Keep Art Alive :: Art by Stella Im Hultberg
“Am I frozen?
But it’s summer.
Is that rain or is that me?”
The images of a city, gone but not forgotten, sting my eyes and heavy my chest. I reach for it, that spot where we imagine our heart-shaped box to be, and I try to ease my breathing. I fail, as the tears fall.
Sometimes I stumble upon the words, his words, and like the images of those streets and high above trains, I am swept up and backwards again. A catapult throws me through time and seasons into the chill of fallen snow on my skin, lips chapped but warm and tingling from stolen kisses, and the feel of his eyes meeting with mine.
It meant everything at the time, but now, what does it all mean?
I grow tired of wearing the villains disguise. The guilt, it bends and breaks my stride, tripping my fall, and scarring the rear view mirrored reflection. Would it only stroke his ego to know that I think about it more than I should? That I have suitcases and notebooks full of regrets I never speak of? That I still finger-trace maps while daydreaming of jukebox adventures and phone-booth snapshots.
Would it give him even a moment’s pause to know that I once truly believed we were the stuff of forever? Does he know how much it hurt to not be fought for, and to be replaced so quickly? Does he care to know, or am I now just one of his muses, to go back to and re-open, but only for the time it takes to write another poem.
They should warn you to never fall in love with a writer, especially if you are one yourself.
It does not matter anymore, for that I am certain. I am smart enough to know the score. Now and then I play the music burned for me, read the letters and let my eyes flutter back into a state of wrinkled sheets and shared sighs. I made so many mistakes, yes, I suppose that we both did. That knowing means nothing when looking back, though.
I stare at it, those memory cases, the fogged window with a younger me pressed up against it, holding and exhaling a half-smoked, hand-rolled cigarette, and I feel frozen from the inside. It feels like Winter in my mind despite the heat outside, as I recall overcoats and airport welcomes, long cab rides, and a girl given as a present to be unwrapped spread out beneath a beautiful boy’s smile.
I wish that boy had tried to hang on to me, but I guess I was not that girl for him after all.
Never Leave Your Heart Alone :: Butterfly Boucher