Every Story But Mine

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i am 23 and singing to a girl
who does not love me-
-but that’s not true i am only 18.
a pretentious witch
who has never fallen in love
but can pretend
and shamelessly exploit
the theoretical heartbreak anyway.

i am 48 and clawing at a nicotine noose
that only seems to cling closer-
-but that’s not true i am only 18.
and smoke may look good in black and white
but cigarettes make my eyes water.

i am 34 and burning the slippers
of a husband who left me-
-but that’s not true i am only 18.
and the burning plastic would
only serve to poison me.

i am 9 and aboard a train
and the man kisses my hand-
-but that’s not true i am 18.
and kindness can be a disguise.
 

yours truly,

[idk man do I even need to sign-off? why am I making this harder than it has to be]

Part Three.

“It’s too perfect. It’s an illusion, it isn’t meant to last.” She had nodded, confidently.

I don’t know why I was thinking about that particular moment right now. Didn’t I have finals or something to prepare for? It was Friday night, I should be out. Perhaps I should call Aiden or Vicky or someone…

…“You know I’m certainly no expert on all things relating to love, but what I do know for certain is it isn’t supposed to be this way. You’re creating this impeccable image and that isn’t what it’s supposed to be about. You don’t want a Superman kind of love. There would be nowhere to go from there, it would already be so flawless–in a boring way, like, it would be a 2-dimensional kind of love; nothing interesting would ever happen! Life isn’t a fairy tale or a movie, and that isn’t just the cynic in me speaking. I do believe in the existence of love. But I think it’s supposed to be ordinary. Not something life-changing, not something that turns your very essence upside down; I think it’s supposed to be so mind-numbingly mundane that you know it’s been a part of you all along. It’s supposed to be simple and effortless–but not easy. It should be something that you know belongs to you. Something normal and extraordinary at the same time. How did you, of all people, manage to end up in this mess?! Are you listening to a word I’m saying or am I just babbling to the trees here?”   

I was slathering jam on a piece of bread as we sat out on her balcony. She was lecturing me on my latest relationship mishap. I was trying not to listen and just focus on the conviction in her voice (which was kind of calming) and the rumbling in my stomach. The irony of her lecturing me in matters of the heart when she was generally the eternal skeptic wasn’t lost on me. Swallowing a laugh, I turned around to find her leaning on one foot, hands folded, giving me a serious glare. “Yes, yes I know. Look, can we just not talk about this for now? I’d prefer to just breathe in this cool evening air and eat with my best friend who never shuts up, but who–if there ever was a time–should shut up right now. Please?”

She didn’t say a word, shaking her head at the lost cause that was me, and simply sat down on one of the chairs as I took the one beside her. We’d spent the rest of the evening talking and laughing about my older brothers and their relationships. My self-destructive one slithered in the shadows–the poisonous giant elephant in the room–momentarily rendered harmless for now.

I wish she would barge through my door right now and remind me I was making a mess of my life like she was so wont to do before, whenever I was in the middle of doing something stupid.

I had tried to apologize to her after practically kicking her out of my house yesterday outside the library, but she had taken one look at me, flashed a watery smile and nodded her head almost imperceptibly, before continuing to walk right past me. Wonderful. She couldn’t even care enough to be mad. And that just piled on to the tower of anger-blocks slowly being stacked one above the other in my gut, wobbly and prickly–generally a great inconvenience to everyday life.

That wasn’t fair.

It wasn’t fair how she got to be a full stop where I was an ellipses.

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Part One.

Part Two.

Yours Truly,

Something Clever

Part Two.

She got up as soon as I sat down, slamming her books shut. “So what, you’re just going to keep avoiding me, then?”, I sighed, unsure whether the thought even bothered me or not.

“I’m not avoiding you. Besides, would that be so bad?”

“Honestly, could you just stop being so damn dramatic for a second and ju–”

“Don’t do that. Don’t make me feel like I’m overreacting and like it’s all in my head. You know it’s not.”

“I–”

“Do you really believe that, though?”

“Believe what?”

“Believe that I’m a cold, unfeeling, manipulative witch who only cares about herself. That I don’t care about anybody?”

“Well, do you? I mean you said it yourself once, right? I just want you to accept it and stop with the charade”

“That wasn’t what I meant. And there is no charade.”

“What did you mean, then?”

“If I answer that, would you even believe me? You’ve made your mind and honestly right now, I don’t think I have the energy to care enough to try to correct it.”

I opened my mouth to retort, but she was walking away already. Ah, screw it.

Continue reading “Part Two.”

Unravel

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The fan whirred overhead, swirling the mass of hot and humid air around the room, doing little to dispel the beads of perspiration slowly sliding down the foreheads of the room’s occupants.

A thread came undone off the hem of a skirt and the periodic winding and unwinding of the thread around the little finger of its anxious owner grabbed the attention of her two year old son. He flexed his palm in the general direction of his mother, hoping to catch her eye, but her gaze remained unwavering. Her eyes looked to the future, hoping to stare it down; to intimidate it in all its shadowy bleakness; she slowly steeled herself for the signing of the papers. The clock ticked.

One, two.

She could get a job again. She always wanted to work anyway, and this was a wonderful silver lining. Silver lining? Was this a dark cloud, then? But hadn’t she longed for this very thing? Freedom?

But Freedom can mean different things; freedom to and freedom from.

Continue reading “Unravel”

And Her Eyes Knew Not Ever Again Another Song

In the depressingly cliché setting of a warm summer evening lighted by tiny yellow fairy lights hanging off of trees, you and I started on something.

We started out normal enough: girl meets boy. Strangers made something more because of a mutual love for terrible puns and cheesy one-liners. In the depressingly cliché setting of a warm summer evening lighted by tiny yellow fairy lights hanging off of trees, you and I started on something. A chapter that would halt all the others and trap us, blissful and unaware, on a carousel forever turning; its headache-inducing music drilling into your skull, dull and permanent, as your eyes moved from vibrant reds to bright yellows to mellow blues and back to the reds.

Chaos and routine—not co-existing, but born of the other. Chaos in the routine. A routine chaos? I don’t know how that worked—how did we? It wasn’t simply a case of fire and ice it was—we were—different, just different dimensions. Like a hard-boiled egg and a microwave. Immiscible. Non-functional.

But we were happy, weren’t we? God were we happy. The first few years simply a whirlwind of summer dresses and picnics and warm sweaters and movies and texts and birthdays and leaves. We thought ourselves so clever; unique. Scoffed at all the others. At the things crumbling all around us, so very sure it wouldn’t happen to us. Surely, not to us.

Of course not to us.

We didn’t burn bright. We were far too…true to be that. We smouldered: cosy and warm and for far, far longer. Laughs alongside the dark and twisty; hands clasped unconsciously, somehow just forgetting to let go. I looked at you, convinced this was it, and you did the same. It was just so very easy to think this destiny. Neither of us believed in all that idealistic hogwash but somehow, during those late nights, we almost did. It seems stupid now and to be honest it did then too but we didn’t care. It was cheesy and delusional but it didn’t matter. This was it for us.

I wish I could say there was a moment it all went downhill. A moment I looked into your eyes and didn’t see the same things; a moment where standing next to you stopped being comforting and right. Some period in time where I stopped telling you all of me. But I can’t, because none of those things have happened. We haven’t gone downhill, but…

There’s a ‘but’ that wasn’t there before. A hesitation so out of place with us.

We dissolved slowly and loudly—and yet it went almost unnoticed. Almost. We fought against it, didn’t we? We did, we fought so hard and for so long. And when we couldn’t fight anymore it turned out we couldn’t just let go either. Hands still simply forgetting to let go. And so we sit in the carousel, looking at the lights, at the reds and yellows and blues, at the cold night sky and the stars sprinkled across. Some days you look at me and I see it again and some days I look at you and you see it again. And some days it’s just the empty carousel, spinning.

Stagnant. Forever only the possibility of salvation.

Yours Truly,

sign-off

I Just…Okay

This is another one of those stories that got away from me. I seem to have written this a few months back, with honest intentions of sincerely following through with it…but I forgot all about it until I was cleaning out my desktop folders. I can’t remember what it was about.

It was the eyes. If it weren’t for the eyes no one would ever even know—as it was, very few did. Those who noticed were soon met with the same fate.

When the fog cleared they would scratch at it themselves. Scratch at their eyes until they went red and tiny crimson dots blossomed at the edges

It was the eyes. That’s how they spread it.

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Yours Truly,

sign-off

Believing In The Right Things

Dear Peter,

You were perfect. The golden-curled golden boy with promises grand and seemingly impossible. I followed your shadow, like the centuries old light chasing the star as it streaks across the sky, pure and trusting, if somewhat lacking. Fairy dust and moonlight, and oh the stories! The wind in your hair, the breeze cradling you as you flew, flew higher and further, flew to where I too once belonged.

You believed. With all your heart you believed; believed in me and believed in you and believed in what we could be one day; believed in all the castles and dragons we would conquer and all the glory and honor. And you flew. Higher and further.

Fairy dust floated down when you shook your hair, and there was always some in your ear—they could never scrub you hard enough to get it out completely; no amount of soap and bubbles would wash the magic out. The boys looked up to you—oh how they worshipped you; sweet, bumbling, poor little lost things wanting so much to be what you were…but Lost you called them and lost little boys they were. You didn’t see it; in all your perfection you didn’t see what they weren’t. Didn’t see how they were too young to know it and far too naive, too busy bustling about in the paradise you perfected for them. You were kind and funny—they loved you! We all did Pete. But once the moon peeked out, you flew.

I used to ride the wind with you, all it took was slight Tinkering now and then, and we’d soar above the clouds and dip down again to gaze down upon the city lights. The world laid at our feet and we were both so, so young! But you loved it too much—or thought of going back down with more hatred than should have had place in your tiny, happy heart—I saw it. I saw it the first time I took you along with me and heard you laugh, I saw it and should have stopped—that laugh wasn’t yours, it wasn’t, it was happy and carefree but it wasn’t yours; but before I knew it, I was chasing your shadow. But only because it was the only part of you not volitant in the darkness. Isn’t that funny? That while you glided in the star-strewn dark, your shadow pranced about in the candlelight and no matter how tightly you sewed it on, even that creature of darkness needed an escape from the hollow nights. You loved it too much. I should have put an end to it.

But all it takes is once. And so you flew. Higher and further. Until one day you found a piece of land; glowing with the haloed light of the stardust on its beach. You came back and told me you’d found home. You laughed and it was you again, and I thought you’d come back finally. That maybe you did really find home and realized it was right where we stood. After months and months of you flying into the night, I was finally seeing you and your lovely face with its lovely smile. You asked me for stories, like you once used to long before you flew out to make your own. We stayed up that night, and for once, I wasn’t worrying and you were home.

Fairy dust and moonlight and the next night you were off again. The boys followed you—they would’ve followed you to end of the world and walked right off the edge if you’d let them; but only you and Georgie returned and how he glowed! The boys weren’t coming back. You went every night and came back with stories of pirates and treasure hunts that you and the boys went on. You laughed and asked me to come along. I did. It was beautiful, the island. It was your paradise and the boys were happy. Morning came and I asked you to take me back. You told me you were staying.

Told me you were dying in that world and that you didn’t belong there anymore, were Never coming back—told me I didn’t belong there, not with all my stories and fairy dust. But I did and I came back and never flew again.

I never saw the boys after that one night at the island spent pestering the pirate. But every once in a while, if I stayed up long enough, I would see your shadow, opening and closing the drawers of our room, touching my muddy shoes and the soft sheets, dancing in the candlelight. If I stayed awake long enough, I would see your shadow home. And when you flew in to take that rebellious part of you back and softly crept up to my bed and peered at my face, I would shut my eyes tight. Pretend to not see you and turn around to fight the tear that threatened to fall every time you kissed me goodbye.

petes

Love

P.S  I’m sorry you never got to see what we would become, never got to see the dragons and adventures that came long after.

pete

Yours Truly,

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