Drinking cranberry juice. True. Eating many cookies smelling of almond extract. True. Leaving the lights on in my room because I never wander far. True. Reading the book you gave me and talked about for months. Lie.
Watching two movies on TV and never leaving for commercials. True. Except to soak my shoe laces in bleach. True. Crying at sappy jewelry ads while everyone else is in the kitchen. True. Where the woman gets frightened by a thunderstorm in the snow, the man presents her with the "Ever-Embrace" diamond necklace while they sit by the fire, and she falls into his arms, "Never let me go." Ever. True. It is normal to have thunderstorms in the wintertime. Lie.
I went to bed imagining the dark night before we left that was turned on and off by sleep. True. That was last year. True. And last year I anxiously awaited a phone call from a number I was too scared to ask for. True.
I go for long walks and sample the music you gave me. True. I immediately write letters to you in cursive and you say you can't read them. True. But you managed to figure out most of them. True. That is this year. Lie. That was last year. True.
I clean out my closet and install heavy brass hooks. True. I hang scarves and coats, and feed on memories of the many dark nights since that one night last December. True. That is this year. True. And this year I forget my phone in the other room so I forget how comatose it looks on the marble. True.
It's not that I'm scared to be alone. Lie. I find other things to think about. Lie. I have dreams that you trick me into kissing you by kissing me first. True. You You point a finger at me and accuse me of still loving you. True. We were sitting by a swimming pool. True. I have dreams where sequins hover in the sky, and they are small and faded sea-green with glitter. True. They fall on your cheek and make your heart ache. True. Fell on yours and made you feel different. True. Fell on mine and swam to my chin. True. You dragged me in the snow, as I held on, you tried to let go. True. Brought me to the ocean and I looked at the pieces on my glove. True. Saw they were snowflakes but shaped like stars. True. Found a tumor on my ribs and begged you to love me. True. Sing the words, "Be near me. I ask thee to stay. Close by me. Forever. And love me I pray." True. I think of you and not Jesus. True. I am thankful to have this month to myself. Lie. It's better that we have this time apart. Lie. This month will be a cleaner adjustment. True. I want a clean adjustment. Lie. I don't want to get used to it. True. I think I am anyway. True.
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based in Mansfield, MA.