That I’m suddenly reminded of things I thought were gone
Of that night in your garage Of you holding me steady, your hands on my knees, my hips, as I try to balance, reaching for something high above me Of the feeling of your smile
I don’t want you back I don’t want you back I don’t want you back
I hear a song,
And we’re back on your couch We’re doing nothing, together You’re telling me you like my legs Your roommate is making us drinks
Four months after you left I started seeing Someone Else. And he made me happy, for a moment And when he told me what you didn’t think to
When I felt the crack and saw him falling through I held on like he was a man thrown overboard Desperately trying to pull him back to me When he’d wanted to jump in the first place
He wasn’t what you were But I tried to convince myself he was Because I couldn’t do it again Couldn’t have the same reason twice in a row Couldn’t be the inbetween
The pause button
These things have been repeated in my mind, in my words, for so long, it feels meaningless to even try to write them out
Not that you ever would
You could come back to me on bended knee And I would still want to say no I can’t live in fear of your mistakes becoming reoccurring nightmares
I woke up this morning And I don’t know why I thought of you
It’s been over a year since I’ve seen your face And I never told you then, and I certainly won’t tell you now But I loved you I want my love back I want my time and my secrets and my vulnerable words whispered in the dark
I don’t want to erase you But I need your ghost disappear Vanish under the cover of a smoke bomb And leave no trace of itself behind
Does that make sense? I want to be alone I don’t want to talk to you I don’t want to do anything I just want to be alone, but with you there
Because you won’t tell me I need to talk, or be anything other than what I am being And maybe just being with you I’ll be able to talk to someone Express the feelings that swallow me like a black hole Pulling me in Pulling me under You don’t ask that of me So I feel like I could give it
Does that make sense? I doubt it I’m rambling Sitting in a lavender scented tub with a damp notebook and a hand trying to fly away from me
I don’t want to tell you what is happening, but I also do I want you to know To help me lift some of this weight off my shoulders Not pick it up for me – you wouldn’t, and I would hate you if you tried. But just keep me company while I set it down for a while
A rest between sets A momentary pause To breathe And analyze where to go from here
Because in between the call that never came And the texts with no reply And the words still ringing in my ears Between the voices in my head telling me to stop Not to try That I will only ever fail, at everything
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
This bakery, that I haven’t been to in almost a decade. With
Douglas Adams trivia on the chalkboard, and cupcakes the size of my face.
It sits on a street paved with red bricks, a reminder of an
earlier era, with little boutiques and shops and another cupcake place down the
It’s a beautiful place, the water right nearby, the air
clean, the buildings so beautiful. It’s a place that screams of money, but with
a vibrant energy that only those who are younger can bring.
And I think to myself, maybe it won’t be that different.
But, of course it is.
There is no longer trivia on the board, there is a sign
boasting its lack of wifi, there is coffee served in the back and cookies line
shelves in the front. There is still a place to sit, and the cupcakes are still
And I can’t help but think, you might’ve been here.
To see it.
To see it change.
To see it become what it is now.
Because it is a moment, if only briefly, of, this could have
been your life.
And it’s not sadness, or regret, necessarily. It’s more of a
For that moment, when you chose this instead of that. Turned
left instead of right. Because where you are now is not where you thought you’d
be, not where you a decade ago had planned.
Just like the walls of this place, you have changed.
Maybe, in another life, I walked along these streets again.
I lived this. I came here, stayed here. And maybe I walked with friends, or a
partner, who would laugh as frosting covered my nose. Maybe I’d do different
work, sitting at this very stool.
But I probably would not be drinking milk in my tea.
And, again, it’s not regret.
It’s a wondering, about the life I almost chose.
And who’s to say which one is better, or worse.
It just is. A sign that we don’t always get the answers to
the questions on our minds.
So, I will take this box of cake to the home I now have.
I found this in my cloud the other day. It was written a fair few months ago now, and I don’t know why it wasn’t a post then. But it’s basically still true, so, meh.
I refer to this friend too often not to give her a name, so, the friend from On Dirty Minds will now be BB.
BB and I had a conversation a while back, regarding relationship needs, what we could emotionally handle vs short term wants.
I have a post planned that will get more into this and into the whole ‘casual dating is the devil’ thing that a lot of people seem to have a problem with. I’m not talking about that here.
I’m talking about wanting to have sex outside of friend groups, outside of connected people, someone who I could have sex with without strings attached, get my horniness sorted out, and move on with my life.
At the same time, I understood that would be a temporary fix to the problem. I wanted someone who I could turn to when I was having a bad day, when shit was going down, and say, look, not trying to make your life more complicated, but I could really just use someone to cuddle with right now. We don’t even have to talk, I just want company.
Because this city is really fucking lonely.
BB didn’t find this odd, necessarily, but applauded my little arctic fox self for coming down from my snowy isolated hill and admitting this. Admitting that I might want something ‘more’. What that more would resemble, I’m still not entirely sure.
So tonight, when I’m so sore I can barely move the lower half of my body, stressed about work, stressed about basically everything, and want something to hold on to, what do I do?
A part of my brain says that I just need a body, someone there beside me. Another part says that anything physical won’t help.
I don’t know what’s the need and what’s the want. Is it a need for physical distraction? The thought of having to open up emotionally to someone makes my skin crawl, and makes me even more exhausted, but maybe it would be nice?
It’s something I suppose I need to sort out. Eventually.
But for now, I have heating pouches, a stuffed dog, a memory foam mattress, and Xbox.
On a chilly dark night You walk beside him on the street “Just for a few blocks,” he says, “I’m close by.” And you talk, and you laugh, and you shiver in your jacket.
When you get inside there are books, and things to look at. Things to compare. There are candles, and dim lighting and music comes through speakers A list you suggested and he likes There are curtains that could be closed or not, windows that could be shut You say no Because in a few moments his skin will be on yours And you don’t do well with sweat
Then it’s sighs, and moans Fingernails scraping skin The tickling of his scruff against the inside of your thigh “Please,” “More, please,” Hands everywhere, gripping, pulling, supporting softness of lips against the feeling of your hair being pulled back, and back “Such a good girl,” And he says your name A whisper as he’s done.
An arm is draped around your shoulders You lean back against the couch And you discuss things, improvements for next time Kisses, then more kisses goodbye They are different than before, less restrained “You’ll see me around,” And he sends you on your way
And you’re walking back down the street, to a bar you know That will always be open for you And you sit back with self satisfaction
You won’t think Well, you’ll never see him again You could have said no, let’s go out another night. Let’s go get a drink first Treat me like more than a booty call Because that was what you wanted You wanted him on top of you You wanted him to make you scream To make you feel To know that someone like him was not out of your league
So you’ll leave it, for a few days And assume he’ll message But Eventually You have to decide And you think Oh, he’s probably traveling He’s busy He’s with someone else And you hope Well, maybe he’s just as awkward as you are
But you’re not awkward You know what you want And so you send a message, a joke, an olive branch You say hello, in a way you know how And your phone will stay black And silent
You will come home, and light a candle The scent of spice a reminder of another season Of a past time When things were changing And leaves were dying And you were hurting from new things and healing from old ones And you will want to retreat, but you no longer can Not the way you used to
You can no longer run and hide from things From how you feel Or the idea of feeling And you what you wanted that idea to be You will breathe in the calm air, the humidity will cling to your lungs As you try to understand That you were weaker then
Because to be the one that says hello Is admitting that you want to talk That they were on your mind And all your time hiding in the dark, refusing to try Did nothing to prepare you For when you finally tasted the sun.
He comes in a suit. It’s clean. With a matching tie. His beard trimmed. He tells me, “If I attacked you, you wouldn’t look me in the eye.”
He and his friend had come into my work the week before. Drank too much. Tipped too little. His friend said he wanted to hear us fuck. They try to get me to leave with them. They say we’ll play guitar and sing. Maybe more. They say I don’t have to fuck either of them. Or I could. After all, the night is still young.
I get them out the door, and he stops, right in front of me. Tells me “But I just wanted a kiss,” I ask him it back. “Did you just want a kiss?”
He smells like whisky, with bloodshot eyes. His skin droops and sags. “Well and then see where it goes, but you won’t fuck me. You won’t ever fuck me.”
Another coworker is waiting, trying to get inside, but he’s on top of me and I’m back against the door unable to run back inside or leave. So I kiss his cheek and say, “Get home safe.” And they finally exit, let my coworker come through. Let me go back inside.
So he comes back in his suit and says “I don’t remember what happened,” He explains, “My friend told me I should come back and ask you out. That you’d say yes.’ He tells me, “The other guy, the other one that works with you, said I don’t know what you did but I basically raped you.”
He says, many times, “But I didn’t rape you.”
He sits at the counter, with his smoothed out hair and alcohol on his breath, “I am sorry, But it’s all moot isn’t it, Because you will never fuck me.”
And he doesn’t understand that what happened was intimidating. That his presence makes me nauseous. He says “I didn’t assault you”
“I didn’t touch you,”
“I didn’t rape you.”
Because this standard is such that If you, a well meaning man, Come into my work Where I make the money I need to survive And make me feel threatened, Trap me with no place to run Tell me I’m only as important as my legs will spread for you It’s okay Because, as you said, You didn’t fucking rape me.
Because I will still look at you. Because I will talk to you.