I once loved a man with an embarrassing tic.
Anytime he told a lie he would quickly whisper the truth.
It rolled out of his lips as a ribbon that wrapped around his neck.
I used to ignore it. It’d be rude to bring it to his attention.

But every lie made the ribbon a brighter, bolder red.
I once asked him, “What’s on your mind?’
“Nothing,” he said confidently. Cooly.
Under his breath the ribbon betrayed him. It whispered:

You always grit your teeth, babe. Relax your jaw, honey. You’ll bite right through your tongue. Let me be the one to bite it for you. Let me be the one who clenches their fist. Whose teeth grind to powder from worries unknown. How do you keep all that tension in such a small frame? I’m bigger, let me relieve you of your duties, baby.


The ribbon grew wider, his whispered words
Had swirled together to paint a scene.
His whispering was undoubtedly involuntary.
My eyes darted from the ribbon to his placid face.
He didn’t seem notice my horrified expression.

I hadn’t noticed until that very moment
How dull his eyes were.
How flat his features seemed.
I asked,“Tell the truth, what’s on our mind.”
“Nothing, babe! Why all the questions?”

Let me open up my chest. I’ll let you pour your sorrow, your energy, your pain inside of me. Let it trickle down my belly, past my navel, down my groin, roll down my legs where it’ll pool around my feet. Let me cradle that pain for you, sweetie. Fill me up with all the misfortune you have to offer, there’s space in my chest for the both of our suffering.

The ribbon was so red now.
So wide. It coiled around his neck tightly.
Yet his face gave nothing away.
He he still looked so calm. Unbothered.

Let me cry your tears for you baby. Let me wear your skin for you, darling. You skinned your arm when you were 9 and so did I now. You got lost in the woods that day, whelped skin stinging, face dirty, weeping wildly. Let me hold on to that awful memory for you! Let me bear the burden of existence for both of us! I’ll answer to both names, I’ll think both our thoughts! Let me be you for you! Just kick back, love! Let me bleed your blood, baby! Let me bleed you ou–

And then
his ribbon
ran out.