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Aug 2014
It was a cold night when you told me
In the basement of my parent’s house
About how your mother would leave you alone
With your father
Who abused you and your sister
For years on end
Week after week.
Month after month.
You would call your mother to please
Come pick you up,
But she never came.
The truth was she didn’t know.
No, the truth was she didn’t care.
I can’t imagine how bad that must've felt.
How bad that must feel.
I never knew why you were so secretive.
I chalked it up to you cheating on me;
It would be easier to deal with
Than the truth.
The truth was that your back really hurt you
And your mom was on medication for pain
From a car accident she was in when she was 18
And you only took in dire circumstances
When you couldn’t bear the pain.
No, the truth was that you had headaches,
But the stuff about your mother was true.
No, the truth was that you were selling drugs
That your mother had prescribed to her.
The truth was your paycheck went to paying her
For your addiction to those pills.
I found one in my car and you threw it and told me
Nothing was more important to you than me.
I never believed a word you said.
No, not even then.
I was in someone else’s bed when you left a message,
Saying you have been addicted
For the past year we were together,
And now you’re going to get clean.
I never knew what it was like to forget how to breathe.
I only caught my breath when I knew you were there,
With no way of communicating with me.
With no way of communicating with anyone.
You called me the last night you were there,
Telling me lies that comforted me for two years.
I wished I could be deaf so I couldn’t hear,
But you have always been able to paint
Such beautiful misery.
And my heartbeat began to resound in my chest,
And I realized how foolish a heart I had.
A sober house was where I would pick you up.
A halfway house.
I never knew what that meant, halfway house,
But now I knew more than I ever wish I could.
Halfway between rehab and real life.
Halfway between who you could be and who you really are.
Halfway between the old you and the new you.
You figured that we would fall back into love;
I figured I could only meet you halfway.
Because we never shared love.
You never had love for me.
I could never numb you to your past,
To your life,
I couldn’t be swallowed and course through your veins,
Though I would have given anything to be your cure.
I wasn’t allowed in the halfway house,
So we regressed to the age of sixteen,
Driving around and listening to music.
We turned into our old selves in the parking lot of a hibachi joint,
Arguing about how I can’t just be driving for two hours.
“There’s a spot behind the house.”
“Let’s go there.”
And there we were,
Just like the old us, but halfway to new,
With Bright Eyes blasting through my speakers,
I was sure all of Wilkes-Barre could hear,
But they only knew the half of it:
You would pause and sing me all of your favorite parts,
Whispering to my lips as if they were my ears,
Like my body was your own personal musical instrument.
You looked into my eyes and told me
How you have always been in love with me.
It was always me.
I never believed a word you said.
No, not even then.
You could tell me how I was always your cure,
But the truth was, we were
Halfway to heaven and halfway to hell
In the driveway outside of
A halfway house.
Written by
Betty  Pennsylvania
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