During the summer, there was a girl. I, however, was not responsible for anything that happened between us. She was the one who would talk about wanting to kiss me. She was the one who asked if I liked her. She was the one who curled into my side when we watched movies. My relationship with her didn't last—whether it existed at all could be debated—but the effect that it has on me endures. Maybe if it had lasted longer, I would have learnt her confidence. I could use it. I wish I had the courage to break this social protocol I constructed in my head and ask you to tea for me and whatever you want for you. Or the guts to take your phone and scare it with my selfies. Or maybe the insanity to reach for your hand. I promise I won't propose anything rash. We don't have to become a promise-ring-wearing, take-on-the-world-because-we-won't-fall duo. I'm not sure I'd want that. But what would be wrong with laying on the grass during the summer and alternating between reading excerpts of e.e.cummings and sharing bad puns? I know damn well that by now you've figured out that I'm secretly a romantic, but I have a suspicion that you are, too. But the one thing about two shy introverts is that nothing will ever happen if fate doesn't shove them together.
You were temporary, and I knew you would be temporary, and it was okay. I told myself that when we were done, I wouldn’t let a bad ending ruin a good thing and that I would be grateful for having you in my life. I was wrong. You were temporary, and I knew you would be temporary, and it was okay. But you left, and you did it while my back was turned and you did it without even calling a goodbye over your shoulder. I am a hard one to convince that an affection is true, but you tried, and you tried, and you finally did it. You finally did it. You did it. And then you left. I found out from a subtweet over Twitter. How romantic. I had promised myself that I was probably a rebound and that it would be okay because you were happy with me and I was happy with you. You were temporary, and I knew you would be temporary, and it was okay. And I was happy. I don’t know anymore if you were. If you had been, you probably would never have touched the door out. But you did. And your Tumblr is still as sad as ever and I have my gaze on a guy I won’t pursue who would probably be my own rebound anyway. So I will sit here with just wandering eyes because I refuse to make people believe I’d stay before getting up to leave. Who’s happy now? You were temporary, and I knew you would be temporary, and it was okay. I’m not sure if it’s okay anymore. I meant to float down, not be dropped. But I guess it never meant that much to you anyway. By the way, please stop telling me about your incessant kindness. I don’t believe you. You were temporary, and I knew you would be temporary, and it was okay. You know, at least I can look you in the eye, because you don’t know about how you stomped on my chest. You don’t know, so you slide out of my life, pretending like I don’t notice, and your name means less and less to me each day. You were temporary, and I knew you would be temporary, and it was okay. Your skin is no longer a battery that charges the air around you and your lips are not saints but only lips that manufacture words I don’t really care about anymore. You were temporary, and I knew you would be temporary, and it is okay.
I identify very strongly with Nick Carraway. My life is my own and the novel is centred around me, but it's not really. I am the protaganist, but I'm not the hero; instead, I exist to serve witness to the great, the unfathomable. I am here to follow the great around, to see it through fresher eyes, here to stay when Rome falls to ruins. Maybe one day I will tell tales of the Gatsby that I lived to experience, and maybe nobody will believe me. Maybe I'll be the only one to believe in my Gatsby. Maybe I will attend the funeral of the experience alone. Certainly, though, I feel that I exist just to attend it.
We both make speeches about having no friends, but there's a difference between us: you are not serious. This difference makes me uneasy. You see, though you may have a different house to go to every day, different friends with different arms to encircle you in hugs, we do not all have that same opportunity. This doesn't bother me, though. Usually. Whenever I manage to slip into your schedule—which means whenever we bump into each other, more accidentally for you than for me—your thumbs tap your phone screen the entire time. I watch them. Taptaptaptaptap. You follow my gaze and explain, "I feel bad when I don't answer everybody right away." I'm not hurt or angry though—text all you would please—I'm only curious. I cannot fathom having so many people that care about me enough to carve time into their day to think of me. My conversations that come without obligation are all furnished by two people. Two. Compared to your hundreds. This doesn't often bother me either. You have a village around you. I lie on the outskirts, though you like to pretend with me that I'm in the town square. You have never had to be a vagabond, but this is all I've ever known—and if I continued tradition and slipped away into the forest that leads to only God knows where, you would never notice. I suppose this is what bothers me. You are all I have, and you could throw me away like trash, no consequences. What's stopping you?
I used to wear my rosary like a necklace, but only because it glowed in the dark. Format credit goes to OnceUponAMidSummerMorning. Please do not remove or otherwise alter this credit, even if the code is modified. Thank you.
Stop. Do not insult him. Do not call him heartless or selfish or deceitful. (We all know he is the antithesis of that.) You are allowed to be mad—nobody is saying otherwise—but he blames himself enough that there's no need for you to as well. Nobody is at fault anyway, so put your finger down. And I'm sure you've seen his tears, but I almost wish you had heard him, stunned in silence with nothing to say but "I know; I'm sorry," sobbing for an hour—after all you put him through—about how you are such a good person. He is not the one who needs to go fxck himself.
I am friends with a giving tree, and he is surrounded by girls asking for twigs and leaves. He cries at the pain when some of his bark snaps off, but only on the inside; he dares not complain to those he loves. He turns to me for help. He hurts, but what can he do? He loves those who hurt him, and those who hurt him love him back, even if it's selfish love. I sit under his shade, though spotty it may be for lack of leaves, to help think of a solution of any sort, but I can't think of any consolation save one: I give him a branch of my own.
Even if it means somebody else must curl in the corner of their bedroom whispering to themselves Why me? Why this?, there is something comforting in knowing that one is not alone. Of course, even if it is knowing you are not alone, there is still distress to be found in that happiness. You said, "Hey, I have that, too," and you saw emotion quickly covered by a polite mask. What if you had seen what occured later, held my wrist up to your ear and heard the joy singing in my veins and having found somebody like me? Would you have found comfort knowing that you could have an instant friend who understood an underlying struggle that is omnipresent even though she doesn't even know your name? Would you have found unease in the same thing? The only things found more than the glee and relief in finding somebody like oneself are perhaps the grief that somebody else has shed the same tears and, even more so, the fear that they may find the jagged border between mask and skin. Sometimes that mask is all one has.
♦ he'll never be that guy: captain of the football team, straight-a student, making the entire cafeteria laugh at his punchlines. the popular girls will never make jokes to him about his six pack or compare the size of their hands, laughing and mingling their hair as all of it gets twirled between fingers. he is not a model citizen and my relatives would cringe at his humour, though he accompany it all by playful grins and kind eyes. if i were to say his name to my friends, i would be met with laughter or confused stares, because would i not prefer to fancy somebody popular? and yes, i'm sure all of the populars are lovely, and i'm sure relating to quater-back-x-nerdy-girl stories would be cute, and i'm sure others' approval would make life easier. but him. never mind his status; his smile is what makes my dimples come out to see the sun and my shoulders remember what it's like to not bear their burden, and sure, i know, he'll never be that guy—but i'd like him either way. ♦ Format credit goes to OnceUponAMidSummerMorning. Please do not remove or otherwise alter this credit, even if you modify the format. Thank you.
But yesterday, my heart moved for the first time in weeks. The body's little organs fluttered enough to send missionaries up my bones and alert me that I was blushing — that the heart was beating for someone else — that the familiar figure who walked into the room and barely looked me in the eye, was enough to make all the stones nestled in the bottom of my stomach turn over in their seats.
♦ ♦ I swear, I could live off of the colour of your eyes. Format credit goes to OnceUponAMidSummerMorning. Please do not remove or otherwise alter this credit, even if the format is modified. Thank you.
♦ ♦ Why are you so hard to write about? I can swear to any deity above that I've tried my fair share of times, more than I've tried for anyone before, but it's as if you are an enigma to every word I know. You don't like big words, I know, and I've learnt that they don't like you either. I can list the things I like about you and I swear I know how to write actual good poetry, but everything I manage to manufacture appears to have escaped the hands of ten-year-old me who never really understood poetry anyway. Still, I keep picking my pen back up even after having thrown it across the room. I want to do a part of you justice, even if not you as a whole. Perhaps the way you smile, or the way the skin over your eyes is raised as if to create a pedestal for your eyebrow. Your laugh, defaulting as a snicker. The way you slip easy from humour into humorous compassion. But I can't do anything. All I can manage is a list of stupid things I like about a boy who is living a life I wish I had the guts to follow. No matter the stuggle that lies behind it, however, this list is the most beautiful one I have every written. Format credit goes to OnceUponAMidSummerMorning. Please do not remove or otherwise alter this credit, even if the format is modified. Thank you.
Amber threads of silk surround me and cling to my clothes, as I reach for more of them with my right hand and shove my face into my left, as if to protect my brain from the daggers being jabbed into my amygdala by essays, reports, and the ever-looming threat of exams that promise to ruin my life should I pen a comma out of place. I want to stop and maybe persue that which I have learned has a lovely chemical property of reacting with tears to create endorphins, but there is no place for emotion in a system rife with sciences and maths and that spits on beauty. Although I have long studied the properties of tears, I have not done the same to my brain in ways that don't pertain to its anatomy, and thus the liquid seeps from my eyes inadvertently, smudging the word pleurer while I continue to conjugate my group one verbs.
I didn’t learn how much it costs to raise a kid or what an affidavit is, but I spent days on what the quadratic equation is: negative b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4ac over 2a. That’s insane; that’s absolutely insane. They made me learn that over basic first aid or how to recognise the most deadly mental disorders or diseases with preventable causes or how to buy a house with a mortgage, if I could afford it, because abstract maths was deemed more important than advice that would literally save thousands of lives. But it’s cool, because now I could tell you if the number of unnecessary deaths caused by that choice was prime.
This infringment on my privacy and my pleads that certainly felt like betrayal—whether it was or not—was an undelicate shove that threw me to the ground. I stumbled from the pedastal on which I had sat voluntarily blindfolded for so long and fell out of love so fast that the momentum propelled me into a land where the back of my mouth tastes bitter whenever I see you. I don't exactly forgive you or myself, but I want to thank both of us for finally letting me realise that you are not worth hazy summer daydreams or poems that sing sweet ballads. You are just a boy, and there are greater things to aspire to.
You can say whatever you want about liking a given location—there’s no place like home; a house is what you make of it; home is where the heart is—but I can’t say anything but that the air in some places is a being of many arms that knows what it likes to hold. My small town in Canada pinches sleeping pills so that everything glides by in a lull, a hazy dance where the steps don't really matter as long as they are close enough. Home may be sweet home, but sugar, especially that of this sickening variety, has never suited my palate. I long for a day when I can ride the oceans or glide on Ouranos’ cloak and find a place that isn’t a sweet home, but one that harbours batteries, electrifying the atmosphere and throwing long-forgotten spices into the clouds. I want to live in a place that doesn’t tie my legs to bars but instead encourages them to wander and grow thick callouses from dancing barefoot in green grass. My heart isn’t here, and I want to find out where it is.
xxx It’s weird being tired and empty after having grasped something that much more resembled happiness. I sit in front of blank pages, the blue lines twisting and twirling together into Celtic knots that my eyes can’t follow, my head devoid of words. Sometimes feelings bubble up inside of me, but they are just passing winds that whisper sweet nothings in a language I only once knew but have since forgotten. Thoughts come and then go with the breeze, unintended meditation that comes without the relief, and they take with them my command of words so all of them fall flat. Whoever I am doesn’t seem to be here anymore.