you and me

I Need to Remember That I Know You Well.

I feel you hovering.

You’re a lover I forgot to grieve. I still see your shadow in places where we last were. I say things and realize that they are the echoes from conversations we have had. You keep showing up and I wonder if it’s a sign that we will end up back together.

I remember when we first met. It was like I had known you my whole life; like you were always part of me and I was finally learning your face and name. Despite my instincts to brace myself against what I perceived you could take from me, I embraced you. You were a force to me, one I felt swept by. It was all like a dream. Nobody seemed to understand our connection.

When we sat in the dark, it was like the secrets that poured from me were finally accepted and understood. You became my new secret. People began to comment on how I had changed. I noticed it but didn’t want to admit it. There were so many red flags, but I became skilled at managing them.

There was something eerily beautiful in the darkness we shared, and we both know how I have a penchant for both of those things.

It was the ache leaking from the holes in my life that were created by my displacement of energy, from the things and people I loved to you, that drew me to reexamine our relationship. I realized that I couldn’t stay, but the way in which your presence weighted my soul had become shockingly more than I could resist on my own.

I didn’t remember giving you that much room, that much permission, that much power, that much of me.

I learned your name was Depression.

I had never slept so much or so deeply than in your arms, but the safety you suggested seemed to never be enough to last and I always needed to return. You didn’t care about what I was missing, and your selfishness disgusted me and made me angry.

I was afraid that all the ways in which I was told we could sever ties would lead to my losing not just you but large parts of me, like my passion and creativity. Opening my eyes to my slow-motion downfall was overwhelming. Everything you had given me escape from now demanded more resources than I had to give. Leaving you would mean drowning in reality.

I named myself Burden, and I wanted to die.

Everyone and everything I loved seemed like it would be better off without us; perhaps Romeo and Juliet had it right.

This was the lie that I learned to leave behind, but your memories still haunt me. Sometimes I smell your scent, I feel you graze me as you pass by, and when other people talk about you, it is like you are looking right through me.

You will somehow always be a part of me, and my work is to remember that I get to decide how much. I get to announce your presence, and I get to take back what you steal. I know you well, and I need to remember that I do. I’m not the only one you’ve been with. Your infectious lies are only inoculated in the light of truth.

You can be what you are, but I refuse to be ashamed of knowing you and having been prey to your romantic overtures; this is how I forgive myself, gift and guard myself.

I feel you hovering, but you cannot stay.

***

Erica Bauman resides in Cincinnati, OH and has recently gone back to school for her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Her favorite places to visit in the city are Washington Park, OTR, Findlay Market, Smale Park and the Roebling Bridge. She revels in the opportunity to catch a game or live performance, whether that be an FCC game or a Riverbend concert. She is a proud student, volunteer, and supporter of the city’s own Improv Cincinnati. She believes deeply in the beauty and stories found in the people and places she comes to know, that music makes everything better, and that laughter is truly the best medicine. She hopes to impact everyone that crosses her path in that they feel they are somehow better for having done so. She has been published with Societyletters.com, Iamleyahshanks.com, and Holl and Lane Magazine. You could contact Erica via Instagram.

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