I do not know how to love halfway. You look at me, expecting the soft rays that rise lazily on your wall in the morning, the shadows revealing the birds at play outside your window. You look at me, finding only mid-summer’s unforgiving glare. “Get it out of my eyes!” you cry, and I try to move out of your way. We keep meeting as you scurry this way and that, searching for solace that does not blind you, the sweat dewing on your forehead and neck.
I do not know how to be sad. You look at me, thinking this will pass, so you crack a joke. I cackle with apparent glee, but it is dangerously close to turning to the wheeze of a sob before it peters out altogether. I smile, I laugh, and if I cannot do either of those things, I disappear. I become a ghost behind my smile. You look at my eyes, but you do not see them.
I do not know how to have sex. You look at me, thinking of my curves and porcelain skin, the freckles I have hidden from plain sight. You need not worry about blinding me, for you look at me with only the light left just before the sun sinks below the horizon. You think of other women, too. My curves could easily be theirs; when you are in the desert, thirsting, you do not think one drop of water tastes any more exquisite than another. That is what I am to you. I do not know how to do the thing you would do with me. I only know how to kiss, and be consumed.
I spend some nights crying at the parts where Gatsby realizes he loves Daisy and it changes the course of his life forever; the part where Maria realizes she cannot love halfway either and becomes a prostitute; the part where Daenerys smothers her Sun-and-Stars as she says, “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” and I believe, when that happens, maybe I can love you without it eating me alive.
I do not know how to love halfway. It has been all that is wrong with me and all that is right with me. The universe has had its way with me, become drunk on my tears that turned to stars and pink nebulae. My love for you has turned to a shadow that became stuck in concrete in all the places I wrapped my arms around you. Long after I am gone, people will feel the shadows and wonder about them, but I will be hiding somewhere behind the moon, while the universe leans against me, reeking of absinthe and smacking my ass.
© Holley Hyler | January 2018