I have a picture of you above my refrigerator, it’s a dark space between the fridge and the wall. I’ve left it there after I stuck it there when I first got it. Because its dark I’m not always reminded that you’re there, but the knowledge that you are is somehow romantic. Somehow, you would have been better at putting that metaphor into words, you were generally better at speaking.
Imagine if we still lived together; You would have been able to tell me how the knowledge of the picture is more important than the picture, because thats like all religions and trust. The faith that it exists consuming physical proof. You just know that it exists and you don’t need evidence of its presence for faith. Imagine you speaking frustrates me because I can’t hear your voice, just mine. And I don’t remember you very clearly either and the words you pick are mostly mine. You would be standing over a pot of scalding water, probably making lunch. Beads of sweat collecting on your brow furrowed under the steam. Between adding salt to the pot a strand of your colorless hair falls down into your eyes and these two movements clash. One thing at a time, you forget the salt in your hand and move to fix your hair, dropping the salt on your face. Making both situations worse. And I would have undoubtedly remained silent, intentionally allowing the tension of such a small mistake balloon, waiting for you to feel more shame than you already did. For some reason I wanted to punish you for existing all the time. So, as you laughed to cut the silence, I pushed in my chair and went to the bedroom leaving you to let the tiny, tiny accident escalate in your mind. Like I knew it would. I knew what you would start analyzing, you would review the motions and my flat expression and feel worse and worse. There was no way you could know what I was trying to do. By the time lunch was done (downgraded from pasta to tuna salad) the satisfaction from my win felt like a warm comfort in my chest. I ate the food and tolerated your stories and you swallowed my under the table jabs with an unwavering stare planted in your irises which said more than words. “Am I accepted yet?” But you didn’t need an answer! You breathed my company, relished in simply sharing my air. That was enough for you. Me, eating the food you made, and you telling me about the romance in that. Ingesting something you made. I scoffed at you when you said that. But you pretended it was a joke you meant to make and that I was giving you a thumbs up, so you laughed too.
First my words tapered to an almost silence. I sat through these mundane stories of how fast you drove through the school zone. Then I slowly became malicious. I ignored you when you spoke to me, pretended to forget what you asked me to do, I learned I could say anything with a little laugh in my voice. The jabs got worse and worse until I was so blatant there was nothing to do but turn back to silence. I grew tired of wasting my breath, even if it was to call you horrible.
For a while you were screaming, of course thats not really true. Because that wasn’t your nature, but every time you spoke it was like throwing bate into the sea. Praying for a tug I would never give you the satisfaction of. Maybe I was the only one playing this game. I like to think you remained ignorant through the cycles, but you’re smarter than that. My guilt speaks and convinces my logic that you never realized. In the winter fishermen don’t fish because they know nothing will pull. They just give up, and so did you. It took me by surprise the day I saw luggage and open drawers emptied. Not supprise, no actually, only supprise. I felt nothing but surprise. How could I feel sad when I forced you into packed bags? There was a little bit of sadness. You only abuse the people you know won’t do anything about the abuse. What triggered the hate you undoubtedly had spinning through your veins to collect your things? The morning I remember being in a decent mood. I shaved my face and made a stupid comment about how your face goes from teenage acne to razor scars and eventually pock marks, and how the timeline of your life is written on your face. “The cycles of red dots are way too public.” Were my exact words. Which I thought was incredibly genius at the time. I guess I kind of still do, think that. But your response was unusual; instead of glowing from the grain of attention I was giving you (by attention I mean speaking towards you, not that you had anything to do with it) You nodded and said “It looks nicer.” Not “You look nice.”, It looks nicer. Like my chin was an object detached from myself. Like you were doing anything not compliment me. Also, what was wrong with before?
Maybe I am playing the game alone. I’m the one now reading too far into this. I remember the thing that made me miss you. After you left I didn’t feel that sad. My life didn’t have to adjust as it was my house and mostly my stuff. I made my own lunches and cut the back of my hair with two mirrors. I met other people and never grieved. I imagine you did though, which provided some twisted kind of solace. But the mental image I have of you, and above the refrigerator, is what makes me miss you a tiny, tiny bit. You sitting on a green blanket with green flowers printed on the fleece, you and the blanket unfolded over the green grass with real flowers beneath it. Above the mud and the tiny black insects your posture was perfect and the pathetic lunch laid in a circle around you. You looked endearing and beautiful, not pathetic.
I forgot what I look like ‘till I saw a reflection of brown hair and brown eyes and light brown skin smudged behind my eyes and falling water
I forgot the way I act ‘till I saw myself filmed, blood pouring out of my nose and eyes lit like tiny silver stars or metal spikes
I forgot, pushed into the cracks of my couch, but then I watched my daughter crying on the floor