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How does one lose a creature gracefully…?

Is it possible to just be okay with a quick goodbye under the hum of those awful fluorescent lights? Would it have been easier, kinder, softer, if the lights were lamps scattered about the space, yellow and murmuring? When does the gut-wrneching tightening stop? Will I ever let the sadness of it leave my chest?

Sitting in this complacent grief even months after it all is kind

I know that the grief will let me cry and I know that when I do, it doesn’t judge me for my “I wish things could go back to normal.” Because regardless of how familiar the New Ways become, it still isn’t the same. I am bookended by these two creatures that have and continue to adore the Earth I walk on. But the Old Ways stick with us for longer than we’d maybe like.

But in filling that little empty nook, the small nest where a dog named Nelson used to lie, I’ve forced myself to grow, to become changed.

My adult life started when I got Nelson, and it started again when I had to let him slip through my trembling fingers. And it continues on with this new creature named Franklin, who sits just to the left of that Nelson shaped divot.

Loving things that leave you utterly shattered is what makes us so mendable, forgetful, endlessly desperate for devotion…

The whole scene will replay in 10 years time, and I will be even more ruined then.
I’ve begun “The Wasting” once more.

That ragged uncovering of bones and peaks and ridges that crop up along my spine and shoulders.

My scapulas revealing themselves like the bed of a lake as the waters recede.

Indents beside and under my kneecaps, hollows that match the ones slowly sinking themselves back into my cheeks.

And the hipbones…the things I truly crave to see through the paper thin layer of my skin…

Those…I’d starve myself to waifish proportions just to graze my hands along the mountaintops of those things, those sharp little things.

I lose my hair and my colour and my shine just to dig my fingers into the hardness of my breastbone, just to know that my jawbone is an overhang, just to plunge headfirst into the thrill of being thin.

“The Wasting” and I are friends, and I want to drown in her.
Claire Elizabeth Jun 2021
When the night gets a little quieter,
And the stars become more melancholy,
I will tell you how much my heart has thought of you.

When the birds lay soft for the night,
And even the bats lull themselves to sleep,
I will tell you how much I have dreamt about you.

The world is vast and the sky impossibly endless.
The seas are still mysteries and even people still hold ancient secrets.

But I will try so hard to make my distant lands within reach.
Just for you.
Claire Elizabeth Jun 2021
i. when i sit in that old apple tree nestled up in my yard, the deer come up to me and sniff my legs, nuzzle my warm hands, wreath my hair in crowns. my house disappears and the woods become my sleeping grounds. the world doesn't exist so loudly. if the warm haze of summer were to cloak the grasses in gold, the sun would be outshone. in other words, i miss sitting in that old apple tree.

ii. a few years ago there was a grass fire that swallowed the hillside of our neighbor's yard. it smelled like woodsmoke and the dead of summer for days. the blackened ground let nothing show. but a week later, the pale green fuzz of new grass blemished the bluff. "i was only temporary" the soot whispered.

iii. i've been to the ocean only once in my life. a great expanse of cold and unforgiving blue. it was chilly that day. the wind was the only indication that it was late spring, and the sun raced behind the clouds, dousing its warmth for a few seconds. there weren't many people that day, only my class, and the seashells begged to be caressed and held gently. the sand was and soft on the beach, growing rough in the depths of the water.

iv. i've never been one for making friends, but summer made us all friends.

v. when summer begins, my heart regrows its roots and sends out soft new shoots. the smell of ripe fruit and fog in the mornings whisks me out of bed. the sun becomes new every day and so shall i.
Claire Elizabeth Jun 2021
i. i've never loved with anything but sadness. of course this time is no different. shouldn't i crave the happiness that comes with loving another human? i find that dread somehow creeps its way into my sleep whenever i begin getting hopeful, and that itself is sad. loving is my way of keeping that sadness in my bones.

ii. the first time i kissed you was the first time i found what home was. the first time i made you laugh was the first time i wanted to hear something forever. the first time i saw you cry was the first time i wanted cradle someone until they forgot why they were crying. the first time i said 'i love you' to your face was the first time i knew this was the absolute most truthful thing i'd ever said.

iii. if i could gather all the times you made me feel small, i'd have a fortune of anger. the feeling of your normally tender voice slicing open my cheek made me rich with pain. enduring all of your sadness was worth the wealth of love i thought i was getting.

iv. i went to college eight months into our newborn relationship and although it was only an hour away you felt like we were parting ways for good. i was prepared for the distance, but not ready for it. our hearts snapped apart like rubber bands at the eve of that ninth month and distance has been a fear since then.

v. i was proud of what i was doing, proud of everything i thought i was going to accomplish. i was not as proud of you as i could have been. my pride kept me going and kept you at an endless arm's length away. while i bloomed, you withered.
Claire Elizabeth Jun 2021
i. my favourite days are the ones where the air doesn't seem quite clear, but out of focus, backlit with haze. the grass gets dusty and the trees blend together like old oil paints. it's these days that it seems the world is saying "leave this place, you don't belong." i sleep the best on those days.

ii. the sepia film layered over old photos makes me nostalgic for something my lifetime will never know. but it's familiar, smiling faces with blushing cheeks, dust and dirt lining sun-creased foreheads. it's comforting, calming, restful. it makes you wish for that simplicity. how kind a colour can be.

iii. dust covering riddled boxes, coating worn wood, cloaking drapes mirrors, mannequins, rocking horses. an attic is a place my heart feels the strangest. everything seems haunted and in it, i am also haunted. each dirt-laden item carries an event that led to its demise. the wardrobe's mirror cracked and a new one filled in. the jewellery box did not grow with its contained collection. the doll sat too peacefully in the corner of that room and found itself sitting just as quietly beside the wardrobe.

iv. i will always wish for the feeling of an open road on a warm day. the sun rests its legs on the edge of the horizon, the clouds paint themselves with watercolours, the crickets and cicadas tune to each other. that complete content will always be my favourite.

v. sometimes i wish i knew where i was going, knew where i was supposed to arrive. however, the knowledge that i will eventually arrive somewhere is intensely satisfying and comforting, even in its uncertainty.
Claire Elizabeth May 2021
tell me what it's like to never hurt

tell me about loving every part of your being because it's yours and its the only thing you own every inch of

tell me about admiring the grass that grows in the sidewalk and the shine of the oil staining the parking lots

tell me about how easy it is to be happy and how often you laugh and smile and enjoy being alive

tell me what it's like to hurt less than i do.
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