I relinquished custody of him when he confessed he loved me…as a friend.
Shielded by a diaphanous cocoon, I watched him with her. I showed up day after day and composed songs. When he wanted love songs, I tamped my feelings, ignored the visceral, and projected as unhurt.
When his year-old daughter smiled, radiant, around rehearsals, I died inside. Her smile was his. Her eyes were his. Her mother collapsed the oxygen in the room.
In the face of familial love, I evaporated, despite his pleas.
“I need you,” he said.
He never said what for. I thought it was words as that was something I did well.
Please come back, he said in a text message.
I need you, he said in a text message.
Words on a screen, I ignored. My heart so tight I felt it constricting moment by moment, so, so very tight. With eyes closed, I saw his so brilliantly warm blue. I remembered the heat of his chest beneath my fingertips, heartbeat vital. I remembered how it was to be one with him, caresses silken, his lips warm and insisting, his fingertips probing, my lips against his bristly chin, brief moments before he deemed me sisterly.
I only just realized you’re everything, he said in a text message.
Everything, I repeated inside my head while imagining him with her and still seeing me outside.
Then, too much silence. So, so much silence.
Never, ever, did I understand the extent to which I could lose him.