Make a wish, he said. I smiled shyly, because I knew I had only one wish. It was the same I had been making for a very long time. As I was lost in the endless pools of your brown eyes, as I drowned in the dimples of your smile, I would make the same wish. It was simple, nothing special. I wished you would see how beautiful you are. I wished you would see everything that I see when my eyes open in adoration to you.
I’ll play along, though. I’ll make my usual wish. I crinkle my nose and eyes, and recite my tired old words. You don’t see the sadness curl my lips, as a tear sneaks out of the corner. My words caught in my throat, and I coughed them away. My tired lies slip out again, as I choke back old useless emotions. My heart has long become acquainted with being given freely with no return.
For the first time, I changed the you to we when I made my wish. Could I have just been reciting the wrong pronoun all along?
He looked at me, with a tear sliding down his cheek. “I seem to have broken my heart.” Staying silent, I painted shadows on my face. In my mind, I saw pieces of my own heart resting on his shoulder. I wonder if I could brush them off, but I assumed I’d look weird trying. I had to glance away, my eyes are too easy to read now.
You trail off, as I tear apart. I wonder if I have somehow switched the sensation of heart break for heartbeat, because the former seems so much more comfortable than the latter.
Whenever you are around me, exhaustion seems to be constant. I understand and try not to take it personally. I have that effect on people. Since everything shifted, the only constant is impermeability. People, like clouds, float in and out of my life. I’ve proposed it was a test to see if I could handle loving people as much as I do and feeling nothing in return.
I think of a night long ago, where I laid next to him in my bed. My body and heart screamed to kiss him, beg him for his love, but my mind insisted I remain quiet. I watched him toss and turn, instead. Sleep finally found me, and in a dream I heard him tell me that he loved me, but I had to talk, because he cannot read my mind. I woke, resolved to speak my mind. He told me I was a lunatic, and I never saw him again. It’s been a year, and I cannot find a spark to ignite the torch I’ve held since. I stay quiet and in my mind, where the shadows keep me safe, but you seem weary by my very existence. Like a skipping record, I am hear with you, wishing to kiss you, but hiding in plain sight as I do best.
At this juncture, unrequited love has become normal, while my mind relentlessly reminds me of him. I’ve penned so many letters to try and fix my wrongs. They’ve gone as unanswered as my heartbeat. I start again, Dear…, and realized, I don’t even know the name to put anymore.
Fear once ruled my life, but it has fallen away from me. I suppose, when your heart gets broken enough times, hurting becomes the normal. Happiness, on the other hand, feels alien. These thoughts I carry, as I smile to you and say, “I just want you to be happy.” For the first time in my life, I know what they say about love. For me, just seeing your smile is enough. I tell you that I just want you to be around, which is true, because when I am around you, life makes sense.
You are grimly determined to guard your heart and pain. Unknowingly, you have chained me to the cross you are bound to carry. As I look at you, I can only hope that I can make your burden lighter. I know I’m strong enough to love you, because for the first time in my life, I am strong enough to love myself more. Even though it hurts to feel this way, there is a sad and lonely comfort in the hollow of my heart. I’ve lived long enough with it vacant.
That is why I am fearless. That is why I remain quiet. My eyes tell the whole story, anyway. I am confident you know it all, but we’ll just sit side by side in silence. No sense stating the obvious.
I’m alone now, but I’m not entirely sure that is the case. When you came into my life, you kicked up memories and emotions like pollen on a new spring day. When I looked at you, I saw myself. Broken and confused, just like me. You dejectedly told me how you rise and fall by your own hand, as I envisioned myself dousing my hair in gasoline and playing with matches. What do they call a phoenix who sets herself on fire? Does she transform, or is she just a masochist with too much time on her hands? I’m glad to see I still have that affect on people. Everyone I love hangs themselves by their own nooses. I stand idly by in the crossfire. Collateral damage, I’ll claim, while knowing deeply I encouraged them up the gallows. Or did they hang me? I wistfully stare into the abyss, wondering if I will ever have an answer. Goodbye, old friend. I hope to never see you again.
As I sit here alone, I muse about the man who came after you the first time you ventured in my cycles. I’d be a liar if I desperately didn’t hope history repeats.
In the prison of my mind and heart, I wonder how many times I can remain open and trusting. I had always believed that the path of love is filled with sacrifice and unselfishness. Time and time again, I’ve been reminded that I must love myself first, but I cannot solve the equation. I cannot understand how I manifest the very love I seek to avoid. Like a moth drawn to the flame, though, I run, chase, and beg for the poison to infest my life and consume my smile. It’s as if my heart itself has Alzheimer’s, and cannot remember the pain caused, only the sly words that opened me in the first place. My mind seemingly has dementia, or maybe I am insane. I somehow keep hoping that the pain will stop and the love will somehow appear.
At least scar tissue doesn’t have nerve endings, I suppose. As a student of life, my teacher must be rather tired of me. I wish I would stop being the class clown.
I search my face in the mirror. My pupils are dilated once again. Large black orbs obfuscate the normal blue or grey hue. I dourly ponder if it is a desperate attempt by my soul to find light in my self-imposed darkness. “Who are you in there?” I muse aloud, to no one in particular. As I stare, the crushing weight of hopelessness hits me with a knock out punch. I take the strings of my hoodie in my hand and attempt to choke the life out of me.
The strings bite my skin as I feel the flesh turn raw. I watch the whites of my eyes begin to redden as blue creeps along my lips. It’s been a few minutes, but nothing has changed, except my hands hurt and I realize I am not strong enough. I sigh and hike my hoodie up to hide the new marks. No one notices anyway, I acknowledge. As I gather a few new breaths in my sore lungs, I wonder if all of this was meant to teach me that everything I have ever thought was wrong.
I search the mirror again. My pupils are normal size. I wish I could see what my soul looked like in that moment. A picture of my children catch my eye, as I love you Mommy echoes hauntingly in my ears. “Are you going to wish or choose?” as I slap myself back to reality.
Here we are again, I sigh. “I’m…I’m sorry for everything,” he stammers, “but did your wish come true, at least?”
You wish I will respond, but my silence is my first wish come true. I don’t know what you think, but I know that you don’t deserve my words. You don’t deserve my anything. I’ll make another wish, though. I wish you know that I forgive you, and I have already forgotten you. Unlike you, I am strong. It takes so much more than your weakness to break me.
I wish I remember my beauty is my strength.
Daina Agostina writes under Mahbuttitches on WordPress. She’s a music junkie, mom of three, and all around mad woman. Her style ranges from macabre and morbid, tongue in cheek, irreverent nonsense, and deep, zen influenced musings. You can find more works of short fiction, poetry, op-ed, and lots of philosophical wonderings at mahbuttitches17.wordpress.com
© Daina Agostina