On Looking in the Mirror

Love, listen 
You gotta own up to this shit too 

Because no, it’s not your fault that he’s a lying asshole 
But it’s on you that you said

“I’ll be patient.”
“No, don’t worry about it.”
“I promise it’s okay.”

When it fucking wasn’t okay. 

Because you are the one that prides themselves on being chill. 
On never being called crazy, or at least, not to your face. 

Because you have seen women, so many women, who let their emotions ride them and force men into that passenger seat. Who can’t let little things go. 

But those little things add up. Those little things mean something. And chill does not mean that you don’t have emotions. That you feel nothing. 

And because you’ve not been monogamous, you haven’t had a real, concrete relationship, you haven’t learned how to speak for yourself. To say, this isn’t right.
This isn’t how I should be treated. 
You’re not my boyfriend, but you fucked up. 

Instead you say 
You’re not my boyfriend, so I have no right to be mad. 
Even though you are.

And that’s on you. 

For setting the standard so damn low and being annoyed when even that isn’t met. 

Because my darling you deserve the moon 
The stars 
Flowers and hugs and kisses on the cheek. 
You deserve to have your hand held 
To be introduced as, ‘You know, that girl I was telling you about?’ 

Just because you aren’t monogamous doesn’t mean you are undeserving of respect 

Maybe if you didn’t act like you knew you weren’t, and didn’t deserve to be, his number one
He wouldn’t make you his number two

You’ve spent so much time bottling it inside, swallowing your emotions down, allowing tension to creep through your shoulders and to turn your muscles to cement to contain the feelings threatening to drown you. 
And when asked a question, instead of the answer you want to give, your flood may leak over, you may speak in nonsensical ways because you are not just batting with what you should say – you are battling with yourself if you should say anything at all. 

And through the mess you see what you fear the most. 
That look of 
‘You’re crazy.’ 

But now you’re sitting here wondering why he’s not texting you when you gave him carte blanche 
To treat you however he choose 
While you say 
‘It’s fine, I’m here for you.’ 
While you’re dying on the inside 
Wondering what you’ve done to deserve this 

And you did not ask for this level of jackassery 
You did not ask to be treated like shit 
But you did not demand better 
Because you felt you couldn’t 

That, my love, is what’s crazy 
You know you deserve more 

That someone fucking up your night and saying ‘I’ll make it up to you…Netflix and chill?’ Is not enough 

That someone saying ‘It’s just so confusing right now, I know she wants monogamy but…you’re just so cool.’  And then taking her on dates but ignoring you for days on end, is not okay. 

That someone saying ‘I promise, she means nothing,’ taking you home with them, then announcing on Facebook she’s their girlfriend is some cheap shit.

You are allowed to be upset. You are allowed to feel. And calling out this bullshit should not be your responsibility – but it is.

Because you have to be your own cheerleader 
Your own advocate 
Your own coach and overprotective best friend 

Because if you don’t set that standard so high that it provides you shade is this sweltering sunshine

Why on earth would he?

On Daydreams

I’m wiping down the bar when you come in. 

The door swings open, and I look up to say that we’re closing, I already did last call, but stop when I see it’s you. And I smile.

You’re wearing a faded shirt, and those dark jeans I love so much. Boots that are not weather appropriate. Your hair is a perfectly tousled mess, but you’re already running your fingers through it again. 

“Hey,” You look around at the empty place, and stay by the door. “Are you closed?” 

I shake my head. 

“Not quite yet. You want something?” 

You nod, and try not to look too awkward as you sit where I point, a seat at the end where I can be close to you. 

“What does not quite yet mean?” You don’t open the menu I put in front of you. 

“It means, I’m shutting down, but can’t lock the doors for another fifteen minutes. So, it’s last call, basically.” I smile, you don’t. 

“I’m not-” 

“Shut up and pick a drink.” I keep working, cleaning, running mats and tools through the washer, and try to ignore your eyes on me, remind myself how to breathe, keep my heart rate down. 

You ask for the beer I already know you’ll want, and grab one out of the fridge, and pour a whisky for myself. I tilt my glass to you, and you tap your bottle against it. 

You keep looking around, not sure what to do with your hands. You tell me, “I didn’t think it would be this quiet already,” 

I shrug, and don’t say anything. I’m waiting for you to speak, to tell my why you’re here. But instead, you just keep drinking. So I turn around and keep working.

“You always close this early?” You ask. I shake my head. I lean against the shelves, looking at you, picking up my glass again. 

“I don’t want to keep you.” 

“You’re not keeping me.” I take a drink, needing something to do. I’m afraid, afraid you’re going to leave, afraid you’ll decide it’s too awkward, that you need the break of other people around, other things to be distracted by. 

“I’m glad.” 

You say it as my face is turned, and I don’t hide my smile. Five minutes to go, and I’m counting the cash in the drawer. I move around to the front, decline your offer to help, and bring the sign in, turn off the outside light, and lock the door. 

And now we don’t know what to do. 

Because we need to talk. We really do. But neither of us want to. Neither of us know how to. There is so much there that we don’t have answers to. So instead, you ask me how much more I have to do before I can leave. I tell you, not much, and finish what I need to finish. You’re nursing your beer by the time I’ve finished and clocked out, but I need another whisky. Badly. Need something in my hands if you’re here, looking like you do. You smell like smoke and something else I’ve never quite been able to place. 

I sit down in the seat beside you, and the corner of your lip tilts up in a smile. 

“Do you usually have after hours drinks with customers?” 

I shake my head. 

“Emma,” You don’t know where to start, I don’t know where to start. But you’re here, and I want you to be here. And that’s enough.






But this is my problem.
I don’t know what happens next.
I think of you and how you’ll look and what you might say, but I don’t know from here. 
Because in my mind, this is where it ends. It’s you being there when I need you to be there. To show me that you care. 


But this is not our story.
This is not you. Or anything you would do.
And I know this.


But when it’s late, and hot, and I’m about to lock the door
I wonder what it would be like if you were there, hoping to be let in.

On Distraction

If I fill my calendar 
With drinks 
Coffee 
Lunches 
Work 
Training 
Sex 
Then I won’t think about you
Right?  

If I scan through apps like it’s my job 
If I search for something, anything, that’s like you but not you 
Then will I finally forget you? 
Will the memory of your touch flee from my mind? 
Will I stop looking up when I see someone who looks like you, not want to flinch away from them, because I see you in their eyes, their nose, their movement? 

And if I keep my brain occupied enough, paint my nails to stop myself from biting them, focus on everything that is not you, then each day should be easier. If I let the days become a blur, will it take a month, two, three, before I can go back to the places you took me and the drinks we had together and not care? 

And with each day I don’t hear from you, will it be easier to forget why I wanted to hear from you in the first place? Remember that you are replaceable, that you were the placeholder on the road to something better? 

Or, is that how you think of me? As a temporary solution to a problem you wanted to ignore, to be cast aside when it was convenient? 

I will never know. 

Maybe with time 
My resentment 
And my anger 
And my hurt 
Will fade

And I can think of you the way I want to 
With a fondness and dull ache 
Instead of the bubbling of something I don’t know how to process when your song comes on 
Or when I see your book on my shelf 
The bottle on my counter 

So I’ll preoccupy myself. 
And forgive myself that I need time, and probably will for a while. 

And I will hope you don’t show up 
Making me start all over again 
Unless you’re there to stay.