February 29

It is already February 29

And there isn’t going to be a February 30.

There isn’t going to be another chance,

Another day, where I’d think to myself “Maybe, tomorrow, I’d wake up to the sound

of your name on my phone again.”

Because once more I am going to bed with a locked phone screen.

The last night of the month has come which means I have already ran out of hopeful

mornings.

It is already February 29;

And it’s been a month since you’ve said a word to me.

 

I remember 36 days ago when I gave you the Does He Still Care About Me test

And you failed it.

I gave you no effort points because you waved your pencil down the last number so

mindlessly.

You were giving me all the wrong answers and I knew that you were just trying to find

a way to finish with me already. Thank you for not even trying.

I know now that it was wrong for me to shake an empty can to check if it still perhaps

had spare coins in it

When I knew that it was hollow.

 

How could you have been so ignorant?

I had given you psychology modules on empathy and the way a girl’s mind thinks and

I always thought that my pointers were enough to help you understand how the

depths of the universe in my mind worked

Because I wasn’t just structured bones and organs stuffed into a body;

I was a complicated extension of veins that always needed to be connected to another’s

heart because that’s just how attached I was. I just really needed you to understand that.

But I guess you just haven’t dwelt in deep enough to fully understand what you meant

to me.

I feel like you’ve always just floated in the shallow waters —

Touching me but with a tug of fear at the pit of your stomach

Afraid of the waves that would consume you and turn you into what could’ve been mine.

 

And I don’t know, maybe I was just a bad teacher.

Or maybe you just sat in my class with the words on the board but never a plastered

stone that remained in your mind.

And so I stopped trying to convince you.

I stopped giving you classes because it is, after all, already February 29.

And a year of teaching you felt like nothing.

 

Let me refresh your memory with the three lessons that I had taught:

The first subject was about repetition —

How our mothers repeated “You’re beautiful” so many times over and over that we didn’t believe them anymore

How I love you’s should always be said but never exchanged too much

I always wanted to remind you of the truth but I didn’t want you to get tired of hearing them.

(I always needed you to believe them.)

 

The second subject was about pain —

How you shouldn’t be going around hurting the people you love

Because that, my darling, is not what you call love.

 

The last one was about me —

How I spilled myself to you over and over in hopes of being a part of you forever

How I didn’t want you to get tired of me

How I believed that you were always worth the forgiveness after every dagger you

stabbed through my heart and how I believed that if it was pain, it was just an accident

“Because you shouldn’t be going around hurting the people you love.”

 

I was that kind of teacher that wanted to craft sculptures out of mud — no matter how

messy it could get.

I used to only believe in all your good parts and I didn’t mind the earthquakes that lived inside of you —

The ones that always shook me; always only slightly killing me.

I thought that I was a god and that the dangerous and unstable could be tamed.

But it is already February 29.

And still, you are that glop of mud that I never wanted to believe you to be.

I thought of you better than this.

 

And I don’t know what you will do with all the notes that I gave you and with all the

memories we’ve had inside and out of the classroom.

Perhaps you have thrown them away or forgotten them already.

But I never will.

I mean honestly, it is already February 29,

And here I am writing a poem about my favorite student.

 

I think that my work here is over

Because you no longer seem to need my knowledge, presence, or time.

So I am leaving you here at February 29.

I believe that this is what you call goodbye.

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