The Things You Taught Me – Anne Marie DeVito

You taught me I am my most beautiful self in the first light of morning sun.

You taught me the words of Roy, Gibran, Lahiri.

You taught me orchids need bright, indirect sunlight with an ice cube dropped in the soil each week.

You taught me when I missed you, I should look to the sky, day or night, and if I saw the moon, you were missing me too.

You taught me to order my scotch neat, add a bit of water to release the smokiness, and sip slowly, holding the thick syrup on the tip of my tongue.

You taught me how to poach an egg, pop a champagne cork with a dishtowel, and drizzle sriracha on everything.

You taught me my eyes shift from teal to turquoise to timeless depending on the time of day.

You taught me tea is good in London.

You taught me chai is better in Jaipur.

You taught me Turkish coffee is best in bed.

You taught me the guitar chords for From Me to You, Let It Be, Yesterday.

You taught me I am tone deaf.

You taught me the only way to break warm bread is with your hands and your friends.

You taught me how to keep fire alive: feed it bits of kindling; never smother it, but more importantly, never abandon it.

You taught me why I am a fire sign.

You taught me a simple two step that is best danced on the silver sands of Barbados.

You taught me kindness costs nothing and is worth more than most can afford.

You taught me my mother is the most important person in the world.

You taught me about the riptide, how its mighty hidden force can drag you far from the shallow to the deep until you can no longer return to the shore.

You taught me the Grand Central train schedule and minutes waiting for you lasted forever.

You taught me to keep silent about what bothered me because you couldn’t bother to listen.

You taught me to never expect a call from you when I needed one.

You taught me to make excuses for your anger, your absence, your arrogance.

You taught me there is a correlation between distance and unhappiness in a queen-sized bed.

You taught me the power of the little black dress and the damage of the little white lie.

You taught me the difference between intimacy and secrecy.

You taught me real lives are lived in black and white but your life doubled into shades of gray.

You taught me seeing truths you don’t want to believe doesn’t make them untrue.

You taught me cheating is a mistake, but betrayal is a choice.

You taught me how shattered glass sounds on a parquet floor.

You taught me how it felt to be the least important person in your world.

You taught me angry silence is worse than angry words.

You taught me a dozen white roses decay in five days.

You taught me we bruise without being hit and scar without having bled.

You taught me we can stay in the cycle forever and condition ourselves to handle the pain because if we stop, we may never feel again.

You taught me feeling nothing is better than feeling I am not enough because I am everything.

You taught me the first step is the shortest.

You taught me the first day is the longest.

You taught me the first night is the hardest and the pain is enough to crawl back and apologize for all the things I didn’t do wrong.

You taught me after the worst comes a day when the veiled sadness lifts, sky opens, and instead of the moon, I look for the sun and she will remind me that I am my most beautiful self in her light.

So I taught myself to be the sun.

Anne Marie DeVito studied Fiction Writing at New York University and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from Fordham University at Lincoln Center. Her fiction and non-fiction works have appeared in Sky Island Journal, Thought Catalogue, Worn Stories, Blood Lotus Magazine, The Zodiac Review, Splash of Red Magazine, and Bumble Miscellany. She lives in New York City and is currently working on a short story collection.