The first time I found myself going along with whatever he said, I told myself it was because I wanted him to be happy. I ignored the nagging feeling I had inside that this probably wasn’t the best idea. I forgot I needed to be a whole person to love and this little act was pecking edges into my circle.
That was the first time I fell in love. I dived in headfirst, sinking until I didn’t see the sky anymore, until I didn’t remember what it felt like to be able to speak. The first time he told me no, I kept waiting for the yes that never came.
The first time he told me to leave, I stubbornly stayed, hoping my presence would sooth the loneliness palpitating through his veins. I didn’t know that it wouldn’t work, that no matter how many times I stuck my feet in the ground and tried to be his anchor, he still floated to a place I will never know how to reach.
The first time you told me you liked me, I was worried I was leading us down a labyrinth. It didn’t matter that I liked to talk to you, or that I wanted to see you even when it’s 4 in the morning. I don’t trust my feelings anymore, especially not now. I dove headfirst the first time, and I’m only barely managing to float. How can I add someone else into the mix when I’m still grieving?
Why am I still grieving? How long will it take for me to stop grieving? 6 months? A year? I need to be by myself, I can’t keep relying on friends, on family, on the words that come spilling out of me, on you.
The first time you called, I thought to myself maybe this isn’t so bad. Yet, there was that same nagging feeling that this probably wasn’t the best idea. No matter how much I liked talking to you, you can’t be the band aid to my wound. My scabs need time to form and fall away. I can’t make any decisions now.
The first time you say you can’t make it, I feel the words disappear in my vocal cords. I become silent and angry, and I’m reminded of all the times he told me how inflexible I was when I became like that. So I try to tell the truth and sugarcoat it at the same time. “I’m just disappointed,” I say, telling you it’s alright when it really isn’t.
But I’ve been on the other side before, the “yes” pouring out of me when I really meant “no”, so I can’t do that to someone else. So I tell you, “No worries,” and I soldier on. Maybe if I march long enough, I’ll find a day where I can say:
“The first time I was truly okay…”
Maybe. But today is not that day. Today I wore my pink dress and my hair down, hid my eyes behind mascara and eyeshadow. Today I brought a small pouch along so I could leave the weight that is my laptop at the office after work. Today I will listen to poetry while slinking into the walls, and wonder when poetry will fall out of my bones again.