(Author’s note: this piece is experimental. Enjoy it as a story-length poem.)
No one loves Caeshin Blithe more than I do.
“Sunrise to sunset, or suh they say.”
“For forever, not just a day.”
From sunrise to sunset, my love will never dwindle.
But in the darkness of night,
That’s when it’s most brittle.
And so I became Mrs. Caeshin Blithe.
Enjoying hollow love and midnight’s alone.
It’s not much of a life.
If only that naive little girl had known.
“Nice, eh? The oranges, the reds.”
“Certainly starts the morning ri—”
“—Reminds me uh’a hotel painting.”
“So to you, our tradition is generic.”
Silence may ricochet between us,
But my darling, remember the sun,
Because when it rises,
My tales of infidelity will end,
And nothing will be amiss.
I’ll be yours and you’ll be loved.
Caeshin and tradition.
Each morning, he walks me to the ridge.
This is how we pretend to be normal; suspension.
Of belief? Of fear? Of courage?
But I know too well what he’s hiding.
And when light peeks over the mountain, my heart sinks.
Our relationship just continues cracking.
“Done! At this rate, yuh’ll never beat me.”
“I never assume to. Coffee?”
“Black. And wouldn’t mind some breakfast tuh.”
“Sorry, Caes. I’m just too tired to—”
“—No competition. No breakfast. Morning’s gone tuh shit.”
“—Hold the coffee; I’ll buy my own.”
When the space between us is greatest,
I hope you take some time,
I hope you accept the distance,
Because we’ll always realign.
When you really believe I’m gone,
That’s when I’ve met my limit,
I’ll be there at dawn,
Ready to commit.
And it will last, for a time.
Another chill morning, another sunrise.
But this time he doesn’t speak.
He doesn’t marvel over the lake covered in ice.
He doesn’t compare it to something mundane, or bleak.
We stand on either side of the ridge.
Hands in pockets, eyes on the sky, we watch.
I want to ask why, to repair the damage.
But I fear a confrontation might be too harsh.
So I’ll just stand here.
And wait for him to read the atmosphere.
“On a weekend?”
“I’m the only one bringing any income.”
“I’ve been looking for something. Really, I…just go.”
“Nuh later than dinner. I’ll make sure uh’it.”
“Don’t bother. Knowing you, it’s a promise you can’t keep.”
“I wasn’t trying to be.”
“Yuh never are.”
It’s behind me.
The women, the nights of abandon.
My heart’s running on empty.
Trust me this time, hun,
I’m really done.
With the lies,
I’ve fallen out of my pattern,
Because I’m tired of our division.
Those eyes follow me.
It’s a tactic he uses to get my attention.
But these days, I’m especially gloomy.
I don’t have the energy to entertain him.
I don’t have the willpower to pretend.
His decisions are catching up.
And my disbelief, I can’t suspend.
“Ate a few hours ago.”
“Eat with me, then?”
“Can’t. I have to send out my résumés.”
“Let me help yuh—”
“Caes. Please. I can do it on my own.”
Between the hatred and the sorrow,
I know I don’t deserve you,
Because I pin deep into the marrow,
And you endure what I sew.
My darling, just don’t leave me.
With flowers, comes guilt.
I lay them out with no vase.
And hope they wilt.
“Could we sit and talk fuh a moment?”
“Caes, I’ve been patient but—”
“—Then I’ll be blunt.”
It’s you and you only.
So maybe I’m scared.
He wraps me up in his arms at night,
Reminding me he’s here, begging me to say we’re alright.
“Tomorrow, I’ll make breakfast.”
“Darling, I’ll make it fuhr you.”
I’ve made mistakes, of that I know,
But being with you makes me want to try,
And reminds me how I love you so,
Please, don’t let there be a goodbye.
Our tradition has changed,
From sunrise to sunset,
He’s trying to end this war we’ve waged,
He’s trying to make an impression,
And just for these few moments, I let him.
“Quite the chill in the air, eh?”
“I hadn’t noticed. Haven’t been outside at all.”
“Then I think it’s about time yuh took a break, right?”
“I really can’t. This job…there are deadlines I have to make.”
“I’m proud’uh yuh, yuh know? Fuhr putting yuhrself out there. Fuhr finding something.”
“Thanks, Caes. That means a lot…”
For now, we’re treading,
But I feel the connection,
Even if it’s slow, it’s returning.
To days of blissful perfection,
From months of anxiety,
I’ll remain at your side,
The way I should be.
He dangles his legs in the water.
And ignores my warnings of frostbite.
Instead, reminding me of a time much sweeter.
When I was more polite.
And he was still a keeper.
But something about his tone is enough.
It makes me a dreamer.
Wishing for a previous time.
“Remember the first time I went night-fishing?”
“Damn near drowned.”
“And that smell clung tuh me fuhr days. Like rotted fish.”
“Hard to forget that affair.”
“Af—affair, right. It was…”
“Simpler times. Except, they’re stuck in the past.”
“That’s why we’ll start over!”
“Maybe. I’m not so sure anymore.”
“We can duh it. We can.”
Your carefully crafted lips are mine,
The heart that aches after me, too,
It’s possessive and it’s wrong, and crosses a line,
Many lines. But I have a heart that calls for you.
Promises are shallow,
But I’ll still make them as long as you’ll listen,
Because it’s all I know,
Let me provide a reason,
For you to step back into this hell,
The one that I created.
We’ve fallen into an old pattern, because that’s what we do.
One where he decides our terms, and I raise no objection.
We’ll sit in silence, just us two.
And our feelings will grow to obsession.
At the peak, he’ll pull away.
From me, from us, from this.
At the peak, I’ll choose to stay.
Because he’s someone I dearly miss.
And then I’ll hate him.
“What duh yuh think’uh that?”
“Dinner or the garb?”
“Garb’s part’uh the show!”
“Dinner’s good. But I’m not so sure about the apron…”
“Now yuh just feel free tuh rag on me.”
“We’re not there yet, are we? Banter, teasing…”
“Uh. Nuh, I suppose not… Apron’s gone. I’ll take it off.”
“This doesn’t get easier, does it?”
Pain forged a wedge,
And always does.
But I won’t corner you on the edge,
This time, our obsession won’t break us.
I promise, and there they go again,
Those words that hurt you,
That don’t mean anything.
And then I’m alone.
The bed is cold.
He’s stopped coming home.
I thought this time we’d hold.
But I’m known for wishful thinking.
I’m known for overcommitting.
“Babe, it was nothing. Helped a mate.”
“No, Caeshin. Stop lying. God, this is crazy. I’m crazy.”
“We went out on the lines. All of us!”
“In the middle of the night? With who?!”
Just believe me, this once,
Because I’m not lying.
We were there, doing due diligence.
The lines were…
Our obsession never broke us.
Our relationship never got that far.
I’m the one who ruined this.
I’m the shattered jar.
It was never the same woman.
Even if it were, she couldn’t mean a thing.
I could never love her.
She’d just be another fling.
Scared. I’m scared.
I’m scared of commitment.
Just be with me.
Scared of vulnerability.
I won’t ever have to see.
Scared of myself.
You don’t know what I’ve done.
“I’m afraid I’m tuh broken.”
It’s the only thing that can happen.
Beneath the pale light and blackened sky, our tradition is broken.
And in the hole he carved in the ice, our gazes dance.
Together, we watch the moon reflect on the water.
Together, we release our love.
Together, we say goodbye.
Together, but alone.