opening one cage while cementing another

she looked at me for a long moment, weighing the words before asking

do you still hate me

i don’t know what i expected her to say but it wasn’t that

a swarm of knives flew around my mind unbidden, so many hurts and wounds and scars still forming

no, not any more and never really

she smiled at that, relief and joy dancing on her features

she steeled herself and spoke again

do you still love me

this was easier


the woman you were and the times we shared, the love we made and stormy seas we traversed together, the long nights of us against the world and the way we clung to one another when the world itself seemed out to get us

of course


she smiled the smile that brightened the room and made the sun envious of it’s shine

birds sang and woodland critters frolicked in the grass around her feet

she leaned towards me

i leaned farther back

she looked confused

what’s wrong

just because we shared our lives and are forever entwined together doesn’t mean it is a road we need to retrace

we saw how that ended

our love was so furious and burned so exquisitely that it sucked the fuel from the room and left me in cinders rapidly cooling when you left

an innocent grabs the burner on the stove

a fool goes back for more

take your absolution and know i harbor no ill will to you my beautiful mistake

but don’t hope to find comfort in these arms again for they know the folly of clinging to tightly too the storm

she stared at me, unsure or uncomprehending

but we’ve grown and we’ve changed in our time apart, i’ve learned from my mistakes and become the woman you saw in me, the one that you loved so purely and didn’t have the ability or experience to love you back the same

i smiled at her

it was true, she had grown and blossomed and found a way to become even more radiant over time, the youthful spirit maturing into indomitable will, everything i knew was inside of her, had tried to help her cultivate and become she had done in our time apart

but my smile was wistful and she saw it didn’t affect my eyes as it did my mouth

i shook my head and my earrings rattled and her eyes grew wide and watery

our’s was not a final destination kind of love, our’s was the journey

from it you bloomed into magnificence

from it i crawled bruised and battered but worse for having tried

together we became better even if we didn’t notice at the time

but our journey ended and new ones began

you will find that object of your heart’s desire somewhere and he will make you smile like i did once upon a time

but he isn’t i, and i’m not he though a part of me wishes i were

she nodded as fat tears rolled down her cheeks

and what about you

i realized important things about myself, hard truthes no longer disguised

i’m better off not burning myself again on the fires of love though i want to

my fingers have deadened nerves and i can only remember the sensation of fire and that’s dangerous and only leads to ruin for all that are involved

i’m shattered beyond repair and in no hurry to sweep up the pieces and diligently try and put them together again

there is beauty in relentless pain, comfort in ceaseless agony

that’s the place for me

we sat in silence for a while and i stood and went back inside without a word, fearful at what a lingering hug would turn into

and i sat all alone as the ache magnified and my words struck home like hammers

it’s better this way

for her

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