Not Tonight

She knocked on the front door twice
another knock yet still no answer
she shook her head and whispered, “No, not tonight.”
before pushing the door open

A sigh finally escaped her chapped lips
she did not know it was even possible
to hold her breath for that long

Leaning against the wall,
she struggled to take off her heels
“I swear these heels will be the death of me!”
she always needed help to unzip it
but now she wouldn’t, she knew she couldn’t

“I’m home!”, she shouted at the empty house
nobody’s home
but she did it anyway
old habits never died

Her head was throbbing
but taking pills wouldn’t make it go away
the pain would never go away
like ghosts and evil spirits—haunting her even in her sleep

She dragged her wobbly feet to the bedroom
the bed was always made
not a single crumple, not a single dust
no stain at all
as if she never slept on it

She stared at the bed
her eyes brimmed with tears
the bed felt so big right now
even bigger than the hole in her heart

She walked to the bed and lay down on her side
Her eyes fully closed
but she could feel him staring at her
so she opened her eyes and whispered, “No, not tonight.”

“No more dreamless sleeps,
no more sleepless nights,”
before closing her eyes

Departure

I’d been rehearsing this moment
over and over again in my head
The moment I had to bid everyone goodbye

I thought I was strong
All twenty four year olds should be, right?

But as I stood in front of the gate,
the smile hiding the timid version of myself
crumbled down completely

Because leaving those dear to your heart
would never be easy

“Pa,”
was the only word I managed to say
as I cried in my dad’s embrace,
something I would never outgrow
I guess I would always be dad’s little girl

Mom didn’t say much
She never does
She doesn’t need to
because I know
she loves me more than anyone else does

I stared at their faces a little too long,
trying to capture what my camera could not
their fine lines
their familiar scents
their warmth
I wanted to bring with me,
wherever I go

I waved at them for the last time,
hoping the distance between us
would not separate us,
hoping this journey
would all be worth it