My lungs longed to breathe her in, even as she longed to be taken into them. Every highlight in her hair was a star in my sky, and I’d watch her tremble as she struggled to swallow the words she found hidden in my eyes. Maybe it’s the way that she keeps me warm when she wraps herself around me that makes me think she’s my security blanket, even though there’s no security because she’s prone to running. I meet her gaze and beg her golden eyes for answers. She says, “I’m terrible at communicating,” I say, “me too,” she tells me, “I run,” I tell her, “I chase,” she says, “Ashley, listen. I’m afraid.” I’d like to hold her hand and tell her it’s okay but I can see it on her face that her thoughts are far away so I don’t touch her. I watch the way her tears ebb and flow from the corners of her eyes and her hair is the tide, stained blood red to prove that she’s alive. I can feel her tremors through the space that is between us. Her radiance is an epicenter and I am just an aftershock, but I’ll be whatever I need to be if I can keep a piece of her. Even if it’s just a shard of broken glass from a window in a building in her heart that used to stand tall. She says, “I hate every single cell that belongs to my sister,” I say, “you don’t know how many times I’ve said the same about my brother,” she says, “my body has known the hands of someone meant to protect me,” I say, “I always managed to convince myself it wasn’t that bad,” she says, “I never knew my father,” I say, “I wish I never knew mine.” She says, “cancer took my mother,” I say, “my father took his own life,” she says, “sometimes I miss her so badly,” I say, “I didn’t even cry.” I watch her close her eyes and I whisper, “maybe we can get lost in the beauty of our mutual dysfunction.” They say you’re not supposed to date anyone crazier than you, but someone should tell them it doesn’t do to date someone more sane either. I’ve been on the crazy side of every relationship I’ve ever been in and I’m sick of being the stone that sank the ship. She looks up at me and says, “we could be a movie.” I say, “we already are a poem.” We are the perfect amount of insane. Maybe it’s the way I can’t tell myself that she’ll stay that makes me want to hold on as tight as I can. Or maybe it’s that I’ve always been the one to walk away that makes me so uncomfortable to know with her I can’t. And maybe my mouth is writing prescriptions my heart can never fill but all I can say is what’s inside me, and that’s the only thing that’s real. She says, “I won’t ever be perfect,” I say, “I wouldn’t want you if you were.”

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