The first time I met love, he was tall and always smelt like the insides of airplanes: nice and expensive. My mother said he was my father. Every time he came home from work he’d bring me a box of eclairs , chase me around the living room and bring out the tickle monster. My mother started to dress better, look better and even cook better. So I begun to associate love with airplanes, good foods and eclairs.
In second grade love came home from work way past midnight smelling of stale cigarette smoke and alcohol. He woke me up, said he loved me more than I would ever know but he had to leave. I begun to associate love with darkness and the sweaty stench of drunk men with liver powered courage that paraded in and out of our house.
It is because of you that I love like a hypochondriac; it is because if you that I cling so tightly to second grade and lollipops and why airplanes are my favourite mode of transport. You’re the reason why two is my least favourite number, because I learnt when one leaves you remain alone.
The second time I met love he looked nothing like the man of my dreams. He smelled nice but looked like a nature experiment gone wrong. On our first date he took me to dinner and in the middle of the first course I wanted to tell him that I have a spine built from shards of left over courage and pieces of self-esteem I found in the dumpster by the park and if you shake me well enough I’m bound to fall apart. But I chose to leave that till desert in case his sweet tooth comprised of girls with no self esteem.
I have been carrying abandonment on the tip of my tongue. My back holds wings it doesn’t know how to spread. My feet have been anchored to lands where I’m a stranger and my own mother does not recognise me anymore. She wakes up this morning to walk to my room to tell me there will be no more wars fought here. No more graves will be dug. No more burying of silences.
We are a falling wall. A rising storm. An angry mob. She shouts “it is over!” In the silence of my morning and I am in second grade again. I am holding love. Love is leaving. Love won’t look me in the eyes. Love won’t hug me the way love should hug me. Love won’t stay. Love left.