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May 2019
heartbreak starts before the end
it starts the first time he lets you down
the first time he says yes
and then says sorry, i’m so sorry
i’m tired and i have this and this
and this but i’ll make it up to you
he says, i’ll make it up to you
and that’s when it starts.
that’s when you know
you’re in too deep
because he was too tired
and you were disappointed
and held your pillow tight
and wished he checked his phone more.
it starts the first time you make
an excuse for him
“he was up late studying”
you say
“it’s 4pm”, they argue,
but he sleeps late, or he had an exam,
or he’s tired today
you say, and bite your lip
“he’s had a long week,
he wishes he could be here”
or you think he would
if he could just wake
UP, it starts the moment you
are genuinely annoyed
with something he does,
the second you think
for the love of a god you don’t believe in, boy,
am i not enough to keep your eyes open,
please, wake up, i’m here, i’m here
i’m right here next to you
it starts the moment his friend runs
and hugs you, and says i saw
him, this morning
when he didn’t text you back,
when you were telling your friends
he cared so much,
she saw him,
i saw him, she says,
this morning, and i told him
she says, in the way
all his friends talk,
like they know you, like you belong,
i saw his girlfriend, she said,
and he said
you’re not his girlfriend,
i’m not, you say, i’m not
through a smile and you feel it,
you feel it start in your chest,
and that’s it, that’s what it feels like,
that’s the moment, after it starts,
far after it starts, because you can’t
even get to the good part until it starts,
but that ache behind your eyes,
and in the very center of your stomach
and in your anchor line to earth,
you feel the tug go slack
you can actually feel yourself
start to drift away
ever so slightly,
and that’s when you know
for sure that it’s started
it’s like crying over a dog video
and sore ***** after taking off a bra
and finally feeling a cramp
you know what’s coming
you’ve known what’s coming
you saw the signs, from the very beginning
you stayed up all night talking to him,
and you had a class the next day
but you refused to go to sleep,
you knew what was coming when he said
he was leaving
you knew he was leaving
not just here
not just home
but this stage of life
this life we live together, separately
will change to something
you can’t share
you don’t WANT to share
you knew this was coming
but that’s the next stage, you see, is knowing,
and you know before it’s over
you’ve had your best day
you’ve had your best kiss
you’ve had your best
and now you just have each other
in bits
and pieces
and short blue bubbles on blurry screens
full of empty words,
you know he’s scared
but he won’t talk about it
not to you
that’s not your role
you’re the distraction
you love him?
if not then why does the phrase
echo in your head while stirring pasta
while changing lanes and folding clothes
i love you, i love you, i love you
they mock, you don’t love him
you don’t know him
except you know how dark
and round his eyes get when he’s
terrified and the way he sings to you
when you’re drunk and no one else
can see and that he likes
4 doritos locos tacos with sour cream
and no ice in his soft drinks
because it waters them down,
you love all the parts of him you know
even the part of him that
sets five alarms and still misses
the radio show at 1pm.
you love him?
let him break your heart
it’s the only way real love ever ends
you knew it was coming
you know it’s coming
and it’s an honor to have your heart broken by him
Written by
lilli carter
145
   BR Dragos and annh
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