Sunday, 20 December 2015

Halcyon

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Sometimes, it was hard for me to tell you the truth because it would impair your memory, and our story might be broken.

We all have that person in life that we remember, even when we don't want to.

It means nothing, except that they changed us. It means they helped us belong to someone else.

When I remember you, I remember atrophy and half smiles.

I remember an imbalance, stabilised by the chemicals between us. I remember thinking that we did everything right, even when it turned out wrong. I remember that I don't want to remember. I think that my words are treason to you, and that they spill secrets made only for us.

It's always been a habit of mine to become trapped down memory lane, I know that's where it's safe. It's where I know my endings and beginnings. It's where I find halcyon days.

Sometimes, I write about them. I think that's good for you, and for the rest of them, because breathing inside my words is the closest thing to immortality that you'll ever get.
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One of my seven halcyon days was with you, and it was always preserved by a tangle of words never said, but heard nonetheless. The rest of those days will never belong to you, but maybe all you ever needed was one.

We used to be something different, but of course, that was before my self inflicted pandemonium of trouble. You used to be my Achilles' heel, you used to make me vulnerable.

There was a time when we had little to do with each other, but soon realised we needed each other for normal things, like distraction and work advice. We nurtured a bond that many wouldn't understand, and we were proud of each other. Distance kept us close.

I've learned so much from you over the course of our friendship. I recognise your fingerprints branded into the design of the hunt, and I know how to avoid the traps that you set for me. I know the crunch of old leaves in October, and the texture of your skin. I know that we can be friends, and I know that's the way it should be. After all, this was what we wanted.

I always knew when to stay away, and I knew when it was safe to come back. I knew when you didn't really want to talk to me, but did anyway. I knew details and annotations, buried beneath arrogance and smirks.

I think I might prefer us in memory lane, though. I like history framed in shadows, and pitches and notes dancing in the dark. I like the way hindsight looks through curious angles, and how easy it is. I like it here.
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Those familiar trips down memory lane were always safe. But something changed. Devils slept between shoulder blades, and wonder rested between lungs. It was like something caught in my throat, an irritation I barely noticed, but resented nonetheless. Sometimes it felt heavy, like the guilt of the night before. It's quiet between us now. Silence is always the encore of truth.

Unlike the other times, I felt the change coming. I felt old habits creep through forgotten parts of my mind. It was a shift in sacred ground, as tectonic plates adjusted themselves, and tremors ran beneath my feet. It wasn't safe here anymore. Maybe it was never something safe, and maybe we always balanced on a tightrope of dangerous conversation.

Sometimes, it looked like a contest of pride and tenacity. The stains of our past were stubborn, like merlot on clean cotton. We were both too proud to speak the words that meant moving on..

I always knew that there were times when we don't even know our own truth.
I knew I could quit whenever I needed, I knew I could burn craters in you if that's what I wanted.
I knew how this should have ended.

But after all, what's one more secret between old friends?
This is what I always wanted, for you to give me one more story.

I was sat in traffic when it came out. I had no time to think about the words, only enough time to set them free. I was stuck in one way systems and red lights, and everything was smudged with frustration and rain. I probably took out some rage on you that day, but you took it. You let me deal with it, you let me go free.

Push, tap, send.
Forget.

In the creeping seconds that followed the truth, you weren't cold to me anymore and your words meant everything and nothing all at once.

Do you remember the times I was nervous, or the times you cocked your head back at something ridiculous, something silly? Do you remember the Halloween movies you left in my bedroom, and the games that we played? Long after the ending, I still twirled my hair through my fingers and cursed the old tell tale sign of my childlike nerves. It's the same way my writing of you sinks in paranoia. I hope you've forgotten this.

I recall how lies could slide off lips, and how you could light up old wicked ways. I could never let this guard down again.

I don't think either of us ever particularly enjoyed saying words that meant we cared. I don't think you knew that I needed reassurance, that I needed to hear that I was more than something trivial, something stupid. Sometimes I knew that I meant more than brief encounters in coffee shops, and sometimes I knew I was only there for when you needed to sip on attention, drunk from memory.

Maybe it meant nothing, and maybe only we know.

You were there when my ghosts came to play, you lingered when I didn't even remember who I was. That's what friends are for, after all.

I remember that deciding day. I remember feeling like this was it. There was just us, and the truth. That moment brought our halcyon day back to me. I'm strong enough to tell you that if I say goodbye, I'll mean it. December always felt like final pages to me, and I don't know how to rewrite the story of how we got here. The pages feel rough. I know if I could turn them, I could be clean.
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