Notes on First Love

  1. On the floor of a room intended to be nothing more than a bridge to other rooms and a closet for a lazy teacher, I bawled like the bitch ass child I never was -- not even on the first day of kindergarten when I watched my mom walk away from me. I was privileged to be ignorant, for once, because I had no experience with the feeling of being left. I couldn’t taste the clarity of abandonment in tears I’d never shed. Until then.

  2. Maybe saying “I love you” isn’t the best way to bid someone goodbye. I wanted to remind you that you were leaving someone who wanted to see you again and again and again, a thousand times over. You said it back. Once. The bird in my chest fluttered and sang, but my voice reduced to a croak as I watched your eyes flicker and widen and suddenly I was enveloped in your arms, bound so tightly, as if holding me together would prevent the sound of shattering pieces from ricocheting in your memories, as if your sincerity in the way you breathed “I’m sorry” into my skin could remedy the ache of hearing “I didn’t mean it” sever every chord and every string that held my heart in a single place.

  3. I know you didn’t. You didn’t have to say it.

  4. Seven continents once knew the feeling of Pangaea, unaware of the sweet taste of unity until unprofessionally ripped at the seams, reduced to single silhouettes of separation. Every tectonic plate fit perfectly in the expanse of my body only to be called faults, just because of their tendencies to tremble, to panic, to destroy, to slam their edges together in a gruesome clamoring heap because your absence leaves me with too much personal space. Years of life have trained my bones to withstand the elements, but even the branches of my rib cage quiver against the whistles of wind, the sound of emptiness no longer buffered by the family of butterflies you’ve raised to call the core of my being their home. You could have called me your “home” and I would have welcomed you, every single time, but there’s no point now; I no longer have enough of me to feel at home anywhere. Everyone can testify to pain, calling temporary suffering beautiful because it doesn’t last forever.

  5. Nope. The taste of pain is bitter and vile.

  6. Underneath every tunnel I hold my breath and watch the copper lights sail across the darkness like shooting stars, all willing to make my wish their personal endeavors. Every wish is the same rush of tangled syllables. “I hope he and I heal, I hope he and the girl of his future are forever, I hope I can be happy, I can only hope I can be happy.” This has become my prayer. I hope God hears heartbreak from heaven with the same ears he gifted my father with, one pressed to my mother’s womb as his brows creased, eyes closed, listening to the distant heartbeat of a girl who would never outgrow the comfort of his arms.

  7. I don’t love you now, I promise.

  8. I only love the memory of you, the way your eyes formed crescents when you smiled and the brushstrokes of your fingertips on the back of my hands, a cartographer’s contemplation ablaze in your eyes as you tried to commit the rise and fall of my knuckles and the pattern of my veins into your memory, so no matter if I erode with time and perish before you do, at least you could remember the fit of my palms in yours. At least you could remember the thermal equilibrium that was you and I. I appreciate every flash of lightning and every falling raindrop that doesn’t give a damn about dams. Let the flooding begin, because you can’t bottle a storm and watch it rage forever. Every wildfire becomes ash and cinder. Every tsunami is swallowed back into the sea. Every memory has an expiration date. Every memory’s natural disaster is to forget.

  9. If there exists an unbroken promise from me to you, it’s this—first love, I’m okay. My favorite taste became the sweetness with which you spoke my name and called me sweetheart. I saw you in everything, even in black and white prisons of printed word that could never capture you and boast everything I miss about you, because, honestly, you’re the finest print I’ve ever read. But I’ve watered every pillow I own with tears and six months later I have a garden to plant my dreams in.

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