You Time-Bent Creature of Mine
Mine is a strange mind.
It contains textures. There are the smooth, the grainy, the ones that give just a little when you touch them. They live inside of my clothes against my skin, and in the air that blows over my face. They are in the tone of your voice and the shade of your hair. They rub against me as if my skin is everywhere, rubbing the wrong way so that I flake off and peel, and I cannot pull away. I cannot keep myself inside of myself, it seems. I cannot stop feeling the street and the sky and the smiles, the fake ones and sad ones and real ones, no matter what I do. I can always feel you.
You were all I wanted to feel, at first.
I remember reaching out with mind and body, extending and stretching myself, bending out of my way towards you like a sapling to the sun. It felt like you and your smallest twigs, your softest leaves, were reaching out to me as well. As we grew, limbs entwined, our barks fused. We grew more and more connected, ingrained in each other, irreversibly twisted into interlocking shapes. It felt like you surrounded me and kept my skin from being touched by any other texture. It felt like you were earth and sun and air and water, cradling me all the time.
Time hardens bark.
It goes from supple and reddish to gray and inflexible. It feels almost like scar tissue, like it’s been through so much and been hurt so many times and fixed itself so well that it can no longer feel. Or it feels differently, at least. Feels stiffness and hard shapes. Sharp edges, digging in just a little too close for comfort. A little suffocating. A little overwhelming. Where once you were a respite from feeling the whole world, then you were the whole world and I felt you too much. I bent.
Bent away from each other at last.
It was a slow movement, slower than when we came together. I felt a little wrenching, a little tearing, a small-seeming but seismic shift beneath my limbs as you bent away from my arms. As I bent away from your shade. As we turned towards different suns. The stiff rolls of our edges, where we had once met, retracted. From one solid tree we became two different, bent, creatures.
Creature and creation get twisted up in my head.
Was I an inhuman animal without you? Or was I the firmament pulled from the sea? It was so strange, so different. I became a tiny rock swept through ocean, magma, tossed down mountains, carried by a breeze. I was full of feeling like I hadn’t been since I first met you. I was full of this entire world, and yet I had no idea what I was made of.
Of all the people I have loved, I have loved you most.
From sapling to mighty oak. And now that I am here without you, I look back at my life and see the shape of you shaping me. I look at my branches and see the scarred bark that bent around you. I look down at my hands and see the shapes of your hands, where you used to be holding mine. Maybe you still are.