How many times have I stood at the lip of the island, trying to get back to you? “We have to go back” was the medicated lament, the cry of a terrorist of televangelist (aren’t they the same in the end?) who had swum the fires of Hades, the mountains of Olympus, and burrowed through Elysian Fields only to return again to this promethean island of Elba.
How many times, my little caterpillar, my jaded jewel, did we look into the caves of each others eyes and study each others skin line-by-line, precept-upon-precept and come into the glories of Valhalla together, musing aloud along the Atlantic, pontificating at the Pacific and sailing the Mediterranean, just you and me and the sea?
It was a dream (was it a dream?), tucked away like hibernating bears, cuddling up in your hair, playing Guitar Hero in Sunday morning clothes and baking pear tarts in each others ovens as the cat coiled at our socked extremities. We were lovers of Paris, passionates of London. We were each other’s only and all from nightfall to noon and one minute after to sunshine and fall.
And then there was the night in the car, when you broke my nose. The night you took a knife to me against the doorjamb. The night you threw me down the stairs. Do you remember that night, I wonder? November 23 of 2010. The scars healed. By summer, they had turned white. I called it an accident but no one believed me. They also didn’t believe me when I told the truth. You had already accused me of abusing you and people knew I was an abuser. The knew the truth that you had never loved me. They knew the truth that your god, our god, had chosen you. You were the anointed one and I was the devil. It was mythic. You had pitied me all along, putting up with me like a mental patient. It was never love at all.
I didn’t cry.
I just forgave you because I believed you – I was too stupid for anyone to really love me.
There was the time when you baked me a birthday present, then gave it away to everyone except me. The time when you rented yourself to a neighbor, then came running back to me with a mouthful of apologies and crumbs trailing down the inside of your thighs.
I didn’t cry about that either.