He tells me I should listen when someone shows me who they really are. I’ve always had this terrible habit of weaving my own narratives onto someone else’s canvas. My sky is blue, yours should be as well.
He says it comes not from a place of love but from a space in me that lacks empathy. I think about it all morning while I walk to class along the river, and the wind bites at my exposed neck, spaces that used to be yours.
I go the grocery store and the girl checking me out asks if I am okay and I start to cry.
I’ve been here before. I know how this goes. It feels like a prison sentence. I know that if I do the time, work the program, get rid of your things, let myself grieve – that, eventually, I climb out the other side.
It seems really impossible right now. He tells me I also lack empathy for myself. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I agree anyway.
In the conversation we are not having I tell you about my new poem and how I got a rejection letter from a magazine, and you tell me it’s ok.
In the conversation we aren’t having you order another drink and tell me about a new job and I listen and pretend like the future has something to do with us. I too order another drink.
I was crossing the only busy street downtown this morning and in the middle of the road like a little gift was a red book, propped open and waiting for me. It’s called the Good Spell, a collection of magic and potions and love charms.
I laugh the whole way to my car because sometimes, even though the universe is mean, it’s also really funny. I read through the book in the parking lot only to realize nothing in there will help me.
And then I have to admit that even if there were a spell to stop the hurt, I wouldn’t want to get rid of this part. In a way, it’s the last part of us.
And it’s just silly for me to act like we are never going to get over this. Like wounds don’t heal and roads don’t get repaved.
I tell myself, eat your own advice and sit with the lonely and braid its hair and write poetry on the insides of your thighs. Pretty soon, it will all be something that happened a while ago and the bruises will all be gone.