THROUGH THE NIGHT

September 17, 2o12

Based on the poem of the same title

Has there ever been anything so flawed that it was so perfect?

You were so fickle and unpredictable, coming into my life and leaving just as quickly; only to come back again. Your sparkling blue eyes make me shake my head and smile softly at whatever antic you're playing at. You made my head spin and my heart race. You had every eye in the room on you, especially mine.

I was this wallflower who was socially awkward and rarely ever lit any room. But somehow, I caught your eye. And you carried me around like a little trinket or a shiny new toy that you never got tired of.

With each passing day, as you give laugh and smile, all I keep is this fragile something we have no label for that could melt into nothing at the snap of your fingers. And I secretly hope you knew that Eric. I secretly hoped you liked me enough to keep me around longer than those people who worship the ground you walk on.

I'm in this state of fright and panic when you find the darkest secret I could ever harbor; this dark confession that I've buried in my heart so I can keep hanging onto the melting chains of this thing we don't even know the name of. I'm so scared that you'd hate me and kick me to curb and practically be the most horrible person that I knew you could be.

And over cup after cup of coffee, I tell you how this feeling of falling in love with you is like falling from a cliff; falling, falling, falling. But words fall on deaf ears and you perceive them as something else; an invitation to be part of the most elaborate ruse that you and I could ever come up with.

"I promise you, nothing will ever tear us apart," you whisper into my ear, keeping your arms wound tightly around me. My heart flutters at the thought and excitement springs into butterflies in my stomach. But through these smiles and these light kisses, I can't help but think of the lie that is us.

We're violent when we fight. We're passionate when we dance. When we're calm, we're just waiting for one of us to explode. We're dysfunctional, but it's so perfect. This thing we have is so fragile and so flawed that it's what makes it so perfect. And when I tell you this, you say naught and just smile at me from the rim of your coffee mug.

It's the sweet talking and the sweet reticence that keeps me coming back for more. But it's the lie that eats at my heart and keeps me on my toes. You smile wryly as honeyed words roll of your tongue and I'm lost in this trance and become your slave.

You disappear again; without a note or a sign, like a vanishing act. And I realize that I'm stuck here, agonizing over the thoughts of whether or not you'd be back; whether or not you'd remember me and whether or not you'd keep true to your promise.

Five years pass, and you blow back into my life again. There's a ring on your finger and I you tell me you've married but I'll always be your favorite. Favorite what? Lover? Secret? Guilty pleasure?

I try to get angry and shut you out of my life. I should be angry; for your disappearances and your lies and your infidelity and your mind games. But that lazy smile and those sparkling blue eyes hoax me into dropping the fight. The honeyed words that roll off your tongue as you cloyingly sweet talk me into giving in once more; to give in to this dark and reticent obsession, to give in and tumble back on warm, familiar sheets.

Now you lie beside me with your arm strewn around my torso, smelling of those nights of coffee and the crisp scent of soap. And I lie wide awake through the night, my skin cold despite the warmth of your breath.

I can tell that God is judging me for what I've done, for what I've coveted, for what I've desired and obsessed with. I can tell that this is punishment for my sins; that this is the consequence of wanting what I can't have.

Maybe I can play pretend. Maybe I can imagine that it was just us. Maybe I can be content with being your favorite. Maybe. Just maybe.

But as I catch a glimpse of the silver band on your left ring finger, I remember that you're not mine. And you never will be.