You told me once the rain on the rooftop disturbed your slumber, not from the storm, but from the rhythm in the chaos. The thunder was discordant among the count you tried keeping.
At night you’d wake breathless, not from nightmares, but from crushing claustrophobia, even when you were alone. You said the darkness felt so heavy, that it sat on your chest and tried to eat you alive. Mouth to mouth I’d bring you back, entwined, you’d share your dark and I would share a spark of life. And long did you lament the earth’s rotation for not allowing light to reside always on your part of the world.
Sometimes you were a child, but I wanted you, dear man, for all your faults, for all of mine.
You confessed that the stars made you lonely because they were so many, and even when I was with you we were so few. You sighed, “we are small and insignificant and when the stars twinkle coldly they are laughing at us...”
It was painful to hear, but nothing I said could get through.
You said you needed an anchor, someone to hold you, to keep you from drifting out into space. So I held you tightly, close to my chest where my heart tried to warm you; I told you I would keep you safe, and then I would kiss you and try to sing you back to sleep. But when you said such things as these, and your eyes went wild as though caught in a waking dream, I would be lying if I said that it was not disturbing, nor that at times I almost ran, but I was so alarmed because I was so in love. They all told me to leave, but you could never sleep alone.
Then, you needed my hand, even in the daytime, because you saw death in every butterfly.
You feared the peaceful ponds where I tried to take you, not because you couldn't swim, you had no fear of drowning. It was the stray stones that skipped carelessly, recklessly, across the water's reflective surface. They caused ripples that would tear you to pieces, and we both knew that you were already falling apart. You said your mind never slept, that it raced and you couldn't stop its trajectory.
The world was so loud and it held no simple things for a man who lived his life in metaphors and hyperbole.
And then it happened; the day when you couldn't bear the touch of the sun, you said it felt too much like you were translucent, and it was burning holes where your secrets lay in the dark writing stories about you. It used to be that you wished your part of the world was always bathed in sunlight, but the only time left to you was the evening shade. Still, you insisted that there was nowhere to hide except in my arms, for only there were you safe.
You told me you loved me. You told me you needed me.
You climbed inside my skin, grew roots and made your home. I felt you in every heartbeat, in every dream, in every sigh, in every thought, in every tear, in every shiver, in every shudder. No amount of will or wanting could evict you, but at the end of the day I had neither; you worked hard at stripping them away.
But you never complained when I grew cold inside.
I told you I loved you and I would miss you in my arms, but I had given my last ember. I knew the stars would make me lonely when I looked up at night, so I befriended the moon.
Shadow, baby, your dark became my light, but I had long been drifting away...