by Aja Houle
Someone asked me if I missed you recently.
I lied & changed the subject.
These days, I do my best to avoid all thoughts of you.
Sometimes I tell myself I'm stupid for still allowing the happy memories to flood my mind at all. I place each memory that visits me in a tiny box inside my mind.
I store it on an imaginary shelf, in a pretend closet, so that I don't have to face it. Then I close the doors & go back to pushing through my day.
Ironically, I've begun to wonder, is this where the term 'closet full of demons' claimed it's name?
The first thing I see in my mind is your smile. I see the golden freckles on your cheeks, & the beam in your eyes, as they begin to scrunch up, looking back at me.
I hear your laugh-- I hear the exhale that leaves your body & I feel the weight of your laughter-- that heaviness, crashing down upon me, as I try to escape this place in my head.
If I sit long enough, I can sometimes feel that rough skin that coats your hard working hands, grazing the top of my arms, as you kiss on the back of my neck, watching me quiver & hearing me....
A dark & ominous cloud falls over me suddenly. My thoughts are awakened & I quickly remember that you left long ago.
There are two sentences that cross my mind more often than not. I have danced upon their words since the moment you spoke aloud.
I hear your voice--heavy & so angry with me, saying, "You never loved me. You just loved the thought of me." No secret now that your half assed truthful statement was just that.
Still, I find it peculiar that the "fuck you bitch", "I never loved you", "How could anybody love you", words are not what pours over me when that cloud arrives.
I have to dig a little deeper for those surface level redirectives. I was ridiculously stupid for not better communicating better with you.
If I could press the replay button now-- I know all too well what I would say.
My response would be in light of the truth-- in the love & joy I found in you-- & I would tell you how in confidence-- that it was in fact because I was IN love with you,
that I loved the thought of you. The arrogance that I met you with, was of a foolish woman.
The second assertion dependent upon my capacity in any given moment for optimism.
I put myself back on the beach with you-- sitting side-by-side mumbling a whole lot of nothings, after we had labeled it as trash.
I think of us laughing at all the things that were no longer funny together. Our shared humor was always the light that drew us together, wasn't it?
I envision my arm intertwined with yours, observing as my chin hits the back of your shoulder, tucking me behind you; where was once my safe place.
The wind is so strong against me, just like the world always is, & I'm hiding from the ocean's breeze-- or maybe from the world, really.
I feel the silent gasp for air, and I fight hard to not release it, because I don't want you to hear me.
I feel my eyes coming to a squinting close-- As I'm silently shaming myself in my mind for stupidly forgetting in a moment's time, that your shoulder is no longer my safe place.
And I hear you speak the words you did that day--when I lifted my head back up from your shoulder--and time stood still alongside us. Your intuition did not miss a beat.
Although you could not see me, and you could not hear me-- "It's okay mamma, you can still put your head there, cmon now..." Not a word spoken, a sound muttered, or any visual observation....
not one moment to discern my devastation.... you just knew.
And my head falls back down, as I realize it will be one of the last times I ever feel the happiness & safety from this ocean of a world.
The devastation beyond those thoughts really just paralyzes me. I feel numb inside. They drag me without my permission through all the horrific things we did & said to one another.
Every thorn & every pebble in the road of the hell we caused, is so sharp & cut me astonishingly deep, that I had to stop feeling it. I had to start blocking it out.
When I feel grounded again, I envision myself on my knees at the end of that road in hell. I analyze the diversions of the two paths that lie ahead.
I see the one that I took against my better judgement for sometime. I gaze at this road so intensely. This road is so dark.
Must be the hate, the abundance of hurt, and the never ending unwillingness to forgive that shadows this one.
A stone as big as what Jesus was tied to at the Calvary, is crushing me down to nearly nothing, as I struggle to carry the burdens of scars alone.
I struggle forward slowly towards the redemption that is not promised. When I look to the right... I see the goddess version of myself.
She turns & calls out to me--smiling as she glides towards the brightness in the distance. I notice the tears falling down her cheeks, as she laughs in the purest of true joy.
She moves so swiftly, that even my own anxiety itself, abruptly launches-- pushing me off down this road & towards her-- still I fear of not catching up before she reaches deliverance.
I continue though, holding faith the I will arrive.