breakups are weird
and returns are weirder
parents asking in half-hushed tones
"are you guys, likeā€¦.okay now?"

they ask
like i didn't spend my whole childhood
watching
my mother's indecisiveness
should she stay or should she go?
like there weren't nights
my father slept in his office
like there wasn't a red couch
that my mother bought
because she always wanted one
to place in the apartment
we didn't get
to get away.

of course i left him.
i left him because
i was afraid
of patterns
of cycles
of genetic defaults
to love a man
who trapped you.
i was afraid
of becoming
my parents.

yet, he is not my dad
despite my enduring vulnerabilities
and i am not my mum.

when i kissed him
i blamed myself for weakness
running back
returning
like the generations of women
before me
with my tail between my legs
i surrendered.
in reality
it took strength
to open my heart
be vulnerable
and let him in again.

and like saplings
we grew into apple orchards
i plucked the fruit
from your branches
and beamed with gratitude.
fears uncovered
fears released.

i understand now.