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Candles and Mushrooms
The candle went out
When I slammed
You couldn’t hear my footsteps
As I stepped off the porch
But just so you know,
They were solid
I did not have second thoughts.
I did not think of my plate of chicken masala getting cold on the table
Because I am allergic to mushrooms.
And I told you that on our first dinner date.
I did not think about the perfectly wrapped Two-year anniversary gift
Lying patiently in my bag.
Because for some odd reason,
My gut told me to keep the receipt.
I did not think about the expensive gift that you had gotten me.
I had no idea what it was, but I knew what it was for.
Guilt me into staying with you.
It did not work, in case you hadn’t figured that out.
Most of all, I did not think that just three stops after I got on the 9 O’clock bus,
Who else should get on?
Next to me.
I knew you wanted me. I knew you liked me.
I did not know you would follow me.
Whenever. Where ever. Forever.
I did not know your hands were so strong,
So strong that they could leave bruises on my wrists.
I did not know that I would go back to that table.
Back to that plate of masala.
And feel my face puff up as I ate the mushrooms.
Feel the blood rise into my cheeks
As your eyes told me what my punishment would be.
Feel my worth drain out of me
As you delivered my sentence.
And then came the reprimand.
“What were you thinking? What were you doing?”
“I don’t know.”
“Look- I got you this. For our anniversary”
I can sense you lifting something light and delicate into the air.
I send my eyes down, down, down, away from the reason why I have to stay with you
But your strong fingers are on me again, pulling my chin up
And I see two sparkling hearts intertwined, dangling from a thin silver chain.
You call it a necklace, I call it a collar.
Difference in opinion.
I have to stay with you because you are so good to me.
And I have nowhere else to go. Nothing else to say. “It is beautiful.”
Your fingers touch me again,
This time caressing my back.
Across the table slides a tiny box.
Not with a ring, but with something much worse.
I have no idea what I am doing as I open it up, strike a match across the surface,
And re-light the candle