I thought I’d lost you for good – that bright smile and playful spirit shrouded by so many unhealed hurts. Even your laughter was pained at our most recent meeting. Your skin seemed to have dried with the discontent sucking in moisture faster than you could replace it. And your steps had been reduced to nervous little tentative hops, barely missing the invisible grenades of depression waiting to detonate at any moment.
You were shell-shocked. Love starved. Unappreciated. Underloved and mishandled.
You were bitter. Hopeless. Jaded. Scattered. Disintegrating in plain view. Everyone around you took it for maturity.
But I know you.
And I knew that you were too close to holding your breath and never letting go, ever again. That held breath had so much life unlived – every molecule held an unshared secret, barren desire, buried truth or stifled scream. That breath had to be released into the world. And so as I saw you standing there in the rain, clothes close to transparent, I knew I had to come for you.
And yes, the world needed me. My phone was ringing with girlfriends wanting to know “What’s up?” My nearest and dearest questioned my aloofness. My job reminded me that I had not accrued enough PTO to take off, and my bank account screamed for want of more deposits than withdrawals. But all I could see was that the most important thing in the world was slipping away: you…Me.
And so I came for you knowing that my very existence depended on it – on me ACTING on behalf of you…I mean, me…I mean, us.
I came for you. I came to you. I came through you – not knowing if I was saving you or if you were birthing me. Because suddenly all that I lived seemed but a fickle apparition, and life appeared a dream. I caught you right before your heart made the decision not to beat. And your eyes fluttered, and then I felt the moment squeeze us so tightly that I lost my breath and found it again inside of you.
I found myself inside of you – not in my relationships with others or achievements beheld. I found myself inside of you – not in my past stories or futuristic projections.
I found myself inside of you – and as I stumbled through the rain down that familiar path, I could hear you breathing…gasping…reaching for life in my lungs. And when I carried you to the mirror, there was only me looking back – soaking wet and trembling, and you were inside me reminding me of who I’ve always been.