“Sweetheart, what did you bury in the garden?”
My hands are covered in potting soil. I smell like dirt.
I could lie. A coffee cup. A book I love. A letter to a you.
I look down at the ground.
Forgiveness has never been one-size-fits-all. You could sell my car for parts and lose my favorite sweater and I would still take you back. Not like I have much choice. You wiggle your way back into my poems while my back is turned. I find you curled on the couch, asleep, with my diary as a pillow.
I dig holes everywhere there’s room, hiding little bits of you from myself. Underneath my kitchen sink is a stack of disposable cameras I never got developed. Your old sweatshirt is in the shed with the paint rags. The paperback I stole from your bedroom goes out with the next Goodwill donation. I stop buying honey from the stand close to your house. They never put the lids on tightly enough anyways.
I try to scrub the sound of your footsteps out of my kitchen floors. Gone are my favorite writing pens. My old journal mysteriously goes missing. The mix you made me gets lent out to the friend who has never been good at returning things. I sold your bike.
And yet there you are on every dance floor. A touch magnetized to the back of my neck, the curve of my spine. Bodies fit together like gears. Every breath screams “welcome back” without a single word. A friendly ghost I don’t have the heart to scare away.
Maybe I wasn’t meant to get rid of you. Maybe there are stains that never come out, scars you never outgrow. I still cry to the same songs. I still look for you in a crowd. I still write you into every love song.
I forgave you long ago for always coming home. It’s not your fault I leave the door unlocked.
TFLNM, or The First Line’s Not Mine, is a creative writing prompt project. Step one: pick a random generator. Step two: write it out. Step three: hit publish. Let’s play.