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I Am Santo

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Sand Grains

Our love had transformed to cancer long before the night I said goodbye to you, turned away and still. It had grown feeble and weak, a shell of anything that once resembled passion with only the thinnest lining of care a tenuous bond between us as you stood across the short distance of our kitchen at the stove and I, knee-locked, in the doorway. These were well worn stations during our dying days from which we traded barbs, but now there was no volume or verbal discord.

It was a simple phrase uttered quietly, resigned, a series of innocent words that when strung together ripped off the shroud we’d hidden our misery under and revealed two broken hearts that feared release to mend, but needed freedom more than the next course of sanguine air.
We were dying in that small space, a second-floor corner caught at the center of two train stations, our love and failure set to the tumult of rollicking progress and purpose as our own disappeared. But to let air out of the last of us, to allow the sum of our years of compromise and work spill into emptiness, no longer held or contained by either of us in foolish hope that somehow life would spring anew from our spent seed; it was a pain that sliced into the deepest flesh of my experience. Bottomed out, I plummeted, a spider caught in an unforgiving tide where webs find no purchase or meaning.
Yet when did these massive constructions amount to anything before I drove the knife into the spine of our shared days, our practice at a life of shoulds and woulds? Everything had turned to ash long before we were revealed in naked light, and the time for hopeless herding of brittle plans and slight ambitions – hands desperate to guide a dream despite the spill between our fingers – it had expired. Escape was the cure to our nursing a malignant sorrow that threatened to consume us and shatter our bones as it had your belief in me.
Did you ever bend the looking glass convex enough to include our whole loss after the easy turn to bitterness waged assault on every aspect of what was left of me? To swim in an ocean of blame was never lone toil, we deserved to hold hands in darkness as we had when the light of our affection dispelled what haunted days before our first excited flush of breathlessness. Yet I alone sunk to the seabed, the grains of our promise turned to a swallowing threat that you urged to consume me. In approaching headlights I saw release, but stepped back in time before being dragged across the rough crags of tidal tarmac, limbs torn and flesh burned by friction. And your single raised hand that silenced my explanation that night in our kitchen, that last moment we would share in a marriage home built on a lack of courage to be honest, a fear to live life completely, and the assumption this was the proper course of days.
Perhaps it was proper, the mortar of our four walls, but death too is proper and I remain unwavering in doing not what’s right, but what’s right for me before I succumb to final rest.

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