treason and surrender

Perhaps the one thing the great poets failed to teach me about love is how often it feels like treachery. That my choices can be so rooted in my heart that their tendrils wrap through my arteries. That they tug them to and fro as they make their way out into the world. That as I try to terraform the life I deeply crave, the tilling of this earth feels like desecrating sacred ground. 

I know I’m not erasing you from my life. I know that I’m not ridding my home of all traces of your existence, with mirth. But that’s what it feels like. The husks of your nails litter the crevices of rooms like shell casings. Your hair clinging madly to the surfaces like refugees. This quiet, peaceful home is a silent battleground playing out in all the places you used to lay. And I am the traitor that lost it for us both.

I still expect you to enter a room. I wait for the sound of your voice at appropriate moments. I feel the extra space you’ve left like I’m standing in the crater your bomb created. The whole world is assembled as it should be but everything feels like the aftermath of a warzone. 

My mind still scrambles for understanding of this thing I’ve done. That you’re not mine, and you’re not here, and you never will be again. That this thing that wound around my heart and melded itself to my very being is just…gone. 

But I won’t wipe your fingerprints from the glass door. The ghost of you clawing at me when the sun shines just right. And I won’t wipe your nose prints from the window. I won’t remove the harmless traces that you were once here. But I don’t think I should need the reminder. It feels like you’re right behind me all the time, and I wonder if it always will. I hope so. But perhaps my penance for making this choice is not a pleasant haunting. Perhaps you’ll go someday and you won’t come back. 

I wonder if when I leave this place, some part of you will remain. The hollow shells of memories, the very last pieces of you floating through the air. That I might see you from the rearview mirror sitting in the window against the setting sun.

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