I. You’ll never know this, but in the car I always trace confessions against your skin in lazy circles, like
People carved their names into my bones when I gave them a home there.
It made me so weak I broke my spine and called it a sacrifice for love. Maybe sometimes people weren’t right for me but I still tried to save them from themselves. I think it may have broken more than a spine.
My armor is crumbling; you’re starting to settle in just under my skin and it’s scaring me because I don’t think I’ll ever mean to you what you would to me & I want to be wrong, but I don’t think I am.
I want to be wrong.
II. Your head bobs to the music and fingers tap the wheel. I watch out of the corner of my eye and pretend I’m not fascinated by your habits. You reach over, graze my arm. You touch a scar you don’t know is there. My hand slips up your sleeve to keep my next confession more hidden.
I have more than skeletons in my closet. There are monsters that howl & ghosts that haunt me. Sometimes they get too loud – the door breaks open & I have to let it hurt & bleed in ink until they quiet and I can lay them to rest again.
Before I wrote on lined pages in notebooks I cut lines into my skin, but I’ve lived so many lives since then it seems like it was forever ago. Until it doesn’t.
You change the song and settle back again, your gaze skittering along my skin. Prickling. I know you’re taking in my measure, but it doesn’t bother me. I’ve already dissected the anatomy of every failure, every hard decision I’ve ever made, every time I felt like I wasn’t good enough for whatever reason.
I trail letters down your arm as I pull my hand back to me again.
Go ahead & try to read me. I’ve picked through my own history enough to feel like a scavenger. I won’t ever hide that my conscience is scarred enough to glow in the dark from all the old wounds.
III. We get to where we’re going. You park & I stare out the window like I wasn’t just watching you. I glance over when you don’t say anything and you quirk an eyebrow, reach over and squeeze my hand. I trace words into your palm, like
I hope I’m more than ego boost. I hope you see me the way you see stars at night, or good music. I hope you see me like my own kind of magic.
IV. I open my hand inside yours. The size difference is almost comical. I stretch my fingers against yours as far as they would go, then slide my hand until our fingertips touch. You watch & don’t say a word. I make little circles, and say things like
I think you’re going to hit me like a freight train and it’s going to hurt. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to take a hit like that anymore
I wish you’d give me somehing other than a ride, give me something from inside your head, do I even mean anything to you other than a way to kill some time because it’s not feeling like it.
V. I hop out and watch you leave. My fingers drift to my collarbone, where I can feel the bone under my skin. There are things I don’t even say out loud to myself.
Don‘t set yourself up like this. Don’t let him under your skin when you aren’t under his, don’t make a home for him in your bones when you’re already brittle. It doesn’t matter what he makes you want when you don’t make him want the same.
Don’t break your own heart. Stop while you’re only halfway to never going back.
Sometimes you can’t get people out from under your skin. Especially when you don’t want to.