And if you call me at 4 am, too sad to even say hello, I will listen to your silence until you fall asleep. If you need to cry I will not wipe your tears away because you are only human and sometimes tears are as close to laughter as you can get and that’s okay. If you get sleepy I will let you drool on my arm and I won’t laugh at you if you snore too loud. If you need to yell so hard that your voice cracks and your knees fail I will hold you up and yell with you. If you get so angry you punch your hands red I will ice your knuckles and tell you that wounds heal both inside and out, and just like the cold that is harsh and burning, I will always be the warmth to soothe you and make you feel better. I will love you.
1. When a boy who leaves goosebumps on every inch of your skin tries to play you his favorite song, don’t let him. He’ll get it stuck in your head and under your fingertips and when he leaves, you won’t be able to listen to it without feeling like you’re choking.
2. Don’t let him touch you all over no matter how much you want to feel him against you. Leave a few spots untouched so that when you’re sleeping alone again, at least your left wrist and an inch of your right hip won’t sting with the remaining burn of his mouth.
3. Don’t let him break your ribs.
4. Don’t watch the sunset with him. He’ll poison it. You won’t be able to look at the sky without swallowing a mouthful of him.
5. Don’t mistake wasps for butterflies. Sometimes when you feel your stomach flutter and your hands start to shake it’s pain, not love.
6. Just because he tells you he loves you doesn’t mean he’s going to stay.
7. It’s okay to delete his number after he kisses the pretty girl he met when he was drunk. It’s okay to leave when he hurts you. You don’t have to keep falling into him.
8. When he tells you that you’re beautiful, try to remember that you were beautiful before him too.
9. Just because he reads and smokes cigarettes and talks about the stars doesn’t mean he’s your soulmate.
10. After you kiss him, remember to wash your mouth out right away so he doesn’t burn into your tongue.
11. He’ll kiss you in the rain and take you to little coffee shops. He’ll brush your hair out of your eyes and kiss your nose. He’ll grab your waist and whisper in your ear but six months later you’ll find yourself drunk texting him that you miss him and he won’t respond.
12. Your heart is going to break a million times. It’s going to feel like the world is falling apart around you. Your lungs will stop working some nights. You find yourself grabbing at your bones trying to hold yourself together. You’re going to feel like you’re dying. It’s going to be okay. You’ll find someone else to kiss you goodnight.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s the sound I heard when I was 9 and my father slammed the front door so hard behind him I swear to god it shook the whole house. For the next 3 years I watched my mother break her teeth on vodka bottles. I think she stopped breathing when he left. I think part of her died. I think he took her heart with him when he walked out. Her chest is empty, just a shattered mess or cracked ribs and depression pills.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s all the blood in the sink. It’s the night that I spent 12 hours in the emergency room waiting to see if my sister was going to be okay, after the boy she loved, told her he didn’t love her anymore. It’s the crying, and the fluorescent lights, and white sneakers and pale faces and shaky breaths and blood. So much blood.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s the time that I had to stay up for two days straight with my best friend while she cried and shrieked and threw up on my bedroom floor because her boyfriend fucked his ex. I swear to god she still has tear streaks stained onto her cheeks. I think when you love someone, it never really goes away.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s the six weeks we had a substitute in English because our teacher was getting divorced and couldn’t handle getting out of bed. When she came back was smiling. But her hands shook so hard when she held her coffee, you could see that something was broken inside. And sometimes when things break, you can’t fix them. Nothing ever goes back to how it was. I got an A in English that year. I think her head was always spinning too hard to read any essays.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s that I do.