When I Leave You Behind

Leave me here with the birds and the trees. And I’ll sing a haunting tune that reminds me of you. You pulled me drunkenly through the quiet streets, promising to always kiss me goodbye, even if you were mad. We’d make it through the door and collapse beside each other on the bed, out of breath with our arms touching. We would stare up at the cracks on the ceiling, wondering if that’s what heart break looked like. Your fingers would find mine and I’d pretend not to notice while you kissed my skin until your soft mouth met mine. And then the sheets would wrap endlessly around us while our bodies created an ecstasy no drug could ever provide. I fell in love with you during one of those nights.

I loved you long before you admitted that you loved me too. It was cold and we were curled up on the couch next to the fireplace, your gray eyes reflecting the sky outside. You whispered to me what I had been waiting to hear and I kissed you until the sun set and the fire was a pile of embers. And when you got a tattoo of a rose as a tribute to me, I cried. Because when I saw it stained on your skin I saw a piece of me that would always be with you. But not even tattoos can last forever. I bet that you’ll come up with some insignificant story when your kids ask about it. God forbid they ever know that you once told me about the way my eyes used to bring you out of your drunken stupor while you shouted promises I knew you’d never keep.

Those empty promises are why I’m here with my toes hanging over the ledge, waiting for the courage only you could give me. I bet you’ll fake a laugh when they tell you what I did. You’ll say I was always dramatic and you’ll be ashamed that you ever loved me. Then they’ll tell you that I had a rose clutched in my fist. The same fist you used to kiss when we would fight and I tried to hit you but never could. And then you’ll shed a tear for my eyes and write a tortured tune and sing it to a pretty girl who would take my place in your arms. I bet you’ll think of me everyday, especially in spring when the roses bloom and you’re stumbling home in the dark without my hand to guide you. You’ll keep a picture of me, as worn out as your tattoo, and look at it when you’re feeling sad, because I was the only one who could make you laugh during your darkest days.

I hope she’ll be jealous because she’s not me. Because she’ll know I meant the world to you, even if you never tell her that. You’ll promise her that you never think of my eyes and that your tattoo was a stupid thing you did when you were young. But before you go to sleep you’ll see me, and you’ll smile to yourself because I loved you more than anything in this world. And baby, I hope that one day you’ll know why I left you behind.

I wish you knew that when my feet brought me over the ledge I was thinking of you the entire time. I wish you knew that when I broke like the bottle I once threw at your head, it was the best feeling in the world. I didn’t hurt anymore. Nothing hurt. I am no longer someone who lost the most precious thing in the world. The doctor’s words are no longer on repeat in my mind and I don’t have to look into your eyes and know that I put that sadness there. I don’t have to live with the fact that my body turned against me and the tiny life inside of me. And baby, I know you’ll find someone who can give you what you need. Because after all, I’m just a discolored blemish on your skin, a love that was beautiful until the roses died and I was left there with the birds and the trees, singing a haunting tune that reminded me of you.

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