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Elizabeth Finn

I woke up today, thinking of you. I undress with you in my mind, on my body, hands touching my imperfect skin. They are my hands, now. Birthmarks on my forearm from birth, three in the cosmic pattern of Orion, the hunter, always my symbol of strength. Scars on my breasts from a recent surgery, because I was not good enough the way I was made. Stretch marks like vines on my stomach, my battle wounds of adolescence, that you made me adore. Scars on my knees, like a child, from a fall that you laughed about with me. A scar on my ankle, from a painful memory that you helped me forget. I touch these things and remember, and suddenly feel cold with the memory.

My pulse beats hard and fast in my throat, and I can’t catch my breath. Everything I see reminds me of… I blush thinking about it, and without warning grow warm, then chilled again, a hot chill. Is this what hollowness feels like? I touch the space between my collarbones and wonder if you scooped something out the last time you kissed me there.

I quickly pull on clothes, covering all of my beautiful imperfections. I look manufactured now: cookie-cutter and drab. My glow that friends used to comment on — “Hey, you have that ‘I just got laid’ look on your face!” now translates into a shinelike I haven’t showered in days.

It’s simple, sometimes. Life is, I mean. We’re born, we grow up, some of us find a mate, some of us have children, and all of us die. My life is not so quaint. Never was. Maybe you want yours to be. Is that why you wrenched yourself away? You want this perfect life? Who is this life for? Is it for us? Our families? Our pretty little places in society?

I want to scream at you. To tell you to figure it out. To stop lying to yourself. To grow up and realize that whatever it is that we had — that hot, sweet closeness — it doesn’t make you a freak. It never will. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to pigeon-hole, things happen because they were meant to. Just that. What you left was never about labels, never about anyone else and what they were doing. It was two people. Intimate and expressive, that’s all it ever was.

Now I hold my face in my hands and cry. No, no, what am I doing? I drag my hands through my hair; you loved my curls. You never liked it up, but always bouncing on my shoulders, wavy and wild. Perfect for the bedroom, you said once. My eyes, too. Gave you your first perfect example of ‘bedroom eyes.’ You couldn’t stop gazing into them when we made love. Liar! Hypocrite! I scream inside my head until I’m deaf with it all.

Once, just once, I’d love to be inside your head. To know what makes you do what you do. I can’t handle your soft skin, because it is the barrier between me and that confusing, stone-cold mind. I know your heart, but not your head, and that, I believe, is what keeps you inside me, my hands still your hands, over my marred and tragic skin.

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