Lyrical Essay : Shadows

I tried to get him to talk. I knew he needed to say something to me. It had been waiting there since our last fight. The last time I left, it was because he was not listening to me. This time, I would make sure he felt heard and understood.

Still, it was not enough.

I watched as he released some of the pressure on his heart, but there was much more there. There was something about me, but it was under something about somebody else. Maybe he couldn't see it, but I could see it in him. I've picked up an ability in these past few weeks that I'd been using on myself. X-Ray vision. My soul could see stuff and tell me.

Still, he said he was done.

Okay, my soul said. Either he doesn't know it's in there or he can't talk about it. That's fine. There's a lot going on. I'm the least of his worries. I have to go pick up a bike. I'm late already but I wanted to listen. I wanted him to cough up that rock in his chest. No rock, still late. What's a bike compared to him? His wonder? His messy little artist's heart full of things so much more valuable than this society will ever know.

I eat. I get my things. I try to relate. I get in trouble for being playful. The kid can feel it. I'm connected to the kid. I have to get away. The kid can see in my heart and we both know it. When I feel a shovel scooping things out of me, so does the little one. How are we so connected? I cry in the shower and I hear him cry. Fuck. He feels it.


The beauty of falling in love with somebody like that, somebody that can't talk and isn't yours to raise, comes with a lot of heart-ache. You want to rock them and tell them, “I know your soul is talking to mine, but the brains are in charge right now.” But you can't. You have to leave so you don't hurt them anymore. So the souls stop passing notes in class.

I try to undo some damage. I can't be heard. Give me something, he says. Give me stability, he begs. I can't, I think. You broke me last time. I grand-romantic-gestured my way back into this house and you never fixed what you broke. Then you scooped out the pieces with a shovel. There it goes. The debris. He pushes me away some more to test my boundary. I'm too weak from not being listened to.

You talk all night and I listen. Then I ask for some time and you're too tired. It builds up and I try to work through it, but playfulness and cooking won't be acceptable. You need something more. Sorry. There's no foundation left. You don't feel that? You don't feel what happened before?

“You're trying to deal with your problems, but it's my turn,” he says. It's not, I think. You take all the turns. Hell, you deserve them. These things you need are bigger than me. Bigger than you. Bigger than our love. Bigger than your love for her. It's the destiny of the little ones. The stars already know what's going to happen and we're trying to keep up. It's big. It's the universe. You try to start talking about it but it makes you cry before you speak and he stops you. Fuck. So close.


This isn't equal. He won't give you what you need. Even when you ask. He's turned off. You can't even tell him how big it is without being told what to feel. How to communicate. Subscribe to his reality. Why did he pick that fight with you? On the third try (maybe the fourth?) and it's a pattern. Just like he said. He saw the future. The eggshells, the barbed wire. It's all there. The debris from that last fight with her that you never got to resolve.

“If you can't take it I'd understand,” he said on the phone that day.

I thought I could. All I need is a hug. A kiss. Support.

If we don't break this pattern, our memories will turn on us. I am not strong enough to keep you from pushing me away. I am strong enough to leave before we hurt ourselves anymore. In me, though, is another version of us. The version of you that I thought you were. The version of me I'm on my way to discovering.

He sets his laptop down next to me. I ask him what's wrong and he puts his hand on my hip. He looks into my eyes- not away from me. He asks, “You sure you're okay to hear all this?” I nod. I kiss his hand. He leans over my waist and rests his back on my big hips. His hand is on my arm. He tells me the story with his lawyer, his love-bite that left him, and the journey of feeling used. He works so hard. He's making it. Doing so well. I tell him. He then tells me what it is, really. The uncertainty. The feeling that he and I are not united. The feeling that he's going to lose all of the things he worked for to the demon that possesses his love-bite. He does not hold it in. He does not hold it all in and then spit it out at me when I am being playful fifteen minutes later. He tells me all of it so I can be there with him.
I kiss his forehead. I tell him that I'm here even when he doesn't feel like it. I thank him for not shutting down. I tear up because I want him to know I'm here but I know the feeling of alone and it's a soft spot that I still struggle with. We bond over our loneliness. In the same room behind the walls that people in the past helped us build. He does not get mad at me for telling him I am also alone and insecure. He understands I'm not blaming him because we're in it together. He doesn't shut down. Maybe we cry just a little bit.
“I have to go get a bike, baby,” I say. “I wish I could stay all day and clean your house and take the little one the park for you but I have errands to run.” He understands. He does not ask why I didn't leave sooner. He does not resent me for being fragile. I get my lunch. He kisses me goodbye and we are still very sad. I am praying all day for him like I often do. I send him the positive energy that working like this gives me. He gets everything done.

One night, I told you about my dream. An astral dream that was so real. The shadow man that put fear in my head was telling me a story. He put it in you the next night when you woke up with a headache. The story was that we would be too afraid. Not because of anything that either of us had done. Our love was a sun that shown on our pasts and made broad shadows on the landscapes.

The sun light hits your love-bite. The sun light hits my dead dad. The sun light hits our first fight when I told you that you were egg shells and you saw how quick I cry. It hurts to look at them illuminated, but the shadows are worse. They feel cold and safe. People like you and I like the independence of isolating ourselves. Solving our problems alone, in the shadows.

The sunshine is hot, the shadows are scary, but we get to choose where we stand.