Boomerang Valentine by Andrea Gibson

Boomerang Valentine

I’m sitting on my friends’ couch several months into being intentionally single and celibate for the first time since I was 20 years old
20 years old: when I believed sex had to involve a dude and the word “screw”
I’m telling my friend about the psychic who said I’m going to meet the love of my life by the end of January
It’s January 10th and I’m so far from ready for cupid, that naked little shit, to fire anything sharp my way

So far from ready for that kind of insane only love makes me
My friend musters every bit of new age jargon she can fit into her tongue
and says, “What if you are the love of your life?”
I think, “Oh my god, I hope that’s not true, because I am absolutely not my type”

But, let’s say for a moment, I am
Let’s say I am my dream girl… And boy.
And I am standing on my front step
Ringing my own doorbell
Waiting for me to answer, so I can hand myself a mason jar full of water lilies I have rescued from a millionaire’s Monet
Let’s say, I am so charmed by the radiance of my own anarchy I invite myself in for tea
And when I’m not looking, I sneak the steam from the kettle into my pocket, so that the next time I am missing the coast of Maine, I can gift myself the fog

Let’s say I’m not just running my mouth around an old cliché that says we gotta love ourselves; we don’t
I know that I can keep getting down on myself ‘til I’m tucked into the grave
Looking up at my name, carved into stone, wondering why I never knew I’d been cast the lead in my own life

Y’all, when it comes to love, the only thing I’m certain of is you are the best thing that has ever happened to you..
Whoever you are-
You’re a quitter? Great, there is plenty worth quitting
A sore loser? Who isn’t?
You got no discipline? Maybe discipline is for body builders and closeted gay monks
Picture a magician so attached to being perfect that he cuts off his own legs just to pull off the trick

Picture the 738 selfies I deleted before I took one that I was willing to show to the world
Picture me wishing I could have all of them back
My so called “flaws” in stacks, like baseball cards I know will be worth something someday
Like, compassion
Like, tenderness
Like, my capacity to think myself a catch just because I have never seen a chandler I didn’t want to swing from
because I would maybe go to space just to know if railroad tracks look like zippers from the moon

On days I have hard time keeping warm in my own weather- I imagine what the first flower said to the first human, trying to name half its flower petals “love me not’s”

No
that is not how anything grows
Of all the violence I have known in my life, I have not known violence like the way I have spoken to myself

And I have seen almost everyone around me hold that same belt to their own backs
Then, looking for someone outside of themselves to come clean that treason up
If I were to ask myself out of that cycle, I might say, Listen,
I am still going through a growth spurt.
I am still yet to get my worst tattoo
I am still clearing the smoke from burning the toast I wrote for my own wedding day
I am still trying to get rid of my mirror face
Look myself, dead in the eye

I know Facebook is a lousy mortician,
desperately trying to make us all look more alive
I know there are things I haven’t survived
I know there are people in this world who have had to work really hard to survive
Me, I don’t ever want to take that lightly.
But, I want the heavy to anchor me brave
to anchor me loving
to anchor me in something that will absolutely hold me to my word
When I tell cupid I intend to keep walking out to the tip of his arrow
To bend it back towards myself
To aim for my goodness; until the muscle in my chest tears from the stretching of becoming
When I came here to be a lover of whatever got covered up by the airbrush
The truth of me: That beauty of a beast

Chewing through the leash
‘Til I get a mason jar full of water lilies
I got a kettle full of sea
And my whole life, y’all, my whole life is just a boomerang valentine; coming right back at me

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