Your tongue curls around a nicotine fix as my lips struggle to form the words I try to fake. I'm hesitating here, holding my sleeves tight and dancing around the um-uh-yeahs that slip. You've always seen through me in these moments, when my eyes fall to your shoulders and my voice starts to crack.
I'm great at lying to people I love, I told you once. My words are smooth like coffee, searing hot, flowing into your veins and resting in the chambers of your heart. It's an art form, I said, but like everything else, my words have become just eloquent static in the soundtrack to your life.
You're disappearing you know, turning up under old boot soles in the back of my parent's closet. I've captured your beauty in stars and sand in bottles on my bookshelf, but it's not enough when you're a lingering thought and twenty thousand miles away while I'm alone here, recording your beauty in the margins of my notebooks.
Every summer, you leave a piece of yourself on the coast, crashing against the rocks, filling with salt and east coast euphoria. You spend your time longing for this escape, where the nights are told through hard rum confessions over fraying telephone wires and harsh whispers. I've never lived in the ocean you call home, but I still see you drowning from time to time.
This is what dreams are made of, you tell me, but I'm shaking now, and my voice is shaking now, and the car is so damn still. I feel the sunshine leave your fingertips through the cracks in your nail polish and then you're silent, hearing me struggle to do anything but gasp for air.
You're becoming more of an enigma every day, driving until you're a dot on the horizon, headed nowhere in particular, watching life follow the smoke pouring out of your window. You live on the fumes of burning gasoline, the thought of memories turning to ash, photographs decomposing at your feet.
You hide from the ocean in books stashed in your bag, paintings falling off your walls, and in bottles of white wine. You prefer white wine and leaving, because the stains don't have to be permanent, but the memories can't wash away.
Whenever you're gone, I wonder if the tide will find you. I always wonder if you're coming back.
What's wrong, you ask, and I just shake my head.
Nothing, dear, it's nothing at all.