words-and-teardrops

He sat there for a second, paralyzed
not realizing,
not processing,
not believing
the inevitable pain that would follow;
the car diverged from the road, his scream died on his throat,
even though she was driving a hundred miles an hour
everything was going in slow motion
The car came hurling into them;
that was the last thing he remembered

It should have been just another day,
with busy schedules and mindless chatter
full of glances at people
that glance at others;
it should have passed by unknowingly,
should have slipped through his fingers,
should have landed in the place
where all the forgotten days
go to lie
along with the forgotten people

But instead, he watches her
undoubtedly, this time, she’s walking toward him
It startles him out of his daydreams,
forces him to face reality
(it’s been far too long since he’s done so)
But then he realizes she’s just walking
toward another boy.
When she sits on the other side of the tree
he feels a pang in his empty chest;
something akin to the pain from that car crash
all those weeks ago.
Yet again,
he’s invisible

But then she asks, with that look on her face, her eyes glistening
with something akin to the stars
both of them used to admire
all those nights ago;
asks with that half smile
that undoubtedly means she’s on the verge
of losing it all over again.
She asks with that look,
the one that makes him struggle
to look anywhere else
her voice parched and defeated,
not caring enough
to inflect even the slightest bit of happiness into it

She asks:
How does happiness feel?
He’s about to move his mouth,
about to reply,
about to form the words,
about to say something, anything,
to get that look off her face,
anything to change her voice from that awful, broken sound
When he remembers she’s not talking to him.
(she’s talking to another boy)
Yet again,
he’s invisible.
Forced to contemplate if an unbeating heart
can break once more

She’s not looking at him,
(she’s looking at another boy)
she picks at the grass around the tree,
takes a deep breath and says:

Does it feel like his laugh?
Does it look like his smile?
Can it be contained in a box
so it won’t escape?
Can you stay with me
so the sadness, this guilt
doesn’t seep in, so it doesn’t
destruct, so I don’t
go mad, so I stay sane?
But can you tell me
how happiness tastes,
if it tastes like him or
something else
I’ll never have;
could you show me how to smile
without a care,
how to prance around
laugh and chortle and
never think of death or
the feel of the pavement
at the bottom of the fall
Maybe I’ll never get to feel it,
to breathe it,
to taste him
But maybe if I wear this smile stained
with hidden sadness
and everything we’ll never be, then maybe one day
I’ll be able to describe happiness
and all it entails

And he’s processing all of this, he really is,
but before he can wrap his head around everything,
everything she’s saying about him,
she gets up and walks away.
And he watches
And he watches as the other boy watches
And they both watch as she shakes her head
And they both watch
And they both regret sitting by that tree
But what can he do
when he’s invisible to the world
and the only other person that matters
is walking away from without knowing
that he’s still on this earth

The next day
she joins him
(both of them are invisible to the world now)
she stands beside him when
her mother speaks about her
in that same defeated, parched voice,
tears streaming down her face;
when the boy she spoke to
only the day before
has a face frozen with guilt;
when everyone she knows,
all her friends,
her relatives,
her little brother,
when all of them are wearing black
and speaking about her life.
And he watches
he watches their guilty expressions
And he watches
her own distraught face
And he watches,
but he doesn’t say anything
Because he’s really
the only one to blame

(because even though
she’s with him now
she really shouldn’t be,
she should be happy
and alive and breathing,
not drowning in guilt for
crashing that car
all those weeks ago)

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