Let me tell you a story. Let me paint you a picture.
It’s dark and I’m alone and the wind is howling and once upon a time, I might have made this sound poetic. I’m crying, but it’s not pretty. I’m crying and my nose is red and my hands are shaking and the cigarette is limp between my scarred, calloused fingers. I once might have made this sound pretty. I might have made it sound desirable. Did you want a high? All you had to do was touch my skin, to feel your way down my sweat-slicked hips. Did you want to get buzzed? You just had to soak in the passion like alcohol and let your mind go wild. I used to have nothing but chaos to offer. Now I just have memories – do you want to take them?
But you won’t. I know that. I paid the price and life paid me. Whatever I once had is gone and it’s been replaced with this shaking emptiness. I can no longer get drunk. I just get sad. I sit at broken pianos and think about the music they used to make, like the words I used to cry. I hold empty bottles to my fractured ribs and wish that the heat would inspire more than sorrow. Wish I could stumble back into the stumbling incoherency and find my voice in the tornado of silence. But I don’t. I can’t. Instead I just sit there quietly.
It was once attractive – remember that? Now it’s just sad. Now it’s just dirty hair and hallowed cheeks and anxiety that rips through limbs like an earthquake on the veranda. I’m holding my knees to my chest at night but I’m not counting stars, I’m counting moments and veins and the way that they tie together. I’m pressing my chapped lips to the scarred patch of skin on my thigh and wishing I could make it go away. Make you go away. Make the order fall away like the scales from the eyes of the unbelieving. Make my life come back in dribbles and splatters and bleed into my husked out body like the ocean into a tide pool.
(But it won’t, I know that. It can’t.)