Crawling Back Through Us


There are memories that stay locked firmly in my mind of which I am both unable and unwilling to let go of between us. I find myself crawling through them from time to time, remembering what it was like to hold you so close. Like an itch, scratching in the deepest chamber of my heart, thumping out its rhythm across our lives together.

I still think of those extra kisses crawling across my lips. The way you would always append them like a PS below your signature on a letter. We expressed more in those moments than 26 letters could ever muster, swimming between each other’s teeth. That languid language of love. All written by lively and lovely you.

I think of that early morning moment where you crawled out of bed earlier than ever before just to look out the window as the sun crested the mountains. A serene skyline, followed by the steam of a hot shower shared. Gently caressing curves, pushing and pulling each other as the water flowed over our faces and laughter erupted from our chests. The glitter of your green eyes then has never left me.

Other times, the memories pass like a panic attack, like a war inside my brain. As though I’m locked in that apartment of my mind, on the ground and unable to find my way back to you. I’m having the damndest time picking myself up again, processing all that has passed. Now all I want to do is crawl my way right back into your lap. Fingernails digging, clawing into the carpet like yours used to into my flesh. I’m pulling myself towards that shut door that might never reopen itself. I can still see your footprints on the floor, each depression unable to bounce back from the weight of what passed between us.

But now, when I twist the knob and feel the heat of the shower, I see you in my memory. You’re like a shady cloud of burning ash whispering in my ear. Your face is dark, but simultaneously as bright as the day we met. Infected by my gloom, but still smiling as though all of this will come to pass. I press my lips on yours, and I taste silken darkness, sweetened with bitter dirt. Like a specter out of time, but in my mind I know it’s not you here, alive.

I am haunted by those kisses, the ones signed crimson at the bottom of every note you ever left me. They beat violently through my veins and orchestrate a symphony of panic in my brain. They are moments of joy that I’ll never reclaim in the same way ever again. They’re crawling away from me as the beat of time presses ever onward.

As I move to grip the doorknob and fondle the lock, I realize the keys are missing from my pocket, and I might never make it back into the shattered heart apartment locked in my chest. I’ll just have to keep crawling back through all of us instead.

I am not numb to what I have done, to the pain I have caused. But I hope someday I might hear your key fall into the tumbler lock of our love.