For Sabrina, For Always

I think I saw you looking at my scars. And if you saw them, you didn’t say anything. If you saw them, if your eyes saw what hurt I went through when you weren’t around, then that means my best friend of thirteen years had speech fallen silent on her tongue when it came to that part of my past. And even if you saw them, perhaps you knew you didn’t need to say anything, didn’t need to speak how I knew you wished that didn’t happen, and how I know you wish you could have been there for me. With over 1,000 miles between us during those years where my skin broke open to my pain, I always knew you were there for me, that I could reach out to you if I could have just figured out how.


You said you like my writing. Even when it’s just about me writing at 3am, you like my writing. This makes me smile. Here I am, Sabrina. It’s 6:13am. I woke up later than usual because I was out late with you. Past my bed time, I stayed up and watched Roller Derby with you and your family. I watched as the women found their way around the track, found—as you stated—who they are through this sport.


I sit at the desk Spence got for me to make me feel at home here. It’s my writing place, and it’s the best I’ve ever had. It has a glass top—a bit milky, or is it frosted? Either way, it shines back to the world what the candlelight spotlights on my desk. Books of poetry, a carton of cigarettes, the flame of light itself.


The world is still right now, though I hear my lover rise in the other room. He and I are two souls finding their way in this world through writing and creating. And this is how we live—through creating and breathing. He leans over and kisses me, and I put my hand on the small of his back. My index finger touches his mole. I am starting to learn about the geography of his skin.


I wonder if you want to know this. Does writing about my lover satisfy you in the same way all of my other writing does? I would like to think yes. Even if this lover is a man. And you said to me last night how you didn’t care that we wouldn’t grow into old dykes together because it’s him, you said. He is the only man I have ever trusted, the only man you would ever trust to treat me properly, like how you treat me, with love and awe and honesty.


But the writing this morning isn’t about him. It’s about how I saw you yesterday for the first time in a few years. How you had on those bright orange sunglasses that nobody else could wear but you. How you had on white cargo shorts, and wouldn’t sit on the rocks because you didn’t want to dirty them. And your eyebrow is still pierced, your hair sticks up to the sky. And we both wore black t-shirts, because some things never change.


What else hasn’t changed: the way you smile around your family, the way your family hugs me after all of these years. Your sister has grown up, is now coming into herself and her own sexuality. I remember her at sixteen, when she was just starting to figure out who she was. And I remember you at that age, too. Your blue car with the Limp Bizcit sticker on the back. The way you wore that Adidas visor turned backwards. The way you always smiled at me.


What has changed: our lovers, our lives. The fact that we only see each other every few years or so instead of every day. Our jobs, our houses. But what we want in this world is still the same. You, providing for your family, those you love. Me, writing. And we support each other in that. I see you around your family, and I can still feel that love you have for them. And you told me you like my writing. So thank you, Sabrina. This one’s for you.


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