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Quite a while before he touched her

Our eyes promised to make love the moment we first met. It was the night of Jay’s birthday dinner under the dim lights of the Tapas restaurant in Soho. But we were too shy to speak that evening.

I walked in late. We made eye contact after I greeted Jason and hugged Janine. Meaning she’d been looking at me for a while and before the surrender, the look away, Maria blushed, but we held our gaze a little too long and sealed our fate.


Since then we’ve argued quite a bit. She has a boyfriend. I am “not looking for anyone” and love is never what you see in the movies.

We drink around each other to make the mistake of saying too much, but we’re careful to never tell the whole story.

The fragile glasses clink, and it’s cheers to the love that will never be.

I often bring her up in conversations with my friends. With a touch of both nonchalance and bitterness, only made worse when I realize I am in more ways admitting defeat.

We wait, and avoid, and it deepens, and I only have so much strength. I’m worried she’ll never break.

We are “just friends”, and it feels further away than acquaintances. She punishes herself every time she entertains the idea of marrying this guy she’s with. He’s perfect, really. But that’s just the problem, he makes sense. She has him.

There is something haunting about getting what you want. Then you realize it, and that place right there, is the essence of tragedy. She wears this discomfort whenever I come around. I see it when she’s not distracted. And since that night in Soho, we’ve made many more silent promises.

I’ve run my hands over marks on her skin from wild moments. The ones on the inside are always out of reach. Yet I keep reaching deeper.

We agreed that we were different. I sometimes think that’s the only place we can ever see alike. The only time we rest is when we’re wrestling. She makes me feel royal. A crown of sorrow be it, but a proud king.

Mom’s worried. My friends check in more often. I  really don’t mind. I’m working on me. She is the catalyst. The flame I need to speed the process up.


Maybe this is love. She pushes me away, but she pushes me, and I go further. Maybe love is to add onto someone else. Maybe it’s not to fill in some hole…

I guess this is thank you, Maria. You bitch. I’m finding myself because you’re missing, because you’re always missing.

by @sledain

Featuring artwork from Wellington Sanipe

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