I can still feel the weight of your lips on the curve of my collarbone. Sometimes, it feels paralyzing, crushing, absolute. Sometimes, it feels like home. Like everything.
I once heard that when you can't fall asleep it means you're awake in someone else's dream. I wonder which one of us was dreaming that night, because everything was too quiet, too easy, too perfect. You used to fall asleep next to me, your body curled against mine. It's a warmth that's not easy to forget. A hidden smile tucked into pillows and sheets. It's easy to think these things will last forever when you're tangled up together. For me, the strings of my life will always be tangled up in yours. Forever tied to you. No matter hard they attempt to fray. To fall apart. To sever.
It's snowing for the first time this year. Soft and gentle, glittering in the sunlight, falling in large flakes, easy and quiet – nothing at all like the storm that rages inside of me, turning up the corners of my heart, throwing shrapnel in my skin, leaving its mark, since nothing has been easy since you left. Nothing has been quiet. Nothing has been soft and nothing has been gentle.
It's been nearly a year since your footprints melted away from the patio of our apartment building, but I still look for them there. I don't know if I think it'll make it easier if I knew where you went, but I do know that every chance I get, I still wish that I had followed after you. But by the time I wanted to find you, the snow had gone away with you.
It's not easy being alone. It's not something they teach in school. Not like they teach you algorithms and how to solve for x and the meaning of "allegorical" like anyone fucking cares. They didn't teach me how to solve for you missing or how to pay my rent or what it means for the world to go on beyond the simple fact that it's still spinning.
I still wake up in the morning, but the sheets are always cold. I still start up my old car, waiting for it to cough to life. And I still drive by the cemetery on my way to work and it still sings to me in a language I don't understand. It reminds me of you and how you used to change like the seasons, but somehow uneasy, like a tornado in January, a snowstorm in June, a heat wave in the dead of winter. I flinch when I remember your storm of temperaments. I should've known something was wrong because you weren't steady and I wasn't steady and we were falling. And for what? – a few extra moments of safety before the streets were buried alive. I could see your footsteps weaving away from the back door of the building, but it wasn't worth following you. I'd followed you too far and now I was stuck here. I'm still stuck here – still waiting for that warm moment to come back too me. Skin against skin under covers. Hearts against hearts behind soft whispers. Hands in hands with nothing better to reach for. Nothing better to want. But you can't give me that anymore. So I wait. Indefinitely. Inexplicably. In denial.
You're intangible and my mother keeps telling me to pray for you as if clasped fingers and archaic words can undo a thunderstorm, take the lightning out of the sky, and bring you back to me. But even after all of that, there are still puddles at my feet and packed cardboard boxes at the door. And you're still leaving me. Or maybe you've already left. I can feel it in my bones, in the center of my gut, in all the soft spots inside of me that are collapsing under all this weight. The weight that used to be a kiss. The weight of all of this.
I don't pray for you, because that would mean admitting you're gone, because even though I was there, they still have to remind me of the twelve inches of snow that swallowed you whole, the smashed headlights, and broken bones. They still have to remind me of the flashing lights, the screech of the sirens, the hospital. Even though I was there, they have to tell me about the funeral procession and the cemetery that sings to me even when I'm not awake. They have to remind me that you didn't leave, but I won't listen. Because that would mean you were stolen from me, taken some place better as if being here with me wasn't enough. It would mean being gone forever, but leaving means you can still come back. If I follow those footprints far enough, maybe I can still find you.