By Alaa Itani
Three times at night, I woke up crying. Blamed it on you, this habit of lying. To forget that haze, it still takes trying. Mocking me, said he was such a slacker. Asked me the truth, I said he should ask her. I wanted to leave, hide and seek for a reason. Three stars on my necklace, he said mango was not in season. Tremor in my right hand, a reminder not to be weaker.
You take me for a fool; I take you for granted. I don’t like this façade, these empty romantics. You told me once, you told me twice, I always start it. Blame it on you, blame it on me, but every word I marked it. Last time we spoke, it left us a mess. You did what you did, and I said what I said. You think you won this? Be my guest. Let me watch you put it to the test. Flip a coin, watch it have two heads. Break the glass, clean your desk. Roll the dice, stack your deck. Sometimes I wish I could lie as well as you do, but some people still have a little self-respect.
I can see you trying to deflect it. I don’t see how you couldn’t expect this. You say feelings are meant to be felt, not organized. Still, I organize them. Still, you romanticize them. You were always wrong about it. It took me a few years to understand that being young doesn’t justify the way you danced around it. The difference between attachment and dependence is the lie you tell yourself to mend it. The difference between the before and the after is the 22 words and 1 sentence. I know there is more to life than love, but maybe there is more to love than living. Maybe, one day, someone will die for you, and you’ll come to understand that the greatest meaning of love is in giving.
"I know there is more to life than love, but maybe there is more to love than living"
Heard you’ve been saying I played with your refracted feelings then walked away. It’s four truths and a lie now, so I hope you know your heartstrings were my favorite instrument to play. I hope you know that your forsaken story has become my least favorite to say. The start and end point of a circle are one and the same. If only you ever paid attention. Now I know that people simply come and go. Back then, I wish I knew it meant it had to be me taking the blow. I wish you knew I never meant to wipe out your lunar glow. I wish I realized what it meant when you said “it wasn’t out of nowhere, no.” I know that pain is the price of pleasure. You know I don’t like these expensive places.
Things haven’t been the same since I heard you moved houses. I guess that's what happens when you move where your house is. I guess that’s what happens when my heart is no longer where your house lives. House caught on fire, talk about a bad, bad sign. Three different answers, signs of a loud, loud lie. Sugar on your strawberry tart, it tasted sweet. Teardrops on my bedside turtle, that story I can’t even bear to repeat. Message in a bottle, the greatest sign of defeat. Never seen her smile like that. Never seen him cry like that. Never seen me shy like this.
No, I never thought I could heal like this: a different glow, a singing crow, three stairs below. I’m sitting on the floor, you walk through the door, and just like that, you’re the calm in my chaos. Just like that, I’m coloring my heart with a crayon. Hold me. Fold me. Never could repeat the words he told me. What healthy was not, he showed me. Made me love people coldly. Its weight used to choke me. The paranoia controlled me. I’ll live to tell how it broke me. Hear me. Hear you. Hear-say. This time, I know me. Nightmares don’t destroy me. A single cupcake, you bought me. Two-way street, you call me. Speeding like a train, you slowed me. “This is not normal,” restored me. Three times at night I slept. Three times at night, I slept, and nothing woke me.