A friend from home—C—texts me. He asks me how I’m doing and tells me he misses me. I wonder what it is that he misses. My lips, maybe. My naked skin beside him in a borrowed bed. My hands in his hair or my breath on his neck. I miss him, too. The simplicity of it. Two lonely people coming together to take the edge off. A relationship free of romantic entanglements. A safe place to hide, for a while.
My bones feel brittle beneath my skin. A soft covering of rust that rubs off on my fingertips. My collarbone aches to be kissed. I’m tired. Exhausted, really, from this marching of circles. This retracing of steps. I feel like a Jack-O-Lantern, carved out and hollow inside with a permanent smile cut into my face. Tired and waiting for the light to go out. Waiting for time and weather to cave it in. Waiting to be picked up and smashed against a curb. See, the insides are gone. The heart of the pumpkin is baked and consumed. The weight of me sits heavy in someone else’s stomach. The core of me is packed in the back of his closet or pressed between the pages of a book by an author I don’t even like. Fucking, Hemingway.
I want it back, this heart of mine. Short of that I long to bring them together—heart, body, and mind. I wasn’t built to love this way; scattered over the land. Bits of me left for others to nurture or ignore. But, this is my love. Burning holes in the bottom of pockets. Causing the misplacement of keys and the loss of small change. A sweater, worn and used, that you don’t wear but can’t bring yourself to throw away. I am that sweater, worried between fingers, held to the face and breathed in. I am that lonely sweater folded and put away in dark claustrophobic shelves, begging to be worn.
It’s not simple. It’s not easy and I would retreat if retreating led anywhere but back to him. I would turn tail and run if he weren’t always there blocking every exit. Stubborn to move. Refusing each and every goodbye. I would cry if—dammit—it weren’t always his arms I found my strength inside. My love is both blessing and burden; draining life in the same moment that it makes it so distinctly worth living. I love in both pleasure and pain, both empty and full, here and then gone again, achingly treacherous in the steps I take to come closer—so close, only to dodge a kiss, slip a hand or dance aside. This is how I love.
Sadly, this is how I love and I know no other way.
Bon Iver – Skinny Love