Lying About Being Happy Is My Way of Staying in Love

It’s true that on nights like this I’m so removed I think if I’m still and silent and solemn enough it’ll be like I’m not here and that I just never was.

It doesn’t take a lot to get me to this place, to coax me into having a kind of communion with solace,

it could be me floating into an anniversary when I lost a beloved family member because of love, that triggers it,

or me wrapping my feelings around a movie where because the protagonist lost something he can’t let go of years ago, he goes stupid one night and starts picking fights with dark reasons that don’t know how to make sense, but make sense anyway.

Then again, sometimes it’s just because I haven’t seen anyone in weeks-did I mention I was a shut-in-?and any presence including my own begins to fall away and feel like something emptier than this obvious constellation map of grief,

a fate I bet the tiny shrimp knows in its tiny shrimp way as it’s pulled up into the pottymouth of the jellyfish it has no idea how to be, but will soon become part of and excreted from anyway,

shrimp not unlike the kind I used to eat with cocktail sauce by the bowlful, every Christmas at my grandparents where I thought eating when and how they wanted me to on that special day, could somehow gift their worried hearts with reassurance that all was well in the land of me,

when it really wasn’t, and I just wanted to be easy and joyful and there for them in ways I’m still trying to be for myself.

They must have known I was a sad liar about being happy when I didn’t want to be, and I probably kept them up at night and found my way into their prayers for years along a tentacle of sadness that must have seemed for them, the end of joy, but for me, was, and still is, a leviathan-like way to stay in love with a me that’s never been found.