The first chapter of a piece I started last year. Loving and leaving may seem easy for some, but that isn't always the case.
Disappointment became just another pill when it came to you, Seth, and our arguments were just another rerun of the same episode of a T.V. show I was long over watching.
"Goddamnit, Vicki. Seriously? You think you would've learned by now."
"I guess I never realized wanting to stay was something they taught you through your years of adolescence but, if it was, then you're right - I never learned."
Thinking of teaching, be taught, heavy backpacks - it all made me think about the first time I met Seth. From the beginning, we knew there was an end. Or at least, I did. Built on lies and rooms too small for the two of us, someone was bound to walk out - I just didn't think it would take this long. I come with a lot of baggage, but I always keep it packed.
I could turn around - walk back in and tell him I was joking, tell him I could stay, that I loved him, that I didn't know how to live without him, but that's all only partially true. Maybe this is some kind of joke that we will later laugh about when we fall asleep in our too-familiar bed that always felt too small, like the distance between us wasn't enough, like I was caring after someone else's house while they tanned their bronze skin and smelled like coconut and selfishness on an unnamed beach while it took me a little too long to finally fall asleep in a bed my body knows it doesn't belong in.
Or, maybe the laughs come from within our favorite corner coffee-shop after we run into each other and the sight doesn't bring bad memories tied together with pain or forced smiles - Seth's real smile comes with a laugh that always seems to escape his blush tinted lips before he realizes the sound is coming from him. I actually don't know if that's Seth's favorite coffee-shop. I think he preferred tea. He can tell me all about his wife and his new life, and I'll tell him I'm exactly the same.
Or, maybe in a snowed-in Thursday morning when we were trapped inside the house but everything we couldn't stand about each other, when I told him I wanted to dye my hair pink and play the banjo in a bluegrass band because at least it would be different, would be the last time I'd hear those escaped runaway melodies. Those sweet melodies I'd write my first bluegrass song about and strum my banjo along to the sounds I'm starting to forget.
I could stay; I know that, but we both know I wouldn't be staying because it was I who wanted to. I could stay, but I don't think for long, and definitely not forever. Whose life am I trying to live? I do love him, but I think I love everyone. It's hard to tell which love is sticking around for - or maybe I haven't felt that yet, and that's why twenty-eight cities know vaguely of my name and the shape of my hips as they sway while I walk away for the last time.
What scares me is that I don't know how to live without him. The only permanence of our lives that exists together is found within the handprints we once left on a freshly cemented sidewalk outside of that too comfortable, too suburban house we never belonged to together. From creating sidewalk evidence of our once felt love to walking away on the same sidewalk five years ago, every year could be summed up with a memory I shared with Seth.
Seth. Sweet, good-natured, innocent, Seth. I loved everything that I wasn't that I found in you. I wish I could stay to save the hurt we both knew I was bound to cause, but I only want to walk away with love for you, and I don't know if I would start to resent myself, or you, if I stayed, or if I've already started to.
"Tell him that. Go back, and tell him that," the voice in my head echoed. My cheeks were red; I could feel it. My eyes felt heavy and soon, my cheeks would be stained with hot tears I couldn't keep to myself.
"If I go back, he might ask me to stay."
I don't know how many times I can let myself walk out that heavy-with-guilt, always-locked-away door before I finally won't need a key anymore.
Home to me always wanted to be a green door in a city I had yet to find. And when I open MY front door, I don't need anyone else standing behind it. This home was built for one, and these bags were meant to be packed, and I was never meant to learn the same things as you - I was meant for goodbyes, and see-you-laters; I was never meant to walk away - I was meant to run.