Paris

You offered me Paris once. We were having some absurd conversation about taking over the world, and you promised to win me Paris.

“It’s romantic,” you said.

Without realizing it, I had let you believe a lot of things that weren’t true. And that was the moment that I realized that you wanted a lot more from me than I wanted from you.

When you asked me if I liked you, I said yes. Because I did like you, just not enough to make any sort of commitment. And I made that clear. Or I thought I did.

But maybe I didn’t.

I hurt you and I didn’t mean to and that hurt me.

I didn’t want Paris. I never did. Paris was someone else’s dream; someone else’s idea of a happy ending.

If you had known me half as well as you thought you did, you would have realized that.

You scared me. Did you know that? Every time that you asked me to pray for you before you went out to be with the people that I refused to meet, I was terrified.

Because you were never much for the God thing. You made that clear from the start.

But for some reason, my faith was important to you.

It wasn’t until Paris that I realized that I needed out. By that time, I had waded in too deep to sever ties without hurting you.

I don’t know if you’re ever going to read this, but I want you to know that I’m sorry that I couldn’t find a less painful way to leave than cutting you out all together.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t bring myself to hurt you when it was still easy.

How Love Works

I know that something is wrong from the moment that I spot you sitting out in the rain. You’ve never really had a flair for the dramatic, and besides, you’re always talking about how it messes with your hair.

I sit down beside you and don’t say anything because at this point I have no idea what’s wrong. But I do have that feeling that I get deep in the pit of my stomach, a subtle shifting of body chemistry that makes me feel like something isn’t quite as it’s supposed to be.

You put your head on my shoulder in the place that you’ve been carving out since we were six and you punched Peter Galecki in the nose for calling me a sissy.

“Will you tell me what’s wrong?”

I know it’s not going to be good because you don’t even look at me. You just pull your sleeve away from your wrist, laying bear the mess of scars that criss-cross your arm like a game of pick-up sticks.

“Why?”

I knew about them. And you knew that I knew about them. But you never said anything, so neither did I. Instead, I pulled you closer and tried to love you harder than anyone else so that maybe, just maybe, you’d see in you everything that I did.

“Why not?”

This isn’t a movie. We’re not soul mates. You know it, I know it, and neither of us would have it any other way. So I don’t kiss you. I don’t give you some  answer that came to me from the heavens meant to solve all of your troubles. Things like that don’t happen.

Instead, I put an arm around you and pretend that your tears are raindrops and your tremors are from the cold. I refuse to let you fall apart alone.

That’s what friends do.

Taking the Blame

I look down at the blood on my hands and wonder how it got there and if this was how Jesus Christ felt as he suffocated under the crushing weight of the guilt of all of humanity.

I don’t think that my hands have been stained this deeply by my own sins, despite the fact that I’ve been told time and time again that it’s not my place to be apologetic for anyone besides myself, no matter how much their transgressions remind me of an amplified version of my own.

When I hold my hands up to the light the arguments stop dead. Mouths open, then close. Heads turn away.

What they don’t realize is that it’s their transgressions that they are choosing to turn away from.

I won’t wash my hands of them because someone has to remember. More importantly, someone has to be accountable.

Even though I know that they would never do the same for me.