Sometimes we touch fingers in the morning when I look at you intently.
It’s like God and Adam: A sistine chapel built precariously with my insecurities.
I know you, I’ve known you since before January 3rd. You don’t remember eating sand straight out of the shovel, and I’m sure you don’t remember the little Sharpie heart drawn under the overhang of Ms. Ozeki’s classroom.
I remember Mom’s stern face hidden behind a bucket of sponges and soap. Scrubbing endlessly on the floor, I remember you rued the day Haley would tattle again. When you stood up finally, the only stains left were violet blossoms on your knees.
The tan bark that swallowed the army-green jungle gym was your worst enemy. You would pick out splinters and hope the scratches would heal.
Look down at the gap between your left index and middle finger. The thin red line you still see on your skin has faded since it met a cheese knife on Lake Berryessa. It was so awkward, placing a bandaid between the two. It wouldn’t stick, but you kept trying anyway.
The discolorations on your ankles – the silent stings from the riverside grass patch. You remember how much you loved the quaint town, and look, now you have permanent marks to memorialize those fleeting moments.
You liked your reflection, how your collarbones jutted out slightly and how your cheekbones lifted into a smirk. For the first time, you enjoyed the blemished etches, nooks and creases. Each one, attached to a memory from a body foreign from the one you look at now.
I guess I feel the same way, because no matter the angles we observe each other from each morning, we can’t hide.
You know me, I know you.
You know the raised slivers of crimson that crisscross my sides. Every night, I pray they sink back down and join the rest of me.
You know how long it took me to fold one knee over the other under the post-it-note-sized desk downtown. Now you praise me as I do so with ease. You beckon me back under the sheets we share, close the shutters, and hold me close.
We drink black coffee together, refuse cream.
We tell ourselves we can fly like weightless birds on the moon.
But you lied. Blank spaces for eyes, you made me hollow when you stripped away my inside. You lied.
When we touch fingers, I watch my reflection consumed by you a little more each day. You own my happiness, dictate my melancholy, rewarding me when I shave myself away. You are my religion, and I will never forgive myself for being your Adam.
Watch, I can count every insurmountable resurrection in my body’s temple on the side of a cardboard box. Look at how willing I am, bargaining bites of bread for the hope you will reward me with a gold star.
You glisten, but only to greet me with mockery.
Warped into a flimsy frame, too stubborn to admit you are a $15 God from Target, but I will always let you stay.