#25: Six Falls Later

Before

Don’t ask,

Don’t tell.

Don’t air your dirty laundry.

Don’t look out of line.

It never happened.

 

Fall, 2011

One fall my life changed with the trees.


New places and new people,

how familiar their unfamiliarity,

will become.


If I had known that not getting you ice cream

Would lead to the end of my innocence,

I would have bought you the whole shop –

Just to erase that day.


I remember that night like it was yesterday.

Is it true? I asked.

I’m so sorry, he said.


I looked myself in the mirror

I didn’t recognize my skin,

I didn’t recognize my lips,

I didn’t recognize my rounded features,

But I now knew where they came from.


Sometimes I think about being a child,

How many faces were there,

And how I thought they were the ones who would mold me.

Little did I know the one who would make all the difference,

Was the one everyone else knew was missing.


Seventeen years too late.

So when I couldn’t divert my frustrations to you,

I pretended they were about him.


I called my best friend

And told her what I knew,

At 5 years old I looked at her and had no idea who she’d become to me.

We were always a single soul,

But that day made it that much more true.


Secrets are what fueled my privilege –

Or should I say ours.

Easy face, easy place,

Half a race.


You can take a fallen apple from a tree,

And make it into a piece of the pie.

It doesn’t change that it fell from that tree,

Even if it looks better that way.


I always think they’re hiding something.

If you ask me who they are,

Its every one of them.

Every girl I befriend,

Every guy I’ve looked in the eye.

Every person who said they would take care of me.


Pretty little house,

Pretty little cars,

Pretty little life,

Pretty big lie.


You could say I’m thankful,

To know that the only person I know I can trust

Is myself.


My curls are out of line,

So I straighten them out,

Like you did to me.

My dark roots stand out,

So I’ll bleach them too.


I get why people lie,

But I will never know,

How you looked me in the eye,

And said it wasn’t me.


I chose to start a new life,

I chose to make new friends,

I chose to fall in love,

I chose to erase what I knew, for the sake of you.


He showed me that love does not begin

with bloodlines.

He showed me that love begins

when you look at someone

and realize they’re everything you needed.


This is no longer your burden,

It is now mine.

Your selfish choice,

Made my selfless heart.


Fall, 2017

Its six falls later,

and I remember the first time,

My life changed with the trees.


And I recognize my face again.

I know the one in the mirror

Is the one I needed to see again.


I know you did your best,

I know your choice was hard,

I know. I know. I know.


Holidays remind me of what I have,

Birthdays remind me of all of you

And how lucky I am,

Year after year. From the day I was born.


If there’s anything I learned,

It’s that love is unconditional,

Not by default in the blood you share,

But by choice. Your choice.


I fell in love once,

The one thing I swore I’d never be able to do,

But I did.

And I could do it again.


He felt my burdens,

I know he did. But I held onto the next thing,

That could hurt me more than you.

Just to prove I could feel again.


I guess you taught me something,

Theres no limits to the love you choose to consume you,

I say choose because your choice made all the difference.


Thank you for looking at me just the same

For reminding me it’s not my fault,

For letting me know I’m still a piece of the pie.

No matter the tree.


Pretty little house,

Pretty little cars,

Pretty little life,

Pretty big hearts.


I look at them and realize they’re mine.

Not half mine,

all mine. And they’re the loves of my life.


Everything I have is because of him,

But sometimes I forget to tell her too.


I have seen so much of this world,

I’ve connected with so many souls,

I ran so far and fast. I never thought to stop.

But when I did,

You are who I ran back to.


I’m sorry for the pain you felt,

23 is too young to feel alone.

I’m here now and I can barely take care of me,

I hope one day you’ll know how to take care of you.


 

And I know that my heart is only bigger because of this.

I know I can love more than anyone I know.

I know that I don’t see limits on the oceans we cross for others.

I know because I once hopped on a plane,

Just to say I love you.


I got into a cab once and showed up to your hotel,

Lied and said you were expecting me,

I got the key to your room,

and even though I was yelling,

even though I was in full rage.

I was begging you to love me more.


I have passion and fire,

I have the ability to feel for everyone.

I have been to the bottom,

I know I will see the top.


And when they get too close,

I push them away.

When they tear me apart,

I hold them close –

I’m working on that.


You showed me that beginnings can come

Seventeen years too late.

And that today is just as important as yesterday.

And tomorrow can make all the difference.


I remember when I wondered if tomorrow was worth it.

And how many more tomorrows came after that,

And how many of those tomorrows made the difference.


But no matter how good it gets –

Secrets are my weakness,

I will always hold them close,

And destruction will always feel like home.

I hope

You’re not angry.

Because I’m not, anymore.

And that you realize this story,

is mine.

And you have yours.

And together,

it made all the difference.

 

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