Fiction logo

Clean Floors

A Memoir to a Memory

By Micah ButterfieldPublished 5 months ago 6 min read

He is looking at me like he doesn't recognize me. Maybe it is my body, maybe it is my hair, maybe it is these clothes hugging my skin. Maybe it is the way my eyes no longer shatter every time his voice calls my name. And this, is something unfamiliar to him. I watch him watch me. He says nothing because that is all he knows, silence. But I want to say something. I want to say everything. Because it is what I have wanted to needed to craved to do for so long, and for the first time, he's listening.

"You have no idea how badly I wanted to wait for you." I am quiet, gentle.

"You have no idea how badly I wanted to sit around and hope that you'd show up." I steady my voice. Raise it an octave so he can hear me. "And I did for awhile. I cried. I begged. I bartered. I blamed myself, damned myself, for not working loving hoping hard enough for you to find me. I wanted you to find me. To make the seconds and minutes and hours and days that I waited mean something. My head and my heart were at war for weeks, and it was bloody. So bloody. Deceptive. One lying to the other trying to convince me of something that was never real. Trying to convince myself that this," I wave my finger between our bodies, two bodies we both know so well, "was meant and just and part of some miraculous plan. To wait on you, to give you the time you needed, I'd martyr myself, because then it would be okay. It would be okay when the day finally came that you'd find me and run to me, sweep me up and wrap me in your arms; tell me that were sorry and you never ever wanted to make me question my worth and my sanity like that again, simply for the fact you'd lost yours for a moment too long."

"But, those same seconds and minutes and hours I was so convinced you'd regret turned into longer days and never ending weeks and gaps started forming in my mind when I couldn't even remember the last time we'd spoken. Because you didn't need time, did you? Hmm? No, you needed everything and nothing and you wanted it all without any effort. My sacrifice met your indifference and it almost killed me. Because I wanted you, just you, and you wanted compliance. Not commitment.

And then one day I woke up and I stopped. Not because I didn't love you anymore, but because I decided I couldn't. I still can't."

I can see it in his eyes that he has been hit, awakened. I didn't know that was possible. He finally understands, that this heartbreak my truth his ignorance is something he didn't expect. I see it in the way his breathing shallows and his eyes shift downward, dark and disillusioned. But he does not get to be disappointed. Not when I have exhausted enough disappointment for both of us. And he can't speak, so I guess I will. God knows I have plenty left.

"I looked around and there were so many plans dreams hopes calling me, waiting on me. Sitting still until I was ready to stop waiting on you and hold them instead. So many ideas that needed me more than you did and it gave me a choice. I had a choice now; and I finally, thank God, made the right one. Those dreams that I'd dreamed for so long, they wouldn't let me quit. Wouldn't let me go back. No matter how many times I wanted to, they kept whispering you're so close, keep going. They said you can't afford to sit and wallow and feel bad for yourself anymore, and they were right, because every time I kept moving, more light kept pouring in. The trenches that loneliness and emptiness had created became so much brighter. The holes filled with this light so brilliant I didn't know how to recognize it because I'd been starved for so long." I am not angry, I am not upset. I am not even hurt any longer. I am only honest and I can see that it is shredding him apart. But I am hungry. And I keep biting, tearing, chewing.

"Time doesn't slow down for people who don't know what they want and I only know that because time stopped completely for me. It held me so tightly it wouldn't let go; like being thirsty for days with a well 10 feet away, and forcing yourself to wait for someone that would've gladly gone ahead of you and run it dry." He almost reaches for me because it's more than he can take, but no. I keep our distance. "Thank God time was kind enough to grant me a pardon. Because you showed me in your absence and your complete disregard of my love, that I wanted more. More in store than sitting around waiting for you to love me want me need me too."

My words are fire, dripped in hot flames and my tongue is sparking and I can feel electricity coursing through my veins. "I stopped waiting, not for your sake, don't get me wrong. But I got up and I ran to the water and I turned it into a river for the whole community to drink from. I started speaking out loud and my words turned into kisses that made me feel some kind of loved again. I started welcoming myself home every night and everything I had became more than enough. And it is. For me. For you. For everyone. And out of all the impossible things I could do with my mind my power my strength, the most foolish decision I could've made, was to allow the sun to wait for the moon to meet on the same side of the world."

He opens his mouth, but it's stuck right where it expands. It looks quite dumb before it falls closed. Into a tight frown that matches his eyebrows and it tells me he's surrendered. For the first and last time. I turn. I walk away, a single tear threatening to pour over, but I won't let him have it. Nothing else, no more minutes. I walk away from him. Leaving the ashes of my words behind me, the world burning at my feet. I walk away from him. His lips and my heart both bleeding on the floor. The only difference is, I know how to pick mine up while his will dry out to the air created ot sustain him. And these are my floors, I can have them cleaned.


About the Creator

Micah Butterfield

Writing for the withered and worthy soul. Based in Texas. Matching digital works to digital words.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.