what to call it, besides the obvious

To say that we were young, dumb, and unprepared
Is to wave away a cobweb
Once an intricate tangle of emotion, religion, attachment,
now a dusty remnant in the corner.

Though let’s not overcomplicate it.
We were young and dumb and unprepared.

I was the victim, with natural desires, and insecurities: human.
I was the villain, with wordless expectations and an unfathomable well of resentment: monster.

I can be every character in the story, says my memory.
And you can choose whatever corrugated cutout you desire
to sit across from me as I chug another beer
and try to blur your scissored edges into flesh
as dinner gets cold, again.

But what can a drowning person do, if they never learned to swim?
Good intentions are not as buoyant as they seem.

I was suffocating in our small-town, thoughts-and-prayers, believers-in-Normal bubble.
I was tired of filling the shoes of a woman you didn’t know how to grieve.
I was twisted up too tightly, wrapped in the sheets of my unchecked mind, never having learned how to sleep in the bed by myself and suddenly thrust into it all with a stranger.

What can a drowning person do, if they never learned to swim?
Truthfully, I didn’t know there was a way to just float.
Always treading, moving, hiding, shifting
It’s addictive, until it isn’t.

We were the victims,
and the villains.
And I promise, I’ve moved on.

But you know how sometimes you look down and see that one scar that’s lingered after all this time? That one that still causes you think back and wonder what the lesson was?

You are that to me.

what to call it, besides the obvious

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