you had a tiger mom too
it was the first thing you told me
soft r&b crooning in the dusky twilight
sipping old caprisuns from my fridge, drawing patterns in the condensation
your eyes brightened when you talked about your sisters
dimmed when you described your mom
she pushed you hard,
too hard maybe
contrary to what my father believes
shame is never the best motivator

i fell asleep against your shoulder that night
the last thing i remember is the smell of your cinnamon cologne
at some point in the night i woke up
to find your arm wrapped around my waist
i smiled, but you were fast asleep
mumbling something about home
unconsciously squeezing me tighter
i wrapped my fingers around yours
put my head against your chest
and my eyes closed to the rhythm of your heartbeat

my memories of you are characterized by
late nights, lazy mornings
we never slept before the sunrise
during the night, we were safe
darkness allowed us to disclose our secrets
within my blanket cocoon
dim string lights dancing across the wall
we found companionship in similar childhoods, common hobbies, twin fears
but we did not share the same passions

you broke my heart when i realized
that the hunger that consumes me
has not touched you
when i shared my dreams, my goals, my ambitions
you listened and smiled,
“you’re going to do great.”
“but what about you?”
“i’ll get by.”
you are a man of routine
and i understand
that venturing out of your comfort zone is terrifying
but how can we grow
if we don’t challenge ourselves?

looking back now, i realize
that your mom pushed you too hard
stifling your voice, withholding her approval, predetermining your path
she sought to mold you into her idea of success
and your failures to meet her high expectations
discouraged you from attempting to achieve more
aiming for satisfactory, settling to pass was safe
if you didn’t try, at least you had an excuse
however, we make decisions every day
each small choice becomes an essential building block for our character, our values, our growth
your mom is an explanation
not an excuse.


One thought on “Pillowtalk

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