The first time I saw you, you were talking about the bloody handprints on the walls–Halloween decorations that you lined your own hand up to. You joked about the way in which these handprints were unrealistic. We were so young then, not even double digits.
The first time I saw you, you came to a party at my apartment. Relentlessly a friend of a friend. Both of us in non-monogamous relationships, neither of us knowing about the other. Anytime you would laugh the whole room would stop to listen.
You never seemed to leave my peripheral vision since then. Always in the same grade, always at the same school, sometimes in the same class, often at the same venue (you playing the same routes as my brother). Me, always enamored by you.
You never seemed to leave my peripheral vision since then. Always at my parties, always with your best friend who is dating my best friend, sometimes we would see each other around town, often it was only in my house in brief moments of connection.
It was when I left for college that we became closer, that you snuck your way into my skin like an IV drip. I remember waiting for the messenger alarm to sound on my phone, I remember waiting to find more words from you. Now I wake up to your words in the morning, surrounded by our elderly cat.
It was when the party was small that we couldn’t help but sit together, that you snuck your way into my skin like an IV drip. I remember waiting for my snapchat to tell me you were typing, to tell me that you were thinking of me again. Now I wake up to your alarm, a time we agreed upon, and we snuggle as we watch your curated meme collection.
In the spaces between the two of you, I snuggle up for comfort.
I always knew it was possible for me to fall in love with two people at once. I knew the whole time that my love does not end, it is a well with no bottom, I can put all of me into more than one. I always knew I could handle it but I never knew if it would happen. I never knew two of you could exist in such perfect forms that you both take my breath away: I am wheezing and gasping and dying to know all of you.
There is an overlap in timelines but it is not a perfect circle, I have known one longer and one shorter but we all know that time is a construct. We all know that at the end of this we will all be piles of skins that were just trying to sew ourselves together.
So how do you fall in love again when you’ve already done it once? How do you etch someone into the glasses you’ve already carved? It always just seems to appear. I have love oozing out of my fingertips, sappy and sugary, I let it rub off on the people I care about; I douse my friends with my sticky sweet—it just so happens you couldn’t escape, it just so happens you were leaking too, it just so happens that we are both just here together and neither of us want to leave.
My sticky sweet loves, the people I collect in batches like they are cake coming out of the oven, with the two of you in my mind it never wants to stop smiling. Two parts of me that never wanted to agree seem to open up and stitch themselves together. Independently, you would both be enough: always always always. But conjoined in my heart: I am so swollen, I cannot contain myself.
If time is cyclical, if I have to keep living this timeline again and again: I couldn’t imagine it without either of you, I don’t think I could untie my boat from your dock.
Victoria holds an MA in English from the University of Maine. She is the author of a collection of short stories My Haunted Home (FC2) and chapbook Death and Darlings (Bottlecap Press). Overall, she hopes to discomfort, humor and charm.