There are a few stray guitar picks in his cup holder.
The uncle necklace his nephew made him hangs from the rearview mirror, lazily cutting into the western sun as it sways.
He's reading some space trilogy by C.S. Lewis and it sits snuggled up with my Bible.
Sometimes his Ibanez lays in the backseat and always a change of work clothes.
He reaches for my hand and makes sure he never let's it go.
I don't know why but I love them.
They're always slightly stained with oil from his job and nimbly find their way up and down the necks of guitars.
Stroking the back of my hand.
It was really difficult to move back to college.
The key turned in the lock and the door swung open to emptiness.
The room isn't the only thing that feels empty in the long winter months.
I put up all my pictures first in that collage fashion I like to do, with newspaper phrases and photos and things my uncle painted mixed in.
The orchid Tony bought me sits on my desk, a reminder.
Tug at my fragile heart strings.
I quit my officer position right away.
How many times have a stretched myself too far?
I miss him.
I miss home for once.
Mom, her boyfriend, my grandparents, even my dad and stepmom/siblings.
Phone bill overages to pay from Tony and I arguing so much.
$510.75 summer classes bill.
My computer completely died the day before classes started. (My uncle and family are pitching in to get me a new one as a graduation gift. Counting a blessing.)
Knowing that this is only the beginning of bills to come...
Knowing that soon I won't get much sleep and will be upset and exhausted with more deadlines that mental power to reach them.
I get bad depression during the school year and I can't have a semester like the last.
I don't want to have to be a perfectionist anymore..
I'm terrified I won't get accepted into grad school.
I'm terrified I won't get all my bills paid.
I'm super terrified I won't pass this research class so that I can graduate.
<Dear Lord, please don't let this semester jeopardize my recovery...>
I could barely breath let alone sit still, anticipating the moment he would get here.
It had been ten days since I left for college.
Lights pulled up the incline and parked but I was already out the door.
Smiles that split out faces like a sunrise.
Closing the last fifteen feet, I ran to him.
He laughed lightly and pulled me into a hug.
And I felt it all click into place again, the pieces and parts we tore in half that day I left.
Our vacation to see my best friend and ride roller coasters was a much needed way to start school.
She and I laughed loudly and easily while he shyly smiled, offering a sarcastic comment now and then, perfectly placed.
She and I took the front row of the fast and scariest ride and on the rest he held my hand until we went over the first drop. I've never had a boyfriend, besides when I was 16, that would be hang out with my friends and I, just enjoying life.
Sometimes I don't know how to act when he turns down the music just to tell me that I'm beautiful, or when he tells me that my problems are his now and that we do things together.
Sometimes I worry that talking about school will bore him or he'll become frustrated with my rants about money, my research class, or the freshmen that walk in front of you texting taking the whole sidewalk.
And then there are nights like the last four when I dream of Tony...
Hollow sadness of the healing pain seeps out.
In the end, I find myself wishing to hold on to Tony but that's selfish.
I've destroyed with my own hands and I should let my last finger tips go.
Fear holds on tightly to our hearts and covers our eyes.
We still talk but it won't work because I'm not having up L.
We're done, no more chances.
......but I love him....
There are people we keep around in our lives who are toxic.
Maybe they aren't bad people.
Just mixing the wrong chemicals.
Almost as though black smoke follows them to reach down unsuspecting throats.
Yours in particular.
They're no good for you.
But they remind us of the dark places we went.
Claw out from under where you stashed your morals.
You'll never let them go because they set a memory.
A boundary you'll never again cross.
And I wonder,
Who's blackness am I?
<Please Lord, give me the strength....>