you come to me,
presenting your poor broken heart in a box with shaking arms.
i accept it and put it in the corner of my bedroom.
you tell me to take care of it.
make it better again.
the box still sits where it was placed,
gathering dust where i have failed to touch it.
i've been busy, i tell you.
i'll get to it soon.
i saw you yesterday.
you were pale,
your eyes brimming with sweat
and your face stained with tears.
you asked me, how much longer?
tomorrow, i promise.
we haven't spoken in weeks,
and perhaps it's for the better.
i avoid you on the street,
pulling up my hood to cover my face.
i don't want to tell you that the box still sits unopened in my bedroom.
you tell me that i need my heart back soon.
i don't know how much longer i can live.
please, fix it like you promised. i crumple it into a ball and throw it across the disheveled room.
there's so much more i have to do, anyway.
months later, i finally try to approach it.
i open the box and flinch in preparation for what i might see.
when i manage to look inside,
all i see is pitch-black,
my red hands practically glowing against the darkness.
i close it again and kick it away in disgust,
clutching my hands to my chest.
why had nobody told me how bloody they had gotten?
the next day, i work up the courage to examine the damage.
on the floor in my grimy bathroom,
i set my hands down in front of me.
my knuckles are red and raw, the skin cracking where it stretches over the bone.
the cuticles are flaky and torn and sting to the touch.
the palms of my hands are bruised purple,
small lines of blood tracing the map of creases.
i scream louder than i've ever screamed before.
a year later, i go to your funeral.
your death is described as unexpected.
terrible. i nod in agreement when your grandmother tells me
i'm so glad you were always their friend. i choose not to look at your body before you are lowered into the grave;
instead, i sit in the corner, nursing the throbbing pain in my leather-clad hands.
all i can think is how gave me something unfixable,
how you shoved that box into my arms and told me to get on with it,
how you cursed me to wear gloves for as long as i live.
you don't deserve my goodbyes.
when i get home,
the first thing i do is throw out the box.
i don't even care to look inside it again;
i just mark it with a bloody handprint and throw it into the dumpster.
perhaps i should feel some kind of sadness or pity for you.
my hands are an easy reminder of the pain you caused me.
i burn the dumpster.
what do you turn to after something like that?
drugs, drinks, sex... all of it does nothing.
trust me, i've tried.
religions come into my life and then leave.
it's methodical, really.
something of a routine.
i pretend that i'm not using it to distract myself from guilt.
it's been sixty years.
sixty years of misery, torment, and agony.
i should forgive you now, shouldn't i?
it's unsightly for an old woman to hang onto bitterness for as long as this.
i think about forgiving you,
letting loose the soreness in my chest and flying free.
every day, i consider it.
but then i feel my hands.
no, i deserve to suffer.