Till silence do us part.

It’s been two minutes since he last told me he loved me.

My heart is aflutter, my cheeks still flushed. It’s not the first time he’s said it, we’ve been together for a while now. He holds me in his arms, cradling my head as he looks down upon my face. We stand swaying in his kitchen, his old rusty radio whispering out a raspy melody into the evening air.

It’s been three days since he last told me he loved me.

My heart is content, my head is calm. Jagged Saturday sunlight pierces through the curtains and I sit up in bed. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and squint over at the clock. 10:38AM. Still another hour before either of us need to be anywhere, I think to myself. I look down at the man asleep next to me, facing away and clutching his pillow. Slowly reclining back, I stare at the ceiling, before rolling over and curling my body into the arch of his back. He mumbled a good morning, before we both drifted back to sleep.

It’s been a week since he last told me he loved me.

We walk through the park hand in hand, my mind matching sights and places to memories we’ve shared together – the tree we hid under that one time the rain snuck up on us, the flowerbed next to where we had our first date, the lake he jokingly nearly pushed me in on our anniversary. I ramble on, words falling from my mouth as easily as ever. He stays quiet, eyes forward and keeping a brisk pace. I don’t mind, we all have quiet days. I keep talking to fill the silence.

It’s been 20 days since he last told me he loved me.

The movie starts just as I walk over to the couch, bowl of popcorn in hand. I sit down next to him, and snuggle into his shoulder. He drapes his arm around me and I close my eyes, just wanting to enjoy the moment. The film rolls, and half way through I slide my head down and rest it in his lap. I fall asleep to him stroking my hair amidst the soundtrack of gunshots and yelling.

It’s been two months since he last told me he loved me.

We sit across from each other at the dinner table. I extend my right hand out, laying it in front of him. He gingerly places his hand over mine and squeezes tight. I let out a tiny sigh of relief, just the warmth of his hand still able to soothe my nerves. I look into his eyes, the once-romantic silence starting to feel heavier and heavier.

It’s been four months since he last told me he loved me.

I walk home in the rain alone, my broken umbrella abandoned in a puddle about 3 blocks back. Tears run down my face, masked to the world by the downpour. My mind does nothing but replay the last few hours. As I tore at my hair and cried, as he stood stoically in silence. That Goddamn silence. It would be the death of us.

It’s been six months since he last told me he loved me.

I close the door behind me, dropping my keys in the silver bowl as I walk into my studio apartment’s living room. My bag is flung to the sofa, followed shortly by my jacket. Shoes kicked off as I walk into the bedroom and I fall back onto the bed. I reach into my pocket, retrieve my phone and bring it to my face. I bring his last messages up onto the screen. The final straws, the one that broke what little we had left. Tears stream down the sides of my face as it washes over me what is happening. It’s over, I keep telling myself. It’s over.

It’s been 8 months since he last told me he loved me.

As I walk the streets still I see his face on strangers. I catch his scent as the rush of passers by emerge from the train, and all at once I am brought back a year, to his musty kitchen and his rusty radio. I’m left standing in that moment all on my lonesome. Swaying to the music, arms around my own body as I hold on to something that is no longer there. It disappears as soon as it came, and I am left standing solitary in a crowd full of people. I am not lonely, but in these moments I feel so very alone.

It’s been a year since he last told me he loved me.

I walk into my house, grocery bags in one hand, a bouquet of flowers in the other. I toss my keys in the bowl, and get to work on putting things away. At last I get to the flowers, a bright yellow bunch of daffodils, and place them in a vase. My phone buzzes, and I do not think of him. I go and sit down on the sofa, turning on the TV. A deep sigh escapes me and the first smile in a long time finds it’s way to my lips. Things were going to be okay, because he may not love me, but at long last, I was starting to learn how to.

Sunday rain

I stood outside on the balcony, hoping my stubbornness would make the rain stop. The water was soaking my hair, droplets falling down onto my sundress before rolling off and splashing on my new shoes. The shoes I may or may not have bought especially for today.

“Babe come inside, you’ll catch a cold!”

I stayed still for a just moment longer, my arms crossed. Today was meant to be bright, not grey. I turned on my heel, let out a sigh and walked back inside. It was only as the air conditioning hit me I realised how drenched I had gotten. I looked down at my dress, the yellow fabric dampened with the rain.

“Aw, come here, it’s okay” Elise offered, walking over to me. She wrapped her arms around me and held my head against her chest. “Today was meant to be sunny” I groaned, my voice muffled by her shirt, “And you’re gonna be all wet now. Stupid rain.” I squeezed her tight, before taking a step back. “What are we going to do now?” I huffed.

“You go get some dry clothes on, I’ve got an idea.”

On my way to the bedroom I passed the kitchen, where a picnic basket lay full of sandwiches, crisps and other snacks for the picnic not meant to be. Letting my inner child reign for a moment, I pouted and dragged my feet into the bedroom and threw open the closet doors. What to wear? I guess it made no difference now.

My dress fell to the floor and I put on one of my raggedy band shirts and a pair of shorts. I was shaking the rain from my hair when I heard something crashing to the ground in the living room. I rushed out to see Elaine standing with a guilty look on her face, mouth agape and pointing at the broken plate on the floor as if that would un-shatter it.

“Ya goofball, what did you-” It was only then that I noticed the rest of the room. The pillows and throw blankets from all the couches were on the floor, constructed into a makeshift pillow fort. The DVD player was starting up, my favourite movie DVD case lay open and emptied on top of it. My eyes went back to Elise. She was hunched over, having gotten a dustpan to clean up the shattered porcelain. Pausing, she looked up at me, “Well, go get comfy!” she chirped, before disappearing into the kitchen. I sat down in the middle of the pillows, and soon enough she was back, picnic basket in hand.

I suppose the day wasn’t going to be so bad after all.

The last somebodies.

“Hi, my name’s Krista” I offered into the silence.

I looked at the room of faces looking back at me, a peculiar mix of disinterest and eagerness in their eyes, as if they were happy to be hearing my tale, but equally happy that in an hour they would be out of this room and may never have to see my face again.

“I..” The words choked up my throat, clinging to the aching tips of my lungs like children scared to leave their mother. I knew the fear. Once the words were spoken there was no taking them back. No undoing, no ctrl+z like in the safety of my writers den.

God, I just wanted the room to swallow me whole. Deep into the darkness of the four corners that eluded my eyes, to be swept aside and left to hide in my angst and for the world to forget me. Or, more fittingly as I had not spoken the words yet, for the world to have never met me.

The silence of my fragmented start was thicker than the blood pulsing through my arteries. The swilling went right up to my head, and as I always do – as I always and always will do – I began to over think.

Should I have come?

Was it too late to back out?

Of course it was too late, stupid girl.

Just get on with it.

I tried to push the words out again, “I… I’m..” But my weaknesses on this occasion held me down like it had all those times before, and in my embarrassment and shame all I could do was lean forward and exhale. Exhale I did, and with it came the tears. Before I could help myself I was sobbing into my arms.

The room felt like it was shaking with my heaving stomach, as I tried to compose myself, swallowing down the emotions that were spilling out of me. I felt a hand on my shoulder, a girl I think, I had sat next to her because she had kind eyes. Her hand was on my shoulder, then my back, as I finally regained control over my breathing.

Even more silence.

I looked up, and took in the room. Many were looking at me with pity, one – a girl with tattoos all over her arms and calves – was staring at the clock as if she was waiting for it to run out of numbers. But mostly there was pity.

“It’s okay.” The kind girl spoke. It was nice to hear a voice in the room that wasn’t mine. She took my hand in hers briefly – her skin soft, mine soaked from sweat and tears – and gave it a squeeze.

“We’ll get through this”

The Touch of a Butterfly

My eyes gazed around the room, taking in the vibrant atmosphere in the room, all the jovial conversations and happenings that were going on. A couple talking to an older lady, the woman linking her arm with her partner and resting her head on his shoulder. A group of women gossiping about something or other, the room was filled with noise. But even with all the sounds and sights around me, my attention always found itself fixated on one woman on the other side of the room. Fate had it that I was sitting in a way in which I could make the odd glance her way, just to soak in her presence. I had seen her around before at other events, and each time I had been mesmerised. But never had I spoken to her. Never had I had the nerves to get up and introduce myself. The closest I had gotten was at one party where she had needed to get past me as there was a crowd, and our eyes met briefly as she glided on by.

But tonight was going to be different. I was sure of it. Well, I wasn’t, but I had plied myself with enough blind optimism and wine that I thought that anything was possible. So, a few glasses later and I started to move around the room. I started talking to a man at the bar, who as it turned out worked for a company that had sponsored the night. I chatted to him and a few other people, schmoozing the room as best as I could. I made a point of staying in the same area, as more people came over to talk to us. I think I hit a sweet spot of alcohol consumption, as I managed to speak my mind freely, but not in the dysfunctional manner my grammar usually degrades itself to after drinking.

I looked back over to her, wishing I could be in her conversation, in her presence, just around her. I made a passing remark about how it’d be cool to talk to her, and the man I was talking to jumped to attention and said he could get them over. He knew her! Bless the heavens, it was going to happen. I felt butterflies erupt throughout my whole body as I tried to keep my composure. She walked over and greeted the man, and her eyes met mine. And then we spoke. We spoke, and I was happier than I think I’ve ever been. We made small talk and found common interests, speaking of faraway cities and their beauty.

I don’t exactly recall how long we spoke for, it was a flurry and yet I was hung on every word that left her lips. I never wanted it to end. Eventually someone she was with said they had to go and they said their goodbyes. I wished with every bone in my body to leave with her, but I did my best to play it cool and move as seamlessly as I could back into conversation with the others. The facade held grip for a while, all the while the realness of what just happened sunk in and I felt the butterflies come back.

God, she’s gorgeous.

k.

The sleepy angel soon awakes,
A mess of unkempt hair.
Her innocent stance she soon takes,
Of temperament wild but fair.

She starts to laugh, her eyes light up,
Her smile begins to grow,
The air is pierced with her wild laugh,
For all the world to know.

Then through the light she turns to you,
Her fierce blue eyes meet yours.
Within her eyes you see her true,
Her eyes like open doors.

She starts to move, not keeping still,
Her actions not deprived,
Of the charms and gentil of her will,
The angel has arrived.

[Written July 2009]