All of You

by Sje

She asked me if I think of you when I lay in bed, and I said I think of all of you.

Everyone I have touched and all the touches back.

The sleeved bartender from Germany who made strudels and told himself he did just enough coke, who tried to be a good dad to his baby girl who died too soon.

You taught me that it was OK to kiss someone again.

And the long-haired, bearded, oblivious boy who, when he told me he loved me, made sure I understood he didn’t love me as much as his guinea pig that died from thirst a few months later.

You taught me how to come and love my body. You taught me there are still things I want and can have.

And the intelligent and passionate being I never felt I deserved and didn’t really want. He stuck around for longer than I could understand, but he couldn’t wait forever. It – you – has its limits, he said.

You taught me that I am still far away from loving this whole self.

And then the arrogant boy from the trailer park whose mom overdosed on heroin. They told him she was dead weeks after she was buried. I’ll marry this princess one day, he said.

You taught me that working hard and kissing girls on their foreheads, making sure they’re never cold, is what it means to be a man. You taught me that I like to be a big fish in a little pond. You hurt me quickly and easily and I’m not sure why.

And of course there is you. There will always be you. I save you for last because you are the beginning of everything. I thank you for my genesis. You, I cannot describe because you are feelings and pictures and pieces of shrapnel in my head; you exist all over my body.

You taught me that I am built like everyone else – that I, too, can love and be loved, endlessly.

Everything we built was brought down. I thank you. I pray for you to keep me in your heart, where I keep my heart. Then I beg for you to give me back. I beg to forget.