I have been told that a love left untouched will never disappear; that because the corrosive oils from our fingertips have not dissolved its coloring, it will, theoretically, endure perpetually. This love, left in its shrink-wrap casing, looming over the heads of the meek and the caustic feels like a scarlet letter hidden behind the robe, a feeling so foul none are to know but, Oh, what if it begins to fester, there in the moist dark?
This worry had been sitting in my stomach, churning with the bile and swallowed blood, coming up acid in my throat; I could feel it radiating out. Thought: it must be nuclear, must be radioactive and glowing, eating through me one layer at a time, but love –this uranium longing– has a half-life.
When first the reaction began it boiled and popped like lye on skin, singed off my eyelids so I could not help but see it there. I found myself woozy from the fumes, a high I had never experienced before so I inhaled, let it torch my lungs and leave me gagging. My hair began to fall out. I was soggy from the chemotherapy, tried pumping this bitterness into my bloodstream to remove the evil that already existed there, unaware that they were the same entity. It could not survive on a diet of itself and obsession, and so it began waning.
An exponential decay, the intensity of this passion varying directly with the frequency of contact and inversely with time, yet it will never be gone, entirely. It will decrease incrementally every time I say good bye, every time I see scarred knuckles, every time I want and he does not. I have counted the days since the day I counted on him and he was accountable and the number is growing larger and getting more difficult to remember. I have scribbled it onto scraps of paper and it has only browned the edges, no longer burns all the way through, and this love –this radium affair– has been losing its toxicity.