We have a complicated relationship, you and I. For the longest time I denied you. Held you out of my life as a demon, a mistress of whispered blisses and joy-blind slides down torn and turgid tracks. I heeded the authoritative klaxons, was even awarded for their echo. I was, as defined, good.
I saw you, sure, saw your smirk upon the faces of my friends, your scent on their fingers, turned tightly through their hair, leeching from their pores. I saw your scattered path upon the grass. I wouldn't walk there, though. Not for anything.
Curiosity is a hard thing to brook. When possibility lingers there, always just off the end of your fingers, the current it conjures can overwhelm. So I dipped my toe in the water. I let you whisper on my lips. I didn't feel anything. Not hot, not cold, not happy, not sad. Merely throat burned and muddled, confused. "That's what I was missing, what I was being warned away from? I don't feel anything."
"It's common, the first time, not to. Try it again."
I did. I kissed again.
"This! This is what I was missing! This is what they warned me about? This?!"
I'd been hoodwinked. Again and again I walked that foggy path, our fingers entwined, and again and again I did not die. Didn't ache, didn't hurt, didn't crave through clenched teeth or turn toxic in my need. It wasn't anything but a key to a door I didn't know was there, a door to your little chamber inside myself, a room with a particular sort of view.
It was a beautiful bloom.
We met in parking lots. In alleys and between dumpsters. In rooms with toweled doors and scented candles. Even, when we were feeling frisky, out among the open skies. We were lovers without a love nest, making do with where we were, what we had, who we were. We were young. We were in love.
It has been a rocky romance. You've cost me, dear, cost me more than you've ever paid. You became not merely a jealous lover but a crutch, a method for coping with a world that, whether through your tint or not, I do and can not know, looked harder and harder to exist within. But you were there. Your arms were always open and always so inviting, so warm to the touch, so tender upon the lips. You made it easy, or at least easier.
What one doesn't notice, however, when they depend upon a crutch, is how they tend to atrophy toward its continued use. You were so easy to love that you grew hard to set aside. I brought you everywhere with me, all the time. You were always on my mind, a peach whose nectar flavored everything in reach until the only thing I tasted was your honeyed lips upon my own. I was lost in bliss. And I have to find my way out.
See, here's the thing: It's not you, it's me. I can't go on like this, living like you and I are all there is. Because we're not. I'm not. I'm so much more than this, than our little corner of this great big world. And I'm holding myself back, if only to be with you. I can't anymore. I'm sorry.
Look, we knew it would be this way. That it couldn't be forever. I set dates, drew lines, and yet broke them and crossed them to be with you and you alone. But I can't any longer. This can't go on. It has to end here.
We'll go our separate ways, you and I, walk our separate paths where they diverge, here, at the tips of our toes. I'll walk along a while, feeling our ways wander apart across each passing mile. I'll be alright alone. I will.
I won't say I won't miss you. That I won't look back. But I must be Orpheus and you my Eurydice. You must stay and I must trudge on, alone, and even empty a while, but whole again.
Goodbye, proud Mary, goodbye.