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  • Writer's pictureKali Van Dusen

every other day

on a never ending relationship with love






every other day i curl up into myself. I fold in like clockwork. The air feels stiff, my lungs are twisted, my skull creaks under the weight of my brain. Driving home towards the sunset turns melancholic instead of healing. I can’t tell what is an ache for the past and a yearning for the future. Maybe (likely) a combination of both. Everything is my fault because I said it was. Tomorrow will come, and the sun might be warm again, and I might laugh without listening to the sound of it, and I might lay down in my pool of love without waiting for it to kill me, and I might forget about the way i’m worried i’ve become irreparable. And i might reach out and fall into something strong yet soft without holding myself down and forcing myself to feel it. And maybe it will wrap its arms around me, and I won’t thrash or fight it, and I can stay forever in this love because it wants me to. But of course, i will wait. Waiting and time move in tandem, with no end in sight. I wait for time to pass, and time proves my patience just might be worth it. The seeds of all my parts know we curl back in at sunset, like a flower. And i’ll find peace in my collapse, make a bed in the thorns, and keep waiting and waiting and waiting.


It is anything but silent, this purgatory. My skin is raw from all the hands that have touched me and the burning keeps me up at night. My body caves in under the weight of loving him, a burden that may never ease in its heaviness. I reach my arms out to hold him, forever, softly and all at once. Each article of clothing that made a home on the floor of his bedroom was the beginning of a new ending. Each late night I stumbled my way into his room, I was slipping further away from him loving me. I rest my head on the knowledge that I would have held his body in mine forever if it meant I could look into his green eyes for twice as long. His lips on parts of me even I haven't touched meant I was sinking further into the depths of becoming unknown. I became the sum of my parts to him, bare naked and exposed - ripe for his eyes and eager hands, my mind and soul buried deep where he couldn’t think about them.


When he left, I blindly searched for the only thing I knew - what I thought could mend these open wounds that still won’t heal. I found more men that lead with their limbs and have already handed their heart to someone else. I opened myself up as a place for them to be warm in the night, as I lay cold and dying. I curl up into myself. My skin burns. My blood thickens and my brain pulses and my heart beats in my ears, my throat, anywhere but my chest. I kiss these beasts back, I put my hands where i’m meant to, i sweat alongside them, i watch the sun rise if it feels right (it never does. It lacks warmth and the proper light. It isn’t sunshine, or even morning. It’s just time passing). These bits and pieces - maybe they’re gone forever. Maybe I gave them away in my pain i called revenge. I am a million parts of a whole, and strange rough arms hold all of them. Their words echo in my ears like a mantra - crazy, selfish, crass, what part of my body are you the hungriest for today? 


I have never felt anything lightly. I have never been indifferent towards love. Or hate. Or anger. It seeps through my veins, bleeding out onto the floor. It colors my tears, staining my face. I’ll stop shaking when i’m dead, when it kills me. Even in my numbness, I feel every inch. I pinch the edges of it, I kick the center - daring this carcass to get up and try again. All the lips I’ve found across this city, all the beds I’ve left my body in while I still went home to him, all the sidewalks I’ve crawled home on, begging to be in the passenger seat of his car - they are sacrificial. I uncurl, force my bare chest towards the coastline for guidance - and yet, I still fall. The thorns claw me back to them and I let them. I am tired of this fight - I am so, so tired.


But I’ll keep waiting. I’ll keep begging myself to rise back up to try again, and I will fail (because they’re not him - nobody quite is), but even the ache of my nothingness begs for love that spans lifetimes. 


I’ll keep waiting for my voice to be the right volume for the space it fills

For a hand to reach for mine first

For it not to be my fault the first time

For sympathy, for understanding 

For that look that makes my stomach twist inside out and my lips quiver as they wait to be kissed

For unconditional

To wake up without thinking about him, and her, and him again, and them, and him, and her, but always him

For patience, for kindness, for i love you 

For “this reminded me of you”

For your heart beating into mine

For a call to come back to shore

For what feels now like the impossible


And, unfortunately, I’ll wait forever - just in case


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