She was beautiful that girl. Dark skin, plump lips, freckles like constellations on her cheeks. And when she laughed, God I would marvel in it. Loud and breathy and most of all rare. But she had sad eyes. Really sad. Filled with oceans of water, salty on her lashes and always threatening to break the damn down. And her nails were chewed down to the quick, bloodied down her fingers and her wrists…scarred. So scarred I felt sick. I felt sick to think she was so foolish as to not see what I saw. To not see that she was beautiful in every breath, in every tear and every smile, every blotch to her cheek and curve to her stomach. Right down to her curled chocolate brown split ends she was damn imperfect, so damn imperfect that she was damn near perfect for me.
But she was done. Decided long ago that enough was enough. And when she cried God she was ugly. Not the way her face would glisten with snot or the way her fists would clench until her veins bulged. Not in any sort of way like that. When she cried she was ugly in the way that she would talk like she was worthless, like there was nothing in the world left living for. Like the entire thing had turned grey. And I would say,
“What about the smell of freshly cut grass, or the taste of something sweet? What about the rain on your skin, or the water coming over you when you dive head first into the sea? Or waking up after a good night sleep and feeling like your blankets are pulling you into a hug so tight the world can’t get in?”
And she would say,
“What about the wars and the people dying? What about what people say? What about the crippling pain and the heartbreak? What about the way no one understands?”
“And what about the way birds sing in the morning?” I would counter. “What about the man who still buys his wife flowers every week? What about the sun shine and the snow and wind, kissing you lightly every time you step outside?”
And she would curl against me. Fall asleep like a kitten her insane curled hair fuzzing like a pillow. And I would give her my everything. I would give her my heat. Let it radiate from me, curl around her sleeping form. I would give her my strength. Clutch her so tightly my arms would burn and ache. I would give her my smile. Never let her know how much it hurts to watch her hurt. I would give her my love. All of it. Everything. And for every bit of my everything I gave her, I lost it. And my everything was running out.
I knew she would never live for those things, not the grass or the rain or the flowers or the blankets. And yet, what hurt the most, what killed me in ways that she could never comprehend, was that she wouldn’t live for me. Selfish and horrid, my only wish was to be enough to make her stay.
Wasn’t I enough?