I booked the nicest suite in the hotel by the beach. I lit the tea light candles around the room and made it into our oasis. I got caught in a rainstorm with you and had to run through it in sandals so we could crawl back under the covers and spend the night accompanied by the flicker of candlelight and your skin against mine. I studied the art murals. Okay, that’s a lie. I studied you while you studied the art. I watched as your face lit up on the boardwalk. I shared my ice cream and admired the smile on your face as you finished the cone. I traded in our ski ball tokens for matching candy bracelets. I braved the ocean to chase you to the ends of the earth. I smiled as we downed our third round of cocktails on the sand. I sipped frosé until I lost all inhibitions and turned into a sexual deviant. I watched as you admired each freckle on my sun-kissed skin, wishing you would reach down and press your lips to each one that swept over my chest. I laughed as you admired my curls from the salty air. I whispered I love you for the first time. And then I said it again. I giggled as you did a happy dance reading the dinner menu each night. I (poorly) resisted the urge to keep my hands off of you at the dinner table. I flashed my camera as you took your first bite, white wine draped between your fingertips. I captured the moment of you, peering into the sunset and taking a picture of the way it set over the lake with the American flag waving in the wind. I set the picture as my phone wallpaper. I interlaced your fingers in mine as we explored the town. I nibbled on hash browns after you took a picture with your first Dunkin’ donut. I giggled like a child when you whispered, “thank you,” each time I pressed a soft kiss to your forehead. I smiled for bathroom photo shoots. I felt the safety of your arms around me as you clung to me in the pool. I fell in love. Over and over again. Harder than ever. With no way of resurfacing for air.
all your demons, oh I knew
fought them off with a sword
held you tighter when they pushed through
now you rewrite the tale, blinded by rage
paint me as nothing more than the villain,
still taking up every page
I hate the way I still fight for you
I hate the way I still hope for you
I hate the way I still ache for you
I hate the way I still cry for you
I hate the way I still crave you
I hate the way I still feel for you
I hate what remains of you
I hate the way
I called out your name between whimpers and sighs, tears stinging my squeezed-shut eyes, as I clung to the nothingness that is now just your ghost.
Sometimes I like to admire it
It’s as stunning as you are
It shines – it’s captivating
Radiant, breathtaking, unique
Worthy and deserving of its recipient
But not of its giver
I was so afraid to relinquish that last piece of invisible thread – that last bit of hope. So I desperately clung to it. Too afraid of what would remain once the hope was lost.
Turns out, I’m still here.
I’m still fighting.
I’m still growing.
I’m still brave.
Hope isn’t gone. It still remains.
It lives within me – for me.
I have a lightness that I haven’t seen in myself in months. I’ve restored the faith in my strength.
In my ability to love. To forgive. To heal.
You’re my 4 am thoughts, alone in the silence of the night. You’re my 2 pm thoughts, a welcomed distraction in my work day when I’m aching to reach out and rest my hand on your thigh. You’re my 9 am thoughts, craving the warmth of you on all the cold lonely mornings. You’re my 8 pm thoughts, your head in my lap and my fingers through your hair. You’re my 11 pm thoughts, my fingertips aching for your skin to draw you impossibly closer.
“I’m giving up,” she finally cried.
But, still, she tucked the only key to her heart right there under the welcome mat – nestled safely for if her lover were to someday return. To someday come back home.
Jolting awake from the darkest of nightmares. Ones that petrify you and leave you with the taste of lead in your mouth. Or stirring from the warmth and goodness of a magical dream. One where you’ve come back to me. One where I can kiss you.
Either way, I can’t reach out and feel you. I can’t be settled. The unrest only lingers. And it all hurts just the same.
I spent all my spare time in the comfort of strangers talking about you. Never wanting to shut up about my love for you. About the pride I have for you. About all my favorite things about you.
I spent elevator rides conversing with a stranger with an English accent about how she came to America and what part of England she was from because she sounded like you.
I spent hours pulling a chair up beside the concierge of my building to tell her how I’d planned to propose to you. Showing her the ring I’d been saving for.
I spent lunch breaks gossiping with coworkers about how fanfiction works and about how incredibly talented you are. I even had a few who read your work just so we could discuss it, because they saw the way my face lit up whenever I spoke of you.
Do you know what I miss most? The way I could feel a sense of calmness inside of me when I spoke of you. The way my face would light up when someone even said your name. The way I could spend hours telling a complete stranger how much I love you and plan to spend the rest of my days making you happy.
It’s just another thing I’ve lost. I’ve lost you. I’ve lost myself. I’ve lost the joy I feel inside when I speak your name and know I’ll see you soon and someday get to call you my wife.
It’s all ruined, you’re gone and that sense of calm has fled along with you. Yes, there are days when I start to believe I deserve to forgive myself. But then there are moments like these – times when I recognize that calmness is missing. But I don’t want it back. Not without you. Because I’d rather spend all my days missing you than trying to search for that sense of joy and calmness in someone else.
It’s hard to even feel you anymore
Slipping away, like a memory
Do you ever wonder why we had that extra night? Like it was gifted to us. I don’t always believe in higher powers or things happening for a reason, but it’s things like this that make me question it all.
My flight was cancelled, do you remember? The winds were too strong – planes couldn’t take off. They had to put all the travelers up in an airport hotel. An inconvenience to most travelers, sure. But for us? But now? All I can think about is how grateful I am to have had that one extra night indulging in you. As if some higher power knew what greater storm we were about to face, so it stirred up that wind storm and kept me close to you.
One extra night in the same time zone, where it wasn’t London and New York. Just you and me.
One extra night spent laughing with you between every kiss. One extra night with our bodies intertwined between the sheets. One extra night sharing dinner together, smiling and chatting without a care in the world. One extra night sleeping with my arms holding you tightly against me and refusing to let go. One extra night singing along to show tunes and giggling as we stumbled over the wrong words.
One extra night of love.
One extra night of warmth.
One extra night of us.
One extra night of all the things I miss most.
One extra night of all the things I didn’t appreciate enough until long after my flight touched back down.
I wish when I kissed you goodbye, I knew it was a goodbye forever. I never would’ve come up for air. I would’ve drowned in the taste of your mouth on mine, over and over again.
I still look for you in every book. In every lyric. In every line of poetry. In every episode of television. In each movie I watch for the hundredth time. I still look for you among a sea of strangers in a crowded room. In the emptiest of places. In every piece of artwork. I still look for you, even in my loneliest dreams.
The silent self mutilation of climbing into fresh bedsheets dusted with the scent of you and gripping tight, realizing all my nights are spent sleeping with a ghost.