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I was tired, you wore a fresh new coat of paint. The sinking sun covered us both in a blanket of lavender and pale blue. Though the curtains were drawn tight, you opened up the door to let me in. “I’ve got a bed made you can rest in,” you offered. A sanctuary, a small comfort. But time and light distorted the image. The space we shared grew dark and cold. Hallways stretched in length, contorted into maze-like arteries that trapped me in their lonely cells. Dust and darkness settled onto every surface, every windowsill and mantle that once held fond trinkets drenched in golden sun was now barren and desolate. A haunting reminder of my own mistakes, and of the empty promises I’d been lured into.

Dumped on the street in the dead of night, I remember sickly yellow street lights formed a glowing haze. “Where am I,” I wondered in horror, startled awake through ripping pain and wet eyes. “Where do I go from here?”

Now each step I make, farther and farther away from that place, echoes back the crippling fear that disintegrates love. I run. I turn away from those small warm lights that dot the horizon, choosing my own blackness instead because I know what I’ll encounter there. Each gift seems a threat that lies in wait. Each open door a trap. You abandoned yourself a long time ago, but I couldn’t see until I was inside how the foundation crumbled and the walls closed in on us both. One day, that faulty sham will swallow you whole, collapsing in one big gasping rush of gravity and dust. And I’ll make my home somewhere far from there, alone. A trek to my own private garden where I’ll rid myself of the imprint of your trauma and the memory of you.