Process of Elimination

i. excitement

i told myself you can only feel the way you do
when you’re 16
i said
this is grown-up love. 
i said 
sparks don’t fly forever.
it takes me so long to write poems about the way i love her, because 
i don’t know how to
make it perfect.
grown-up love means fighting.
we don’t hold hands in the car anymore, and you don’t kiss me goodbye. i’m thinking 
about you. i don’t know what you’re thinking about. 

ii. communication

the only time I know what you’re trying to say is when you don’t say anything at all.

iii. honesty

maybe i was lying to myself, but
imagining we were happy made for a better story
than where we were headed. 
we both turned into storytellers, hoping 
It’d make us feel better. 
in our heads, 
You loved me a lot more.
in my head, 
I wasn’t forcing you to stay.
in your head,
You wanted this. 
so you tell me so. 
and i read those lines in the story to myself
as if i didn’t see the pause. 

iv. love 

“is it because you’re depressed or because you lost feelings for me?”

as if i didn’t feel the energy it took you to touch me vibrate through your teeth. 
as if i didn’t notice how far away your body was from your head. as if i didn’t know there 
was somebody else. as if i wasn’t pretending everything you said didn’t sound straight 
out of a script. 
there was always a pause when you told me you loved me. it hurt less when you just 

v. self

my identity didn’t know who it was without you. i built up a new girl that only thought 
about what to 
to make you see me as breathtaking as you did when we were 16. 
when it didn’t work, suddenly i was standing still while the world turned and you breathed 
easier and time passed and it felt like i was seeing it all through broken glass. i didn’t know how to exist without hoping you were watching. the tie was cut but i could still feel the friction on my wrists linger after all the pulling. i was waiting to be guided by a light i thought was never going to come back, 

vi. Self

but i got tired of the dark, so i made my way out by my damn self. 
i retraced my steps and picked up the pieces of me i had left along the way. i realized i 
was there for me every time you weren’t. i collected every ember that flickered off my heart along our string of time and ignited them with not the friction you created with backing away from all i am, but with excitement of getting to know it again. 
now i am my own favorite company. 
now i don’t need to distract me from me. 
as simple as it should have been, i can look at myself and not feel like a stranger in my own body. i can look at my body and thank it and not dread all that i thought it wasn’t. i can look at all that i thought i wasn’t and see all that i know i am. 

i was left alone with myself, and that was the greatest parting gift you could have given me. 

By Angelica Crisostomo

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