all i wanted was to be loved
i felt loved until one day you decided you didn't like me, and i don't know why you just chose to dislike me one day or what i did wrong; but you never cared for me again because you stopped being nice— & you were only concerned with how i made you feel and your feelings, and you didn't feel bad for any of the cruel and rude things you said; unless i couldn't hold back the tears as i so often did because you said i was too sensitive— everyone says you're a good man, but you weren't always good to me; it wasn't always awful until you decided to make your pain a weapon and launch it through my heart— you refused to let me have any peace or privacy and all i wanted was a place where i could thrive and grow, all i wanted was to be loved; but instead of getting a father when my mother married you all i received was a monster who wanted to control me and break my spirit with his wounds. i've outgrown you you are kind now like you were when you first married my mother, acting as if you can sweep all of your crappy past behavior under the rug just because i'm an adult and no longer live in your home; but i remember all your nastiness and how you cried once because my mother wouldn't let you punish me— you never let me get away with anything, never celebrated my accomplishments, and never went to any of my graduations; but i see you let my sister get away with everything, celebrate her achievements, and go to all of her graduations the favoritism is real and real apparent— flesh and blood means more to you than your step daughter, but it's cool; i've learned to love myself don't need the father that never loved me no longer want nor require your validation like i did when i was a girl because i've outgrown you. i don't accept your apology i don't even remember how our friendship started any longer, but it was probably always toxic; didn't realize you were a narcissist until we were both adults— for so many years i watered dead plants waiting for you to care about me, but one day i began to realize you were using me for your own gain; didn't care about me except for what you could get from me always tore me down from my dreams and demanded more of my time— so i walked away from our garden of friendship because i realized i deserved peace, and i will not feel guilty about it; don't owe anyone an explanation and if they ask i will just say we grew apart— but you were part of the reason i never felt good enough no matter how hard i tried because i wanted to be a perfect friend, and you took me for granted until i left; but then you wouldn't respect boundaries so i blocked you & then you badgered and bothered my family until even my mother and sister resented you too— so if you're reading this, i am not sorry; and i don't accept your apology. done poisoning myself so many years i felt like the snake whose neck you snapped when you threw him, and i begged you not to; i just placed that little garden snake back in the grass but you had to kill him— he was just trying to live his best life, but you couldn't stand the sight of him; & still i remained your friend even if in that moment i wanted to throw you into the sun— i guess i should've listened to my instincts because you turned out to be a bad friend always taking more than you were willing to give, never remembering my birthday, always wanting free books once i started getting published, it was always about you even when it was about me; so i decided one day i was taking my peace back and making you a part of my past— i was done poisoning myself with your toxicity. let people find their happiness they say worldly things don't matter, but they do; i still have the last letter my uncle sent me before he died and the last gift he ever got me for christmas— couldn't fight off his demons, so he took his own life; and i miss him every moody and gray day i think of him and the shade his blue eyes sometimes shifted to— don't tell people the things they cling to don't matter, sometimes the weight of the world is dense; what you see is trash is a treasure that holds them together like glue— unless they're hoarding things they don't use, what is it to you if someone has a box full of old letters or too many books spilling over their bookcase or collect things that remind them of the people they love or those they miss? let people find their happiness where they can. Bio: Linda M. Crate (she/her) is a Pennsylvanian writer. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has seven published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019), and the samurai (Yellow Arrowing Publishing, October 2020), and three micro-chapbooks Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018), moon mother (Origami Poems Project, March 2020), and & so i believe (Origami Poems Project, April 2021). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). She also has three full-length poetry collections, the latest being You Will Not Control Me (Cyberwit, March 2021).