with eyes like fools gold he whispered across the linen sheets of our world, "i'm a lover, not a fighter," as if love was something to be forsaken, something weak, something your father tells you is wrong in your early years so you repent. you try so hard to repair your brokenness, a brokenness that was never there to begin with.
we were standing under bright, cold lights. the store was shutting down but he was hungry. i remembered the way his voice rose and smiled while reexamining the colorfully boring isles. suddenly, and a bit too fast to be anything but a tourist in Midnight's slumber, he stopped and spun around like he'd seen a ghost. i watched him with surprised curiosity as the box of fruit snacks he had so tenderly held moments earlier fell to the stained tiles.
"they're throwing away those flowers."
i followed his eyes, dripping with betrayal, to a woman, who wore overworked and underpaid like it was her favorite dress, throwing wilted rose after wilted rose into the darkness of a cruel world. before i could open my lips he was halfway to the quiet holocaust. i laughed and wiped the sleep from my tired eyes. those flowers had about as much life to live as we did and i'm sure he saw our skinny frames in every blossom. we weren't just boys but angels, protectors of love, and as we danced under flickering lights, beautiful in our madness.
2:00. again. i couldn't get up before then. the sun shone through my window and whispered gently through his solar flares, "the birds miss you my love." i rolled over, tears already ran down my flushed cheeks, as if it was a race to reach the linens. i half expected to see your familiar frame, hear those deep, melancholy breaths, the kind that made me lose mine to the endless little wings that make homes in the warm parts of us.
every day became a funeral procession, the dried flowers on the bruised walls of our home wept petals for your beauty. if you truly did not wear love like you would sometimes wear my gray sweatshirt, the one with bloodstains on the inside, the one that you wore because it "reminded you of our scars" and "how we live in spite of them," i didn't want to meet love or know what love looked like. only you.
as i lay on the stretcher, assuring god that even if she was the most talented Cardiothoracic Surgeon on earth, there was no way she could patch my heart up. because you see, i knew that 5' 11" holes with voices like honey and passion like bees meant death. and i was ready to go. but as she leaned over me and asked me to count back from one hundred, she took off her surgical mask and eyes that hadn't known rest for 35 hours, or a thousand lifetimes, and in her voice, rich with cacophonies of laughter, said, "now is not your time little one, you must love your skin before you can love another's."
what does it mean to have flowers for eyes? it means you can't see, that you have to trust the roses you found too late one night in an empty grocery store to watch your step for you. breathe in the darkness. he has waited so long for a friend and has so much love to give. only the things you love can stop you. once you find love in nothing, in yourself, nothing can stop you too. it won't. you are human and love is like honey. once you learn it, the flowers will stick to you until there are so many you could be alien. you aren't perfect, but neither are roses and they know it and so do you somewhere in there. so bare your crooked teeth and laugh your ugly laugh because they both feel like love and love feels like everything all at once. and when you're feeling everything all at once, what's there to be afraid of?