The thing is, he never has been okay.

See here:

Like too many ice-coated mozzarella sticks dunked into the fryer,

Everything outside flashes to steam,

Bubbling up, catching fire, and burning anyone nearby,

Triggering angry red whelps and blisters and curses,

All of which will leave permanent marks,

And the instantly-molten inside bursts free,

Contaminating the oil and leaving nothing

But a golden brown husk.

Type of Fool

I

If we had been lovers, I would’ve been a cliché – alone, lonely, the dinner I cooked for us cooling on the table. When you said you would come, I picked flowers from my garden. My heirloom and confederate roses, the tiny purple blooms on the monkey grass, Gerber daisies, and day lilies I arranged in a Mason jar. Aphids on the rose petals. You didn’t show. You didn’t call, but I didn’t worry. You have always been flaky, flighty. I knew better than to trust, than to depend on you, but I let myself hope. That’s what I get for loving you.

II

I wrote to you, many times – offering help when it wasn’t requested or welcomed. Me being me, I couldn’t help but do it, and you, being you, couldn’t help but spew bile at me. I cried for you, wasted tears. You love your sadness too much, your protection from others. I want you to experience joy, and you refuse. My heart breaks, over and over, for you, and you’ll never give a damn.

III

It began as friendly arguing, batting bad philosophy back-and-forth. What is real? What is love? What are we but a man and a woman, matter, anything that has mass and takes up space? Elementary. I had dreams of silver eagles that gutted and devoured nations. You liked that. You liked me until you didn’t. You told me you’d heard enough from me for a while, to run along and play with someone else. A true verbal slap and I hit back until whatever we were was irreparable. Are you still a zombie, little bird? Did you finally find someone to breathe life into you?

IV

I wanted the best for you, and I wanted you. For years, more than anything. You told me that I was the type of woman a man falls in love with, and that was not the type of woman for you. I used that in a story I wrote. I could kiss you for hours and did a few times, always swallowed whole by your eyes. Because of you, I keep my eyes open. After, I used to catch you watching me, your eyes darting away from mine, like two north poles, repellant. There were times I would’ve done anything for you. I would’ve strayed for you, away from what I knew, from a life and a man that were comfortable. You knew that, and that you didn’t take advantage showed me you were a good man. So many times, I wished that you weren’t.

V

I would trade with you if I could, but I wouldn’t do this for you. It’s too hard, too painful. Maybe you would change your mind if you knew, but you don’t talk to me. We’re strangers now. It was just too much, I guess. I should try harder, but I’m just so damned tired. So tired.