i suppose i could say none of this ever happened.
as i looked up from my book i noticed an intensity on your face - the absence of a certain presence that has frightened me before and continues to do so.
on our rides back to the mainland you would inch closer to me and wrap your slender arms around my side and hold on for warmth. you were always colder than i was, and i guess i liked that. i wanted to always be your radiator, your home, your tired bedsheets; your reliant gun.
thinking back, i am almost certain i had sensed the unrest in those furrowed brows, pursed lips, and flared nostrils; thinking back now, i should have caught whatever was leaping from your eyes and held on and tried my damnedest to understand it and eventually release it back into existence.
and it was then, on that bench aboard the maquoit ii, as it trudged back home, that i realized all that. and perhaps you fought back too hard; perhaps i held on too tightly and unintentionally smothered whatever fire you had been building to keep yourself warm.
looking forward and out, towards the mountains from this wooden perch, i recall the foolishness in my beliefs, the daft attempts to maintain something i did not completely understand.
and i cannot forgive myself for that just yet,
no, not quite yet.
what little i can remember i have begun to doubt.
i cannot recall the last time i was able to sleep on my own accord, cannot recall an instance in which the birds did not call to me as the sun rose, as if to warn me of the false start, to maintain the notion that today is tomorrow, and will be yesterday, if i were to go on this way.
and now i’m afraid to do anything at all,
anything that may, in one way or another, pertain to how i continue to love you.
the islands remain afloat by the town where i once lived and the large boats still ferry souls to that very beach where i was reminded of just how much i loved you, where i learned that i cannot hold your heart the same way an ornithologist could hold a bird without crushing its wings.
and it hurts, y'know?
it hurts to hold this hope that, somewhere down the line, years from now, when you will have soon forgotten most of these moments, there might appear a small break in that dam you built so well over the months following your departure.
and as those moments pile on, so will the pressure against the slabs until the possibility of holding it all back is almost inconceivable. and that dam will surely, inevitably, fall when you least expect it; on your daily drive to wherever you need to be; sitting up in bed and weeping silently so as not to wake the body beside you; as you’re in the kitchen, with your eyes closed and head bent low, arms folded into the corners of your body, swaying side to side to a tune you heard once, once in a hazy room surrounded by drunken fools and unrestrained tender hearts, where you learned that you tend to peel the labels off your beers when you wish you had something to say.
and not everything will hold. i know this to be true.
but, of course, this is all in my head.
and i’m not sure if i am ready to will it all into existence
because i’m afraid that one day i'll lose the sadness. i’ll lose that which has propelled me into this manner of being, this way of life, however it may appear, in whatever form possible:
a derelict ship in a foggy bay
in which the lighthouse keeper is dead.