I'm so tired of being hereBack across the driveway around eleven, before risking falling asleep in the wrong place. Heart rate back to normal, brain hung on a hook, askew inside my skull, thrumming a worried cadence of its own. My skin still feels phantom fingerprints, lips against my throat, legs against my knees, arms around my waist. He's a living wraith representing both a ghost and a friend and he's wrong but he's right and no one seems to notice. No one even cares.
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
Your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone
Flat on my back, eyes open wide in the dark looking for the moment when he makes that change and missing it, kicking myself. I bite my lip and breathe his name like a prayer. He doesn't answer because that's not his name but the arrangement calls for things that aren't properly labelled and we're each getting something out of this so that cancels out who's fault it might be. When in doubt I'll step in front and they can level blame straight upon my bare shoulders.
If it comes to that.
Sometimes I feel like this is the only thing that keeps me alive. Sometimes I think this is the only way they remember who we've lost. Sometimes I think this is the only way out of this mess. Sometimes I think this is wrong but if I think too hard my brain throbs because it isn't properly set in it's place and sometimes I forget things, left on the bed or the table and they make their way back to me a few days later in the laundry or the sideboard or sometimes on the piano. But this isn't a game between us, it's a vow to not let him go if we can help it but it goes against absolutely everything August says out loud to the others.
Forgive me, he says in the dark, every single time for years now and I still never know if he's talking to me, God, Jake or himself. I'm afraid to ask.