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Through all the nights, when we were close, you said you’d be there. Every time I looked in your eyes, they whispered you’d be there. Holding hands told me you’d be there.
But you never told me. You never said the truth. And you knew all along.
Countless times when no words filled the air, you could have said it. The reality is only difficult to obtain mentally.
Your breathing was twice as fast when you were awake. This is how I knew when you slept without seeing you. In a half here, half there state, I would realize all at once and gradually that your breaths had slowed with your heart beat and maybe you would twitch a little and I was afraid my touch made you dream, but maybe you were dreaming that you told me.
You always wanted the lights out, except maybe a tiny shaded dim light from some curious source that cast a hued glow about the room and us. You could have told me.
All the times you asked what I was thinking and maybe you should have just told me. An image too horrible to say comes to mind; maybe I should just tell you. You won’t be there.
Then you were gone. One day. I saw it coming, although you never told me. It hit me from out of no where, and you never told me. I made it happen but you never told me.
And then I cried. And then I screamed. And then I sat and nothing.
You said you’d be there. All the times we spoke honest truth. The laughs never stopped until you weren’t there.
When it happened, I was not there. I could not help, I couldn’t do anything to protect or even comfort you. I said I’d be there.
How many times do we say things we never intend to honor? How many times do we sling sentences around not realizing the weight of the words and how it may affect people? How many times did you say you’d be there? How many broken promises and how many cold nights? Chilly fingers on my neck and body. The heat from the fire can’t warm me, only those words from you I will never hear again. You should have told me.
Each day brings us closer together farther apart.
On the wet city streets we walked and splashed in puddles, dodged traffic, rowdy teens, stray dogs, the pull of gravity. Beneath a street light, behind a tree trunk, under the moon, near the pool, outside your door, inside your door.
On the grassy hill near the apple tree with the bangs in your eyes with people calling our names from the distance.
You told me so many things and all I could do is ask more questions, but never the question that made you answer, “No, I will not always be there.” Even though I took it for granted... you said you’d be there.
It feels stupid to tell you what I’m thankful for. I don’t want to quantify it as though to say it would shed unwanted light upon it, making it a target to be stolen from me. I’m thankful to have known you, if only for that short time. Feelings are real, life is not.
Maybe you just never knew. Maybe you wanted to spare me. Maybe you were scared. Maybe you didn’t care. Maybe you did not know.
As I stand under black skies with the pin point light from far off suns, the breath that escapes my body drifts up and entrails away. The cold in the air reminds me of one thing: you are not there to warm me with your words, touch or presence.
Copyright © 2002 John Lemut