The way I love is unfiltered. They say that babies that need to be held all the time, the ones that cry when you set them down, that they are that feel everything harder. My mother never could get anything done with me around. I knew a girl that loved the same boy as me. I guess we both spent years loving him while we were first enemies, then friends and then always the things in between. On the back porch, sharing marshmallow flavored cigarettes, coconut rum and orange juice. I picked her up from her mom's house, full of brothers and wild raccoon babies. She didn't have a driver's license, and so I'd drive us to Detroit and buy us cigarettes and booze and we'd go bowling. Octavia and Bermuda they'd call us. Fucked up on whisky sours and shouting into the night, we'd play The Slits on the radio so loud that our ears would ring the next day. And all along we loved a boy. My memories lie forever on my body. They are scars and tattoos and the things that remind me of friends. Her tattooed wrist said "love hard". This was after the burns and the kissing and the way we fell apart when we lived together in an attic apartment. She slept on the floor and I slept with the tiny one. He drove across the state and we got married but never married. Because of tax benefits? Her boyfriend had moved in and he paid the electric bill and smoked weed while he vacuumed. When she left we stopped speaking. Because we loved the same boy. Because she got him then, and he called to let me know so my feelings wouldn't be hurt. Vindictive was how I felt. Is this what people call "soulmates"? I don't know a way better to describe how this has worked out. Is it like the pages of the book we used to read out loud to one another at the kitchen table? "I had to do it. She was dead. She was nearly dead or I could not have done it. If I had not done it she would have died anyway. I did it because I had to. What else could I have done?"