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They say love blossoms, like the fields of pinks in a childhood forgotten, blooming, delicate heart against delicate petals, exposed in an offering to the caress of a new dawn, hungry and eager for a life renewed. But what they don’t tell you is how past the gold of light’s embrace, even from within the cusp of his palms, that which is your most fragile has to weather the bite of his gales, and the harshness of his nights. That it is harder than the initial fall to stop buckled knees from becoming further unhinged, from bowing to the sobriety of what seems to be a never-ending storm howling inside his unclasped ribs. But still I persist, because what is the punishment of a mere night’s torment, if it means I’m blessed with the unfurling of crimson buds as they welcome a peace reclaimed?

In whom does the fault lie, when the admirer so enticed, memorises, yearns, only for the object of his adoration after years of perseverance, repainting landscapes and monuments in the same vividness remembered, until it becomes the red that flows within his veins? Fingers brushing past a beauty so deceiving, willing its essence to expand within my own lack — from where were you birthed that gave you a will so unyielding, it swallowed the blood of your history whole? How do I find the same strength to allow me to pull away these threads of mine that bind, and weave them into a memory so gossamer they fade into creases forever forgotten? Perhaps that is why I linger beyond the waning of the light, wanting to nourish that which was sown in me, hoping for a solace between the folds of his that were too long untouched, wishing that part of him could somehow become an indelible part of me.

The tragedy of this fairy-tale that was never to be is the inevitability of its demise. No matter how fervent a devotion one possesses, it is powerless against the deliberate faltering of a soul willing. But all that didn’t matter; so deep has the tint seeped under longing skin, that what follows is relief, not indignation when I finally feel his thorns press into where I’m most vulnerable. Pushing, pushing back; because is it truly unkindness when the scarlet that flows from my punctured skin down the smooth of his shaft is my only gift from him (and from me back)? That the acerbity of his rigid back is where I grow the roots of my anchor, where I seek a place that is mine between the fragments of a spine reluctant, the enclaves from which I can bask in the light of his blood moon ignited. Finally watching the world from eyes darker than the eclipse at midnight, enveloped in a hue that is as equal parts ardent hunger as bridled rage, manifesting as an unwavering stillness so palpable it resonates in the echoes of my chest — the impossible desire of a soul long moored as he looks upon the myriad blooms in the expanse he can never reach.

Why does that matter, when I can give you my infinity?

Perhaps I had come along a little too late (or perhaps I shouldn’t have at all) — my hands a little too coarse to nurture the blossoming of such fragility; my mouth a little too bitter from a past left festering under a hapless tongue; my chest a little too occupied to house the sprouting of a verdure imagined; my eyes a little too blind from promises gleaned from a delusion imposed– The vibrancy that once captivates fades into the twilight, the convictions of his wrists withering at the dissipation of youthful vigour, and I lay awake in the shadows that gather under the sepals of a neck resigned, watching demons familiar and foreign devour all I covet, leaving but crumbled streaks of the same red I’m awash in. I reach, for the comfort of a softness I could never harbour, plaiting fingers too severe between brittle ones, trying to imbue them with a light I was never taught to radiate, entrusting a future unbloomed to the certainty of an illusion presumed.

But our seeds have succumbed to rot, hollowed and desiccated from conscious neglect, and all that’s left are the ashes of a life wilted. A fantasy shattered, scattered across leaden palms grasping for that which no longer exists, stained a deep maroon; a sin oppressive in its subdued dullness, evidence of a transgression committed — a wrongness in the grey that taints, diffusing into veins severed from their source, a heaviness that permeates the resulting dryness, coalescing into a blackness that’s ceaseless in its listlessness. There is a futility growing somewhere between the confines of my throat and chest, engorged amongst barely thrumming arteries that entwine the atrophied roots of us, suffocating, as I gasp prayers I’d long forsaken into the remorseless heavens above.

In the deluge of demise, I pluck the petals from between the grind of your teeth, watching as their crushed remains rain from decay of your mouth, bruised bodies of muted scarlet finding rest against the mockery I don. From the weariness of him I inhale, the finality of a sentence meted by a throat defiant, unwilling a compliance in the fantasy I had forced upon him, stemmed from my envy of a tenacity from which his unlikely longevity subsisted. Was it resentment at a flourishing unencumbered, or the idoltary of a strength eluded that fuelled this passion that burns? Or maybe it’s an affection birthed from the earth beneath your footsteps, numinous effusions that wash across my sky with all that is distinctively you, until it feels as though we are somehow part of the same whole?

From between the parted rose of his lips, I implore the voluntary relinquishing of a world finally united, of petals coloured the hush of his skin now wrinkled, strewn carelessly across the desolation I tried so desperately to escape from. Stifled, all he cedes is the sunken emptiness of a husk that once held his lustre, barely fluttering against the stigma of my flesh, a final denial that kept the seams of us interminably unstitched. So, I let him cascade from the prison of my hands, finding not the reprieve from a devastation they brought, but an ache that exacerbates the rue that trickles between the spaces of my remaining tenderness. A warden now shackled by the vines that entangle the notches of contrite bones, constricting, until all I feel is the sharpness of his thorns perpetually begrudged against the rawness of my guilt.

These days I wander under the same crimson skies, landscapes and monuments long coated in the same matted hue of decay. They say love blossoms, like the fields of pinks in a childhood forgotten. What they don’t tell you, is how you can’t force the blooming of affection, for the puckered buds dipped in the most striking of pigments, the same ones that loll against the curl of a hand, are of a mercurial nature. That coercion, no matter how gentle, necessitates the loss of that which was within grasp, returned to the soils from which it came. The vividness so mesmerising condemns the perpetrator to its spiteful rest beneath the earth, the limbo that has reclaimed it the grave in which one must share, exposed to the shrivelled carrion of a tomorrow deprived. The yearning never stops; the memory of brilliance always returning to spaces once filled, answering to the calls of a past unresolved, taunting where the gaiety of life could have pervaded, simmering until the absence is a tangible opaqueness that haunts. Trapped in the cradle that was his, cursed with the eternal memory of my flesh, remembering but not quite in entirety the way he folded into me, forced to relive the way his essence crumpled and wilted against my long tired skin, only knowing the asphyxiation of regret where I had once found solace.

During the moments when I’m gifted respite, I still see the red of him reflected in the droplets of cold rain, mirrored in the ripples of stagnant puddles — vestiges of a past enduring. Even if the form of him I still long for have ceased to be, this shade of him that lingers is enough a memory. If the true price of adoration is such hurt, as long as he remains in my infinity, my burden I’m willing to bear.