At some point, I should have realized I cared way more than could ever be reciprocated.
Perhaps it was just before the weeds grew in the yard, in the dead part of what the desert thinks is winter. Others pray for sun and we pray for nothing. The sun never left me. But he did.
And you soldier on. Being resilient and strong and all those other warrior woman terms that patronize and empower at the same time. You tell the doctor you quit smoking but in reality you started again. Parts of yourself laid dormant while we were domesticated run wild again. You are stupidly brave and broken.
I wondered if there was space for anyone in the remnants of my heart. What is left to give anyway? But then I gave it all away anyway.
It's not your fault. You're not capable of holding this. I knew that from the start. I knew few could see past the shiny false exterior and handle me with care but not fragility. I didn't fall in love. Neither did you. It served us. It serves us. All the same, I've become a solitary creature.
No longer alone in a crowd, there are no crowds anymore. Just alone. Spin it as looking inward, sure. Spin it as healing. Whatever it is, it guarantees this will be short lived.
A perfect weekend does not equate a life. One calm hour does not dissuade the storm. This was always the end result. Whether you or him or the other guy.
Despite the eventuality, I continued with my hopeless optimism. I continued with the facade. Present ourselves well and continue a slow crumble otherwise. Pretend there is not that split second when you see a happy family, or a smiling confident woman and think about the path that wasn't. The path that God or the fates or dumb bad luck took away from me. It's easier to ignore it. To not look wistfully and resent what I lost. But sometimes, for a second, I'm reminded.
Back to the point, I ignored what I knew. I said it didn't matter. That I was focused on what is in front of me, not behind or ahead. But for a few perfect minutes, the way you looked at me, I thought it was possible all over again.
It's not. There is no woe is I. There is no woe. Stoicism is the only combatant against sheer loss of will. What else can be done?
I suppose I could go back to bed. Curl up and shut out the world for a few more hours. I hate it. I have become every trope I never wished to embody. Why did you give me that moment? Why did I let that happen?
The weeds. They're everywhere. I can pull up 50 and they'll keep coming back. Those shining moments. Where everything is as it could have been. They're everywhere. Perhaps they will grow regardless of whether I pay attention or not, just like the weeds.
Maybe I'll let it all get overgrown. And bury myself in what is uncontrollable and inevitable. Cocoon it in loss and grief and surround myself with the cigarette smoke cool of strength and resilience. That smoke will probably kill me. But it doesn't matter anymore.