I walked the edge to where you were standing,
oblivious of the vertical drop on either side.
Fear of falling comes later.
Cigarette in one hand, and your scarf interlaced in my other,
I leaned in to study you. Then said hello.
Introductions are protocol, but I already knew –
I would have walked anywhere with you that night.
You smelled of soap and sun
and your green eyes, unwavering,
filled me with answers to questions
that maybe I should have asked,
like, “are you planning to eat me alive?”
but I know the answer to that now.
And maybe the asking wouldn’t have mattered.
Because as I pressed myself into your space,
your worn leather jacket smooth against my cheek,
I marveled at how well we fit.
How safe it felt.
How happiness pulsates.
How I did not want to be anywhere else.
How willing I was to be yours at that moment.
When you left my house,
I stared in the mirror by our front door.
I wanted to see what I felt like –
watch the way my chest rose and fell
lean in to examine the mouth you had just kissed goodbye.
I quivered, as we do when there is so much possibility.
You never called.
At first I chalked it up to the game people play,
three day rules and all,
and even though I don’t play that way,
I was willing to experience it, barely.
Then enough time passed,
and the feeling became an empty one.
I’m not a stupid girl,
and I don’t roll over and play dumb,
but I cannot remember ever waking up
shaking with cold sweats, with disappointment,
like detoxifying after the high.
And now I want those moments back.
Those pieces of myself that I gave away,
I want them back.
Because when I told you that I was honest,
I meant it.
And when I told you that you could tell me anything,
and be safe, I meant it.
But I don’t anymore,
because I don’t want you to tell me anything-
I want the truth.
But the problem with the truth is that we each have our own.
And clearly ours are different.
And I don’t want your truth.
So I’ll take my power back the only way I know how.
I will see that I walked to where you stood, willingly.
I will see the great vertical drop on either side.
And though the ledge was too narrow for us both,
I will find my footing, and walk on.
And I will learn, because that’s how we do it.
Next time, safety first, and so I will hold my ground.
I will go through introductions, keeping my hands to myself.
Your charm will not become the noose around my neck,
and if you say you are in,
I won’t believe you.
(photo by Ashley McCue “Eternal Escape”)