Write she told me today, as though commanding me to put pen to paper was enough to make it so.
Have you been writing much? she asked minutes later, substituting the imperative for the question.
How do I look to you? Fat? Different? I responded, eyes fixated on her perfectly crossed ankles, too afraid to meet her gaze.
Tired. [She was firm.]
That's not what I asked. My retort was automatic, primitive. I listened as words spilled out of my mouth defiantly and imagined the sensation of purging alphabet soup, each letter moving violently through my esophagus, desperate to escape the sinews of my abdomen, the demons apt to be discovered at each turn.
Admitting defeat, she sighed. You look like yourself. But not the woman who left her two years ago, the one who arrived at my door in crisis. You remind me of her.
I'm not her, I demanded. I have a partner, who I love more than I ever thought I could love another person. Who I love in a way I didn't know love to be. I don't cry at the sight of unmeasured brown rice, the unpredictability of pizza for dinner no longer rules my waking thoughts.
Yes, but you're different now. Your struggles are different. You can't run away from her. She hasn't gone anywhere. Would you agree?
That's the problem with imploring, I suppose. Before you know it, it's become an imperative.