chamomile, for nerves

I put you away, I know I did.
Last winter’s coats–the one with the button that I should remember to have mended–the kimono that someone bought for her that is too sweet to part with–the scrapbooking that I will take up once I remember to print the photos–I tucked you away in the room no one goes in.
You were to stay there. You were lost, piles of forgotten letters, that ring that I hated but he bought it so I kept it, the photographs of them before the divorce, you were lost.
You were distant enough to be a memory that I could laugh at, over tea (chamomile, for nerves), remembering how you used to show up and ruin me.
You were tucked away for so long I thought you’d be moth eaten and forgotten.

Here you are. The gossamer strings used to bind you still clinging; you grip me tightly to you and you do not ask if I want you there and you do not even care that I’ve made a life here without you. You throttle me and remind me that I am yours and I have always been yours and you weren’t dead, you weren’t even resting, you were just amused by my pretending.

You know me most of all. You lay into me, settling into my brain and reclaiming the space reserved for you. Hot tears spill over my cheeks and I wish that I could end you and I look wistfully over and wonder if they have someone like you, if I am alone, if you will always know me best of all, if I’ve always been in this state of disrepair, if I will have anything to do after I have finished the mending and the scrapbooking and the preserving, if there are things unfinished then I won’t be finished yet.
You care nothing for the sounds you make, the way all the others start to stare.

I put you away. I know I did. You grip me to you swallowing me entire and I fall into you and you become me and, with shaking hands I push away the tea and find and mend the smile that I wear when you arrive and hope that you will tire of me soon and hope that I will be strong enough to put you away again.

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