When you said that thing to me today, I was sucked back in time; standing anew in front of her, too big to hit, at the moment she discovered that words were just as effective as slotted, metal spoons.
Before I went with you, I’d put it all away, boxed it up. Covered it in tape and barricaded the door. I’d labeled it and was sure to avoid that trunk covered in my own careful writing.
It was you who made me peek at it again–that time the house was burning down, when everything I loved was turning to ash. You made me believe that I’d set that fire myself; that to extinguish the blaze, I had to hack open that box, sift through it, finger its contents and accept the blame as the girl her words had bruised.
But what I learned then was far from what you expected. When I was done, and I stood in front of you again, I could smell the gasoline on your breath and I cried.
I set to cleaning up, and gave you your own box, which I set next to hers, and for the second time, vowed “no more.”
But I smelled the gasoline again today, and watched you close the door. There it sits, that thing you said, waiting for me to own it.
But your box is full, and that girl is gone, so you’ll have to take it back.