If only she was insignificant
like the grit my tires tread carelessly up
in the parking lot after another session,
because then, I could displace all the ifs before I arrive home.
But she is spinning muddied in the wheels of my mind.
Disconnected but ritualistic driving.
I am wavering towards empty remembering the nights I lay awake with her.
My body hijacked by her rapid breathing
while blank ceilings turned into windows of her grandiose dreams.
Dreams she made me believe could be mine if I held her tight.
The only blackness that existed then was the night.
Today of all days I should be paying attention
to the artificial light that screams ‘Stop!’ before I crash.
Instead, I race through the red as bright as her favorite lipstick colour
slamming my mind into another memory.
Her mouth. Her enigmatic jaw of magnificent lies.
My injuries are catastrophic.
My bones still ache and the headaches are debilitating.
That is mild in comparison to the real wounds; the ones they tell me will heal
if I replay the events leading up to the accident.
But all I keep thinking is how she trapped light within her
as if no one else could possibly own it when she was around.
I wish I could have taken my eyes off of her and avoided our demise.
I pull into the driveway and let my new car idle.
I should shut down the engine.
I should care about the state of the environment.
But it’s the hole in my chest that needs the steady hum of a touch,
even if it is artificial.
I turn up the stereo to a song she sang off key, as she danced freely.
Most days, her only worries were to catch sunrises and later look for the stars.
They say it was she who almost killed me
but I don’t blame her; only myself.
And I am plagued with survivor’s guilt thinking back to the day,
four years ago, when they waited for me to wake up
so they could tell me she was gone.
But I knew before my eyes fluttered awake.
I felt the emptiness.
They tell me now I am healing.
“Look how far you have come,” as I no longer sit in front of them,
hospital gown, gaunt face, screaming for her to come back.
They don’t know I am dressed in her clothes, make-up and scent.
I even mimic her straight back posture.
Each and every time I get home, I take off her clothes and wash my face
but leave her scent on.
That is one thing I can never change.
The snow is spinning outside.
I know this purity will soon be soiled slush on the roads.
But for now I smile as it falls with grace.
And this is how I daydream her falling the winter she left.
I put my hands on the wheel at ten and two and hold on for my survival.
I hope she would want that for me.
(photographs of my depression and mania by Miguel Mansilla)