You came in gradually.
Do I call you a leak? No; you were the sticky water if anything, not the holes you seeped through. The porous rips in my abode have been there long before anyone had time to make them. I believe I was born with those gaping, minuscule abysses.
You came, knock after paused knock; tapping on my window, rapping on my backbone.
It would be a game in itself: the waiting, the wondering. Who was it, outside? Who was it, behind me & so close, too close for me to see? I have no guards against you, no turrets to watch from. I am a flat scrap of over-worked land. I am dirt and you are thunderstorms with too-quick rain.
Yes, it was me who let you in. I called you a guest & said (I pretended) that you were temporary. You were supposed to be a flashing, fleeting presence.
You came & I accepted you. I opened my doors to you, unaware that you were the wind & I was the candle flame.
You had come highly recommended by a number of well-meaning friends. Did you know I was vaguely acquainted with your style of living? I understood the way you made yourself at home in houses falling apart, in rooms kept spotless & stark.
I didn’t think you would consider me a host. I thought if I entertained your own guests long enough, you’d leave me alone. (There were people that came to you, more than I expected. They flicker in and out; you don’t dote on them, because they want you, & you hate to be wanted.)
At first, it was only in the whisper-moments of the night that I remembered your presence. I could hear you breathing from the other room, thought I could feel your dreams invade my own sleep’s images. During breakfast (over coffee that either burned my tongue or fell flat against my lips), I’d catch you watching me from across the table. By then, we conversed in our own language, using words that consisted of passing ideas & withering gazes.
But, oh, so suddenly, you were smothering me with kisses that felt like teeth. You were drowning me in professions of love that felt like gasoline. You melded to my soul (though, now, I have doubts that such a thing even exists). You became a part of me that I could not detach. No matter what I tried, the only thing between us was superglue.
Yet, I still denied your pull.
(If you are the moon, I am the tide, forever at your mercy. I reach for the shore & you drag me back out to sea.)
The more I said no, the more you shouted yes. I thought: put a mask around it! Dress yourself up & hide it! They’ll only see what they want to see—so give them a distraction!
So I stitched on smiles & paraded laughter. Do you know what continues to amaze me?
They never once questioned.