She Needs Space She thinks about it often, the one you love. She thinks about leaving you. You know it, you feel it in the way she holds herself in your arms, and doesn’t let you hold her. You can tell the force that ripples around her would break the very heavens if she ever let it out. You can see it in the way she only breathes easily at night, looking up at the stars and wishing herself off the earth. She digs her nails into her palms to keep herself grounded. You don’t dare to reach out and take her hand, in case it untethers her forever. It’s painful, and she knows you know it. She thinks about leaving you, for your own good as well as hers. You think about it too. You think about how you could make someone so unhappy that they would want to leave. Or at least, how you could not make her happy enough to stay. There are no answers written for you in the poems or in the stars. You wish you could see what she does when she looks up at the night sky. But you have always been a creature of the earth. You are steady on the ground. You know your place on the path of life and you survive it, even if you’re not always enjoying it. You might enjoy it more without her. Maybe you could get more out of it if you were not constantly chasing her down, dragging her back to earth. She thinks about that too. How much she would like you to live without her. She was made for exploding suns and vast unanswered questions. And you were made for legacies and roots, for mountains shaped over millennia. Her feet were shaped to stir moon dust. And yours? Just like your mother’s, your feet. Steady, ready, lasting. You don’t know if that’s admirable, but it is to her. She’d stay if she could. But it’s not in her nature like it is in yours. She gets cold often. The energy all drawn to her head, to her imploding heart. She wants spacesuits and vacuums, not your stolen warmth. She’d leach it out of you, the warmth. If you let her. If she let herself. She thinks about leaving. And one day she does. She leaves a kiss on your morning cheek and her keys in a bowl and she treks out to the way station. And before you’re even brushing your teeth, you were never an early riser, she’s signed herself away to space. You think about leaving, in the days after she’s gone. You think about finding her out there among her stars. You could uproot your feet, you could find your way in her world like she tried in yours. But it’s a shallow thought. She was never planted in your sturdy life. And you are far too rigid for the flexibility of space. You turn your thoughts to staying. And there is a peace in that which she will never know.
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