Meet me between the bookshelves, between fiction and the poetic writings of Emily Dickinson. Meet me where my love resides, where my fingers run over spines, and yours run over mine. My love lives between these bookshelves, my soul is immortalized with every breath these stories breathe. Walk me through the poetry of Dylan Thomas, where he warns us to not go gentle into the good night. I sit between the bookshelves looking for you with my thumb and finger, feeling the edges you’ve tried to mend, folding over the stories I want to revisit. You are a story to be experienced by all the senses.
We disappear between the white cotton sheets of our bed like we do between the bookshelves. My head rests on your chest while your heart beats with the rhythm of poetry pumping blood through your arteries. I write poetic lines about your lips and the way they feel against my thighs. I write how your lips look when you take a drag from the flame, and how they part when you exhale the smoke.
— the day i met you was the day i found my freedom
We sit on the grass in front of the buildings, the sun is setting, and I feel comfortable. The weather is crisp enough to wear my favorite jacket. We talk of the dreams, the nightmares, the life that we live, the afterlife we want. The sun is still setting, and the sky is on fire. His hand makes its way to my inner thigh and rests there, without making another move. In mid-sentence, I am caught off guard, and my heart starts racing. He notices my change in posture and how my tongue is tripping over my teeth. It’s been so long since I’ve been touched. I look up at the sky and I think about how the stars never really go away, and how we are always in their presence even when we forget. The boy leans in closer, kisses my cheek, slowly turns my face towards his, and kisses my lips. The stars appear and they fall from the sky, and call my skin their new home. His lips are on mine, and I light up the night.
A world of firsts. Where pianos play on the street, and the water crashes up to my knees. A world where my jeans cut off before my ankles, and I am no longer afraid. There is a world where the sun shines through my window and makes the books glisten. I have entered an alternate dimension where I never loved the sight of the ghastly moon. My skin was kissed by the sun, the most intimate form of connection to this earth. Drunk on two glasses of wine, walking along the edge of this world, where fear and freedom live. The water crashes up to my knees, and I look at where the sea and heaven meet. I am wearing my yellow dress, and I am where I am meant to be. I plant my toes in the sand, and grow my roots here. I am no longer lost. I have found myself.
With a beautiful mind, you became my theory of everything. The theory that discovered the marriage of time and space– that the world started off as a blackhole, so endless. You were endless. You sucked me in, and I became engulfed in the idea of you. I’ve written you into theory after theory, your mind became an experimental analysis for me to review. What a beautiful mind. The stars aligned, your mind was in the right place, and my theory was supported by where your hands were placed on my waist. I was defeated. I have failed as your scientist. I have proven the theory of everything. You are the theory of everything.
The night you left was the night I became a woman. You held me close, and told me how much you had loved me. With both of our shirts off, you pressed my chest closer to yours. This is how I wanted to remember each moment with you. I swear you could probably hear my heart beating. This was such a natural feeling for me. I planted kisses on your chest, neck, cheek… that grew into buds of roses. Your cheeks were always red. Even when you spoke. I believed that you were the greatest gift that God gave me in this awful, violent world. With his own hand, he gave me a piece of gold from heaven. You were gold to me. Empty promises, and false profession of love flowed from your tongue—a waterfall destined to drown me. Death. You spoke on false hope. You spoke while sitting on the highest throne in the kingdom of my soul, and you torched this holy temple. My body was a graveyard of forgotten memories, and I had to hold vigils and funerals for each forgotten soul. My body had collapsed. Although you became my worst nightmare, one that I do not need to sleep in order to experience, your mind still lures me in. Your intelligence reminds me of what I have yet to learn about the world. The way you looked at me was how young lovers looked at each other in the movies. I hope to never forget the time we spent together. Never forget how much I love you. Remember how much you mean to me, and how amazing I think you are. I hope one day I love somebody as much as I thought you loved me.
I can’t breathe. It feels like my heart is beating in my throat, as if I have swallowed a million tiny stones. My eyes are stinging, and I cannot breathe and I am blind. My hands are numb, and I can no longer feel your body. My knees cannot hold my body up anymore, and I fall to the ground, weak and without any more energy. My heart swells with the pain you caused, and it ruptures. You walk towards me with the words that killed me right in your hands, and you read them to me over my dead body like a priest giving me my last rights. You are preparing me for my next life with my God. You reach down, brush your fingers through my hair and say, “I still love you.” My eyes start to sting a little more. I am still dead, and I still love you.
Time has stood still for the past three years of my life. I don’t entirely know what is happening a majority of the time. I’ve written countless poems about you, and it’s been nearly three years. Time has stood still since that March. I try to remember, and I try to replay the moments we shared in my head. I think about different things that I could’ve said; about things I should’ve said differently. You told me that you were hurt that I regretted my first time with you, but it was you that misunderstood. I could never regret that time we shared together. I felt as if that was all you wanted, that my body was the only thing that you searched for whenever you touched me. We were young, and I don’t think we had the best communication skills. I wonder if things would be different if we met when we were a little older. I think about the pros and the cons. Things seem to make more sense to me when they’re compiled in a list. Pro; I’m focused on school, I have a job, I’m building myself up, I’m becoming stronger and more independent, and I am becoming more and more educated about the world around me. Con; I keep wishing that you had been right by my side this whole time. I know that most of these things would never have happened unless you were out of my life, but I can’t help but wish it had been different. I wish you had been the exception. I don’t know, I hope one day I can move on, and forget that we ever happened. It would hurt less. I would write less heartbreaking poetry about you, about us. Time has stood still for the past three years, and I’m scared that I’ll never move from this time in space.
Skin cells regenerate every 27 days. The cells in my body change every season like the love you had for me, and it’s been so long since my skin has felt your touch. Three years have passed. I have not felt the touch of a man since then. I try to remember how your hands felt around me, and sometimes I can even feel them on my arms. I can still feel those pointless taps on the shoulder, the simple hand holding. I try to bring myself to feel it again. I have not felt the touch of another living soul for three years.
You are still in the upstairs attic of my mind. You are still a resident in this body I call home. My cells have regenerated about 41 times since you last touched me; since you last kissed my lips, touched my body. My cells hold secrets, they whisper to each other on my neck, and they tell the stories of us. They have kept your memory alive.
My skin cells have regenerated, but you are still with me.
It was a typical Thursday afternoon. The sky was a bright blue, and the snow on the ground was fresh. I had met you at school after a 2-hour train ride to the other side of the city. I ran a little late, but you waited for me anyway. You kissed me when you saw me, and your cheeks were a bright red because of the cold. We took the bus to your house, and we both knew that this ride was different. I made small talk, and you looked at me in the moment, and I could tell that you only had eyes for me. We sat on that bus hand in hand, not wanting to let each other go for any reason with the fear that, if we did, we would lose each other forever. When we got to your house, we dropped all our baggage on the floor. We finally felt light. At sixteen years old, we had already felt the world on our shoulders. I followed you upstairs to your room, already knowing where this was going. The window in your room had the sheer blinds down, but the sun was so strong that we didn’t even have to turn the awful fluorescent lights on to see each other. You spoke to me in a soft voice. You were almost afraid that I would shatter if your voice rose an octave higher. I turned on the music. The sound of the guitar filled the room. I laid in your bed, admiring the vibrato of the vocals in the song. I imagined if love is truly just begging for love. Give me love, you gave me love. You whispered in my ear, you asked if I was sure. I have never been more sure about anything in my life. We kept our clothes on. Our pants around our ankles, shirts half lifted, and our mouths never leaving each other. I thought, this was what love really is. When we finished, I felt my heart race. I hugged you, and told you how much I loved you. I felt connected to you, and I felt my whole world feel complete, as if this is all I needed to survive. It was a typical Thursday afternoon. The sky was a bright blue, and the snow on the ground was fresh.
What a familiar spot. I’m sitting across the empty chair, and it’s still engraved in my head. You, sitting across from me, sipping on your tea. We talked about our lives nearly two years apart from each other. Nothing much has changed. Your sense of humor hasn’t changed, and you are still capable of making me laugh about anything and nothing at all. The train on the tracks above us passes by, eliminating the standing silence. Are you comfortable? Are you as nervous as I am? I look at your hands— they still look raw, and still look like they did when I first met you. I offer you a piece of my bread, and you decline. I try not to take it personally. It’s not personal. I’m sitting in front of the flowers, I try to accentuate how beautiful I am by surrounding myself by beautiful things. You said I looked nice. I politely thanked you, and it all suddenly became formal. I showed you my poetry. You said that it was “really good,” but I wonder if you know that nearly all of my poetry is written about you in blood. I’m sure you caught on. You showed me a book that you were reading, you were surprised by the alternate ending. You weren’t expecting such a change. I was thinking the same thing. Your phone kept ringing. I knew you had to leave soon. My pride wouldn’t let you leave, but I had to let you go. You said that you were “really glad we caught up,” but instead, I heard “I miss you.” Without thinking, I hugged you goodbye. I could feel that we were both in different places. We cannot go back to 6 years ago to when we first fell for each other. My heart is not a time traveler, and it’s not possible. I sit across the empty chair, and I remember how you smiled when we talked. That’s all I can remember, and nothing in between. If only I had read between the lines, I could’ve noticed that you weren’t really there with me. You were with her, and I was with myself.