In some relationships we see the red flags long, long before we realize the bridge between us has burnt to the ground. We see the flags. We see the smoke. We see the fire. And the fire draws us into it. Warm. Bright. Teeming with energy. We see the fire and walk towards it. We walk towards it with our eyes transfixed. Back straight. Shoulders relaxed. Heads held high. We push forward knowing full well that it will burn us. It will damage us. It will scar us. It will blacken our skin. Blind our eyes. Burn our lungs.
We carry our hearts on our sleeves. Our confidence convinces us that we have the extinguisher to tame any blaze. No fire that a line in the sand cannot stop. No heat so hot to turn us away. No smoke so thick that we choke on the air of a lover's breath shared between the lips of a kiss. We go in. We wrap our arms around her. We feel the gentle caress turn to painful agony. We feel our arms close-in on our own chest as everything we once held closer than close floats away into the ether.
And we look up towards the heavenly hellish night sky. We reach up. We reach out. We grasp for one last touch to hold. One last glimpse to cherish perpetually immortalized in our hearts. Burned into our retinas. Etched onto our chests. Frozen in time as a ghost of a time past. A ghost of where we stood last. A ghost of Pompeii.
As our hands come down empty and numb, we no longer recognize them. We realize what we knew as the back of our hands amounted to nothing more than smoke between our fingers. But the smell of smoke lingers in our nostrils long after the coals have turned to ash beneath the soles of our souls. So we toy with our toes in the cold skeletons of coals. We watch as they crumble and blow away like dust in a gust of wind to a time when we no longer recognize the signs and our minds linger on the hazy thoughts of yesterday. Tears stream down our cheeks without remorse. Without hesitation. Without a semblance of control. We let them fall and watch as each one destroys another empty husk of burnt out embers.
We tremble and remember. We remember how we forgot what the cold feels like on our bare skin. We tremble as the cold pierces through every pore as it never had before. It passes through us to the marrow of our bones. It fills the hollowness left from the flame once alight in our chest. The hollowness left in our extinguisher from giving our all for naught. The hollowness in the embrace where we once held each other. The hollowness in the last dire gasp of trying to find something to say. Finding nothing but empty words. Wordless sentiments. Sentimental emptiness.
And then we feel the faint mist of rain clouds looking down upon us with soothing mourning. Offering the comfort of a warm summer rain. Washing away the dirt. Melting away the ash. It falls on our tongue and washes away the bitterness left in our mouth. The smell of fresh rain and newly damp dirt fills our lungs and reminds us that we can feel. Reminds us that we have not become cold and stiff like steel. Still the universe steals our words and leaves us speechless. Lost amongst the trees and leaves.
As we turn to leave, we remember what fresh air feels like. Tastes like. Looks like. We take a breath and feel it fill out our lungs down to the bottom of our gut. The sinking feeling in our chest vanishes. The weight of the world no longer sits on our rib cage. The cage has dissolved around the bird. It has found a new reason to sing. And it will never go back. We will never go back.
We leave the extinguisher with the hallowed hollow shell of our former life. We have no further use for it. We leave it with you when we leave you behind.
We leave you behind.
We left you behind.
I left you behind.
I don't want you.
And I hope I never do.