To the person I loved last.

My brother asks me when it happened. When I knew.

It was the first night without you, after the first night with you.

It was when you fell asleep texting me, and I couldn’t help but write you a 6 paragraph monologue of all the the things I adored about you. Of all the things I couldn’t handle you not hearing.

Everyone has a predisposition for an art; everyone’s heart becomes geared towards a medium they scribe their remaining emotions in.

The second I wrote for you; the second I had a need to write for you–was the second I knew the decision to stay, the want to be yours, was irrevocable.

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Sometimes my heart hurts so much my head sympathizes.

I keep getting flashbacks of you; phantom touches and emotions–the sound of your voice over Sunday morning cartoons. The sound of your voice as you came home from work; the memories of you kissing mom or embracing her. The memories of how far your love had taken you; how much it ruined yet became of you.

I remember when you told me that my birthday is the most important day of the year–the most important day of your life–because it is the celebration of me: the small mirror of the woman you could never stop loving. I remember every year, welcoming midnight with kisses on my forehead to the sound of a boisterous, off-pitch, household Happy Birthday song. 

I miss talking about you. I miss talking to you.

I miss the feeling of falling asleep during Chinese movies in your arms; the feeling of waking up to the sound of business calls and bookie talk. 

People ask me my favorite memory; my favorite stage of life. My favorite place–and it’s all just this childhood ideal: the kingdom where you’d never die.
Lately I wake and see your face: pecking mom on the cheek, smiling at me over steaks on the grill–looking up from your chinese epics; scribbling numbers on notepads. Lately I sleep  and can’t remember you: the feeling of home; of protection, of forever and unconditionality.

It’s hard to explain the heaviness around holidays. The strange emptiness that characterizes every happiness; follows every event.

I wish you were here. I wish your number brought your voice and not a dialtone. I wish I could stop smelling the scent of jaipur homme; I wish I could stop feeling so alone.

Every problem seems magnified. Every situation seems impossible. Every thing seems so unremarkably bland.

Lately all I can think about is the tiredness that characterized every part of you; the fatigue that became your baseline. Lately all I can think about is how I’ve become of you–how exhaustion has seeped into my bones that were made from you. How the feeling of constant half-lucidity makes me dream closer to you.

I’m scared of what I am now. Of the hours I work, the parts of my life I hate but refuse to change–the materialistic; the shallow, the ugly and intensely mundane. I’m scared that I forgot what parts of me you loved, and the person you wanted me to be.

I’m scared of the idea of you meeting me now. Whether you’d be proud or recoil or refute. Whether you’d smile like I’ve always known.

I’m scared of how tired I always feel. Of how often I feel guilt on my heart and shame in my soul. I’m scared of the frequency of your memories; the forgoing of momentum. I’m scared of these thoughts in my mind. The ideas I keep returning to.

Another birthday will pass without you. Another celebration without our traditions; another day doing what is needed and refusing what is wanted. Another day that I would trade; compounded with all the ones we have lost–to spend a singular moment

letting you know

your Jenny

will be okay.

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The hardest fact of life is the knowledge that every beginning eventually has an ending.

It has been a conscious decision to start each friendship; each relationship–each surprised hello with the same surprised goodbye.

It has been a conscious decision to start the morning, knowing that there will be a night.

The thesis of my life was born from the idea that if I leave someone with something more than I found them… each goodbye would not really be an ending–just another start I could not finish.

My coping mechanism was somehow lodged in the safety of the infinite beginnings I could no longer quantify. My coping mechanism was the selfish ideology that the pain is a necessary means to polarize the pleasure.

Everything is an excuse.

I end things because I can’t handle starting them. I start things because I can’t handle not being able to leave them.

I wonder if eventually there will be something that I can’t seem to finish; someone I can’t seem to stop or sabotage or find the need to polarize.

I wonder if it’s because I am too weak to handle the compounding story. Too weak to handle an actual, heart-wrenching, life-shattering climax.

I don’t want to know how I am with the possibility of breaking again. Of finding myself without a multitude of beginnings.

Of finding myself with a singular finale.

Of finding if I am strong enough to live my life not spread across pages of books I can’t remember the covers of.

The mark of growing older is the realization that everything you want is just an echo of something you used to have.

People come to me after their loved ones died–looking for solace, asking for comfort, wondering how to reallocate grief.

How do I tell them that there is no answer? That at twelve, the only solace was found underneath damp eyelids and soaked pillows? That the only comfort was the belief in the unconsciousness; that the only allocation of grief was from my heart to my mind until I forced my own, sick, manic responsibility for your death?

There is no refuge for your only fear; there is no answer to your own mortality. One day your heroes will die and become your memories. One day your heroes will die and lay beneath the soil you’ll watch strange men bury. One day your heroes will die–and you’ll be the only part of them left living.

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when people ask me if i can dance or sing i say i dont know rhythm but lately ive found my own cadence and its interesting: how far you go when you don’t realize you’re moving

i was twelve when you died
but sixteen when you were gone

i woke up and stopped looking for you in the house you made a home. i woke up and no longer had to remind myself you weren’t around. i woke up and your existence was based solely on your absence

you stayed my favorite person but became my favorite subject. everything that was because of you was suddenly for you; every part of me transformed into reminders that half of my anything was created from all of your everything

its christmas soon and i remember evergreen mixed with your jaipur homme. i remember money greens and marlboro reds; i remember you lifting me to put the angel on the tree and a star on the next

i remember staying up past midnight on every eve you worked; because other children needed a santa but no fiction could be better to me than a reality of you with a day off

i can’t remember the gifts you gave me–just the way i never wanted for anything more but to fall asleep next to you during chow yun fat movies; chastising mom in the kitchen and corralling the boys upstairs

i was five when i asked if it was me that made you work so hard. if i could trade all the toys and stuffed animals for more days off. i was twelve when i thought life was about luxury. thirteen when everything i wanted became everything i used to have. twenty-one; and the thought of you has still been my last one every night.

i woke up and all of our routines became stories
i woke up and all of our traditions became memories

i woke up and the universe found the only way to keep you
from the christmases you promised me were always ours

i woke up and my nightmares stopped being dreams

the midnight when you exist

i miss the drives in your car: the books in my hand, the taste of you left on my lips–reading you stories inbetween kisses, tracing your hands with my fingertips–bookmarking pages with leftover twenty dollar bills and lipstick tubes

stolen glances at stop signs
wondering when it was that you actually became mine

i miss the sound of the engine; the feel of tarmac beneath the ground you moved, the poems leftover on my tongue while i traced the parts of you you told me you didn’t understand how to love

i miss the way my laughter slid inside of yours: the way my smile followed your name–the way you transcribed your childhood through your fingertips because you were too afraid of your lips

i miss the me that forged from you mixed with mine

i wonder what you think of those nights that simmered into mornings; the days that passed like the way you looked at me when i didn’t

you tell me you love me now like i loved you then

but fairytales don’t last and part of me wonders what part of this was ever happy if i never asked for an after

part of growing older means the people you love become people you loved

part of growing older means eventually everyone who left are the ones you forgot you asked to leave

part of growing older means being gracious enough to thank you for the memories
but experienced enough to not make the same mistake
twice