Untitled – January 5th, 2014

Your hand reached into my chest long before I noticed your grip on my heart. I’ve been hurt so many times before; I never wanted to trust you. Yet, somehow, that beautiful smile and those honest eyes made me believe. When I told you my darkest secrets, you held me close and whispered in my ear that the worst was over and that I would be okay. And I believed you. When I finally gathered my courage and told you that I love you, you said it back, then kissed me and told me you’d been waiting for me to say it. You never gave me any reason to doubt you, yet the back of my mind always prickled with a sense of caution in regards to her. One cold January day, my intuition lead me to a place I didn’t want to go. It was then that I noticed how your fingers had encased my heart, how the very essence of you was coursing through my veins. I cannot unsee what I have seen. I do not know if you will pull when called out; if you will rip my heart out like so many have before. Scar tissue does feel pain, you know. But unlike the others, you have become a part of me. Though you may move on, I will never truly be able to be rid of you. Every time I feel throbbing in the empty hole where my heart once was, I will think of you. Every time you cross my mind, I will weep as only one who has lost a love like ours can. One day, the pain will become nothing but a dull roar, a manageable yet chronic ache that I will be able to cope with. But you will never be gone. Your soul is forged with mine, and I will never be free of that chain.

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Time Stood Still

TRIGGER WARNING: DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE, RAPE

 

May 13, 2005
On a dingy bathroom floor in a house full of addicts, she waited. The test sat on the counter, scarce inches away, yet she couldn’t look. One… two… three minutes passed. It was now or never. Her hands shaking, she picked up her future, wrapped in a disguise of plastic and paper and urine. Positive. She closed her eyes, unsure if she was relieved or disappointed. Time stood still.

January 27, 2006
The hospital was crowded, as if everyone in a fifty mile radius had decided to give birth right then and there. A blur of lights and sleep and strange beeps and frantic calls and pain, oh the pain! She couldn’t quite remember how or why she had ended up in the operating room or why they wouldn’t let her hold her daughter right away or anything beyond the overwhelming agony that every second away from the child caused. A bundle was placed in her arms – The bluest eyes she’d ever seen, the blackest hair, the most perfect little mouth. The world melted away and she finally knew the meaning of her life.

July 15, 2006
She could smell the whiskey on his breath before he entered the room. Her heart beat faster as she clutched her baby closer. One foot out the window, easy does it, twist and turn and grab the ledge … – his hand wrapped around hers and in a single breath she was on the bedroom floor again. The baby bawled in his arms as he hurled accusation after accusation, stepping more firmly on her throat with every uttered syllable. Her life flashed before her eyes and in the moment before the stars became darkness, time stood still.

June 1, 2007
He stumbled in at 9am, drunk, though god knows he’d gone to work last night. She lay awake – eyes closed, breathing regular – hoping he’d think she was still asleep. Their daughter stirred; a heavenly coo from the cradle next to their bed. She jumped up to attend before his clumsy hands could reach the tiny being, but not before a slurred “Stunned cunt, let me sleep” escaped his lips as he collapsed into the pillows. When the darkness overcame him, she methodically packed her belongings and drove to the new apartment across town. Furniture would have to wait, but in that moment, her life started over.

December 17, 2011
The night was young, the music loud, the tequila flowing freely. Across the table, he winked and smiled and she had never felt so sexy. The bar closed, the after party started, and before she knew it, 3am had arrived and it was only the two of them awake. He kissed her, she kissed back, he reached up her skirt. She said no. He stopped. He tried again. The no became more urgent. He conceded and allowed her to drift into unconsciousness. She awoke long enough to kick him and roll over as he peeled her panties off, then returned to the nothingness she had been roused from. Seconds… minutes… ages later, her mind snapped out of the fog, feeling him inside her, momentum building, grunts of pleasure escaping his lips. Her body froze. Words caught in her throat. As he emptied himself into her, time stood still.

July 19, 2013
Eight hours of magic was coming to a close. She thought it was going well, but one could never quite tell with a first date. They placed a bet on the last bowling match – if he won, she had to say yes to a second date. She lost, albeit unintentionally, though she was far from disappointed at the prospect of more time in his company. He walked her to her car; she thanked him for a wonderful day. The sun was setting just behind him, a brilliant cascade of light gleaming over his left shoulder. He hugged her and she could feel the restless energy stirring within him. In a moment of impulsive desire, she pressed her lips to his and held on tightly as the rest of the world became irrelevant.

November 8, 2013
They lay in bed, her head on his chest, his arms protectively cocooning her. He kissed her goodnight, and just as he was dozing off, a timid whisper asked if he was still awake. Now alert, he asked her why. Seconds passed as she took a calming breath and responded with some off-pitch statement about needing to tell him something. With a hint of suspicion, he probed her intentions. Her heart beat faster as she attempted to gather her courage. “I love you,” she breathed, barely audible, as she buried her face in his neck. He gently lifted her chin, gazing into her eyes through the dark. “I love you,” he responded, kissing her tenderly as time stood still.

Lessons From Lovers Past

The One Whose Heart I Broke

I learned to skateboard with your hand in mine. You taught me how to bare my soul without saying a word and how to get lost in the milky chocolate of your eyes. I learned to roll a joint and drive a stick shift with your watchful eye on my every move. You taught me how much words can mean, and how much more meaninful silence can be, punctuated only by the sound of your heart beating. I learned to not expect a phone call when you were gaming with your buddies. You taught me that breakups are never straight forward, and that “I’m no good for you” sometimes means “my friends don’t like you.” I learned that moving on after being dumped ruins second chances. You taught me to say “I love you” when I feel it, not when it’s “acceptable” to. I learned that sex with your ex is always a bad idea and leads to sticky situations forever afterward. You taught me how much it hurts to break someone’s heart.

The One Who Got Away

 You taught me how to play poker, how to change my car’s oil, and how to do a wicked smoke show in the school parking lot. I learned how to play Halo and how to make friends with almost anyone. You taught me how to whole-heartedly pursue the things that make me happy and to leave behind those that don’t. I learned the “rules” of Catholicism, of UFC, of that ridiculous drinking game we made up and couldn’t remember the next morning. You taught me how to truly miss someone – someone who wasn’t physically far away, but was emotionally distant. I learned that no matter how often you let me go, I’d always come running back when you beckoned. You taught me how many people can get hurt in an off and on “relationship,” and how much it hurts that you would never refer to us as in one. I learned that once I stopped going back to you, once I pretended that I didn’t love you – we actually made great friends. You taught me how much it hurts to see someone you still love, years later, dating one of your closest friends. I learned that, 10 years after we last spoke, Kokanee beer, black mustangs, and “Speedfreak” by Motorhead will always take me back to the front seat of your car on the night you told me it was over for good. You taught me that sometimes, what we can never hold on to is what we want the most. I learned that there are people you will never quite let go of.

The One Who Fathered My Child 

Because of you, I learned to stand on my own two feet. You taught me how to drink and smoke more pot than I ever thought possible. I learned that in moments of intoxication, the most mundane experience can be otherworldly. You helped teach me that a mother’s love compares to nothing else on Earth. I learned that no good deed goes unpunished. You taught me that it’s okay to walk away when you realize you’re on a crash course to disaster. I learned to hide my bruises and to make up convincing stories for those that were impossible to cover. You taught me how to duck and cover, when to stop talking, how to plead for my life. I learned to take a hit and go right back to washing the dishes without waking the baby. You taught me that your cocaine use was “no big deal” and something you “had under control.” I learned how to recognize your actions when you were using – the way your eyes would take on that funny glint, how you’d clench your jaw, the unexplainable rages. You taught me that I was worth more than your abuse and that loving someone can mean leaving them.

The One I Thought I’d Marry 

You taught me how to swap out the rear differential in a Toyota Supra. I learned how to start a fire, how to open up and let someone in, how to speak of the unspeakable moments in my past. You taught me to let loose once in awhile, to have fun, to not give a single fuck about tomorrow because the night was young and worries were for the old. I learned how beautiful the stars are on the top of a mountain with only a blanket and your arms to keep me warm. You taught me to hold my feelings in, to never voice them for the fear of being called “crazy,” no matter how valid they may have been. I learned to fear a breakup with every fight because your solution was always to walk away for good. You taught me that my best was never good enough, that no matter how hard I tried to be who you wanted me to be, I would never stack up to the standard set by The Love Of Your Life who broke your heart three years before we met. I learned that being  friends with your ex sometimes means you’re still sleeping with them.

The One I Never Meant To Love

I learned the rules to football – CFL and NFL – and how to be an awesome chaperone for 13 year old boys at midnight releases. You taught me how to ride a dirtbike – first with your arms around my waist as you tried not to cover your eyes, and then on my own. I learned to ask for what I wanted from you, even if you never seemed to deliver. You taught me the beauty in a good morning text and a goodnight text and a million little “I miss you”s in between. I learned that you never really stopped with those texts, you just started sending them to the girl you were cheating on me with. You taught me to never let a man borrow my Darth Vader mug, because I still haven’t got it back. I learned that your family didn’t know we were dating – that they disapproved of me even as just a friend. You taught me to be ashamed of us, to stay hidden so that you wouldn’t have to tell your friends your girlfriend was a feminist. I learned that no matter how much you love someone, they can be done with you in a split-second. You taught me that sometimes relationships end months before we say goodbye.

R.W.K.

I began forgetting you slowly.

At first, it was tiny memories
That fell by the wayside:
The sound of you closing the bedroom door
Your bare feet padding across the lineoleum
The whispered “good night” as you wrapped yourself around me
And drifted into oblivion.

Next, I forgot how you looked in the morning,
Tousled hair and sleepy eyes,
That sexy, half-awake voice
And, yes, even your morning breath
(Which, truthfully, I was happy to not recall)

After the first few faded memories, forgetting picked up speed.

I forgot your favourite football team (Lions?)
And your favourite milkshake (strawberry? definitely strawberry)
I forgot the way you’d say my name
And the crinkle by your eyes when you really laughed.

I forgot the feeling of your arms around me
And the tickle of your breath against my cheek.
I forgot the butterflies you gave me
And the million sweet words
And the seventy-five unpleasant ones
(Because we did fight once or twice)

Slowly, you faded
Then all at once you were gone.

Now, although I know your eyes are blue,
I cannot recall their depth.
Though I know your lips are soft,
I have forgotten their touch.

And although I know I loved you
I cannot remember how
or when
or why.

© T. Kalau 2013

On Love and Loss

“December 24th and we’re through again.
This time for good I know because I didn’t
throw you out — and anyway we waved.

No shoes. No angry doors.
We folded clothes and went
our separate ways.

You left behind that flannel shirt
of yours I liked but remembered to take
your toothbrush. Where are you tonight?

Richard, it’s Christmas Ever again
and old ghost come back home.
I’m sitting by the Christmas tree
wondering where did we go wrong.

Okay, we didn’t work, and all
memories to tell you the truth aren’t good.
But sometimes there were good times.
Love was good. I loved your crooked sleep
beside me and never dreamed afraid.

There should be stars for great wars
like ours. There ought to be awards
and plenty of champagne for the survivors.

After all the years of degradations,
the several holidays of failure,
there should be something
to commemorate the pain.

Someday we’ll forget that great Brazil disaster.
Till then, Richard, I wish you well.
I wish you love affairs and plenty of hot water,
and women kinder than I treated you.
I forget the reason, but I loved you once,
remember?

Maybe in this season, drunk
and sentimental, I’m willing to admit
a part of me, crazed and kamikaze,
ripe for anarchy, loves still.”

“One Last Poem for Richard” by Sandra Cisneros

 

It’s true, I admit it. Boyfriend and I are done. Have been for awhile, actually. While the Titanic sunk beneath me, I stood on the deck praying for a miracle, all the while knowing that deliverance would not arrive.

Everything was perfect, and then it wasn’t. Looking back, I can’t pinpoint the precise moment where it all started to unravel. Maybe it was the first fight. Maybe it was the second. Maybe it was when I stopped buying his groceries and cleaning his house because I only had the time and money to take care of myself. Maybe it was all of these things and maybe it was none of them. My perfect faerietale turned into something I didn’t want. My prince became an ogre… and I wasn’t about to stand for it.

I could do a lot of finger-pointing at his issues with his ex, or his questionable nights out with random girls, or his hidden sexist agenda that appeared five months in. But the truth of the matter is – I miss him.

I called it off. Yes, I’m the bad guy there. It hurts to know that someone you love is not right for you, was not right for you from day one and will never be right for you. It hurts to know that you, once again, gave your whole heart to someone who wasn’t able to treat it the way it deserves. It hurts to know he’s already moved on.

But now… now I need to live my life for me. I need to take care of myself. I need to mourn. And I need to make sure that the next time I give my heart, he’s playing for keeps.

Music Monday – November 5, 2012

Red
-Taylor Swift

Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street
Faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly
Loving him is like trying to change your mind once you’re already flying through the free fall
Like the colors in autumn so bright just before they lose it all

Losing him was blue, like I’d never known
Missing him was dark grey, all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met
But loving him was red
Loving him was red

Touching him was like realizing all you ever wanted was right there in front of you
Memorizing him was as easy as knowing all the words to your old favorite song
Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer

Regretting him was like wishing you never found out that love could be that long
Losing him was blue, like I’d never known
Missing him was dark grey, all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met
But loving him was red, oh red, burning red

Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes
Tell myself it’s time now gotta let go
But moving on from him is impossible when I still see it all in my head
in burning red
Burning, it was red

Losing him was blue, like I’d never known
Missing him was dark grey, all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met
Cause loving him was red, yeah yeah red, burning red

And that’s why he’s spinning around in my head
Comes back to me in burning red

Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street

(This has been stuck in my head for days and reminds me completely of my first love. – T)

It Just Didn't Work Out.

When a relationship ends, it’s easy to put the blame on the other person. “He didn’t give me enough attention.” “She nagged too much.” “Their lifestyle isn’t compatible with mine.” etc. It’s slightly childish, yes, but it feels great to have some drinks with friends and re-hash all your ex’s shortcomings.

In fact, this behaviour is more or less EXPECTED. We don’t  assume that someone going through such a painful process is going to be diplomatic, kind, or understanding. We assume that they will WANT to air their dirty laundry and ridicule their former partner for all his/her flaws, real or imagined.

Now, I recently split with my partner of three years. I’m deeply hurt, saddened, and, yes, a little angry, even though I was the one to break it off. However, I’ve decided to take a new approach.

I refuse to bad-mouth him.

I will not espouse his negative characteristics. I will not mock him. I will not make jests at his expense. I will not flaunt our breakup, nor share gory details, no matter how persuasive the other party may be.

I will take responsibility for my actions over the course of our relationship, and their effects upon said relationship. I will acknowledge that I am saddened by the loss of this partnership, and that, yes, I am grieving. I will offer no explanation other than “it just didn’t work out.”

 

It has been about a week since the official split, and people’s reactions to my approach are fascinating. Most are skeptical, thinking I’ll slip up at some point. Some are angry, because they have been denied amusement in the form of someone else’s pain. A few refuse to acknowledge it to my face, yet run their mouths behind my back. Very few seem to understand or accept it.

I, however, feel a sense of lightness. Taking the high road means that I will cause my ex no more pain or embarrassment than necessary, and facilitates a potential friendship down the road. Sure, it’s not quite as satisfying as a good old bitch session, but it’s sure a lot easier on the conscience.