128

by Violet

The kiss came easy as they were both so intoxicated there were no filters left to hide behind. He reached his hands behind her and grabbed her neck, with enough force to remind her of previous nights when you were still close. He tasted of burnt tobacco, cloves, strawberry cider and mint. She breathed him in and waited for his fingers to explore every inch of her skin. He smelled like roses, vanilla, and the faint note of broken dreams. He stood like a tall child, confused as to how adulthood had arrived so fast, with no childhood abuse to complain of, yet all the pleasure seems to invite more pain and the emptiness inside has been expanding for quite some time now.

He didn’t look at her, thankfully, not carefully enough to examine all the wounds. She was trying to fall asleep in his arms but he was frightfully awake, aware of the small body barely breathing next to him, drowning in her fears. She wanted to ask if he had been in love before, and if that was why he was so afraid of looking at himself. When everything in the mirror scares you, what do you do? Where do you go? How fast can you run?

I was proud of the 1422 miles I put between us, but it still doesn’t feel like enough. I miss it all, even the terrible fights, even the angry words, they seem worth being haunted for. You looked at me like I had no faults, like nothing was wrong at all. I remember thinking ‘please don’t ever look at someone else in the same way’. I should have said ‘please don’t look at me differently one day’. But you do. You look at me differently now, sometimes you don’t look at all.

I know you are trying very hard to forget me, to forget you ever looked at me like we had a future together, like life hadn’t abandoned us, like there was hope left still. The kind of blind faith only ever administered by the naive parent and a kindness I’d never been on the receiving end of. The calm, the beauty, the extravagant affection you endorsed, those blissfully ignorant months when we loved fiercely without repercussions. I have tried to pick up the pieces and feel the same way alone. But I was never decent at being on my own, I only end up being indecently lonely.

He drew a map on my body; it pointed to home. He tasted like freedom; it reminded me of you.

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