You think I’m the girl who cried wolf. My wild gypsy heart peers skittishly at your bruises. I take a deep breath and fold you in my arms. I say I don’t want to speak to you anymore because I get scared. I tell you I need space because I’m hurting too. You know my feelings for you. I think my heart is being taken advantage of, and I justify it because I have so much to give.
I always think if I love you enough, I can mend your broken heart.
And around we go. The candlelight bares all, and the strange intimacy we share feels like home. The following day, the after effects, the cold blows right through me.
Every time you fall into my bed I fall more in love with you.
My father taught me that my body should only belong to someone who loves my soul. Someone who thinks I’m beautiful, no matter what. He told me if a man wants me, he will get me.
I waver. Every. Single. Time. I’ve left you a million times in my head. I say it out loud. I say it to my reflection. But then I miss you. I hurt, I get anxiety, and you calm me down.
Even worse, I get worried about you. I wonder if you’re okay, and in my mind I try to picture you happy. That’s what always kills me, the worry.
Every time you fall into that “emotional wasteland” as you call it, a little piece of my heart dies. I hate to see you like that.
Sometimes, I fall into that wasteland too.
Sometimes I just ache. There’s a permanent loneliness in my bones—I think we all have it. It’s the nighttime. Waiting for the sun. And when it rises, we will brush off the dark like dust and leave it in our shadows.
And I just show up in weird places, a thief for attention.
I never wanted to replace anyone. Not your best friend, not another woman, no one. I wanted my place. You have your place in my heart. I compare you to no one.
The winter has arrived. We should part ways with the snow. Let’s meet in the springtime, randomly, like strangers. Sneak up on me in the grocery as I dance to the overhead music in the gluten-free aisle. I’ll laugh aloud, and barely recognize you, because you’re happy.
If I go away, if I make it stick, even if I manage to fall in love with someone else, it will never be because I don’t care for you. In fact, I never care any less. I’m still in love with you. I think I always will be. I’ll walk away because I care more. Because I love you so much, I can’t stand to see you suffer. So I’ll go.
Because I need to love myself this much.
Someday. Soon. Maybe tomorrow.
If you ever need me, if you ever want me, find me. I will be there.
one Author: Ann Marie Matthews
Apprentice Editor: Camerina Schwartz; Editor: Catherine Monkman