grief, i’ve learned, is just really love.
it’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. all that unspent love gathers up in the corner of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.
grief is just love with no place to go.
Years away now. Years my life without you near. Years in solitude and just like that you came back into my life. No signs, no hunch. No sting in your gut trying to tell you this is the day. This is the day you’re going to again meet the love of your life. You got rid of him and now the universe is giving you a second chance.
What have I done? I set you free. I have set you free.
the pain i don’t say out loud builds a home inside me.
Olivia Gatwood, Life of the Party
nothing much that happens to us
changes our disposition.
Really, you believe that?
I think so. I read this study
where they followed people
who won the lottery, and people
who had become paraplegic, right.
You’d think that…
you know, one extreme
is gonna make you…
euphoric, and the other suicidal.
But the study shows that
after about 6 months,
As soon as people got used to
their new situation,
they were more or less the same.
Like if they were basically
an optimistic, jovial person,
they’re now an optimistic,
jovial person, in a wheelchair.
If they’re a petty miserable asshole,
ok, they’re a petty miserable asshole
with a new Cadillac, a house and a boat.
So, you now be forever depressed,
no matter what great
things happen in my life?
No, come on…
Are you depressed now?
Before Sunset. (2004) Dir. Richard Linklater
You don’t love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.
She was as I saw her the last time: confident, so sure of herself that she scared me. She was what I was afraid of, the kind of stability that would only suffocate me.
I should have not taken you away from her. I should not have come between the two of you. She was your soulmate and you, hers. You’re so steady with her like you could face everything together. Unlike us where everything was hot and cold and there’s days I didn’t want you, days I spent with people I thought I loved. I didn’t want you and you felt unwanted, abandoned.
One look and she said to me, “Of course you’ll be here.”
What I heard was, “You’ve done enough damage.”
And I imagine you in that bed, alone, where you should not be had you not meet me, probably living your life still, careless and free, alive and not dying.
She said exactly that.
Just imagine if I stayed away just like she told me off once in a bathroom stall a long long time ago.
But I loved you, I loved you! How could I stay away?
But she said I could have and you’d still be standing. She was right and I felt my insides crawling leaving, slowly but surely, seeping away like thin smoke. My insides no longer belonged to my body and I was gone for good.
People talked to me and I heard them faintly but I wasn’t there.
Jetter asked me what she said to me on our way home but honestly I couldn’t remember anything, I only felt like I should undo me.
I know I wrote once after Camden beat you up, you came to see me. You were sweet and I told you, you’re a Daddy now.
But as I lived on in this side of the story, everything got rotten. You were broken. You didn’t wake up the next day, you didn’t come to see me.
I don’t know her. But I imagine Emma glows at sunsets. She radiates like the sun. Even now as I am writing this, I could see her face smiling at me and it gives me warmth in my stomach. How tender she must have been with you. You smiled differently, you seemed happy. When I saw you with her, I felt peaceful. If you should be with anyone, it should be her.
I imagine all sorts of things about her. How she took her morning coffee. How she sang in the shower. How she glided on stage, singing and chanting her lines. I imagined the crowd inside the theater mesmerized by how she moved, how she spoke, how she shined. She had so much light. She was the light you needed in times of gloom and darkness. I was thankful for her, but only in some hidden parts of me.
To say that Emma is talented is an understatement, but she’s humbling, even more with a star’s qualities. You met her when you were working on music scores for one of her sold out plays. They took it out from Broadway, touring around the globe. You needed a space to forget me, and so you two met.
Joe told me this.
He didn’t mean to set you up with her, you just happened to be there when Joe, Shelly, James, and Emma had a dinner at the Bel Air. You were at the bar, drinking alone yet another night not long after we broke up. Joe dragged you to join their table.
You didn’t even say much, nor did she. But you and beautiful Emma, you two exchanged looks like no one else was there. You loved the way she smiled almost immediately, how enchanting that you couldn’t take your eyes off of her.
She drove you home that night because you were a bit tipsy. You gambled fate by asking her to stay the night and she did.
But she wasn’t me. She didn’t wake you up the way I did. She didn’t make your coffee the way I did (too much sugar!). She didn’t make you breakfast. She went into shower and head off to work. She didn’t say goodbye. She smiled at you from the door as if she knew you weren’t really there.
And just like that she’s gone.
And you were alone (and lonely) again.
But perhaps she did woke you up the way I did. She did make your coffee exactly the way you wanted it, and she made you perfect breakfast: french toast with sprinkled Swiss cheddar, or just a plain old blueberry pop tarts, piled and warmed up, glazed with honey. She kissed you goodbye and said would call for a dinner date, you didn’t have to do anything. She’s perfect and you fell in love head over hills for her.
Only years after I would know you weren’t with her. The whole time I wasn’t there you were lonely, working like a dog, then hopping from one bar to another, drinking.
Last night I saw you again but you were half asleep. When you were half awake you told me you don’t want me to see you like this and I said I understand. I kissed your hair and left.
All those cookies you brought me, water and lilies. You don’t want life to get to me because it got you. You don’t want me to get hurt because it hurts you and it’s why you’re there.
I wish I could word this better, maybe someday.
you said, don’t move too fast.
i said, you don’t have to catch me anymore.
i can only live in secrecy
is why i left
i really want to say i’m sorry but i’m not really.
I remember every vague step I took to bring me closer to the core of the horizon. Each was heavy, still with hope and my love for you oh it’s true you were the reason I lived for, like the cross I carry.
most days i write you
into things that disappear
sometimes i write you
there’s a small stain in the left
hand corner, it is having a hard time
and i think, it looks a lot
Youth is a strange thing, you felt like you knew who you were, but at the same time, confused
of what to do with yourself. There’s just too much energy gone and wasted, so much love and
hope, washed down the drain. So fast, so quick to temper.
It’s very strange that the people you love are often the people you’re most cruel to.
sometimes things get worse for no reason and i have no word for it.
it’s only september. i don’t know how many seasons i will be allowed to love you yet.
what i do know is that you have flown one thousand miles to stand in my kitchen, dropping chocolate chips into pumpkin pancakes
—like arranging freckles for the face of a perfect child.
“A Simple Love Poem”, Megan Falley
That night I heard you whimpered I thought I was dreaming but you struggled on your side of the bed, waking me up just to find you sweating and crying.
You started to have these dreams, where you were fighting for breaths in a sea of sludge, you were crawling on legs you could not feel, you were drowning. You struggled to breathe for hours. You were crying and it felt like I broke apart.
These nightmares were recurring, so I let you drink to fall back to sleep.
But it’s daylight now, bright and sunny, and you’re drinking again. You have turned into a zombie, but subdued and mute. You sat by the piano, staring at the keys. I wasn’t sure you were really there. You hardly eat. Sleep got you restless. You just sat there, day and night and day. You barely talk to me, as if I too wasn’t really there.
I didn’t really want to go and left you alone when everything felt unreal to you and you weren’t even there to feel, or to be. But maybe, just maybe, you wanted to be alone.
Maybe, just maybe, the sea of sludge was me.
I hardly hear you, holding back tears like that and you know I wanted you to say it, that I was there for a reason. But the truth was, I couldn’t bear myself to see you like this, every night, and day and night and day. I was exhausted.
You’re so thin, your bones sprouting out of your elbows. Your jaw turned sharp that you looked so different sometimes. I had to convince myself you’re just the same as before your accident.
i have blown a thousand apologies into the air, didn’t you feel them in your breaths when you’re running into the wind? feel me there. feel me in your lungs, in your chest, inhale me into your veins —here’s to every moment i made you bleed. here’s to every pain every sting every stab every scar and every kiss. here’s to everytime i leave with not so much to keep…
I was eighteen, you were twenty four. I was high, you were a gentleman. I was high but I remember thinking how handsome you were that day. How serene of a face. How kind and loving of a person you were and I didn’t even know you.
You and I moved fast and slow, twisted time to match the beat of our hearts, eyes closed to something no one dared to see. Go on, I said, you’ve made your choice but we breathed and lived for all the wrong reasons and you left for years without looking back and here you are now, bittersweet perfection, sullen and angry like a Cat 3 hurricane too far offshore to be noticed, sad and angry like the hot tears you once cried so long ago in July.
When you proposed you didn’t have a ring, and it was not pancakes, it was eggs. It was not fairytale-like or slow paced romantic. It was late morning and you smelled like penicillin. Your hair was crazy curls and you hadn’t shaved for like a week. You blurted, “what if you changed your name into Mrs.C.” I was stunned, offended, my eggs burnt. I said you can’t say things like that, smelling like that, looking like that. First take a shower, get a ring, and ask on bended knee. You said nonchalantly: my knees hurt.
no one knows how to tell other people that they’re exhausted.
When you are living in a house where guilt is alive, it leaves a mark.
And when you are living in an atmosphere of daily, ever-present guilt, what does that do to children? It changes their souls.