Brushing my hair away from my face and gently grabbing handfuls of it, you used to tell me how much you loved my hair, loved how thick it was. You’d say: “White girls don’t usually have this much hair.” I think of this every time I see someone with a skinny ponytail, every time I snap a hair tie trying (unsuccessfully) to pull all of my hair through it one more time.
You used to trace the ridge of my hips with your thumb. You would tell me that having a baby must have made my hips más prominentes, and you would say that ever since I came back from Cuba I move differently que muevo las caderas más, so when I notice that I am swinging my hips, I think of you. When my sacrum hurts in the same spot it has since I gave birth to my son, I think of how my hips are not the same, will never be the same as they were before I had a baby. But I don’t mind.
You loved my long legs, loved that even though they were thin, they were still muscular. It is for this reason that I have so many pairs of tight jeans. You loved them especially when I wore heels. When someone else compliments my beautiful “legs for days,” it occurs to me that it’s not as if you are the only one who has ever noticed I have legs or hips or thick hair.
Timing. It was always about timing. You wandered off like a negligent gardener to cultivate other plots of la tierra, only paying me enough attention to insure I did not become entirely engulfed by weeds, that my adoration didn’t evaporate in the drought, that I didn’t completely give up hope on it ever being “the right time” since it was always timing that held you back.
I realized late. Very late. That all the plants were dead. That it was never going to be the right time. That I had been a fool. I shook with fury and looked at you as the dry brittle landscape of my patient hope burst into flames like some immense and wrathful forest fire incinerating everything in it’s path.
Every time I had to be near you, which was uncomfortably often, I would leave shaking -literally shaking- with rage, and you were oblivious. You are still oblivious.
And it makes me sad because there was so much that was good, because I know that you are actually a decent human being, and because at one point you were also a good friend. But now I only know theses things in my head because in my heart there are only smoldering cinders of ache.
I am consumed by a fervent desire to find a river, a well or a spring and rest there far, far from you and drink in the water until the earth is no longer dry and roses can grow again where there is now only tender ash.