take a deep breath
I grab a candle, break open the kitchen door, and step outside. The air’s cool tonight, and I lean back on the railing of the old steel balcony. Stairs and balconies creep up the side of the building and the red brick building across the alley. The sky is dark navy and the moon glows somewhere behind the building. I have nerves crawling up and down my spine, and light a cigarette with the small candle in my hand. I inhale to find myself flooded with memories.
Suddenly he’s back in my bed, tipping ashes into my ashtray, smiling at me. I worry he’s going to spill on my pristine white sheets. I smile back, but my stomach is in knots. I can’t help but wish our relationship had more substance. It’s obvious I don’t love him, and even though his eyes are sinking into me, I know he doesn’t love me either. We’re too young to be in love. And yet still, I can’t stand the thought of his body being away from mine. I crave him, need him, and keep wanting him closer. He finishes his cigarette, kisses me, grabs his clothes from the floor and heads out the door. I watch him walk down the street from my window.
It hurts to think about certain people. Some memories hold too much emotion, and it all comes back at once: the love, sex, laughter, nervousness, tears, words, and of course, the pain that comes with it. It makes me weak. I want to be stronger than all of that. I want to need myself, and only myself. But at the end of the day I’m human. It’s human to want to be held, to feel weak, and to crave the comfort of another’s arms. Life isn’t gentle enough to be able to walk through alone.
With half of my cigarette gone I put it out. I don’t need a whole one. All I really needed was to breathe.