y’all follow me here instead
if ya waaant
if ya waaant
you know it’s real when you can act like a complete drunken idiot and he still wakes you up with a kiss in the morning. i can’t believe it took me so long to realize what a fool i used to be. i wanted the wrong things. i took my friends for granted. i put myself in dangerous situations, even while i spent my days crossing and uncrossing my fingers so my friends and family won’t die. i’ve been trying my whole life not to grow up, so much so that i’ve regressed as a person. i only want to spread positive things. good ripples only.
i would really like if somebody could listen to all the things i don’t say. that hasn’t happened since just after Jeff died, when everybody looked at me with creased, worried eyes and tried to decipher codes in my breathing patterns. i didn’t used to have lines in my forehead, and i didn’t used to have trouble inhaling. i no longer long for death, nor am i as much of an alcoholic. i pay my rent on time and passed all my classes and i understand why i’m not worried about. but there is this part inside of me that i silence every day with netflix or inane conversations or sleeping far too late into the day. there is a longing for more, an undercurrent of worry that i’m making the wrong choices. so i dance around those feelings, get through my days in small increments, countdown hours until i’m around people i can relax with, if not completely. i want to shake myself for the tears that spring to my eyes at the slightest instance of disagreement. i am sentimental, yes, but i am not a whiny, weepy girl and those tears make others think otherwise. i need to take anger lessons. i’d rather be angry than sad, but then i’d probably want to be a reality tv star instead of a writer.
the fact that i can’t get my brain to remember how to say “so” in spanish reverberates in my daily life when i can’t think of synonyms for “however” or “cool.” when i end conversations with “whatever” to my boyfriend, answer how are you with “i don’t know.” my brain is constantly whirring, profoundly forgetting revelations daily, it is a perfect glossy broken shards of stupid dollar store picture frame glass that i can’t ever find all the pieces to and cut my feet on daily. present tense to past to preterite to why for the fucking life of me i have never been able to remember what an adverb is. words are the only thing that have ever mattered to me, in theory, but i’m thinking now i should rely more on sensory whateverthefuck and just appreciate his breath in my ear when i can and not let the same song get stuck in my head for days and days LITERALLY because that is just, completely, no matter what, unacceptable, let’s use commas excessively, don’t end on an ellipsis because it’s cliche it has to be just right, no; just write.
I can feel it coming around again. That feeling, urge to dive naked into the ocean, hold my breath until my lungs explode, the cold stabbing my ribcage. I need saltwater in my cuts. I know this feeling well by now, know exactly what it means. I think I can beat it this time. Although I am sad, deep inside, and a little on the surface—physically sick at the thought of my friends & family dying, I have OCD rituals I do, have always done, before I ever knew it was a disease, and odd numbers are fucking terrible— I am happy. I’m happy with myself as a person, most days, I’m happy because I have somebody who goes out of his way to make me happy. Happy because I know I am lucky; I’m healthy, I’m loved. I’ve never been homeless or hungry. And I feel like a douchebag sometimes because, although I am happy, I’m restless, and anxious, and I want to move away, far from everyone who doesn’t understand, could never take the time to understand, and I’m angry, because I won’t do it, because I’m scared. And although I’m happy, I’m not really happy here anymore. I keep having dreams that my friends are dying, or leaving me, and it ties in so perfectly with reality because I feel like I’m losing them all, piece by piece, even when their text messages still flood my phone. Everyone I love best is drifting away, even though they’re all in the same places. I find myself longing for Mallard Monday days, car dealership days, when I was exhaustively more depressed but at least could define my friendships. I don’t have time to read for fun anymore and it’s getting hard to deal with. I feel stagnant, even though this is probably the most important semester of my college career and I’m acing my classes. I cried four different times yesterday, about four different things. I’m feeling my gender subconscious really coming into play, I’ve been daydreaming about marriage, small children, and I want to regress and go to punk shows and drink 40s at 3am again in somebody’s garage, on the sidewalk, not concerned about how we’re getting home. I’m not too old for all-nighters, and I’m not too old to damage my liver farther, if I could only relay that message to my aching body. I know this is necessary. I can push myself, and accomplish, and even enjoy it a bit during. But all I want is coffee shops and daytime reading and all-night writing and dirty clothes and the kind of clever wordplay that comes from intelligent minds with nothing better to do. This is not a cry for help, this is not me giving up; this is prioritizing, this is reevaluating the last 3 years and realizing what I do and do not want, need, can’t live without. I can tell myself a million times that there are so many good-willed gestures I can make, only so many times I will let myself be disappointed by the same people, but the truth is this: I will be there for you, for the rest of my life, any time of day, no matter how many times you kick dirt in my face. The stubborn wall of a person I used to be has given way to clutching the lifeline qualities in other people that make me feel less lonely.
if i’m not tortured how are you ever going to relate?
slowly trying to morph into somebody who deserves him. such goodness and light escape through twinkled eyes and deeply creased cheeks. i never saw this coming. i want to shield him from negativity and tobacco smoke and at the same time curl up into his chest and breathe out my worries in halted exhalations down his ribcage. there is no pulling, no anxiety, no give and take. just solid ground and belly laughs and happy sighs into neckline curvature. no more comparing, because there’s no comparison; he is. and it’s enough, perfect and beautiful. i am the lucky one.
stay hungry, stay free
The French boy waits patiently (knowingly?) as I finish the rest of my beer. Knees touching, his hand occasionally on my inner thigh. He rests it there, I pretend not to notice. Drums his fingers, then draws back, embarrassed? Liquid down to the bottom of the label, I conceal my smile with one last swig, toss the bottle into the sand. Our friends, his and mine, lay sleeping, passed out drunk and warm in sleeping bags, a horseshoe of tousled heads surrounding the campfire, opening to us, he and I, leg to leg on this log. 3 in the morning? 4? It’s still dark and there are no stars and the lions crashing on the beach roar at us, challenging, daring us to keep our distance from the cold pacific temperature of their advancing, retreating, foamy white paws.
I turn to him expectantly.
He is serious, all business. Hard to read. We’ve known each other for all of three hours and this is inevitable. Meant to happen, for no reason and every reason. We are young, it’s late, we’re drunk. It’s warm out and I don’t need something to hold on to as much as I need to keep this night going. Tomorrow it will be a lazy memory, tonight it is all that matters.
There are ten of us in total. My three friends. A couple from Germany. An excitable Belgian. Three architects from France. It’s summer in Santa Cruz two weeks after I’ve moved here and the foreigners are just passing through. So we take them to the secret beach in the middle of the night. We walk on the wooden trestle above the water, knees shaking with haunting images of Stand By Me, rattling the bottles of beer and wine in my backpack. Tiptoe past the farmhouses that still have lights on, gaze in awe at the acres of crops that stretch and stretch to meet the darkness at the edge of the world. Push our way through bushes and slip on limestone down the hill to the sand.
A fire is built and the drinking begins, we are an imperfect circle around the flames. Sleeping bags become seats for us, the inflatable pool toys the French brought as mattresses attempted to be blown up. The most diligent of the three spends a good twenty minutes working on his, long after the others have quit, only to hear the saddest whistle of air at the end, a pinprick of a hole dashes his dreams of padded sleeping. He turns his focus to collecting firewood instead. Ben, one of mine, produces a ukulele to entertain us. He sings originals from his band, then on request from a German attempts the “Men in Black” theme song. To our extreme delight, our German knows every word of the MIB rap. A few minutes later we find he also knows the A-team theme song by heart.
The wine is gone as well as the better half of a fifth of Sailor Jerry’s. I’m leaning back, soaking it up. I study each face. I am full. The only word for me at the moment. Full to bursting with love and appreciation of these people, these moments, this life. I want everyone touching, everyone closer. I want us all to run naked into the ocean, hand in hand. I want a dog pile, an orgy. I fall in love with each of them, individually, together, connected. I want this campfire smell on my skin for weeks.
It’s late. A few have fallen into sleep’s sand-lined pockets. The rest, the French, me, Ben, Claudia the German, are unstoppable. We are infinite. We touch the ocean, screaming. Play soccer in the dark, keep away, children again. We fall backwards, eyes to the sky, searching for some source of light besides the looming glow of the city in the distance. Heavy breathing. Ben cures my hiccups and I walk him by the hand back to the fire. He pumps his fist in the air, shouts into the abyss, “Number one! Number one!” and I love him.
One by one they drift off, worn from alcohol and running in dense sand. And there we are, he and I, alone on this log. And it begins because it can’t not, it’s been coming all night, his mouth on mine, and it could have been any one of them.
We connect our sleeping bags and lay intertwined, nothing finishing and nothing stopping. I study his face, to remember it, to learn it, my hand on his cheek because right now it means something. I don’t sleep, he does, maybe, but there is too much. The whole ocean is in front of us. The sun comes up and I have never felt more content. Everything from here will never top this but might always top this. There is life to be had and I’ve never felt this way before.
vestiges of summers past; last summer was my last i’d spend alone- scarred, marred by a fateful parting probably written in the stars. written in a million books before us, imploring us, silently verbally warning us. a summer spent on the street, through the heat, wandering through unknown alleys and empty bars, collecting sores and scars on my poorly protected feet. holes in my shoes, soles touching concrete, soul searching for something complete. not looking within, covering it up; patching the wounds inside with cold beer and unrelenting sighs. blame game, shame your name; turn it into something rotten, then pretend i’ve forgotten about you and them and me and everyone we know. deep breaths, never crying. steady hands when people look—— look and don’t know how hard i’m trying, dying, kill me. summer raindrops pushed back by windshield wipers, every drop explodes into cracks, spiderwebbing tracks, sends shards into my eyes. no salty desperation, just bloody relaxation- breathe free, no more incarceration. with each last breath i exhale relief.