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When I was a kid, chubby and blonde, and even younger and dumber than I am now, I threw myself into the neighbor’s pool, just to make their daughter jump in and save me. I craved the heat of her body against mine, the buds of her breasts pressing into my back, her strong brown arms wrapping around my torso, pulling me to the surface.

If I jumped into the ocean, would you jump in to save me? Would you follow me down and wrap me up and breathe your air into my lungs? Or would you let me drown for the sake of keeping your hair dry?

If you were with me now, bobbing between the soap-sud mountains of my bathtub, would you rub my back, wash my hair, take me apart with your hands and lips and a washcloth? Or would you slip between my fingers and down the drain, leaving me lukewarm?

Would you kiss me in the rain,‘til I’m coated with grass stains, heart on the line? Or would you stay warm and dry in your living room, watching the water wear my bones down to nothing, and carelessly throw me an umbrella a few minutes too late?

I’ve always loved the rain, and you were a thunderstorm. For years I stood out there with my arms spread wide, face turned towards the sky, my tongue catching what drops I could. Now I’m slowly drying up, shriveling down to my very roots.

This is me laid bare, this is me crossing oceans, this is me, out on the highest bough of a ship with a course set to nowhere.

This is my cry for help, this is me, slipping under the surface of your absence, this is my beacon, and you are my lifeboat, your compass is leading you home, and I wonder,

I wonder if you’ve lost my crinkled map, if your compass still points faithfully north. I wonder if you still move in time with the moon and the tide. And I wonder, sinking to the silt of the sea, if I’ve tried my luck one to many times,

if I’m any older or wiser than I was back then

as I sink down,

going,

gone.



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