you and me

Graffiti on Grey Matter: Conversations with Myself.

He’s gone, but his shadow, his scent, the feel of his hand on your bare skin lingers. It was months ago now, and years before that, a lifetime that aches like yesterday.

The distance is supposed to matter. The time is supposed to heal.

These are lies.

The farther away he gets — the more you fight to push him out of your head — the brighter he shines, the louder his knock, like echoes etching out sound waves that carve you apart.

You shared an intimate connection that glimmered like a seer; a tease, a flirt, a hustler, a thief; a mirror, a gypsy sprinkling pixie dust and Eskimo kisses. The weight is what makes you strangers now, and still lovers pressed together in your dreams.

You get stuck in the past, and you don’t get anywhere.

He’s warm and silky. You are cold. Numb. You may never be over him. But you can learn how to live with his ghost.

It’s been long enough now… it’s time to let go.

As if you had a choice.

You try to purge him from your heart.

His ghost.

You speak until you lose your voice, begging him to leave; your tears turn into wells that turn into deserts from all the times you’ve welcomed the pain he brings just so you can feel him somehow. You can’t breathe new breath as your throat grows rusty with no new story to tell.

Bound in an ancient bond of glory days.

What is the hero’s journey of this tale?

He doesn’t love you anymore.

If he did, this love is cruel. Harsh. Unforgiving.

It could not be love.

If this is love, no one is crueler than you to yourself.

Climbing the wall he put up so high, you play Freud and Jung decoding what you cannot ask him. Were his fingers the switch?

Was it he who made you light up inside?

A lifetime ago, he wanted to bathe in your light. The one you turned on by yourself. You didn’t need a switch back then. You glowed all on your own.

And now you’re crawling after crumbs that live in shadows of what once was. You forgot where he ended and you begin.

He remembered.  

You go dark now, finding comfort in the familiar plotline, while the people who love you grow weary of the reruns.

He wrote to you to say hello. You needed him to tell you that you mattered.

If he looked at you in just that way, you’d light up again inside and everything could be okay. He’d appear at your doorstep unannounced and tell you it was all a big misunderstanding.

You’d have your power back. He’d give it to you.

You’d never have to click your heels together and claw yourself out of the truth.

The power was yours all along.

And this is what you did with it.

You let yourself die inside.

You didn’t lose your power. He didn’t take it. You gave it away. Willingly.

Now there’s nothing left inside that bubble except

A ghost.

A shell.

A firefly… you. 

You dig inside your claustrophobic brain, scratching — urgent and milky — searching for something tangible to display. So you could say, “See, it was real. It mattered.” You’d have something to hit against, to hold on to, something to remind you that you’re not just playing mind-games with yourself. He was there. He loved you. It happened. It mattered.

If you could  clear out his cobwebs, paint new colors on the walls, you could have a shot at being free. But his whispers dance on repeat in twisted merriment through your fingers, graffiti on grey matter.

Where do you put all those feelings? Where do they go if healing means you have to let him slip away?

Such cold comfort is why you can no longer love except in bittersweet. An infinity of ifs on display, but you can’t undo what never could be tamed. You were young, wild at heart, and free. He gave himself willingly. He loved to watch you. He knew you then. You could have nestled in his nook for eternity.

It was a fairy-tale. It was love. And you were full.

Once upon a time.

His body is only an email away. Yet, you know you shouldn’t press Send. His soul is not yours. Vulnerability. 

What else is there left to say?

He’s already gone.

It’s you who holds the power over you. He is no longer involved.

The portion of his script you get to see is over for now. You are not a part of it.

He has his own story to tell.

Who is telling yours? 

You created his ghost from the lips, the laugh, the parts of him filled with the love he left behind. You wanted company. You wanted him. But he no longer exists. Even to himself.

It is his ghost who still holds a key to your heart. An uninvited guest, he melted into the furniture; he’s embedded in the walls. He’s everywhere because he is a part of you. He helped make you who you are.

If  you could rip him out, what would remain? The twisted shapes and shadows where his flesh once pressed against yours. If only he could make you whole.

This was always about him.

When will you love yourself as much as you begged him to love you?

You dressed your broken pieces in glitter glue. You waited patiently. He, the hunter. You, the gatherer. He disappeared into the wilderness. You believed he’d find nourishment to bring home. Instead, he found another tribe to call his own.

You stayed behind to gather up the bits.

He left you open, bare, exposed. He left you behind. A hole punched with shadows, weighed down with opaque verisimilitude. You play the role of Jacob Marley with such great aplomb, wrapped in translucent chains of penance for having loved.

He never owned many things. Except for your heart.

He was your champion. You were his muse. He smelled like honeysuckle. He took you by the hand, wrapped you snug inside a foxglove’s curl and made you beautiful.

Did you forget the parts of him that made you feel ugly? The parts that hurt you more than you could bear? The ways in which he stole yourself away from you?

Did you forget you were already beautiful? Remind yourself every day. 

He never said he was sorry for not loving you enough. The way you needed. The way you knew he could. He just kissed your cheek and turned away.

You shouldn’t have needed him to be who you thought he was.

Who he is. Doing the best he can with what he has. Are you?

When he closed his book of You, the clasp caught on your soft skin, tearing open long-healed scars with red canals beating endlessly below the surface.

His eyes shut, and you’re the one who disappeared.

He can’t stay with you.

You can’t let him go.

So let him fade away.

Like any wild thing, he does not fight for his freedom. He is already free.

There is an order to these things. And a chaos. And a kindness.

It all has purpose. It all matters. So watch him as he goes. Not with your eyes, but with your heart.

You will feel his body, then his shadow, then just his scent flutter by.

Thank him for loving you enough to let you go.

His lips, his voice, the little mole you once traced across his skin… which side was it on again? His face, hands and fingers… is the laugh you hear ringing in your ears really his?

He will grow smaller the longer he wanders; it will take time, he will walk one foot in front of the other until the woods welcome him. Until he is so far away from where you once stood that he feels like a dream or a childhood memory you aren’t sure was ever real.

Let the color of his eyes muddle as he takes in new sights; relinquish the exact shape of his hands as he clings to new skin.

Let the wild thing run unbridled through your thoughts until he tires. Have that it will be. His limbs will quiver and his eyes will grow heavy. One day you will notice that he’s tucked himself under the covers, branches, and the past.

He will fall asleep and dream of wind.

Let him rest.

So you may have a chance to wake.

Kiss his eyelids.

Miss him. Mourn him.

Let him slip into dreamland.

And you will be the keeper of your heart.

Feel it. Deal with it.

It’s every day until it isn’t.

Love him enough to share him with the world.

Thank him for releasing you.

Be kind. Be honest. Be beautiful.

You already are. One day you will believe it. You are free.

***

Sarah Haas wants to always lead with an open heart and fill her life with light and love, hope and possibility. A freelance writer, she has an MA in Media and has worked as a journalist, a teacher, an actor, an animal rescuer and a marketing strategist. She tries her best to celebrate who she is, forgive who she cannot be, and allow herself to grow into all that she may be. Her hope is for people to always choose kindness.

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