When I was little
I used to rip the wings off of butterflies so they would never leave me.
Crippled their beauty so they knew the hurt of being lonely.
And while the rest of the world flew by,
I watched as their broken bodies tried to fly without wings thinking
these were the things I'd take with me—
the lessons I'd learn in how to love you selfishly.

We took pieces of each other to make ourselves feel whole.
Cradled the weight of our loneliness with borrowed hands
like they'd be enough to hold us up.
But give too much, and you'll find yourself ripping at the seams
Trying desperately to stitch love back together through interlaced fingers.
We held on for dear life.
Clung to each other on nights where we thought we might break.
Nights where the ache of loneliness threatened to slice through our psyche,
inviting spiteful words to cut into us like sharp knives
because everything hurt less than silence.
You were silent
the day I asked you for her name.
The girl with hair the color of sunset
whose beauty left you breathless.
You were silent
the day I picked up the remnants of your broken heart
and settled like bits of speckled dust
who mattered just enough to exist beside you.
when you had nothing left to give,
and we lived like broken butterflies
ripping away what once made us beautiful.
We lived without ever having learned to love properly.
Used the warmth of our bodies like security blankets
to fake whatever happiness we couldn't find.

But still I was yours, fully and wholeheartedly
Still you were mine
And I would've spent centuries exploring the emptiness in your eyes,
letting gravity's relentless pull bring me closer to those black holes so dark
I'd see the reflection of heartache staring back at me.
I would've said your name a thousand times over until it lost all meaning.
Until the tasteless familiarity of another body left me feeling comfortably numb.
I would've stayed by your side for eternity
if it meant not being alone.
Because loneliness can break you.
It can make you believe that you aren't worthy or good.
It can take you back to when you were six years-old
and fully convinced that because butterflies didn't love you,
no one ever would.
It can scare you into submission and tear your self-worth to shreds
until you're lying in bed wishing your hair was the color of sunset
and that your beauty left him breathless.
It can make your world feel so small that no matter how loud you screamed,
your words would fall silently through the cracks.
It wasn't until the day you left,
until the day you found someone to be selfless for and grew your wings back,
that I realized how crippling the soul-crushing nature of loneliness can be.
How the absence of three weighted words can bring strong women crashing to their knees
pleading and praying
love me.

by Maia Mayor

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