The Ballad of Us

You held me close as the music played on. I rested in the surety of your arms. For a moment, everything was perfect. For a moment, everything was still.

Everything but us.

The music changed and we changed with it, twirling and whirling with every trill and twist. Your arms tightened around my waist and mine on your shoulders. I tilted my head and gazed at the stars. You laughed and I came back to earth.

But when the music stopped, we were both torn. We knew not how to dance in the silence. The silence remained as the stars faded.

Soon it was you and I. We two stood face to face. There were no words.

Your arms fell, mine dropped away and still we stood. We stood until there was no ground and finally stepped back. The silence grew until it was all around us, near us, and inside of us.

There was nothing but its sound.

The world breathed.

New music began and you danced. I looked on, looked on until there was nothing left to see. I looked.

When I could see again, the image burned my eyes. You were there and not alone. In your arms you held another; she dipped back and touched my stars. She was different. Different, different, not me but so much the same and the stars shined for her. The music trilled, twisted, whirled and spun and you danced.

But I could not hear.

I started to fall, my knees to weaken when the silence that had been so loud ceased and I was not still deafened. In my veins a new music pulsed and swayed. I stood with its force and found that I could stand no longer but only dance.

So I danced, whirling, twirling, laughing and spinning, I threw my head back and new stars were born. Music played on. Around me, near me, in me; I breathed, it consumed. I danced it, spoke it, breathed it and bled it.

There was nothing else.

Now, the tempo slows and I can see again. Notes and lines fade and you blur into focus. You dance and I dance and neither of us are alone but we aren't far from it. I dance, I watch, I wait. I wait now for silence. That we may both stand still again.

To Us. From Me. In Spite of You.

Ours was a story with far too many words for the writing and a meaning that was oh so changeable—like the tenor of your voice as you laughed at your jokes and the red flush of embarrassment.

The image I've chosen to prove my point was chosen so to bring about a blunt but glorious remembrance we've both tried far too hard to forget.

Because it's easy to remember. The brilliance—facets in eyes, blue-green and golden brown; tears under eyelids, color creeping up my cheeks. The scent—our skin like rain and sweat, sticky breath against lips just close enough to breathe in and cinnamon sticks, everywhere. The taste—salt, sugar and sea; anxiety, exhilaration, memory.

It's harder to forget an end we'd never wanted but always secretly hoped for.

Memory is a bitter ghost.

Glancing down at you, close up, soft-edged and blurred, you were never clearer and bluntness never so forgiving.

It's easy to remember that day, that year, that life we both lived together but always so alone.

And though this stumble down the paths of our pasts has been educational, enlightening and certainly entertaining in it's own sick way—it still can't drown out the Ballad of Us—a song that echoes in my head as I close my eyes in the dark and dream.

As much as I wish for silence, I can't help but listen. As much as I want to sew my eyes shut so I can't see you anymore, I can't help but stare into the darkness at a frame on the table, slightly tilted to the left, glistening dully in the moonlight.

But I breathe the truth.

That photograph is like a lie. It's nothing but wishes and dust that god I wanted to hold onto as the stake you drove into my heart began to rust.

I'll never forget

But I'll wish I could

Even though

There's nothing to remember

Except for—