eyes. The same ones that had looked into mine so many times, seen me in the crude light of truthness, better than anyone ever before, and yet they seemed to belong to a different person. There was just too much in them. Guilt, sadness, and just maybe you missed me too; and of course the fire, too alive for its own good. You said you were sorry. I kept watching the fire through your eyes, trying to, without saying a thing, get you to say anything else. Sorry for what? Was it for asking me here? For letting me love you with everything I had and didn’t have, letting me give you  a part of me I did not know existed, the only part that was really true? And then what’s left? Sorry for what?

For everything. You bit your lips and stare at the sea, as if it held any answers. The fire turned your dark hair almost orange, and I tried to stare at it for long enough I wouldn’t recognize you, long enough you became a stranger, someone I could leave there without feeling as if I was leaving a part of myself too. It didn’t work. Is that all you asked me here to say?

I don’t know if I wanted you to tell me to leave or ask me to stay forever. You didn’t do either; you turned your body to me, your back to the ocean, and you starred into my eyes for what seemed like hours. The air between us was heavy and hot, and everything else around was terribly cold; our breaths in sync, our eyes locked. I could see how scared you were. I asked you here to say goodbye. The air in my lungs turned cold. The silly beautiful hopes I didn’t know I had were broken with seven words, and a quiet, terrible promise. You got up, looking at me, not a hint of a lie between us, and I knew we had run out of words.

Things got foggier. You loved me, you loved me so much, you had promised so many dark nights, but you were afraid to be with me and what would they say? You could not avoid loving me, and you could not let me love you. It was a simple equation and the only possible outcome was heartbreak. And there it was at last. You needed to say goodbye, to let go of me, to show me the way out of your heart because it could in no way be a home for me. You said what we had was beautiful, and you loved me so much it was killing you. One last time, you said you were sorry.

I stared at the fire and breathed in the silence of a sad, cold night like that one was. The fire burnt slowly, but still far faster than I could have wished for. Too perfect. It was beautiful, intense, dangerous. Too beautiful for its own good. I thought of us holding hands and kissing and saying lovely things. We were intensity born from a sudden, unexpected beauty, fast and sudden, impossible to fight; I thought of the days when we kissed between tears and cried between laughs and hid under your sheets, pretending there was nothing to be afraid of. It was too beautiful, too dangerous, all of it, us and love and the fire that made that cold night just a little bit more bearable. Dangerous like first kisses, like the times no one was looking, dangerous like the way it felt when we remembered the world wasn’t, despite our wishes, just you and me hiding under your sheets. It was a perfect metaphor, the fire, I thought.

And then it turned to ashes, to nothing at all.