they used to
now they whisper
they used to
now they whisper
“I felt wise and cynical as all hell.” -Sylvia Plath
This is how you lose them:
The same way you fall in love: not all at once, but piece by piece.
You don’t lose him the day you break up, but in the days and weeks before. You don’t lose her with what you’ve done, but with what you haven’t.
You lose her when you make a casual remark that cuts her down and you don’t notice in the slightest. You lose him when you start to assume he’ll always be there. When you stop telling her about the little things in your day that make you happy, angry, sad.
You lose him when you start to send those ‘good morning’ texts less and less. You lose her when you stop calling her by that nickname you came up with two years ago.
Suddenly, you’re taking her for granted. You’re showing him slowly but surely, through cancelled plans and unanswered messages, that he’s no longer the priority.
One day you’re listening to the radio and a heartbreak song hits a little too close to home. You finally understand the lyric that never really made sense before. You’re losing her.
One day you’re with him and you realize that he’s no longer excited to be talking to and spending time with you. Another piece falls away.
You’ve lost her when things start to seem forced, when she becomes an obligation. You’ve lost him when you realize you’re sleeping in the same bed but further apart than ever.
You lose her when you fail to tell her what you want, what you need. Where you want to be. You lose him when you stop asking.
You lose them when you don’t try any more, because every relationship, every friendship requires some effort, some maintenance. You lose them when you don’t care enough to make them feel wanted.
Yes, you lose them the exact same way you fell in love with them- you do it day by day, week by week, until you wake up and suddenly wonder when it all started and how you got here.
This is how you keep them:
You say “I love you” every day, and mean it.
here I sit,
taking inventory of
a card that gives me license
to drink and to drive
(but not together),
another that gives me credit,
pictures of her,
and tickets to a show
that won’t go on.
a bachelor’s degree-worth
of knowledge I rarely use,
how to drive a car,
and memories of what
life used to be.
the most beautiful little girl,
the kind of friends
you only hear about,
a family that dulls others
and a stubborn refusal to give up
on the idea that
will always win.
here’s to the ones
the odds and statistics
and decide not to quit-
the ones that know when you hit
gold- in friends, in love, in family-
you don’t just ‘wait and see’
what happens. you choose
not to use
people to your advantage, instead
you commit your head
and heart to being there,
no matter where
you’re needed. you answer the call,
you break down the wall
if you have to. the ones you never doubt-
they’re what life’s about
and they deserve your best, your most.
so here’s a toast:
I raise my glass to the profound-
to the ones who stick around.
the actor, he’ll go on
with the con:
saying the lines he knows
they want to hear- he shows
up when, conveniently,
there’s an audience to see
just how “spectacular”
his character is, the actor,
he’ll play the grateful, repentant sinner
and critics will think he’s a winner…
and the stagehand will remain
behind the scenes, where it’s plain
that the real work is done-
away from the spotlights and sun
where no one sees the sweat and sorrow
she’ll still be there tomorrow
and instead of playing the part,
she’ll live it and love it and her heart
although in hiding will be lifted,
and triumph, unscripted.
and isn’t it
to know that
(in this world)
love, beautiful love,
is just like the rest…
not a right,