“Love” by Indigo Ramey-Wright

It is the feeling when one day I saw a couple in the park holding hands, their faces lined with age that told their story with their depth and their number. I saw their narrations told, young buds and blooming then the bad days that came and the sad days that kept repeating. In their intertwined fingers and the slow steps on rocky beach, bathed in glowing sunset sunlight, the twilight of a remarkable 20 years or so.

Perhaps once upon a time, a long long time ago, a girl with strawberry blonde hair and icy blue eyes met it a few times and each with a different face. She saw it in the way a mother held her child as her most valuable possession, the warmth of affection and the smell of home on her skin when she embraced you, kissed you when you stumbled and picked you up when you fell. She saw it in a father’s pride, his secret admiration. She remembered her own mother and father and all her bravado left her. Once upon a time, she read it in her mother’s bruises like a map, the ones her father lovingly decorated her body with in strikes. She felt it every time her mother kept her bags unpacked and put away the bitter aftermath of the underlying storms with a forced smile on her lips and the promise that everything would be okay, that the girl with strawberry blonde hair and icy blue eyes had just been dreaming. Even then she saw it in her father when he came home– the twisted way he held her mother close and said his sorries, the way he treated her like a queen and tried his best to keep his promise. In the days he told the girl with strawberry blonde hair and icy blue eyes to be strong and in the days he really did try hard, she found it difficult to blame him—she could not place the hate she felt for her father and why her fortifications threatened to dissipate and crumble. She never noticed this before but it was always present in the way her mother and father laid to rest their hopes and dreams, buried them in a lot of filthy graveyard soil when the wretched curse that was her took away all their aspirations and they selflessly sacrificed their whole young lives ahead of them full of travel and the irresistible seduction and sparkling lure of opportunity to work like dogs on their hands and knees so she could live her own fickle life of wasted hours and silly daydreams. Money did not grow on trees, darling and yet for every mistake she made, every useless rebellious decision that only resulted in heartbreak and derision their forgiveness knew no bounds and they threatened no abject beleaguering, no threat of desolation. By and by, she fails to see their infinite patience, the hope and the investment—the silent prayer for all good things and mighty rising sons and daughters.

It is also the feeling when I forgot you were only temporarily mine, that I could not keep you. I lost the feeling. It only turned to rot in my hands and I only grew bitter. I forgot that butterflies in mason jars died, and so did the red roses, the bouquets of flowers. It was it how I felt when I saw you holding another woman, laughing and smiling. It was not how I felt when my heart threatened to burst and split, along with my knuckles and hanging picture frames now lying shattered on the floor. It was not how I felt when you left, said goodbye and closed the door. It was the hope I felt when I thought you would return but it was not the face I saw when I accepted you weren’t going to. I know not the ugliness it carried, the blackened underside of a two-faced coin but perhaps this was the price paid for such elation, for years of bright colors, laughing and slices of heaven. I realized that when it was all over, when the rivers run dry that it was the emptiness that made the winds cold, the world gray, the streets empty, the people cruel and the cold winds bite and the trees shiver. It’s what turned hearts into rock-hard gemstones and what makes hopeless romantics wither. It was the wind that left me, the feeling I felt when I could pinpoint the exact moment my heart dropped to my knees and bled to the floor when I looked into those eyes, those lovely eyes, for the last time. I would forget your face, but the marks, the scars, the things you taught me and the way you made me ache for beauty and an invisible power would stay in me forever long after you have gone. It was not the feeling I felt when I let you go and didn’t run after you.

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