WHAT YOU CALL ONE THING I CALL ANOTHER
After Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
No, he never pried me open, never saw the blade fall from my fingertips. That was my truth. Still, I saved the best of myself for him—when the anxiety of lying with a woman who loved him began to soak through his clothing, I reassured him in kinder tones than I have ever used on myself. I was not a sin, I was a celebratory feast and he was no gentleman. He was a hungry fool with the meat of his last kill still hanging from his teeth. ‘Wipe your fucking mouth.’ I said. The mistake was letting him think I was prey. The mistake was letting him think he chose me.
In my defense, my favorite rides are the ones that spin you around the fastest. In my defense, I love when the floor drops out. In my defense, second place is first runner up.
Distance does not make us stronger, does not make us safer. It breaks down lies so that they are digestible by the time they reach the other party. I have loved harder apparitions that I have never met the ghosts of people’s quickly whispering fingers. I am a collection of late night confession and open door dreams, find myself attracted to old souls and wandering stars. When you allow the dreams of married men to unfold into your miles away life, when you start to drink just so you can turn your computer on, when the insomnia creeps in, know you have simply become a placeholder. It’s time to turn celebration. String memory from neuron to neuron like crepe paper and become welcome party to the grief.
In my defense, I’ve never met a carnival I could just walk away from. In my defense, I’ll always read your letters. In my defense, I tattooed my wrist to keep it safe.