can you feel it, i whispered
yes, he said
don’t go please, i said, not yet
okay, he said

and we sat there knowing it would never be the same
you know when you have been so close to someone
that more is said in the unspoken
than in the constant chatter
we had that
but all my insecurities prevented him from getting in
he was a special one
his soul so full of sadness, he lived underwater
he was a word artist
and a profoundly tortured soul
i had heard this term before
but i’d never seen it
and it changed me
it wasn’t a cliche anymore
it was the reality of someone i loved

he was the first boy i ever wanted to save
it was an impulse so strong in me i would want to reach for him
and hold him tightly each time i heard him speak
and watched his eyes mist over
we passed loved notes
the old fashioned way
competing endlessly for who had the smaller handwriting
and who could be more flirty without really saying anything at all

he gave me one of the greatest gifts a man has ever given me
an understanding of the temporary

you see, he died unexpectedly

it was the first time i experienced myself hollow
i completely emptied out
and the words of the news echoed inside me so intensely
i had no choice but to fill up

i woke the next morning cloaked in despair
and heard myself weeping from somewhere far off

i knew i had to get back in my body
there was a part of me so close to checking out

i rolled over to face the wall
and i stared
i stared for hours till i saw every detail exposed
every line took shape
and color took form
i watched as reality shifted in front of me
and realized
this was final
there was nothing i could do to make it not true

this was the most painful of truths
i ever lived
and as the permanence set in
i unraveled
it took me years to let the guilt go

i filled my moments with suffering
painting the details of my day with pain

i often imagine he knew
there is a comfort in the stories we tell ourselves

at night i sometimes go through the list of people i am no longer talking to
and think what if this happened
what if today was the day
they slipped away

would there be something unsaid?
would there be something unfelt?
am i living unresolved?

the answer is almost always yes

so i offer this:
please don’t ever let your fear of rejection
determine your actions
please don’t hide from intimacy

and cherish
cherish everything
everything true

❤️ emily joy rosen

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