It’s 3am, and I am wide awake.
Beside me, a warm body hums, a foot away in physical distance, but to me, it might as well be miles. I’m wide awake and alone, and that hum seems but a distant beacon from a lighthouse running on fumes. My body curls into a tighter ball, until I am tucked within my shell, safe little turtle avoiding the world in a salty sea born of my eyes.
I’m adrift, unable to reach shore. My heart aches, it bleeds beneath the surface of the girl who’s got it together, my chest filling slowly. My lungs begin to cave beneath the pressure of the rich ruby fluid invading their sanctuary, and I gasp through sheets.
It’s too hot, even on a winter’s night; I need a drink.
I creep away, the distance growing, a paradox. I am a moth burned by too many flames, and even this one seems too fiery now. Dangerous. Life-threatening. I splash cool water on my skin, pat it dry. You always get it wrong, don’ t you? You’re not worth it. Love was not made for you. I creep along the cold floor, desperate to be near to that which I am now sure will be the death of me, in melancholy Ophelia-like fashion. I slip beneath the sheets, my limbs drawing up, the shell my only comfort –
But there it is: an arm, snaking around me. A sigh. A warm body humming against my back. And for a minute, my breath seizes. Has the distance closed? How can this be so?
And then, I think, as hot breath kisses the nape of my neck, I don’t care how this is happening. I only care that it is. My fingers graze the only hands I ever want to touch me for the rest of my numbered days, and I wonder as he whimpers and shudders in some unknown dream why he can’t understand this feeling that renders me speechless far more than I care to confess, wordsmith that I claim to be. Why can’t he see what feels as plain as the stereotypically British nose upon my face?
He is everything. I always crave more. Of course I do; every moment brings me joy. But all he hears is, Not enough, when my heart is screaming, I don’t even deserve this much.
My body remains without sleep, but I am momentarily pacified. Maybe this flame isn’t so hot. Or maybe I no longer care.
Let me be your Phoenix, dear flame; burn away my failures to ashes, so that I might be the beauty you see beneath.
Day 116: This Year’s Love – David Gray