I know it needs to stop, and it needs to stop soon.
The only one with the ability to make it stop is me.
And I feel it every time I cave and show up at your door, or your car, or some friend’s place you’re just crashing at or wherever you might be stopped on a sidewalk.
I bring it and you thank me and promise not to ask again and so many times you cannot even look me in the eye.
You seem so thin.
You shift your weight, side to side, and run your hand through your hair. Your eyes dart behind me, around me, above me.
See me! Do you even see me?
Can you recognize that you are all of me?
It isn’t that I don’t see the way you manipulate me.
Just as aware as those who lecture me.
I hear them. Voices surround me: snickering, nattering, repeating, repeating, repeating. Just don’t do it! Say no for once!
But I see you. I hear your voice, your pleas.
And I cannot say no.
Your face is in my memory, pure and untouched.
Your face before me now, craggy and hardened.
Where have you gone?
My hand reaches out; with my thumb, I trace the lines sprouting from your eye, your roughened jawline, your sunken cheeks.
Your lips, dry and cracked.
Empty words echo in the darkness: I’m going to quit. This is the last time, I promise. I know this hurts you. That’s why I’m going to stop.
I’m going to stop.
I want to catch them in the air and stuff them inside me.
Inside me, where you used to be.
You are gone.
I am home.
My phone rings again.