I never want to let you go.
I never want to breathe without your feather-soft lips, spread my wings without the sound of your crackling laughter, drive off into a swirling mango sunset without the sweet company of your sun-soaked smile—why would I?
It’s a cruel curse of love to be so ripe, so exquisitely delicious, that being in our own company feels colorless, wholly inadequate.
But darling, I’m lost.
I’ve forgotten how to stand on my own two feet, how to exhale by myself—I’ve been too busy walking into a beautiful, fervently blooming future with you, matching my hurried breaths to the addictive rhythm of your juicy heartbeats.
Because it’s true, I never want to let you go—ever.
My lips can’t bear to leave the familiar chestnut bristles of your scratchy beard—your beard that paints my chin rosy red and dots my cheeks with joyous whispers.
My hands refuse to part from the lingering warmth of weaving our palms together, the innocent threading together of fingers, the unstoppable joining of our hummingbird hearts.
But, darling, I’ve been holding your heart too tightly—squeezing too desperately, too fearfully, too forcefully.
My nails dig in, clawing, grasping, grabbing—yes, I’ve been holding your heart too tightly.
I’ve lost myself in the process, I feel empty; hollow, hungry, like a ghost searching for an unknown something.
And I hate to say this, f*ck, I hate it so much—but I have to let you go, just a little bit, just a tiny little bit. I need to remember how to make my own oxygen, my own mossy earth, my own deep-roaring fire. I need to remember how to stand on my own two feet.
I need to breathe on my own, sleep alone, spread my sticky wings, and shake off the stubborn layer of charcoal-colored dust that’s been obscuring my soul.
I need to walk into a dark, billowy breeze—alone; yes, it has to be alone.
I have to let you go, a little bit, just a tiny, little bit.
I’ll whisper “I’m sorry,” as I peel my hands off your heart, like sheets of dry skin, as our lips part in an awkward goodbye kiss—and I’ll leave, for a little bit, just a tiny little bit.
I’ll use my hands to examine the musty cracks of my curious soul, to unearth secret treasures hiding in gritty city sidewalks, to delve into the oceans of incredible chaos cascading in a stranger’s smile.
I’ll fill up my hungry heart ’til I’m ripe, brimming to the top with juicy, raw life.
And, darling, I know we like to pretend—but love is never certain, there are no golden guarantees, etched in tangible forevers. And love—love is not always about growing together, like strands of braided ivy, creeping up the back of old brick buildings. It’s also about dancing alone, wandering solo, traveling in quiet star-dusted solitude, from time to time.
There has to be space hinged between our souls, a pause inserted between our kisses, a brief hiatus between our hearts.
Because only when we’re quiet and alone—can we really hear the hungry howls of our deepest desires.
I know it hurts—it hurts the way truth can shred us into bits and pieces, yes, the trickling tears on my cheeks remind me of the terrifying tenderness of this place we’re in.
But I need to do this.
I’m not leaving you, I’m leaving how things were. I’m leaving being stuck and sad and frustrated—
I’m finding me.
I need, I need, I need—to do this alone.
I’m releasing my grip on your heart, just a little bit, just a tiny little bit—-
I’m embracing me. I’m spreading my sticky wings.
I love you. But I miss me.
I need to do this alone.
As I walk out the door, tears spilling onto my chin, I hear the tender words you utter so carefully, “I understand,” you say.
“I need this too,” you say, a bead of plump realization, heady in your voice, like vanilla musk.
And how strangely beautiful it is—even in the painful depths of letting go, a little bit, just a little bit—
We do this together.
Together, across cities and state lines.
From far, far away.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Catherine Monkman