If I had it my way, I would take back every time I said not I love you, but I adore you, my admiration palpable and thick as the silver tightrope between us. I would take back the times I needed you. Would take back the times you pried open my ribcage and I relaxed to let your fist close over my heart. Take back the revealing of my thin underbelly, every time I rolled over to show you how soft and small I was, a creature of defence, an animal with simple needs like adequacy. Not so hard really.
I would take back the times I launched myself into you like a pilgrimage, like an exhibition of discovery. Yes, I am an explorer. I seek to understand before I dominate.
Take back the love notes and red paper hearts sent special delivery. Take back the mornings I woke satisfied. Take back the days of shoving myself into a corner and letting you insert word after careful word onto my tongue like communion from a priest: the body of Christ. I took you as seriously.
If I had it my way, I would take back the longing, the pining, the days of anticipation. Really that was always my favorite part: waiting for you to arrive, because before you were there you would only be who I wanted you to be, which was exactly the problem, because while I woudl dream you one way and observe you another, you would rewrite my DNA to better match the way you dreamed me.
I would take back the times I let you rewrite me. As though you are the novelist (and not me). As though I am a character and you have a chart where you can fill in my attributes: likes. Dislikes. Coping mechanisms. Compulsions.
I would take back the times I told you what I want, because I should’ve known it wasn’t you and left it at that. But who knows that when you are a master at shapeshifting, at chameleoning to become what those around you need?
I am still waiting for your thin, soft underbelly, to see you roll onto your back, sit calmly and hold enough space still that I may walk right into it and unfurl my arms, uncurl my fiddlehead ferns. I am still waiting.
I am still waiting
who isn’t you –
no wonder the waiting was always
my favorite part.