Endearment

Photo by Greta Unetich

By Greta Unetich

11/02/2021-11/03/2021

No one needs to know that it was you who pressed closer to me early this morning. No one needs to know that I remember you from almost two Januarys ago, that I remember winter on the other side of the tall church windows, making the early evening so dark I could see your reflection behind mine.

My dream flickering on and off for years on end—

Stepping through your sliding glass door, words from your mouth, pulling sheets from your dryer. I broke the promise as soon as the sun set at five o’clock, barely three hours earlier. January will be here again soon. Our legs twine. I broke the promise as soon as the sun set, blood-red in the dark so you can’t see it. You tell me that you feel as if I own you when my tongue is on your face, so I put my heart inside your body.

I need to tell you sleeping alone is so painful it should be a sin. The broken promise spreads across me like a wildfire, my own words blood-red. I am grabbing my own reflection by the throat through the mirror and shaking it. I need to tell you that the fact that we are not in love with each other pains me so much it should be a sin. I tell you how I cried over you because I know that you are too beautiful for me. I knew it years ago and I know it now. The scars are still on my left ankle. As I look you in the eyes, I am new. How I could love you. How I love you.

When you come back into the room after getting a drink of water, light from the hallway pours in as you reopen the door. Light so bright at this hour is unnatural and it hurts my eyes. I am tired, so tired I think the hallway light is the light you see in heaven. I want to ask you to tear me apart— the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The thoughts rise like threads of steam from the mug on the counter in the dark kitchen. There is a dim, eerie light hitting the corner of my mouth. I can feel the steam on the other corner. The thought of you breaking me over the edge of your bed like the spine of a paperback, the thought of my eyes closing slow, like a sunset, the faraway thought that you are not for me. Your hallway light is as eerie as the kitchen’s.

Behind every person,

There was a fight.

There was bloodshed.

You said you were sorry you woke me in the middle of the night, but something had overcome you that made you want me so bad while you were on the border of drifting back awake.

I won’t wake up early in the morning again in your room, freezing cold, you won’t drive me home at the break of day in early November, the sky baby blue and foggy, the air clean and cold. Three days later, it frosts. Exhaust from cars fills the cold air in the parking lot. Three days prior, I saw your breath in the air.

I’ll give you contrition if I am allowed to see you again. I need you like my body needs needles, whether it be for vanity or for administering a lifesaving protein. I won’t ever be able to tell you that I love you. I cannot let the truth slip from my tongue. All I can tell you is that it is an endearment to hold you.

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