Neon Nights (Or, The Time You Broke My Heart)
It’s the brokenness of mutual feelings somehow thwarted by the logistics of life, by the distances of our highways, by the weekends we spend working and the mistakes we never intend to make. Of the pile of papers we call our thoughts, thoughts that we fumble over as we trip upon each other’s shortcomings and shoelaces and scrape our knees on the gravel and dust.
It’s the brokenness of failed possibility, of the disappointment in human nature, and the realization that even the best of people with their mightiest of intentions and most fiercely clenched fists, can let us down with their bundles of sweaters and suitcases that rest against mustard-colored nightstands.
It’s the brokenness that thinks: I’ve found it all. Oh, but how baby our brains are, the ones that we so carefully carry around in our heads and use for storing up stories; but what good are these tales when we have no one to tell them to? Do you have anyone to tell them to?
It’s the brokenness of sudden and painstaking humility—learned too late for the last round of drinks or the whisper of the truth. Of embarrassment and frustration with this dimly lit world that is out of our control, out of our hands, and there we lay, out of our minds with all of the words we didn’t say.
It’s the brokenness of the neon nights with fresh skin and lips we forgot to endure for the fight of it all.
It’s the brokenness of gifts delivered too late, my dear, and promises whispered too early—the ones, you remember?? We mumbled them next to stop signs and beneath the bar lights, as we fumbled through each others’ hearts for the maps of our future.
It’s the brokenness of wondering what if? The what if of your toxic hands and outstretched arms and those hardwood floors you’d spend years walking across, slowly, the kind of slow you should have walked with me. Of the mountains and railways and rivers between us, of the lives we got a glimpse of living.
It’s the brokenness of foolishness and folly, of hastiness and immaturity. Of the roads that we drove when the streets were too wet and the fences we jumped with the ignorance of our youth, of the shortcuts we took across farmlands that told us: you’re too lost to be found; you’re too scared to be brave. Of everything you wanted someone to be, and knowing they can’t be that. Of the heavy truth of imperfection.
It’s the brokenness of unfulfilled assurances and wasted vulnerability. Of lipstick smeared on tequila-rimmed glasses of regret, and the ink from pens writing the Words of God.
It’s the brokenness of frustration: with all the ways in which we fail each other because we are, in fact, people, and are destined-despite our best attempts otherwise- to disappoint and destroy and crush and be crushed. To weave broken stories out of shards of glass and dying leaves. To pick up the pieces of our hearts with cracked skin and bloodied palms. To fall short and to fail and to scare easy and often. To tear down the stars and light fires with our pain. To move too quickly or too slowly, to do it all wrong. To miss out, to leave behind, to fall apart under the weight of it all.