I can’t keep you right behind me all my days in the sun.

We sat on the same side of the picnic bench, our legs flung around the wrong way so we could lean our elbows against the wooden table. A casual posture, but I was so dizzy from being near you that I had a difficult time looking at you straight, my eyes whirling in their sockets like pinwheels. That Beatles lyric “the girl with kaleidoscope eyes” spun through my brain. I wondered if you could see the whirling if you looked hard enough.

You removed your sunglasses and instead squinted into the November sun. I watched your eyes. The insides of your irises are such a dark grey that it appeared to me that your black pupil had stained the light blue as it contracted from the bright light. In fact, I subconsciously thought this to be true for the last four years, the way we accept the small lies our parents tell us when we’re children without ever questioning them. Then, the other day as I found myself squinting into the January sun, I realized that what I had imagined was impossible. Your eyes weren’t stained. It’s just that they’re colored that way.

When we were in love I used to feel as though I was wearing your colors, waving your flag, as we battled our separate days, alone. What a thing to imagine if we’d somehow found a way to battle them together. That was always impossible, of course, would never be possible, a blackness overtaking your colors gradually, constricting every once in a while to reveal a grey so dark I can’t tell if it’s a stain or maybe it was always that way.

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And It’s Still Enough

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We Flew Like Saints

I wonder a lot about the role I play(ed) in your life. If I’ve brought you more happiness than sadness, more joy than torment. And not just me, myself, but the whole ME, our love and lies, everything that’s happened in your life as a result of merely knowing my name.

Have I told you before that women have affairs to leave a marriage, but men have affairs to stay married? I read that somewhere, maybe Shirley Glass’s Not “Just Friends,” which had all kinds of terrible, debasing things to say about our relationship. Maybe some of them were true, and maybe some weren’t. But I know that that particular sweeping generalization about men and women did turn out to be true in our case. I wanted out, and you wanted to stay.

I’m not sure what this truth means for us. I always knew that you were better at compartmentalizing, and by extension maybe even better at polyamory, than me. I saw the words you exchanged with your wife on Facebook the day you last wrote to me. Sixteen minutes before your email arrived in my inbox, in fact. Written in the same sitting at the same computer. Maybe you even had both windows open in your browser at the same time. Words of gratitude to her, words of apology to me. Breathing in, and then breathing out. Typed with the same fingers, conceived in the same thought.

I’ve always wondered how the hell you do that, but maybe it’s in your blood. Maybe it’s even your birthright. Maybe I made it easier for you to stay married, as you were able to have your cake and eat it too for a while. If your marriage were lacking passion and passion were something you needed, I gave that to you. The list goes on and on. Thrill, excitement, secrecy, youth, control, recklessness, illicitness, rebellion, destruction. Sex.

In my lower moments, I wonder if it really was just sex shrouded in a nobler veil. We both have morals, however questionable. We needed a better reason than that, so we created one. We elevated it to love, compared it to the purest love possible. We felt closer to God. We flew like saints. We said our “hallelujah”s. And then we came tumbling down and down.

Did we both get what we wanted? I’m happier now than I’ve ever been as an adult. It feels hard won, but I’ll take it.

Are you?

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it’s the last catastrophe

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on a Saturday morning in June

Reading this:

“I’m trying to focus on all the ways I am blessed.  But I keep wondering why I didn’t live my life with enough faith that you were in the world somewhere and that if I were just patient enough, I would find you, and we would be together.”

while listening to this:

made me cry.

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it might as well be a pinhole from where we stand

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Which Will

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