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She took every step out of the house
As a public declaration of something that didn't exist.
Every door a closet to emerge from.
What was simple to me was revelation to her.
I watched her mistake sex
Every time we had it.
She twisted every introduction
Into a sign of intimacy.
I didn't know how to stop her from spiraling
So I didn't.
It couldn't be my job to ground her.
If she wanted to float
Despite my honesty
What could I do but let her?
When she touched me
Her fingers spread
As if she was trying to hold all of me at once,
Trying to make her hands
Span the width of my back.
Trying to make her love
Span the width of a lifetime.
I asked her to stop straining.
I repeated my intentions like a mantra
Each time I saw her
But it seems she never heard me.
I felt her slipping into love without me.
I told her I would never follow.
How much clearer could I have been?
When I decided to move, I didn't tell her.
She came over
For what would be the last time,
Saw the boxes and bare walls,
And asked in as measured a voice as she could,
Where I was going.
I told her Texas and watched her break
And pretend to be whole
In the same moment.
An hour drive became 20,
Became an impossibility.
She never cried in front of me
But I saw how easily she could have.
Maybe I should have let her
And pretended to love her too,
Pretended that if it weren't for the distance
I would be hers.
I didn't think of that in the moment.
I offered her a drink
And asked if she wanted to play pool.
She watched while my brother and I played.
And I pretended not to see.
My brother went to bed
And we held each other,
Her fingers spread as wide as she could stretch them.
She pressed her lips into my cheek
As if trying to forge a memory of herself that would last.
I lied to her
About when I was leaving
And made plans to see her again for her birthday
But I would be long gone by then.
I had to replace the sadness in her eyes with hope.
I couldn't stand to feel guilty
When I took her to bed.
And why should I
When I told her that was all I wanted?
Her fragility was unfair
To the both of us.
She pretended to be ready for me
And I pretended to believe she was.
Now she is broken
And I am gone
And I don't know who to blame.