The Walking Wounded

“And then, there’s another kind of love: the cruelest kind.  The one that almost kills its victims.  It’s called unrequited love.  Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other.  But what about the rest of us?  What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone?  We are the victims of the one sided affair.  We are the cursed of the loved ones, the walking wounded” –Iris, The Holiday

Oh what a mess she’d gotten herself into this time.  She couldn’t even look at him anymore.  Every time she did she could hear his voice in her head and it made her want to hate him.  She didn’t.  How does one hate someone like him?  He was your typical tragic hero.  Great, but totally and incredibly flawed.  She almost wanted to believe that he didn’t know what he was doing to her, but how could he not?  Was it possible that he had no idea how much he was tearing her apart?

* * * *

“Nina, just say it.  We both know it’s true.  I just wanna hear you say it,” he commanded her, leaning against the bar and staring into her eyes as if he could see through her.  It was almost word for word the same line as last time when he’d wanted her to admit that she wanted him to stay the night with her.  Why the fuck did he always do this to her?  He knew she hated this shit.  She wasn’t emotional.  Emotions meant that she could get hurt.  Once you shared your emotions with someone that left you open to them.  It was like standing in front of a hungry mountain lion and begging it not to eat you alive.  But she just couldn’t help it.  It was something about him.  Something completely abstract and indescribable about the way he looked at her and the effect it had on her. 

“Fine.  Yes.  I have feelings for you.  There!  Are you happy now?” She sighed, resting her whiskey fogged head into her hands.  Even in her drunken haze she knew that she shouldn’t have said it, and that she was going to regret it in the morning.  She desperately wanted to ask him why it mattered so much to him that she admit it.  They could never be together.  He was going to propose to his girlfriend and she was probably going to end up alone, or with someone who didn’t deserve a woman like her.  Not that he deserved her either, because he didn’t.  

As she waged a silent war against herself inside her head he continued to stare at her.

“What? What the fuck do you want?!?”  She asked.  Bitchiness was her trademark defense mechanism.  She liked to make a joke out of it, saying that her specialties were to talk shit and complain.

“Nothing…It’s just.  I wish I would’ve met you a few years ago. Before Sonia.  Things would’ve been different.”  He admitted to her.

* * * * 

That was it for her.  It was the final twist to the knife he’d stuck in her heart weeks ago when he’d forced her to ask him to stay the night with her.  He had to know that saying that was going to kill her…didn’t he?  Maybe Taylor swift was right…the bad guy is not easy to spot.  He isn’t wearing a black cape.  He’s actually really funny, and he makes you laugh. Fuck Taylor Swift.

I wish I would’ve met you a few years ago.  Before Sonia.  Things would’ve been different.  The words echoed in her head as she stood in the side station with him.  Those words hurt her more than he would ever know.  They slammed into her heart the reality of what she had already known in her head.  Yes, he did have feelings for her, but no, it wasn’t enough.  He would never choose her.  She turned her back to him and started rolling silverware.  Every once in awhile she would throw out a mean joke.  Secretly hoping that it would hurt him so that he could feel a fraction of the pain that she was hiding.  Hoping that maybe he too would go home, play some sad music and drink whiskey until he was drunk enough to stop thinking about her and how much it hurt him that she existed in the world.  That was what she did.

Women like her didn’t get happy endings.  They gave pieces of their hearts away and never got them back.  Women like her were the walking wounded.  

Where I’m From

I am from paper plates

from Play-Doh and Prometheus

I am from the deer eating apples

(Seemingly calm yet poised to run)

I am from the geode 

that hides its beauty beneath a sturdy exterior

I’m from Tostones and colored eyes,

from Terri and Eduardo

I’m from the ask your mothers and manana, mananas,

From don’t let them see you cry

and I will love you no matter what.

I’m from my HP 

who is kind and understanding yet stern

I’m from Fontana, Cuba, Africa, Italy

Espresso and pot pie.

From my sister whose DNA will never match

The endless patience of my mother.

On the fridge is a magnet

of a boy in a soccer jersey

But look a little closer and you’ll see

It’s not a boy, but me.

And at night as I toss and turn

I am soothed by the jingle jangle

of bronze and silver medals

From a time when things were simpler

Just wind, breath, feet, and Tartan