it's to dying in another's arms and why i had to try it

tempest

tem·pest

/ˈtempəst/

noun

later, much later, i will eulogize you faithlessly.

i will tell everyone you were a mercurial force of nature sweeping into my life with the sheer, violent force of waves crashing recklessly against weathered stone.  i will paint those years with wide, vivid brushstrokes of color, overlapping the boundaries of reality as carelessly as you slammed doors and scattered cigarette ash.  i will get drunk in dive bars and trace your name in watery rings, slur my words and my memories in my retelling of our romance.  i will rewrite the late nights and sunday mornings in iambic pentameter, glorifying the way your body moved against me, the color of your hair in sunlight that bled through broken blinds, the thrill of your uninhibited laugh reverberating in my ears.  that you were a woman with a passport inked as heavily as your arms, a wild and unbreakable spirit fired by jet fuel, destined to roam through uncharted territory.  that the ligature of my mortgage statements and the 90 degree angles of my ties created spaces that trapped you, intersecting lines of banalities like bars on a cage that kept you pacing like a restless tiger.  i will tell your parents that your strengths were my weaknesses, i will tell your friends that you were designed for adventure, i will tell myself (when i find a pillowcase that still smells like your perfume, when i crumple up mail catalogs still faithfully addressed to you) that you would not be contained, could not be contained- because the only way to handle it was to romanticize it.

because the truth of it wasn't poetic panacea or a bittersweet revelation, because nobody wanted to read a story about a selfish, irresponsible protagonist.  and the facts of it laid bare against paper would've read dry and bitter, encyclopedic recitations about a bored and vapid woman who chased adrenaline and refused accountability, teenage vices stoking a junkie's mind.  and the years we spent together were only a poorly calculated mistake, some unfactored algebra carrying you over the threshold and propelled by inertia, the mundane day-to-day like your habitual, jittery chainsmoking- forgetting your keys, forgetting your phone, forgetting to leave.  and it was always more fog than storm, your temper waxing and waning to leave an exhausted, blurry cast to the canvas.  you were blues, grays, yellows in a small and mean watercolor better left in storage than framed.  

but later, much later, i will stand beside your casket and invent a narrative better suited for your long hair and tall tales, i will stand at the crossroads of fact and fiction and choose the path of least resistance- that same path i chose ten years ago when i first met you at a house party and you purred take me home with you in my ear.  i took you home, and you took me down, but i have one last kindness left in me to rewrite both of our mistakes- the final act of the final play.

i eulogize you as a tempest.

and the train ain't even left the station

timing

tim·ing

/ˈtīmiNG/

noun

what a joke, that even the dictionary definition of this word indicates choice, judgment, control.  that the meaning of the thing has been corrupted to helplessness, a vague shrug with directionless blame- to exculpate ourselves from the weight of incompatible decisions.

it’s not you, it’s the timing you said to me once, running your fingers through your hair distractedly, halfway checked out of the conversation even as you propelled it forward.  as if you were a bus stop slightly behind schedule, or i showed up a little too early for a meeting, as if our lives were two calendars 10 minutes or 10 years out of sync with one another.  maybe sometime in the future.

but we both knew it was never just a trick of the hourglass, an uncontrolled lag between clocks.  timing was a metaphor for the things that could not be said, would never be said-

i do not love you.

you do not love me.

death is only a door

normalize

nor·mal·ize

ˈ/nôrməˌlīz/

verb

the normal heart is a machine in flux, readjusting and recalibrating in feedback loops to level its expectations.  the weather changes.  her phone number changes.  your pulse changes.  the heart remains in homeostasis through tiny mechanical clicks that shift you into place, one beat at a time, so inconspicuous and well-oiled that you forget to micromanage the oscillation. 

but i have never had a normal heart.

it will only ever multiply by one to bring me back to you.

pass me that lovely little gun

disprove

dis·prove

disˈpro͞ov/

verb

i'm calling it, you said on our first date.  we were each 4 cocktails deep and wading through a mediocre chocolate lava cake.  you're gonna end up breaking my heart.

it is a small, superficial measure of comfort to know that you finally got something wrong.

you won't ever get too far from me

ardor

ar·dor

ˈärdər/

noun

her fingers reach and grasp for me- but no, not for my hands, never for my hands again- she grips my hair and pulls hard, drawing sharp and shallow breaths, riding me with an urgency that weakens my knees.  she is drunk and i am not drunk enough; this night washed through with city lights, wistful jokes, soggy napkins weakening beneath cold glasses, a four-hour lifetime in this strange space between familiarity and trepidation as our shoulders inch closer by millimeters and our knees bump together shyly and i am close enough to smell the perfume you once knocked over into the laundry hamper, infiltrating my boxers and bath towels for weeks.  and it's that scent that takes me back now with your mouth searing my skin and your glorious hair spilling across my chest and this is not the dizzy, clumsy dance we initiated the first night we met- it is eight years later and we have never forgotten the choreography.  we perfect it now, as if every tryst before was only a moment in the dress rehearsal but this is the real deal, this is the primetime debut, and we are flawless actors performing for a solipsistic audience-  lust on stage, desire made solid, the innate muscle memory of sex between two lovers irrevocably etched into anatomy.  and so you bite down on my shoulder and i plant a trail of bruises across your throat, and our pulses drum furiously in perfect timing but then you whisper- i think i still love you

and then my heart fails completely, punctured by this fatal misstep, this unplanned improvisation.  you told me after your sister's dinner party, that december evening we spent arguing bleakly in a snowdrift, can you stop being so fucking analytical.  but i couldn't stop then and i can't stop now and i am parsing your words even as the feeling of your hot skin against mine threatens to drive out all out other thoughts.  and i don't know if it is the i think or the still that burns raw against an open wound but i know with the certainty of death and taxes that i have never stopped loving you-

or at the very least, loving the idea of you.