The middle of the night wakes you. The moonlight is hazy, with a soft silver glow that scatters light in different directions.
You are wrapped in blankets. Drenched and suffocated by sweat.
The air around you is still—the stillness is pounding in your ears. Your heart scratches and bites your chest, chewing on every vein, every artery, and every rib. It fixes itself at the same spot over and over again. The chewing gets progressively louder.
Your jaw clenches, and your muscles stiffen. The room only becomes smaller and smaller, and you notice every breath out of your heaving mouth takes up too much space.
You are half-dressed. You reach for your Xanax and take the last pills in the bottle. You have taken several doses throughout the night for the last two weeks.
You blink, and you are sliding a pair of sweatpants over your too-stubborn hips.
Your keys are still in the pair of jeans you threw across the floor earlier that day. You grab them, and you find yourself crouching on the elevator.
You don’t even know how the fuck you got here.
The lobby is silent as you walk out into the street. It’s raining, and you don’t have an umbrella or a coat. The rain chills every nerve in your spine. You hope the touch will help the tunnel vision, and you walk towards Mass Ave. to see if walking helps bring some warmth in the cold. But it’s March, and spring is nowhere to be seen in Boston.
The sound of water rushing and spouting through gutters and echoes through the streets, creating a constant background hum. Your jaw clenches further, and you remember that your therapist told you to look around you and name five things you can see when it gets like this.
You can spot the drops of rain clinging to the branches of trees and the leaves of plants.
The earth is wet. You imagine how it must feel—cool and yielding, almost silky to the touch. You can feel the soil morphing onto your skin, leaving a faint scent of minerals and life, and you imagine your hand digging through it.
Your eyes find a pole indicating the location of the bus stop. It stands tall and straight, even in the face of the relentless rain.
But the bus stop taunts you.
This is where you saw her last. The rain dares you to look up at the sky and behold the memories falling with every drop of rain. Everything is too fragmented. You look, the remorse already flooding your chest, and you’re reminded of winter, and the open bus doors.
It’s time for her to leave, and the muscles around your eyes and face are tight and strained. Your face is still red; the Boston winter is making it ache more with its heavy winds.
Her face looks jaded. You memorize the red curls that frame her soft, full face, the short curve of her eyebrows, the hairs on the outer edges and the way they frame the roundness of her eyes.
Her gaze is like a slight beam of sunlight, warm and inviting, drawing you in, even when she no longer feels like there is any light she can give in the winter cold. She has the kind of eyes that make you never want to stop staring, the kind of eyes you could study and always find something new.
For you, they’re the eyes that mirror every version of her you’ve ever fallen in love with, and all the versions of yourself she’s fallen in love with. You wonder how you got here, and how it’s taken everything in both of you to even be there at that very moment. But her weariness is deafening, and it pains you that you can’t help her make it go away because you’d do anything to help her be okay. You know she needs to be alone. She’s put herself last for so long that you know she needs the space.
So much is left unsaid between the two of you at that moment. The air bathes in both love and fear—a bittersweet taste so familiar to both of you after spending the last six years trying to make things work. But they somehow always don’t.
Every drop drips a moment of your history. The image of your childhood bedroom, dimly lit by the blue lights that hang across your bed, and you lean in—it’s your first kiss all over again. You’re holding hands by the beach again, and you’re telling her you love her for the first time. You’re in the Commons at night, after traveling over 1,000 miles to see what your life could look like in a new city if everything worked out in your favor, and you’re finally able to find the life you so wish you could live, and she’s next to you, holding you, reminding you of everything you can’t seem to see in yourself, but she somehow does.
She says, “I will always be here for you,” and you ask yourself how there could ever be a world in which you don’t love all of her. You wonder how someone could still see so much, learn every aspect of your mind and soul, and still choose to love you. You’re in the back of your car again, crying as you stare into each other’s eyes, grateful that life has somehow brought you back together after years of longing. You’re overcome by how much you love one another.
But you find your way to the bus stop again. You cup her face, and she cradles the back of your neck. It’s the last time you can allow yourself to simply look and attempt to take all of her in. The memory of her stepping into the bus and watching it leave still lingers. The Boston rain continues to pour, and you’re drenched, and the rain only continues to fall harder.
You continue to walk, praying the distance will make it fade—turn into the red bricks along buildings, the yellow lines on the road.
But your heels are like paper. They begin to absorb the water; they swell and weaken. The fibers can no longer hold you together. Your flesh is smeared in ink. You feel yourself breaking down into smaller and smaller organic components. The raindrops ricochet on the pavement, their spherical shape broken by a pair of wings. They emerge from the surface tension holding its shape together and fly to you. They rip into your skin and muscle tissue. You are heavy, and your body forgets to throb at the sensation.
So, you dissolve.
Renata Perez is a Mexican American multimedia creative with a passion for sparking conversations and empowering others to use their voice. As Digital Media Coordinator for Subscriptions for Authors by Ream, they have created content that helps authors connect with their audience and develop strategies for growing their platforms. Renata is also a student copywriter for the Boston University Marketing & Communications Department and has explored various formats of storytelling, such as advertising, rebranding, copywriting, photography, editorial writing, and short documentary-style projects—increasing audience engagement by up to twenty percent of audience engagement. In addition to her work in marketing, Renata is also an editorial intern and creative writer contributing to the Hey! Young Writer Organization. They are currently pursuing a B.A. in English literature with a minor in advertising at Boston University, and her ultimate goal is to capture stories that bring representation to those seeking to be heard.