I collect words. Always your words. I still don’t know how I feel about you, but I collect every little thing I can. It’s as if I’m afraid that the second I stop, you’ll fade away. You already are, and, if I lost you, I’d be far beyond devastated (I suppose that’s love).
You were diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The amount of physical pain you feel each day pales in comparison to the emotional pain you’ve stored up throughout your long life. Part of me felt guilty when I told you, all those years ago. I didn’t want to add to it.
But, I told you. Words pouring out of my mouth in an embarrassing rush, my face burning. You snapped at me, instantly, as if I’d just told you that I hated you. You didn’t know. You were never prepared for this.
From that moment up until recently, my anger grew and turned into hate. When I came home, I would humor you. I would pretend that I wasn’t filled with rage and (somehow still) guilt.
I listened to you, even though I hated you. I listened to you, even though being in that house and surrounded by all of that darkness made me want to kill myself. I told you I loved you, because I knew how hard your life was and still is.
One day, as we were sitting at a restaurant in my college town fresh after moving me in, you turned to my father and said, “You know…she’s the only lesbian at her job.” I almost choked on my food. I’d never even heard you say the word lesbian before. The tears came quickly and I looked at you and you looked back at me with such pride that it still makes me tear up.
You made me realize that love has open wounds and scarring and bruises, but will always be something that stops you in your tracks. I still have resentment, and I don’t know how long it will be there. I have hope, though. You have given that to me. Thank you.