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

I wonder what it would be like…

I wonder what it would be like to be allowed to feel beautiful.

I wonder what it would be like to be allowed to not feign humility; to not have to believe that we are not wonderful enough to love ourselves.

I wonder what it would be like to feel lovely, and to be allowed to have confidence in how I am loved by the one who matters.

It seems as if everyone’s ideal of me is in me not being me: twenty pounds lighter, four inches longer–curvier with less in the cheeks, more definition of the jaw. It seems as if everyone’s ideal of me was the frail, lithe girl that existed within the confines of her own depression. The me that fought to eat because I fought to understand why I would want to sustain an existence I did not want; a body I no longer wished to house.

It seems as if everyone’s ideal of me turned into my ideal of me; when all I had ever wanted in my life was just to be happy. To be kind. To be understanding. To want to live.

I think the reality is that I would rather be beautiful in the heart and healthy in the soul. To allow myself to no longer worry about if I was beautiful to anyone else except me.

I think the reality is that it’s all unbelievably bullshit: the idea that I am supposed to exist for anyone other than me.

So why

is it so hard to stop?

All we’ve ever been made up of is morning afters.

I like to think about us a lot.

The way you held me the morning after; how you forgot the night before.

I like to pretend that I’m OK–that I’m better now; that what you were was a burn that scabbed and bled but eventually healed.

I can feel the slow palpitations in my heart when someone says a name that sounds like yours.

They remind me of the ones that once echoed into your chest. The ones you used to touch when they surfaced through each of my ribs. The ones that you cultivated in your hands; with your lips–the ones you bred from inside of everything I had once though was mine.

The ones that still belong to you.

So I wonder now: the parts of me that you took; the me that didn’t return.

I’ve been different. Less lovely, less impressive–less in love. More eager, more helpless, more obsessive–more lost.

I remember San Francisco. I remember New York; LA, Miami, but how it’s Toronto, still, that has the you I can’t forget and the me that I could never find.

If I had done nothing wrong, how could we never be right? Which part of me should be thrown away? Which part of me made everything of me worth forgetting?

I want to tell you there’s been nobody after you. Nobody that mattered. Nobody that felt significant. Nobody that reminds me of the 5am through your eyes. The 6am through your lakeside balcony.

The 7am me in your mouth.

Nobody that feels like you at night
and smells of me in the morning.

Somewhere only we know

Lately all I can see is your face; your name–I can hear your laugh, and everything I do is an echo of something we once did.

I miss you because I didn’t when you were alive, and I regret that more than anything because now I look around and there’s this feeling in my heart; a melancholy of my mind that I remember only you could understand. This pretentious, childish ennui of my soul that doesn’t belong but exists. Something that I can’t admit to anyone else because I know it’s undeserving; that we were born too lucky to be sad on our believed misfortunes.

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