You Were Safe, But I Still Had To Leave


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Olga Ferrer Saladié

Leaving was right. Mostly for me, but also for you. I tell myself this every day. I’m learning that right will not always feel clean. It will be messy. It will hurt and the hurt will make it confusing but not any less right.

So when I cry, it’s because I can still feel the way it was easy to lean into you. I can still recall the simplicity of how just the smell of you could calm me. I miss these small things so I do not have to feel what it is like to miss all of you. Now, “right” feels like turning my back on a home I never knew I had, or even missed until you wrapped your arms around me one last time. I do not like right. But I know that I held my lips pressed against yours instead of saying all of these things. Because I knew it was wrong to burrow my way deeper before saying goodbye.

Things I never said, when I should’ve:

I’d listen to country for you. Not to learn to love its sound (that could never happen really), but to learn to love the way your voice absently chimes in every other verse.

If you asked, if you needed, I would give up ice cream for you. You could measure my sweet tooth by the dozen or so cavities I have. And I know, you would never ask, but I would let all those Ben & Jerry pints melt away without hesitation. If only to give you something when you gladly give me everything.

You gave me a pet name. I despise pet names. We’ve even talked about this. But then hearing the word “my” preceding it, was as satisfying as running my fingers over the marks I had left as I tasted your skin. Unspoken claims

I’ve never told one person the collection of things I’ve told you. I gave you my worst and ugliest and you painted it beautiful, showed me that scars tell stories long after their wound was opened. And that I can write them into the most gorgeous chapters.

You’re the safest I’ve felt in years. And that scared me more than I understood. It shook my plan to wander, so I pushed off from the shore of your bay. Called myself an explorer, tears and ocean spray becoming one in the same.

There are two ways a heart can break. From pain, and from kindness. I broke yours with one. After you threatened to make rubble of mine with the other.

I think I glimpsed the kindest kind of love in your eyes. I’m sorry, for not being ready. For not saying these while I had the chance. But,

Thank you
for pausing
for smiling
for cheesing
for listening
for opening
for fighting
for believing
Thank you a thousand times.

Olga Ferrer Saladié

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