old scars, achey joints.

Location

I didn’t fall in love

I saw him and I fell on my face

Arse over tit, head over heels

Tumbling over my handlebars and headlong into something that

I didn’t understand but that he did

I did not fall in love

 

That night when we ran through the maze together

Jacket falling off my shoulders, autumn chill drawing my skin up off of me and to him

I let him chase me into secret places that he promised he knew the way out of

When we kissed the first time

My eyes were wide open and I stood still

I don’t know what I was waiting for

But it never came

 

In the little alleyway between the portables, the gravel

Crunched beneath my converse and the torn hems of my jeans

He laid me down and I squeezed my eyes shut while his fingers learned a gospel that I owned but did not know

I said, “it’s your birthday” and let him palm my breasts under my bra for twenty-eight seconds

Because the twenty-eighth was his birthday and I didn’t know how to set my own boundaries

When he unzipped his shorts and I dropped to my knees, my breath hitched in my throat

He didn’t put his fingers in my hair or offer me soft words but when he was confident enough

He fucked my mouth like he owned it

 

He told me he didn’t want us to hate each other and reached out to touch my thigh

I didn’t want to be another cliché in her best dress, waiting for something that wouldn’t come

(I was reminded of the day I told him I loved him

He told me he was hard, and I stood to leave but he kissed my mouth sweet and soft but never as pliant

As he wished it would be

He yelled he loved me back when I was yards away and I threatened to spill his guts if he was lying)

I stood up and left; my skirt spun around my thighs and up my hips

I marched until I crumpled and called him three times begging him to change his mind

He didn’t pick up and

I didn’t expect him to

 

I don’t know if he’s in love now

He wants girls who are soft and sweet blonde haired and smiling

They are good girls and I wonder if they make him feel the way he made me

I am aware of him constantly; he is an old scar an achey joint a piece of me he took with him when he left

(He lurks in my peripheral vision, laughing with them brighter than he did with me

I itch and burn and I want to peel the skin off instead of scratching it

Not because I love him now but I did then)

Sometimes I see them walking together smiling together and I look away

I don’t know if it’s because they shine too bright for these eyes

Or if it’s because I’ve never shut my eyes to him and I’ll never be able to

I wonder if I will look at someone the way he has looked at them

But not the way he looked at me.

And never the way I looked at him.

 

I didn’t fall in love with him

I loved him with every bubbling burning piece of me

My mitochondria loved him, the atoms in my sweat loved him, my cell walls burst with the force of it

But I did not fall in love with him

And he did not fall in love with me

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