I do not have the words to scream for you, yet I convince myself you can hear. There is a piece of the night inside me, the same night inside you, and it connects us like a string from tin to tin. Has it always been there? Has it changed? Years spent hopping from person to person, desperate to find its twin, hoping if the stars shine brighter, it will be seen.
Maybe fame is a beacon, calling a single last ship to harbor. My boat is broken, many of the large pieces still intact by sheer force of will. I am afloat but only because my pride can’t allow anything less. Perhaps if I could sink, maybe you wouldn’t need to shine for me anymore. Dim your light, conserve your energy, I’ll send you a love letter in a bottle with my blood, seal the note in sweat, and push it away with tears.
My pride is the last thing under.
Open your hand and lay it out flat. Do not rush, you must be patient with me. With time, when I’m ready, I will strip my body of the excess — the fears, the certainties, the concerns, the self-inflicted consequences — all pulled away, folded neatly, and set aside. Then I, clothed in nothing but the Moon and my vulnerability, will climb into your palm, and you may hold me.
When I’m there, treat me delicately, but do not coddle. I am not a toy, I am a person, but you already knew that, didn’t you? You already know all of this, somewhere deep inside. Despite what they tell you, listen to that voice. The others have forgotten theirs.
It doesn’t matter how sweet your words, you can’t hold me in the palm of your hand on your own. I must walk there myself.
Could you open me up and take a look? I’m afraid it’s not as pretty in there. It’s dark and roiling and much of the mechanics don’t work properly, if at all. So many things desperately need repair, but I can’t see inside so well. I tinker and root around but end up doing more harm than good. Sure, I’ve been jostled and twisted, but most of the disarray can only be blamed on me, you see.
You need not be an expert, but if you could just take a look? Take a look and tell me if anything is salvageable. Tell me if there’s any beautiful thing inside.
Wanting to fall in love means wanting to rip yourself apart for another person and have that person rip themselves apart for you. It’s terrifying to allow yourself to be so vulnerable, but it’s equally so to be trusted with that vulnerability.
So when I say I hope we fall in love someday, my greatest hope has little to do with old age. It’s that you won’t run away from me simply for mentioning it.
Devin Overman writes short- and long-form fiction, poetic prose, and screenplays that consider the ways humans around the world love themselves and one another. Her recent screenplay is being contracted by an international production company, and her debut novel and short story collection are forthcoming.