100 Words: #44-47

44.  Meditate 

Imagine an orb of light.

It radiates a warm, violet shade.  Suspended a few inches from the top of your head, it bathes your body in its protective blanket of purple.  Slowly – very slowly – it rotates clockwise.

This orb is like a magnet.  As it rotates, all the thoughts in your head come dancing out.  All the racing thoughts, the negativity.  The orb latches onto each tendril and teases it out as it spins.  Your head, you notice, feels lighter.  Your body.  Your mind.  Let it spin.  You are seeking a state of mental clarity, of nothingness – you are not to stop until you no longer even think of the orb.

As your thoughts slip from your mind and fill the purple sphere, you begin to notice that the light bathing your body is changing.  It’s subtle at first, so subtle that it takes you several moments to realize that it’s growing darker, that delicate lavender is now something rich and royal, now more akin to menacing shadow than to protective glow.

You try to stop the orb from spinning, but all of your cognitions are so tangled and embedded in both the angry depths of your mind and the ever-darkening orb that there’s nothing you can do.  Your panic only makes it worse; suddenly, thousands more thoughts fill your brain, and the orb begins to spin faster and faster and faster and you can’t move to stop it can’t do anything can’t stop thinking and it keeps spinning spinning spin-

The light goes out.  The orb stops moving.  It falls heavily into your lap with your thoughts still tangled in its blackened, clogged, swollen, corrupted mass.

 

45.  Brink

I close my eyes and see us standing on the edge of a cliff.

The moment hovers in the eternal evening of a sky choked with ashen cloud.  Our cliff is barren rock of inky black, as if someone spilled harsh paint on a blank canvas.  Fog swirls, thick, so that we can no longer trace our path back to stable ground, so that we can only peer over the edge.

We stand side by side, hand in hand, toes of our shoes rounding over the edge of a cliff that curves inside itself as it dips into the swell.  There is an ocean below, frothing and foaming and furious in its assault against the side of the mountain.  Foam spitting white from stormy depths.  The roar is deafening, still audible over the wind pulling clothes at their seams.

I have filled my pockets with the heaviest stones on our ascent in the vain hope that it might slow me.  I have pressed a note into your palm.  I have realized that this voyage out to the edge of the world is not one of self-discovery, perhaps too late; or, perhaps, I have known it all along.  I have asked you to take me here to confront my darkest fears; or I have asked you to lead me here so that I might convince you to push me over the edge.

Your silence is telling.  The way you slip your hand from mine: telling.  You can’t suggest the obvious, but I can infer.

The last step is going to be the hardest.  Falling, I think – falling will be easy.

 

46.   Written

I revise my suicide note each day until it’s thick with metaphor.  The pieces of the puzzle are hidden even as I present them to you, one after another, for your entertainment.  I trust that you’ll begin to understand only when understanding is unavoidably late.

 

47.  Exaggerate

I don’t miss you, but I miss the you that you became in between hundreds of visions and revisions and play-by-play replays of our interactions.  Reality was undesirable, so I rewrote it into fantasy, into the way I’d imagined it over and over before I met you.  I convince myself of the validity of my own embellishments and flourishes.  I’ve talked myself into loving a you that’s never existed and break my own heart every day this brand new you doesn’t sweep me off my feet.

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black ice

In the moment before the car hits the barrier, time stops its slow stumble forward to dawn.  Stops, lingers: an unnatural body of black asphalt slithering through barren trees, slick and wet like a tongue; snow drifting from thick clouds, illuminated by heady yellow headlight beams; radio spilling songs of broken hearts to fill the interior, two bodies settled comfortably in dark cloth seats, bodies turned away from one another.  Silent.  Peaceful.

In that moment, they aren’t talking.  Mid-January blues hit hard; weeks of winter with no end in sight, the snowfall is no longer magical.  Lack of sunlight always goes to her already-addled head, but her plans had fallen through.  He wasn’t happy – said he was happy, but also said everything that connoted frustration with her, said nothing at all.  They buckled their seatbelts, set off home.  She wipes tears from her eyes.  He looks out the passenger window and counts the seconds between road signs, pretending he doesn’t notice.

They haven’t yet hit the ice.  A patch has formed where the trees thin out, where the wind chills the apex of a curve.  It waits just ahead of their tires, deceptive, untouched, imperceptible.  Camouflaged by a dusting of snow.

She’ll notice right away, when they do.  She’ll curse (shit shit shit!) and try to correct the way the back end of the car kicks out of her control, and he’ll reach over to grab the wheel, to try to help.  She’ll know it’s too late.  The road signs he’s been counting have instructed them to slow to 35 in good weather, but she’s so desperate to park the car and migrate to separate areas of the apartment that she’d barely let up from 62.  It’s a violent spin that will lock her seatbelt and send him crashing into her.  He had not put his on.

In the split second where they’ll realize they’re about to die, her hands will leave the steering wheel, and he’ll follow suit.  She’ll reach out for him in a display of pure animal instinct.  She’ll try to find his hand and tangle it with her own, and he’ll try to tell her he loves her, and she’ll try to apologize for being so easily hurt about things that don’t matter, that have never mattered.  Their mistake will be highlighted in a slow-motion play-by-play.  The ways they could have said they loved each other.  The fights they never had to have.  The nights he spent on the couch and she spent crying, the long days before they learned how to make up.  It won’t matter, they’ll realize, and it never had mattered, and it will never matter.  All that matters is that they’ll want to stop the cassette of time and rewind to just a few moments before; that they’ll plead with God to let them live because she won’t have enough time to hold his hand and he won’t have enough time to tell her he loves her.

The barrier will find them sooner than words or fingers, when the car spirals into a sense of normalcy and points nearly-straight down the road.  No one will be around to hear the impact, the crunch of metal pushing the engine into the floor of the driver’s side.  Glass will twinkle as one might imagine the stars would if only we could hear them, as his body hits the windshield.  

He will die on impact.  She’ll have enough temerity to try to open her eyes, to try to seek him out until she realizes that she can’t lift her hand, that she’s in pain, that the malformed shape before her eyes is his dark jeans twisted at unnatural angles, and she will close them.

After all is done, after a few long seconds tick past, the dark road will fall silent.  Two pairs of lungs will have drawn their last breath.  Two hearts will give one, last, labored effort at one more beat.  Two lives will end and two loves will be made meaningless.  Insignificant against a backdrop of events outside of their control.

But, yet, in that moment just before dulled rubber meets slick eyes, they are alive.  Living, breathing, silent, loving, falling-out-and-back-in-loving.  She is crying, and he is not.  This is the last moment they’ll spend together, the kind of moment people spend when they don’t realize it’s their last.

__

inspiration

100 Words: #43 (Age of) Consent

43.  Consent

Consent should be easy.

I was fourteen, a fledgeling feminist dipping her toes into female-fronted punk rock, when I learned about the politics and definitions of consent.  It’s an enthusiastic yes.  A vocal yes.  A yes at every stage, not a ‘yes’, then a ‘no’ or an ‘I don’t know’ or nothing at all.  Consent is not “I owe you for dinner”, is not “I changed my mind but now it’s too late”, is not “I feel obligated”.

It sounds easy.  It should be easy.  In theory: easy.

The reality is that I’ve given consent to one person – maybe two.

In practice, it’s hard.  In practice, a boy will take you out for your birthday, for wine and pizza and Shakespeare and forget (‘forget’?) the corkscrew.  In practice, he’ll hint that it’d be a waste to take the whole bottle home himself, that it would be lonely to drink it without you, that he has roommates – so you offer to bring him home with you, to watch a movie.  You won’t know any better, won’t know what that means, won’t know until his hand is up your skirt and you don’t want it there but now it’s too late, you think, to tell him no, to tell him to go home because you’ve both shared a whole bottle of wine and he can’t drive home.  He’ll spend the night in your bed while you chide yourself – you should have known better, should have known that no engineer is going to take an English major out for Shakespeare expecting nothing in return and you should make his time worthwhile because he’ll for wine and he’ll pay for pizza and he’ll pay attention to you, but not quite enough attention to realize you’ll cry when he comes on you and tells you that you better not tell anyone else, your mutual friends – it’ll ruin his reputation.

In practice, another boy will take you out to see Christmas lights and he’ll seem so nice and it’ll seem so innocent that you agree.  It’ll seem polite to take the beers he offers you before you leave, and your hopeless romantic heart will sing when he holds your hand and kisses you under the Christmas tree.  And you’ll have such a nice time that you don’t mind going home with him (“to sober up before you drive home,” he’ll say) and that you won’t mind listening to records and having a few more beers, because you’ll like him for weeks that turn into months and you won’t be able to believe it’s happening.  But you’ll think you’ve learned, you’ll know the warning signs when he asks you not to post anything on social media, you’ll have friends who warn you about him, warn you to stay away from him.  You’ll kiss him, but you’ll tell him “no” when his hands slide up your shirt, tell him “I need to leave” when his hands stroke up your thigh, tell him “I don’t want to” when you try to stand up and he pulls you back down next to him.  He’ll tell you “you can’t drive like this” and “don’t be nervous” and “we don’t have to fuck” and “we can do something else”.  And you won’t know how to protest any further, you’ll choke on your words, you’ll say nothing, you’ll stay up all night and leave at six in the morning, you’ll think it means something and he’ll take another girl to Hawaii two weeks later.

In practice, a boy will text you for weeks.  You’ll like him, but you’ll know he likes your convenience, so when he asks you to drive out to see him, you’ll say no.  No, thank you. No, but I hope you have a nice birthday.  No, I’m busy.  No, sorry.  You’ll feel bad, because he’ll have talked you into sucking him off in the back of a rental car months before and you couldn’t think of a reason to say no so you said yes – you’ll feel bad because he’ll have expectations, because he’ll spend his birthday alone.  You’ll finally agree.  You’ll drive three hours to see him, a sick feeling in your stomach that you won’t quite be able to define as ‘regret’ or ‘excitement’ or ‘anxiety’.  He’ll kiss you when you’re mid-sentence and fuck you with enough time to watch the football game.  He’ll take you out to dinner, ignore you, let you sleep in his bed with enough space between you to fit a small family, offer you a granola bar in the morning before he drops you in the lobby.  You’ll feel dirty, used up.  You’ll take a shower when you get home, scrubbing your skin raw.  You’ll tell yourself you asked for it, you technically agreed.  You’ll make it a joke, a story; you’ll make fun of yourself, you’ll try to make it okay because you asked for it, you drove out there, you didn’t want it but you did it.

In practice, boys will buy you drinks and try to fuck you outside a concert venue because they’ll be taller and bigger and you’ll be too drunk to stand up on your own and you’ll almost let them because you feel guilty they spent money on you.  In practice, boys will press you against the stage at a show, will press their erections against your ass and kiss you before you find the words to say no.  In practice, boys will have their friend pick you up from the airport, will take your bags up to your room, will invite himself in and press you against the counter and ignore you when you tell him to leave.  In practice, boys will be older men who tell you they have connections to the band you just saw, who tell you they’ll drive you home, who tell you he’ll introduce you to the band at the next show but only if you show him how good you are on your knees, who tell you he’ll pick you up and drive you away with him to Dallas, who text you over and over despite how many times you say you’re not interested.  In practice, boys will do that a lot – will text you with propositions that you have to ignore or decline, will text you and text you no matter how many you ignore or decline, until you actively avoid being near those specific boys.  In practice, boys will surround you with their friends in corners of grandstands so that you can’t leave, will ask you for your number, will find you again in the paddock to ask again, will hold your wrist until you kiss him.

It should not be this difficult.

100 Words: #41-42

41. Rise

Wake up.  Count the aches in your body.

One.  Muscles.  The pleasant, full-bodied ache of working out too much, of pushing your body to, and then past, its limits.  Warm burn, tissue ripped apart and stitching back together, stronger.  Calories lost in the process.

Two.  Head.  A steady thump of your heartbeat in your temples, a steady beat rhythm-reminder that you are still alive.  Full to bursting with angry buzzing bees of thought.  Millions of possibilities and potentialities and panoramas that all need to play out before your mind’s eye the moment consciousness returns.

Three.  Stomach.  Not quite physical, but an emotional churning to make you sick, the eye of a black hole centered in your center of mass, angry and violent, spitting grease and vitriol.  The kind of unease that makes you want to stick two fingers into the back of an irritated mouth, to curl over toilets, if only that will make it go away.

Four.  Throat.  Ripped raw, days of body-wracking anguish like an incessantly bad cough.  No spoken words, just malformed attempts at expressing the inexpressible in a language understandable across language boundaries.

Five.  Thighs.  Surface-level.  Cold burn of cold metal digging into skin too soft and pliable, hot burn of hot water washing away lazy shame that won’t stop oozing out in little drops that pool into ruby red rivulets.  Precious stones.  Sleep on your left side, don’t roll too far to the right.

Six.  Eyes.  Crack them open in the dark like dusty coffins containing dead souls and the dusty corpses of lives you dreamed and never lived.  Even in the light, you can no longer see but in blurry smudges of spilled paint.  Rehydrate, resupply.

Seven.  Heart.  Don’t let its pieces fall into the vacuous void of your collapsing star stomach.

 

42. Weapon

How to teach your daughter that her body is a weapon:

Step one.  Weigh her.  The scale is part of your greeting, a fundamental aspect of your goodbye.  Analyze the numbers critically, and let her know that they are always wrong.  Take notes.  Compare.  If she has gained weight, let her know in scrutinizing gazes and harsh words.  Tell her that her guardian is trying to make her fat.  If she has lost weight, press your fingers into the indentations you must prod to find in her ribs.  Tell her that her guardian is starving her.  This, you say, is evidence.

Step two.  Photograph her.  The scratches, bumps, and bug bites she accumulates on bare skin during excursions in the woods can be misunderstood.  Strip off her layers and collect images of her traumas in neat albums, carefully labeled and dated and annotated with explanation.  This is not your fault.  These are not your wounds.

Step three.  Other her.  She will not tell you when she bleeds out of shame of her difference, so ensure that the disgust in your eyes and the acrobatic dance of your words lets her know she was right in doing so.  Create a show.  Point out the curves of her budding body as horrifyingly different from your own until the flush on her cheeks burns hot and prolonged like trapped coals.  Then laugh.

Step four.  Trap her.  In corners of beds pressed against walls, scorching and desperate and suffocating.  In your arms, her body close, painfully close, to yours only so that it is away from others.  In your home, cut off from outside influence and the life she used to know, from the friends who drift away like expedited continents.  Ask her what she is doing wrong that so many people leave, but assure her that you are the only one she needs.

Step five.  Sever her.  Half of the genes that made her are fundamentally flawed, half of her cells have been tarnished and corrupted.  It is unavoidable that she will never be perfect, inevitable that she will never quite be good enough.  Wield her features as a sword with which you cut off her fingers, one by one, watching her bleed, watching her cry.  

Step six.  Impress her.  Even when she has shed you like an ill-fitting skin, she will never quite be able to separate your words from her own consciousness.  A knife without a hilt, she will never quite sit comfortably in anyone else’s hands.

100 Words: #38-40

38. Rainbow

The rainbow hues of the world drain to black and white when you leave.  It feels wrong, strange.  This is not your space and yet when you leave, the holes in your wake are gaping, as if you’d been there since the beginning.

It’s quiet, uncomfortably and strangely and achingly quiet.  You aren’t there to shift the blankets in bed next to me, to run the shower while I’m in another room, to type away at a laptop while I lay on the couch pretending to read and just listening instead.  

My apartment is small, capable of fitting two but filled with enough to make it suitable for maybe one and a half at most.  Three years to come to terms with the silence of an independent space.  But having you slot into the spaces felt right; never claustrophobic, never overtaxed, just right.  In the span of just a few days, you became as permanent a fixture as the hum of the dehumidifier, or the washing machine that beats out strange rhythms when it gets a little too full.

You fit in so well that it’s easy to forget that you are not designed for this this space, that it is Mine, that you are a Guest, that you have a home and that this is not it.

I had never known what it was like to miss someone, body and soul, with every single atom of my being until I got to hold you here and then had to give you back.  Until I wanted to clean out half of my dresser to make room for you.  Until I wanted one of the empty spaces in the toothbrush holder to be filled by yours.

I had never known what it was like to fall so hard that someone could take colors with them.
39. Self

They say you can’t love someone until you love yourself first, but I’ve found that’s not true.  You can love someone deeply and fiercely, love them with every ounce of your soul and heart, love them with an intensity you’ve never felt toward anything in your life.  You can love them love them love them until the world stops turning and the stars stop shining and the sun dies away, until the universe is dark and cold and warmed with nothing but that love.

They say you can’t love someone until you love yourself, but that’s not true.  You just can’t let them love you back.

40. Humid

It’s hot in Texas.

More accurately, this particular bar in Austin, Texas is hot.  Stifling.  It’s all open air, and sticky humidity is stagnating in the windowpanes, the gentle occasional breeze unable to carve a path through too many bodies packed tightly together in not enough space.  You can feel a bead of sweat trailing down the nape of your neck, and you take a long draught of the cold beer condensating in front of you hoping that it’ll do something.  It doesn’t.

You’re buzzed – not drunk, definitely not drunk enough to mistake your decision for a good idea – but it doesn’t stop you from pushing back your chair abruptly and leaving the bar, dialing an all-too-familiar number and dropping a handful of crumpled bills from your purse next to your half-finished drink as you do.  You’re not drunk, it’s a bad idea, and consciously you know that calling Him from a bar when He hasn’t called you back in weeks is A Bad Choice That You Should Reconsider, but the phone is ringing, it’s ringing, it rings twice, three times, and then, “Hello?”

You had thought that you wouldn’t be affected by the simplest syllables only half-heard through the noise of the bar and the tinniness of of an only-partially-functioning cell phone speaker, but a shiver runs down your spine anyway.  You respond, “Hey.”

“…Do you need something?” And it’s confused.  As confused as you are, honestly.

“So you got a new job?”  You blurt it out without and pretense of small talk, the tip of a knife carving straight to the point.  Get the whole damn thing over with, you tell yourself, as if you weren’t the one who picked up the phone.

“Yeah, I mean.  It’s been good.  Desk job.  We don’t really get that much hands-on stuff anymore, but it’s good.  It’s really good.”  He sounds genuine.  Happy.  He sounds like all the things you could never make him.

You squeeze your eyes shut and lean back against the wall.  Despite the miles of distance separating you, despite the lo-fi quality of a degenerating cell phone, you hear music in the background.

“Are you out?”

“What?”

“Are you out?  Like, are you at a club?”

“Why?” He laughs.  You can imagine him shifting awkwardly at the question, a smile on his face, a glint of confused defiance hiding in chocolate brown eyes.  “You’re out, too.”

And you can’t say anything, because it’s true.  You don’t know why it bothers you so much to know that He’s out in a club; you’re both independent now, both adults who can do whatever you like.  And without anyone weighing Him down, it’s not like He’s going to spend Saturday night in bed.

“Are you out with anyone?”

“Why?” He asks again.  Trying to laugh like he did before.  But you know that underlying note in it.  A ‘what fucking right do you think you have to ask me that’ tone just a scratch beneath the surface.

“Dunno.  Just.  Wondering.”

It’s dark.  Humid.  Two girls clutching one another teeter by you on a pair of heels too tall and too thin to be anything but a safety hazard, and you’re distracted for a moment by the faint smell of alcohol, by a flood of messy Spanish spilling from red-tinged hips.  You wish you knew how to have fun like them.  Instead, you’re very aware of the silence on the line.  Aware of your sundress clinging to your back.  You sink to the ground.

“Babe, are you okay?”

He stopped calling you that months before he stopped looking at you.

“Babe?”

“You’re not out with… with her?”

“…What are you talking about?”

The Spanish girls are waiting for a ride.  You spoke too quickly, not thinking, too busy watching them, too busy listening to the way the words are flowing between them unhindered, too busy wishing your own words flowed like that instead of tumbling out of your gut like mismatched building blocks.  There’s a dam in your throat now, thankfully, and the Spanish girls are cheering for their savior the cab driver, and He’s on the phone demanding, “Answer me.”

“I just- I saw pictures of you two online and-“

“What the fuck?”

“And you just – you never did that before.  With me.  Never took pictures with me like that.”

“You – I  – what – I never could.”  His voice has dropped, so low that you can barely hear him over the sound of music in the background.  “You never let me.”

“Yeah, but.  You could have… you could have…”  You don’t know what He could have done.  You don’t know why you’re so accusing.  You just can’t stop thinking about that picture, about Him, about Him and her, about how it’s not Him and you, about anything and everything and –

“Are you… are you jealous?”  Disbelief.

You don’t answer.  The Spanish girls are making negotiations.  You pick the sweat-damp dress away from your skin like it’ll bring you relief, and it does nothing.

“Babe?”

You’re mesmerized by the spinning in your head, by the way the neon lights are painting the sidewalk in myriad colors.

“Babe, you‘re the one who left.”

You swallow.  Your stomach is churning, but not with anticipation, not with excitement.  Mouth dry.  Fingers that won’t stop picking at the hem of the dress.  You want to vomit.  You lick your lips and it takes you two tries to say, “I didn’t-“

“I’m gonna say this one last time, okay?  For good this time.”

You squeeze your eyes shut.

“Goodbye.”

You stop breathing.

Second later: nothing.  Just a dead connection.  A spinning head.  A sick feeling of immeasurable guilt that you wish you could drag out of the pit of your stomach with angry claws.  A dress falling limp and shapeless against a trembling body.  Even the Spanish girls have long since climbed into the cab and are nothing but a pair of taillights fading in the distance.

You don’t move for a long, long time.

It’s too damn hot in Texas.

100 Words: #32-37

32.  Block

There are words stuck in my throat.  My mind spins novels and tales and questions into a tangled mess lodged somewhere in my esophagus.   I can’t swallow, can’t breathe, can’t wheeze out enough of a plea for help for anyone to hear.

I have options.

The skin trapping them is paper-thin and untouched.  It would be easy to sharpen my nails and dig them into the bulging, restrictive flesh to let the contents of my throat spill out alongside the gore.

Harsh?  Cradle the porcelain bowl of a toilet and stick two of those fingers down the aforementioned throat instead.  A familiar sight, it would be all too easy to wash ugly words away like the waste they are.

A high building, just a tiny dot marring the late night city skyline.  A step forward.  Body meets concrete.  If I rattle my bones apart enough, maybe they’ll free a sentence or two.

Or I could write.

But that seems too easy.

 

33. Inhale

It’s just past three-thirty in the morning and I can’t – no, won’t – sleep.  Won’t sleep.  I won’t sleep.

In an hour when dreams are supposed to be sketching the deepest parts of my subconscious on the back of my eyelids, I’m drawing slow breaths – slow, deep, as silent as possible.  Slow, because I’m lying next to you.  Slow, because I’m still trying to relax my board-stiff body into an unfamiliar mattress.  Slow, because I’m desperately afraid to disturb the deep sleep in-out of your lungs next to me.  Slow, because I don’t want to spoil this moment with myself.

This night has been far from perfect, pointedly unromantic, and I’m sick to my stomach with the knowledge that it’ll be the last one.  Sick and sad and desperate, like all silly little girls with silly little crushes and silly little debilitating self-esteem issues are said to be in times like this.  I’ve imagined it many times – never romanticized, never sentimentalized – except always always always with moon eyes and hearts choking my throat and dreams spilling out from my clasped hands.

You move in your sleep, slightly.  Adjusting a pillow, taking a deep breath that sounds like contentment personified.  And I want to cry, somehow.

When you have less than twenty-four hours, how do you not waste it?  

And so I stay awake.  And I listen to the rhythm of your inhale like the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard.  And I bask in the surreality of the turns my life has taken to land me here.  And I pretend that I am okay with my transience and my disposability and my user-friendly manual.  And I listen to you breathe.

 
35.  Unfinished

I am incomplete.  Fragments of a human strung together with mental maladies and fleeting fantasies.  I can feel ice cold breezes rattle through the bones of my ribcage on winter mornings.  I watch people pass through me like a ghost.

I seek my meaning and definition in others, making patchwork quilts of personalities to drape over myself and hide the gore and marrow of my bones.  Not a human being, but an idea and a concept, cursory and partial.  A skeleton strung up before a classroom, an instruction in the things we want to pretend we don’t conceal within us.

I am not real.  

 

36. Adore

Love.  Noun.  A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.  A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection.  Sexual passion or desire.  Love.  Verb.  To need or require; benefit greatly from.  In love.  Idiom.  Infused with or feeling deep affection or passion.

Hopeless romantic, I fall in love indiscriminately and with ardor.  Love disingenuous, love passionate, love enthusiastic, love pretension.  I have always known my particular brand of love as thoroughly as the skin stretched uncomfortably over my bones.  As consequentially inconsequential as the word has become.

I have never known love pure, love authentic.  Given love is disgust, love is being despised.  Given love is cold and love will always hurt you because love is inextricably labyrinthed with hate.  Love is for me to offer, not for me to receive.  I want to love because I do not want to be loved.

I am not sure how to define what I feel now.  It is not ephemeral, it is not unresponsive.  Distant in distance only.  Not a weapon, not quite a cure, but something that spans far beyond the militaristic frame I give my language of love.  It is a need to consume and be consumed, to dig my fingers deep in the fabric of your soul and memorize its patterns and its texture and its scent and its taste; it is wanting you to do the same.  It is a dialect of possession and ownership and jealousy, and a vernacular of unity and selflessness and I-can-do-better.  Not beautiful, not ugly, not pure, not dirty, not anything in between.  It is yearning to mortar my fractures and empty spaces with you, a craving to blur lines between one and the other until two are indistinct.  It is a smile through heartache and not-my-homesickness and anger.  Well-defined and incomprehensible, I want to write odes every time you make me feel something I never knew possible, and I choke on any of the words I could try to find.

I know love, multitudinous and various and unfathomable, so I do not know love.  But I know you, and somehow I think that is enough.

 

37.  Sphere

When you inhabit two distinct planes of existence, how do you decide who compromises theirs to join the other?

100 Words: #26-31

26. City
A pier. New York City at night. New Jersey waiting on the other side of the river. Lights over the city dance like incandescent fireflies, halogen fairy lights, fluorescent candles – light pollution hanging like a haze of possibility. We’ve been awake for twenty-one hours, walked as many miles, lost ourselves in corporate consumerism and dead midnight streets. There is exhaustion, first and foremost, a filter that every other sensation must battle through to be felt. I hold your hand, tangle my fingers with yours, let my body fall heavy against you, drape my legs over your own. The city makes my eyes heavy with dreams, the cool wind curls me into your sphere like a tendril of wayward wispy smoke.

I want to sleep, but now is not the time. Not here – not in the city, not on the pier, not next to you, not when the seconds tick closer to my leaving with every breath that I wish I could so desperately hold because maybe if I hold the breath in my lungs I can hold the clocks at bay and hold you in my arms for just a little longer.

 

27. Endings
When my pining stories became love stories – when heartbreaks wrote themselves into heartmends – when I sought out the happy ending instead of the this-is-the-fate-we-have-to-accept ending – that’s when I knew I’d fallen for you.

 

28. Sprawl
Legs tangled up in yours, I never liked sleeping next to anyone until your body was sprawled next to mine. Too close, a breach of personal space, I should have pushed you away and I didn’t.

Legs tangled up in yours, fingertips finding meaning in the faint lines and creases of your skin, draped over you tied up in me, I waited to hate the way I could feel your breath tickling the hairs on the back of my neck. I waited and changed decorative finger paintings to movements with meaning, to quicken your breath, to wait for the moment I could no longer stand it, and I didn’t.

Legs tangled up in yours, skin sticky with the day and the hours and the city and the rain, skin sticky because of the way your skin moved against mine – legs tangled, I closed my eyes and fell asleep to the rhythm of your heartbeat, hoping to claw my way just a little bit closer.

 

29. Venemous
Bitter poison pills swallowed down one by one – words choked back, actions buried deep in the gut, acid memories eroding stomach lining. Bitter poison pills I can’t spit out, can’t retch from my body even with violent force. Bitter poison festering in veins, trapped, bitter poison warping minds, twisting gnarled fingers that pervert and defile everything they touch.

 

30. Tell
“You can’t tell anyone about us,” he said.

“What do you think I bought you all those fucking drinks for?” he said.

“I’m bigger than you. Try to push me away,” he said.

“We’re just friends. That’s it,” he said.

“It’ll make me look bad if they find out,” he said.

“I’m trying, but I can’t,” he said.

“I’ll come over again if you want me to but I need you to do something for me first,” he said.

“I don’t know what you want from me,” he said.

“You looked better last summer,” he said.

“That was just one night, it didn’t mean anything,” he said.

“That’s your fault,” he said.

“You weren’t the only one,” he said.

“Whatever,” he said.

 

31. Pour
The words drip from your lips drenched in tetrahydrocannabinol, palliatives, and dopamine. You’ve waited for the moment, planned for it, imagined it, tested out the weight and heft of these words in various settings, with different inflections, with every possible reaction – and then they slip from your lips with the ease that sinks ships and you can’t bite your tongue fast enough because it’s not the right time or place, because you’re drunk and high and half out of breath buried in a dark night wrapped in humidity, but it’s too late.

Your heart misses a few of its quick, steady thumps in the silence that follows and somehow you’re still sure of your choice – because of course it would happen like this, of course it wouldn’t be the beautiful planned moment turned robotic from all the times you ran it through in your mind, of course it wouldn’t be the perfect fairytale hopeless romantic unrealism you’ve dreamt up, of course it would happen here, of course it would be this simple, of course it would be messy and rough-around-the-edges and imperfect and spontaneous – because that’s who you are. Your heart misses a few more because of how positive you are that you’ve made the right choice.

And they ask, “Really?”

And you breathe, “Yeah.”

And you wait. And in the space of the seconds where you wait, you begin to dream up grandiloquent responses and declarations and echoes of your words, where they seal the letters with hot-wax kisses pressed onto your enveloping thighs, where star paths cross and everything falls into place and you fit that last piece into the puzzle and it’s like all the books told you because maybe it can be a mess and maybe it can still be a fairytale hopeless romantic ending and maybe it can be the story you’ve always wanted to write and maybe it can be modern day American realism.

And you wait.

And wait.

And you hesitate.  And you stop breathing.  And you wait.

And.

And and and.

And

nothing.

And the heart you’ve torn, bleeding, bruised, broken from your chest – the heart that’s tumbled awkwardly from a thick tongue – the heart you sewed to your sleeve to bare to the world – that heart withers, ashamed and defeated and distrustful. And that heart pries open your clenched teeth to slip past your tongue and bury itself in your throat and dig its claws into the tender flesh there. And that heart chokes you every time you open your mouth so that it will never be made to feel so foolish again.