On Seeing the Person you Love, Love Someone Else

When she tells you about her for the first time, she will be drunk.

Don’t react.

Keep a smile in your voice and on your face.

Use short, concise sentences, like, “It’s all good”, or , “I wish you happiness.”

Don’t say much else.

Your voice will show you are running out of air.

The anvil she dropped on your chest just landed.

You haven’t gotten good at breathing around it yet.

Realize that she doesn’t love you. She never did.

Practice saying “it didn’t work out”

and “we broke up”

until you can say the words casually, without tears.

The first time someone asks you about her,

You will feel tears form.

Make sure to cough,

let the tears be explained away by allergies.

Make yourself as busy as possible.

Wake up at five am every day, so you can go to the gym before work.

After work, go to the gym again.

Volunteer for everything, say yes to every request.

Spend hours writing, late into the night.

You know how to do this.

You’ve gotten good at being used and discarded.

You need to fill every second of every day with as much activity as possible.

The goal here is exhaustion.

The long, endless nights in a dark, quiet house are the worst.

Avoid these at all costs.

That’s when the tapes in your mind, the ones you have had since childhood, will play.

On repeat.

They will bring your deepest, darkest insecurities to you.

They will belittle you.

Demean you.

They will try to make you believe you are worthless.

When you realize they are now playing in her voice,

it will crush you.

Begin a new practice of having a drink before bed.

Just one.

Drown her voice with bourbon.

The goal here is oblivion.

The first time you see a picture of them on Facebook,

you will be physically ill.

As you wretch over the toilet bowl, your stomach will turn itself inside out.

You will realize then that in the past week you have eaten exactly

five grapes

and two saltine crackers.

That’s why you can’t get sick.

Your stomach is like the rest of you.

It can’t tell when there is nothing left.

Know through all of this, that this is not your fault.

You love someone who doesn’t love you back.

She doesn’t love you.

She never did.

She never will.

 

Ghost Story

You tell me you watch ghost stories alone in the dark

When I tell you I can’t do that, you tell me ghosts aren’t real.

I laugh, because I don’t know how to tell you how wrong you are.

My ghosts don’t roam empty corridors, or hide behind doors that no one dares to open.

My ghosts inhabit my body.

They roam the corridors of my mind,

and hide behind the door of my heart,

that no one dares to open.

Panic is a phantom that dwells in me, sometimes for months at a time.

Anxiety an angry specter leaving my extremities numb and shaking,

my heart racing,

and the people I love alienated.

Baby, to be with me is to inhabit the haunted mansion that no one will go near.

It can be a hopeless place,

with a thick black shroud of depression blocking out any hope of light.

But today,

when you held me in your arms, you made all the light come back.

You told me I am amazing,

and my hands shook,

and my heart raced,

not from panic, but anticipation,

and today,

for once,

the ghosts were silent.