The quiet comeback

I will tell you that the parts you thought were the hardest will make you bloom and bloom and bloom.

I say this to the woman I will be, 3 years down the line with sun written in her hair and on her skin, laugh lines deep as a heartbeat.

I know you thought it wouldn’t get better. You thought you’d always feel not-good-enough, guilty. Stupid. You walked around with ideas about the next few months, and they were always tied to someone else. You wrote, but you pretended it meant nothing. You walked like someone had looked at you and didn’t like the shape of you in a sundress.

You stopped loving the way it all tasted, and you got so small you could fold yourself in two as easy as forget to eat. You went right up to the ocean’s lip and turned around.

You sat down, and wrote a story about a man of ice, and you left him behind. You danced, drank tequila and started throwing love around like come-backs. You cried at everything, and it came up roses. You came across someone who loved hard work, and carving permanence into their skin like trophies, who could read a book all the way to the end and like it. And you didn’t sell yourself short, or out. You spoke, and laughed and stood up for all the things you liked. You found a way to disagree, and be better for it. And then you left for something strange in all the ways you knew you would love, and the only thing you carried on your heart was a lemon.

And berrybrown-skinned, or pale, long hair or short; you felt tall in ways you thought you left beside the ocean that one day when you were 8, and tired, and dripping with vanilla soft-serve. You moved to a city, and you loved the smell of the sidewalks. You started loving the way you used your words, and most days, you laid your poetry at your own door. Some days, at someone else’s. In the end, that part of it mattered least of all.

I say it all, sending it downwind to the person I’ve always loved most, even when I let her down and left her standing on a street in Paris feeling like she failed. Dripping honey in all the cracks I never thought would heal, I tell her how it all turned out. We’ll laugh and laugh and laugh, because isn’t it all so hard, and yet so impossibly simple.

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