in my hands, to cup it like water
I met you in the summertime, in the hottest month of the year. I was still trying to find my place and anywhere feels like home when your own home has been taken from you. You lived next door. I met you beside a fire. Your friend was there and my cousin was there and we drank coke and rum you stole from your father’s liquor cabinet. It was awkward, I was awkward, and I was thinking that you were tall and you had blue eyes that made my eyes look like thick mud and I thought that night we would not be friends. We became friends.
I met you right before the spring, when the weather teases and plays warm one day and cold the next and you never know if you need a jacket or not. You were at a party at my house. I don’t remember how you ended up there but you were there and I was there and I was drunk and you might have been drunk but I don’t know because I don’t know a lot about that night. I was alone and so you were there but you shouldn’t have been. You were there but I hadn’t asked you to be there and I couldn’t say no but you knew that you shouldn’t have been there. I thought that night we would never be friends again.
I met you late one night as I was cleaning up after a dinner party I had hosted. You looked at me like you knew me well but you didn’t know me at all and I didn’t know you at all. You sat on my counter, on my couch, on the piano bench. You asked me to play for you. You called me your “girl” and said every song was about us. You slept beside me and held my hand and I thought that night we could really have something. Just some thing, any thing at all.
I spent every day that remained of that summer with you by my side. You spent your birthday with me—angry—but with me. We watched movies and got high and played video games and I thought that all there was to happiness was watching movies and getting high and playing video games. Maybe you liked me then but you never said so and so it didn’t matter. We went to school in the fall and I was new and we didn’t hang out much but you were there and I was there and we were there together and it was fine that way. You fought the guys who hurt me and I helped get the girls you thought you loved.
We didn’t speak for a long time because your apologies were exhausted and I had said all I had to say in that horrible four-word phrase I screamed at you that night. You called a lot and sent me a lot of words that I couldn’t bring myself to respond to. You loved me, you thought you did at least, but you hurt me, you knew you did. And then there was The Day. Maybe that’s not the right word for there were many days leading up that should have made me realize The Day was coming but they didn’t. After the day, you were gone. I thought you’d never be back.
We were at your house because you were having a party and you invited me because people have parties and invite people to them. You were beside me all night and when my friend got sick you left your own party to carry her home and put her to bed. We were standing in my driveway. I was saying thank you and you kissed me. It was quick, it was nothing. It was something. It was everything.
We were laying in the yard with a friend and we were drunk. Our friend got sick and we put her to sleep. I was tired and you wanted to stay up and talk. You laid with me on the couch, our faces almost touching and told me you were in love with me. You were crying and I cried too. We cried because I did not love you back and this made us both sad. I fell asleep and you left. I talked to you the next morning, asking, “do you remember what you said to me last night?” “yes, do you?” “Yes.” You told me you’d say it again, over and over forever, but you didn’t. It was unfair of me to expect you to.
While you were away people would ask me how you were like I was supposed to know. I did not know. They did not know that we no longer spoke even before you were gone. My mother told me I should write you a letter. A lot of people were writing you letters. It was the nice thing, the right thing to do. We had lost all sense of what was right a long time ago. So I wrote you the damn letter. And it was stupid. I told you you would grow from this, and everything that had happened didn’t matter now. I didn’t say how mad I was, how dumb I thought you were, how frustrating it was to see you where you were, where I’d always knew you’d be. “Come home.” That was the only part I meant. I never sent that letter and later I threw it away.
We were on my couch and I was crying. I cried because I was naïve and sad and wanted you so badly to want me so badly but you didn’t. You looked at me with those damn perfect blue eyes and you looked sad. We watched as this crumbled before us, we watched as this died, slowly, it had been dying from the start. You couldn’t give me what I wanted and I didn’t want what you were willing to give. I told you I loved you. I cried. You cried. We cried because you didn’t love me back and this made us both sad. You talked to me after you left and said you were sorry. “Do you remember what you said to me last night?” “Yes, do you?” “Yes.” I thought I would say it again, over and over forever, but I didn’t.
I, II, III.
Our bare bodies are entwined, movements rehearsed like everyone who came before was merely the practice for this, the real thing. You gently grab my hair, pull my head back as I look deep into your crystal blue eyes. You are inside me, you are outside me, you are all around me, you are all of me. In our body heat, we sweat out these memories, these feelings so long repressed, so long forgotten. They are flooding out now, seeping from our every pore. The excitement of the first encounter, the nervousness, the disappointment, the anger, the heartbreak. You love me, I hate you, you want me, I am in love with you. You are a body. You are the only body. You are nothing. You are everything. You are mine, if only for this moment. And this moment will be enough.
MAR. 27, 2013 By DIANA PARKS
the way someone drowning
remembers the air.