My eyes are swollen with too many wakeful hours. I can’t breathe deep enough, can’t manage to fill the length of my lungs. I sustain myself just long enough to stumble home and fall into bed, a click click click and then darkness, the sleep is never enough. The sun always rises and with it responsibility and obligation. I stumble into each new day off-balance and wild-eyed, searching.
I line up the pills that whisper promises in my ears, take them by the handful with my coffee, wait for the caffeine and confidence to kick in. When my stomach growls I tell it it’s not hungry. I drink water flavoured with lies and look to the ceiling, imagine the sky. The different shades of gray that all feel the same.
I stop answering.
These are my tentacles retracting. This is me condensing, fitting myself into the smooth belly of stone and shell. Soon, all you will see are the whites of my eyes.
Soon, I will be pressured and resized into polished pearls.
String me up, not out.
Let me rest at the pulse of your throat.
I’ve been waiting all this time, just to decorate your neck.
I swear off men. When the last line from the last time was a flickering neon sign:
“Don’t worry, give it time, you’ll figure it out.”
“Have you? Figured it out?”
“No. I guess not. But, I have faith.”
The welling up of emotion, my heart struggling to strike blindly from my chest, needing so badly to sink its claws into something; anything.
“Faith, huh? Yeah. No. I don’t have that.”
Closing the door on his saucer eyes.
My life in doors closing, in lonely walks home, in learning to sleep spread-eagle in a double bed.
All the lessons I never wanted to learn. I take notes for you, tattooed on the inside of my arm, at the crook of my knee, behind my right ear. I whisper my wisdom like nonsense, like drug-addled monologue to the streets, and wait for your red-penned corrections. Your bleeding criticisms.
Your gold star.
Sucking on rocks just to fill my mouth and searching, searching, searching for a place to pause.
A halfway house for my heart.