his leaving feels like a nurse removing the needle from which your blood was stolen, not satisfying in the slightest but surely a relief.
the metal is sterile, clean as a whistle but it feels like rust, like poisonous liquid of electric purple has been injected into the shy vein that runs up your right arm. you’re watching it – a little bruise emerging, rising to the surface like a sea monster, a little blood, of course. the nurse holds a gauze to it out of instinct, and the blood bites into the thick threads like it’s cursed with fangs and eternal hunger. certainly you feel an absence, but as you start to rub the spot he parted from, you realize how much better it feels to have a forearm that is bright red and pale turquoise, and you wonder how having a forearm bloody and puffy and swollen could possibly feel better than a forearm with a piece of steel right below the surface of the skin.
but the answer is simple – the forearm with the needle inside the vein is not finished suffering. the forearm with the needle removed is on the road to recovery, bleeding into the gauze, crying into the tissue the nurse has given it. the relief is evident, and the growth is about to happen. no matter how incredibly bad the nurse was with the needle – if she was a wiggler, or a several-time stabber, or a “surprise you’ve been impaled” – it’s over now, and you’ve nothing to fear anymore.
sometimes I sit and think about how bad his leaving hurt. the searing pain of a sharp object penetrating my skin, the tissue, the vein beneath, and the paranoia of something going wrong with the blood I was losing. I was watching it leave my body, the life draining from my circulatory system as he sucked it out of me through a tube and stole it into a purple vile. I remember feeling nervous about the beginning of it, sick during, and considerably better afterwards. but then, upon looking back at my thoughts, I see more clearly. his leaving didn’t hurt. his presence did. and his leaving?
that was the best part of it all.