by Shana Bulhan

PROMPTShc_bingo: runaways + quote from A Primer for the Small Weird Loves by Richard Siken: “You do this, you do. You take the things you love / and tear them apart / or you pin them down with your body and pretend they’re yours.” + the song “Baby you can sleep while I drive” by Melissa Etheridge

WARNINGS: abuse, being trapped, running away, family abuse, swearing, dubious consent, nonconsent

What is there to say? You have me hooked. Pristine and velvet, like we could ever be anything but lost. You’re telling me we’re gonna find home, but this isn’t a fucking song. This isn’t Baby you can sleep while I drive playing on repeat. Or maybe it is, but the song’s become so mundane I don’t even like it anymore. You switched to Regina Spektor when I told you I was getting tired of listening to Melissa Etheridge, but it didn’t matter because the words were stuck in my head. All that notion of having someplace to stay, friends to take care of you, and in the morning it would be okay. But it isn’t okay in the morning. It doesn’t magically become better. Several mornings have passed now and you are still frantically searching for a place to live while we drain the money we have on motel rooms.

When I was younger, I wanted to marry you. I wanted you to be the only one. Then we grew up and learned about polyamory. It made sense, but what didn’t make sense was how you thrust all these boys at me. You wanted me to make out with them in front of you. You wanted to do drunk tabletop spins with me, you wanted to show off. “Here is my girlfriend, we’re so available.” I’m not sure I like this kind of polyamory for myself. Once I kissed one of the boys so passionately, and later you scolded me– “You’re supposed to tease them, not hook them.”

So when you called me and told me you had to get out of your house and you had to run away and was I coming or not, I didn’t know what else to do but follow. So I left a note for my parents, imagining all the shouting that must be going on over at your place, wondering if my family would miss me at all. At least you had parents who would drag you back again and again. Mine are just… absent. I don’t know. Anyway, it was either lose you forever or come with you. And despite everything, I would follow you everywhere. You hold me like ice mannequins, just about to crack but still holding on. Like stalagmites and stalactites, we’re just barely eclipsing each other, always somewhere waiting for reunion.

I don’t know how to tell you that this isn’t working, that I need to go home. You have me pinned. Sometimes literally. I don’t know… I miss you so much when you’re gone even for a few hours, going to Craigslist showings of apartments, trying to figure out if something will work for us. We’re so fucking young and you’ve already destroyed me even as you ignite me. You are the story, and I’m just a chapter, but I’m always willing to burn so bright you won’t forget. I wish I could tell you the truth, I wish there was a way you could hold candles close to me without me fading away. I wish there was a way you could hold me to a lower standard. So if I run away from you, you won’t follow. And I will miss you and all the times we curled up under blankets clutching each other because we knew we had each other at least, if nothing else. I will miss you but– And here you are, knocking at the door again. You’ve come home. This is our home. This ratty motel room is our home, and I have nowhere else to go.