You Told Me
We were standing beside each other,
Staring at a painting of a dark, grim-looking port.
I was popping my knee and leaning and tilting my head,
doing what you used to tell me was cute and alluring.
My ponytail fell over my shoulder,
But I was too lazy to move it, too busy analyzing.
We were silent for years, digesting the boats and
the colors and the people.
Finally, I voiced my thoughts about it.
Something regarding our inherent darkness as
humans, the horrors in even the most beautiful things.
I felt your eyes watching me, felt your
consistently cold yet wonderfully rosy expression.
I asked you what you saw in the painting.
That's when I laughed because of your blunt
perspective. That's also when you
Tried to hold my hand and I
Pulled away. And acted like you hadn't.
You told me later over a cup of tea in the library
that my fingers had felt like ice.
I admitted to you that I'd used every
last ounce of willpower in me to pull away, and
your eyebrows went up as you brought the cup to your lips,
In that picture-perfect posture that has always
made me feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
We were standing beside each other in a crowd of spectators,
Teetering on tiptoes to glimpse the colorful parade.
My bright laughter was muffled by excited shrieks
and announcements of enjoyment, but I knew
that you could hear me anyway. I knew, from the
soft smile turning up the corners of your
Pale yet full-of-life lips, that you could.
It was the same smile you used to give
me when I'd turn to you unexpectedly,
Bare my white teeth, and mouth those
Three words from afar.
I turned to you that day, too. I
Bared my white teeth again, and I couldn't help but
mouth three words:
"I love this."
Your familiar smile faded, replaced by the still familiar
sparkle of longing in those melting eyes.
That's when you opened your mouth to
Say something, and I could sense the words,
But you didn't. That's also when I
Looked away. And acted like you hadn't.
You told me later over a long phone call
that you wish you'd said it.
I said it didn't matter, because I
knew what you were going to say anyway,
and your sigh crackled into my ear,
In that smooth and rumbling tone that has always
made me subconsciously clear my own hoarse throat.
We were sitting beside each other on the bus,
Watching the green scenery pass us by and
struggling to keep our eyes open despite the calm lull.
I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep, just
so that maybe I would be able to feel your
Eyes on me. Just to grab your innocent attention.
I let my head fall to the side, hovering
hauntingly above your shoulder. It
Used to be my pillow, and I'd apologize for that,
But you would tell me you liked it.
Your sweet aroma was all that I could sense and
it began to pull away my already slipping sanity.
I couldn't keep my eyes closed and settled
for sneaking glimpses of your serene,
all-too-alert face. Uncomfortable with
silence, I said,
"You can sleep on me if you want to."
Tension prevented me from looking into your eyes,
which I knew were sparkling in desire.
That's also when I leaned my head against
The window. And you looked away.
I told you later over an early breakfast that
I'd wanted to sleep against you.
You asked me why I hadn't, and I admitted
I didn't know.
We were sitting beside each other in a lecture hall,
Wondering why his words were going in one ear and out
the other because we usually love philosophy class.
I was hunched over that sacred notebook,
Scribbling madly and covering my work in that way
that always used to loosen the hair in your scalp.
I wondered if you realized it was the
same notebook we had once passed in secrecy,
brushing fingers as we gave each other
The keys to our souls.
You probably did.
This time, though, instead of writing words
for your eyes and your heart, I wrote for
Myself. I wrote to distract myself from
the drone of his monotonous ticking and from
the sickening nearness of you.
What is it he was talking about?
Something about what's wrong and what's right,
about how we discern the difference between the two
and how we don't.
That's when I almost tried to get your attention,
but just ended up staring. And you looked away.
I told you later nothing at all, over a nonexistent
conversation in the diner around the corner.
I just replayed the lonely moments in my head.
It's harder when you look away because
Your eyes show pain, which has always
made me love you indefinitely.