You don’t know that they know, too. You don’t know that they know that there’s that spot that if you brush it the right way reduces me to goose bumps. Or that the scar on my hip stretches over my hip bone when I move in my sleep. Or that there’s that birthmark on my back that only shows in morning light. You think my morning breath is yours. That the sounds I make are yours. That the way I snore when I’m drunk is yours. That you, and only you, know my secrets. You don’t know that they know, too.
And yet. And yet, I tell myself that the spot on your arm is mine. That the mole on your arm that kind of looks like China is mine. That you only scratch my hair to wake me up, that I’m the only one you look at in that way that says you’d do anything for me, says you’re looking to look at me. That I’m the only one who knows your ribs are crooked. That your morning breath is mine, too.
It started that day. You know that day, I know you do. My brother came home from baseball and interrupted everything but it had already happened. I’d said yes and we’d held hands and everything had already changed. I was yours, and you were mine too. And tucked in my loft with my brother calling up to us, laughing and kind of crying and holding each other, holding onto everything, I guess a part of me had always thought that would be the case.
And so I held on. And you held on. And we clung to each other, our fingers digging deeper and deeper into each other, even as we drifted apart. Clung on couches and in cars and when the police came and told us we couldn’t be there. Told ourselves that what we were doing was love because we knew each others’ bodies and those spots and you knew my scar and what I looked like in the morning and what my hair smells like and I knew your mole and it was comfortable. And maybe it was love. Is love. I don’t know.
A part of me wanted to always be the girl who met you at the Fort. Who shivered in your arms, laughing and smoking, just so we could watch the sunset, could feel like we were two in the world. The girl who wore a bow in her hair on your birthday, who baked you one cupcake because I knew you didn’t like sweets that much but I wanted to show I cared. The girl who you baked cookies for. 3D printed for. Whose rings and sunglasses and heart you broke and fixed again and again and again. The girl who you stole flowers for on valentines day when I thought you’d forgotten. The girl who you held as her mother cried and screamed from inside the house. Crying. Shaking. The girl who you tucked in that night, drunk and sobbing and lost. The girl you saved.
But then I left. And left again. Not because of you. But I kept leaving and leaving and our arms kept stretching, our fingers digging deeper and deeper. Across oceans, in emails, in drunken phone calls, in pregnancy scares, in nights that hurt so badly I thought my heart might break. Nights that made me realize heartache was more than a euphemism. No matter how it hurt, no matter how far we were, you were mine and I was yours and I couldn’t imagine it anyway else. No matter how many times I sat next to you, not knowing what to say, or missed the spot by a couple inches, no matter how many times I cried, or you cried, or how many times we fumbled for each other in my darkened basement, having forgotten each others’ bodies. Because you knew what my scar looked like, and the birthmark, and the morning breath, and the sounds I make. And I knew your mole and your hands and how you couldn’t feel that one spot on your finger because you’d slipped with a knife. I knew your faults. And I was yours and you were mine. Or, at least, you had been.
But I’m not. Yours, that is. A part of me wishes I still was, I guess. But there were others and you had others and they know my morning breath, too. Six years. Six years have passed and I’m not that girl who laughed and cried while you hugged me, laughing and crying, too. I have new scars. New scars you’ve seen, but don’t know. And you do, too. Our bodies have changed shape – they don’t fit together like puzzle pieces anymore, our bones bump where they used to make one. Maybe that’s my fault, maybe it’s yours, maybe it’s neither. But it is. And we fight it and fight it and dig deeper and deeper and our arms stretch, aching, longing for that moment, that moment where I was yours and you were mine and we were together in the world. But we’re not, at least not in the same way, not for now. They know my morning breath, too.