The night was cold, but our hearts were a bonfire contained within our cotton skins.

We stood there, nicotine between your teeth and honeydew on my lips, singing sweetly like the cicadas that fill the negative space of a wet summer night. And for a moment, if only for a moment, I felt more beautiful than the moonlight shedding across my half-baked smile. For a moment I felt like all the constellations and cobblestone paths that bookended my world were nothing more than a frame for the true countenance of beauty that was painted on my face. For a moment I thought that the cicadas were singing for me.

But what moments do best is flee. The moments we wish we could bottle up like a potion to save for an hour when we need them most are the moments that fly the quickest and leave us drier than we were before the rain came. Because after you have tasted heaven, you come to realize that hell is anywhere that heaven is not. I scratch my neck, dye my hair a new color, and trace my fingers across the lightning on my thighs just to remember the storm.

The night smelled like petrichor, which never smells quite as sweetly as we like to think that it would. It reminds us of the drought and it reminds us of the rain, and I’d take rain over puddles any day. But while I was busy riding roller coasters in my head, you slid a carousel on my finger and made me a promise that nothing would ever stop it from spinning. And through the hustle of the crowd and the screams of mixed emotion, I heard the cicadas again.

But spinning can be dizzying, and sometimes that carousel grows so heavy I can barely lift my hand to check my own pulse. The only thing that grants me comfort is knowing that if I start to teeter, I know you’ll help me keep my balance. I fell for you once already, on a Sunday night, when I smelled like eucalyptus in Paris, and you looked like a moving picture. So don’t let me fall again. Don’t let me wobble and swerve and bend until something inside me breaks. Don’t let me be just another blanket that keeps you warm at night.

Don’t let the cicadas end their song.


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