I was struggling,
So I started running.
Running from my problems,
Running from my passions,
Running straight toward the edge of a cliff.
I wanted to jump.
I wanted to soar through the air,
Downward toward a solid landing.
I wanted to feel my body crash,
The way I felt my mind crash years ago,
Like a shitty sedan into a concrete wall.
I wanted the wind filling my ears to get so loud,
That I could no longer hear the constant barrage of racing thoughts playing in my head.
I’d be able to calm the voice that was constantly telling me to jump,
Because I’d have jumped.
I jumped.
I fell.
I landed.
My fall,
broken by a body.
A body nearly as broken as mine.
A heaving ribcage,
Tired lungs trying to breath again,
After the force of my problems sucked the air out of them.
“I’m sorry.”
He said, “Don’t be.”
Looking at me with sad eyes the color of the sky,
When it’s that hazy blue.
He was worn and damaged,
Faded jeans,
Messy hair.
“Did you jump too?”
He ended up here when the vodka in his veins,
Formed a river,
Formed a valley.
Formed a desert,
Once he got sober.
Sober was supposed to fix things,
But he still felt wasted in the worst way.
Like his life had been wasted opportunities.
The chance to be something great,
Drowned in a bottle along a dirt road,
Somewhere between the time he turned 18 and 25,
Closer to his 30th birthday than he’d ever been to being happy.
I don’t think I’d recognize ‘happy’ if it fell off a cliff and landed on me.
He said, “I like your art,”
When he saw my scars,
And I could tell that he knew razor blades were my alcohol,
That a slice to my thigh was like a glass of wine after a hard day,
But I could never have just one.
Just two,
Just twenty.
He never told me,
But I knew the way he had eyed the gun safe once or twice,
His mind lost to cinnamon schnapps,
Too drunk to remember the combination to the lock.
I knew he dreamed of being swept away by spirits,
Carried out to sea on the backs of fish made of whiskey.
I knew.
He knew.
We knew.
And maybe that’s why we didn’t go our separate ways,
After I took a nosedive into the middle of his life.
He held my hand while we tried to find our way back home,
I found home in the brick walls he’d built around his soul,
His heart,
The centerpiece of it all,
Like a fire place.
We framed memories and lined the mantle,
And I waited for the day his smile crept back to his eyes,
And we prayed there wouldn’t be a day when our demons crept back into our lives.

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