appetizer soulmate

Dear Talia,

I leave this city in 3 days. Yesterday I watched as you were handcuffed, and thrown into a squad car. I’m wearing the sweater you put on me. You held out the sleeves and helped me put in one arm at a time. It smells like you and therefore I smell like you.

I know you don’t love me most, that there are others you’d rather call your own and I’ve made peace with that, most of the time. Other times it cuts and hurts and other times I’m jealous and angry.

Your mother hates me, your father blames and probably hates me, your grandmother is kind and I know you probably aren’t thinking of me but that won’t stop me from thinking of you, missing you, loving you. You’re young and have much to discover about life, love, yourself, the world and I had wished to be with you while you did. Maybe I will, but I probably won’t, not up close at least. But the time we had together, the memories, the good and the awful, the wondrous and the devastating they live in me, probably more than in you.

I catch myself saying your name under my breath like a mantra as if it could summon you, heal you, make you love me most but it doesn’t. The effect you have had on my life has been momentous, sprawling, moving into every part of me like cancer. Maybe you were the little blonde girl from my nightmares as a child, who would stand at the center of a party and go underground and grow tentacles and destroy everything and everyone nearby, like the Indian goddess of destruction Kali, like a fire through a forest that comes back stronger, fuller igniting gratitude for what once was and humility for what is to come. What is to come? For us? For me? For you? God only knows. Or are you the girl at the train station from my dream, a tableau frozen in my mind of an embrace that seems to never end, who feels like bittersweet home. A reunion filled with the sighs and moans of relief that is cherished, my beloved. Or are you both?

I held you as they as they placed the handcuffs on your skinny wrists as you bellowed for freedom from release. I remember seeing your anger and fear as you were being thrown into the back of the squad car in a wash of red and white lights. I walked around the mayhem and routine of your “friends” sharing laughs and guffaws with the police officers as you screamed obscenities and insults and sat on the curb across from you and watched as you went silent as you saw me, burning that moment into my chest of the one I love in pain and terror, feeling as helpless as I have ever felt. I wanted to bring you peace, comfort, love, warmth, grounding. I could hear as you said my name over and over, as a question, as a plead through the glass and watched, frozen as you were charioted away one police cruiser followed by another. What will become of you? What is becoming of you, my dear? I wanted to weep, to wail as I held myself to stay in my body. Talia, Talia.

You said I was your appetizer soulmate, not the entree and that if fates had it, you would line up and be my appetizer soulmate as well. I don’t know, I only know what I feel at present. You’re always looking in the future, ahead ever so slightly. I love everyone I have ever loved as if I would never be privy to those feelings again. I exhaust them like a child running with all their might only to lay collapsed as if gasping for air as if nearing death. Brashly, full-forced, reckoned. I don’t know any other way, I’m not as methodical as you.

I drove around the city  tonight and yelled at the top of my lungs as primal as I could and was inundated with my love and grief for you. I wanted the version of you from last April. Before the voices and delusions began to ring in your head endlessly. We both seemed so much younger then, it felt like a time before the flood and here we were in the aftermath, among the wreckage, cursed with the deepest incision sprouting blood, pain, crying for the compassion that we so freely gave each other from the world but there is none. Not for the bratty young woman and girl who can’t catch a break and seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and in place of compassion we are met with persecution for my haplessness, and you, for your clinging to the buoy that is your alcoholism, the only thing that can silence the encroaching madness befalling you. We are left crestfallen, lungs collapsed screaming for anguish when all we want is the tranquility of being folded into each other. But not in this lifetime, not by a long shot. And for that, my heart is eternally breaking.



-Elaine L.


Jessica Salgueiro