Have you ever seen defeat in progress? It happens to people, stretched out drawn out over years, a life slumbering by in activity until the day they wake to two-children-and-a-white-picket-fence cliché, and they feel bleak. It's nothing and everything they asked for when they once believed in wishes.
There's a buzzing in my head, z zz zzzZZZZ and oh look, it's you, you're talking to me again. Blending into one person, all the people in my life with a claim on me that you all deserve, say you do. I love you, I don't lie about things like that anymore. I love you, and everything said and done echoes the buzz-buzz-buzzing.
There's a boy with sad dark eyes, long eyelashes curving away from my wandering fingers, and he asks me, exhausted, how I stay awake. Draw on your well of wisdom, his wan face says, and I stare at him and know what he wants me to give. Get over yourself, I say instead, towering over him with my short stature. Leaning on the balls of my feet and bouncing with angry energy, unnatural.
Ah my love, you tell me to not be harsh when you overhear, and I ignore the reproach you save for me with a little harsh laugh. Spite turning my face from you, my shame keeping it that way.
I dreamt about you again this afternoon. In the mindspace between one sleep to wake, you came to me then. You touched my face, gentle; drawing cold wet fingers under my eyes deep into the sockets and it was sweet the sweetest I’d ever felt of you. I remember now, you smelt lightly of beer and leaned into me. I made myself small around you - not everything has to be different, unrealistic, in dreams. You were emotional and tired, maybe even crying a little, and I wanted you more than ever.
You would never cry where people could see you; so none of this is true, not one part real.
But I miss you.
A gift of words, she said to me of me this morning, face upturned in autumn sun on a harbour shore, and she meant it a laurel to bestow. I watched her eyes flutter closed, a hitch in her throat as she breathed in crisp air. I couldn't stop watching, it hurt my eyes to see her reflecting glory, a rush of love and silent adoration welled in my selfish heart.
I'm so tired, my mouth opened to tell her, so tired of everyone but you. I thought it a secret to repay her with. Caw caw the dirty seagulls moaned, and it was the same sound I made with every sentence.
I stretched and swallowed into a smile instead.