“I was told
The average girl begins to plan her wedding at the age of 7
She picks the colors and the cake first
By the age of 10
She knows time,
She’s already chosen a gown
And a maid of honor
She’s waiting for a man
Who wont break out in hives when he hears the word “commitment”
Someone who doesn’t smell like a Band-Aid drenched in lonely
Someone who isn’t a temporary solution to the empty side of the bed
Who’ll hold her hand like it’s the only one they’ve ever seen
To be honest
I don’t know what kind of tux I’ll be wearing
I have no clue what want my wedding will look like
But I imagine
The woman who pins my last to hers
Will butterfly down the aisle
Like a 5 foot promise
Will be so large that you’ll see it on google maps
And know exactly where our wedding is being held
The woman that I plan to marry
Will have champagne in her walk
And I will get drunk on her footsteps
When the pastor asks
If I take this woman to be my wife
I will say yes before he finishes the sentence
I’ll apologize later for being impolite
But I will also explain him
That our first kiss happened 6 years ago
And I’ve been practicing my “Yes”
For past 2, 165 days
When people ask me about my wedding
I never really know what to say
But when they ask me about my future wife
I always tell them
Her eyes are the only Christmas lights that deserve to be seen all year long
She thinks too much
Misses her father
Loves to laugh
And she’s terrible at lying
Because her face never figured out how to do it correctly
I tell them
If my alarm clock sounded like her voice
My snooze button would collect dust
I tell them
If she came in a bottle
I would drink her until my vision is blurry and my friends take away my keys
If she was a book
I would memorize her table of contents
I would read her cover-to-cover
Hoping to find typos
Just so we can both have a few things to work on
Because aren’t we all unfinished?
Don’t we all need a little editing?
Aren’t we all waiting to be proofread by someone?
Aren’t we all praying they will tell us that we make sense
She don’t always make sense
But her imperfections are the things I love about her the most
I don’t know when I will be married
I don’t know where I will be married
But I do know this
Whenever I’m asked about my future wife
I always say
…She’s a lot like you”—Rudy francisco
“« Il n’y a rien à dire sur une mort qui n’est pas juste. Rien du tout. Nous allons le montrer tout à l’heure. Sous la branche d’un olivier, se tenait suspendue une petite chrysalide, couleur émeraude. Demain, elle serait un joli papillon, libéré de son cocon. L’arbre se réjouissait de voir grandir sa chrysalide. Mais en secret, il aurait bien aimé la garder encore quelques années. «Pourvu qu’elle se souvienne de moi.» Il l’avait protégée du vent. Il l’avait sauvée des fourmis. demain, pourtant elle le quitterait, pour affronter seule les prédateurs et les intempéries. Cette nuit-là, un grand feu ravagea la là forêt, et la chrysalide ne devint jamais papillon. Au matin, le feu éteint… l’arbre tenait encore debout, mais son cœur était en cendres, rongé par les flammes, rongé par le deuil. Depuis, quand un oiseau se pose sur l’olivier, l’arbre lui raconte la chrysalide qui ne s’est jamais réveillée. Il l’imagine les ailes déployées, ondoyant dans le bleu d’un ciel bleu, ivre de sucre et de liberté, témoin privilégié de nos histoires d’amour. »”—L’arbre et la Chrysalide de Bachir Lazhar
entering the courtyard- it looked like versailles six years before, a paradise on earth. the pulse of the earth climbing into the soles of our feet, traveling up our spines and lodging itself in our hearts.
you should have one shot of vodka, here have a beer. running through an empty house with angels. one shot of vodka, here have a beer. i am in over my head, drowning. dear gravity, are you there?
no more balance. let yourself sit- no no have some water, lighten up, wouldya? here i’ll pour it. everything will be okay, don’t you worry your empty little head. it’ll be okay, okay? ok.
here, come with me maybe if you’d like like don’t scream- but what if i make you? don’t look at me like that.
don’t say those things. don’t say anything. don’t do it.
here i’ll stop talking. just don’t move. i’ll be gentle if you’re kind of like a pile of rocks that can’t move. here, let’s have an earthquake, shall we? you can be trapped
in your own head. blink i dare you. blink one more time. you’ll think you can close your eyes and then you’ll be right back under a pile of rocks as heavy as your me forget, you say- but what if this weight is my anchor.
would you like to recount the events for us, miss? would you like to take a tour of my dreams, sir? we’ll enter through paradise and leave through hell.
People are protesting silently, black cloth over their mouths. Others are watching the TV on mute to avoid thinking about their own suffocation. Today, I opened my mouth only to find that a piece of cloth had fallen down into my throat and I could not speak. There is a horror to walking down the street and seeing your executioner in the notches of someone’s spine, there is a horror to a friend who hugs you so tightly you forget how to tell yourself to breathe. There is cloth everywhere, and when I open my mouth to speak there is a mute button.
I told you that I was a roadway of potholes, not safe to cross. You said nothing, showed up in my driveway wearing roller-skates.
The first time I asked you on a date, after you hung up, I held the air between our phones against my ear and whispered, “You will fall in love with me. Then, just months later, you will fall out. I will pretend the entire time that I don’t know it’s coming.”
Once, I got naked and danced around your bedroom, awkward and safe. You did the same. We held each other without hesitation and flailed lovely. This was vulnerability foreplay.
The last eight times I told you I loved you, they sounded like apologies.
You recorded me a CD of you repeating, “You are beautiful.” I listened to it until I no longer thought in my own voice.
Into the half-empty phone line, I whispered, “We will wake up believing the worst in each other. We will spit shrapnel at each other’s hearts. The bruises will lodge somewhere we don’t know how to look for and I will still pretend I don’t know its coming.”
You photographed my eyebrow shapes and turned them into flashcards: mood on one side, correct response on the other. You studied them until you knew when to stay silent.
I bought you an entire bakery so that we could eat nothing but breakfast for a week. Breakfast, untainted by the day ahead, was when we still smiled at each other as if we meant it.
I whispered, “I will latch on like a deadbolt to a door and tell you it is only because I want to protect you. Really, I’m afraid that without you I mean nothing.”
I gave you a bouquet of plane tickets so I could practice the feeling of watching you leave.
I picked you up from the airport limping. In your absence, I’d forgotten how to walk. When I collapsed at your feet, you refused to look at me until I learned to stand up without your help.
Too scared to move, I stared while you set fire to your apartment – its walls decaying beyond repair, roaches invading the corpse of your bedroom. You tossed all the faulty appliances through the smoke out your window, screaming that you couldn’t handle choking on one more thing that wouldn’t just fix himself.
I whispered, “We will each weed through the last year and try to spot the moment we began breaking. We will repel sprint away from each other. Your voice will take months to drain out from my ears. You will throw away your notebook of tally marks from each time you wondered if I was worth the work. The invisible bruises will finally surface and I will still pretend that I didn’t know it was coming.”
The entire time, I was only pretending that I knew it was coming.
”—Miles Walser, “A Sonnet of Invented Memories” (via pigmenting)
How to Take a Bus in the Middle of the Night from New York to Boston
Walk on, your hair soaked through by the rain Sit down, a row to yourself because the bus is empty Pull out a book that you know you will not read for the first half hour When the girl in the seat in front of you pulls out a bottle of rattling pills, wonder If she’s plugging a hole in her heart with cotton, if she knows that it won’t work If she’s going home, if she knows what the future holds.
Realize you are asking yourself these questions. Realize you do not know the answer to them, and so turn to the illusory fiction you hold in the palm of your hand. Feel cold once you realize that the heat is not on. Observe the people around you sleeping Write a love letter ”I think I saw your face in the reflection of a stranger’s windshield” Realize that he will never read your letter. Don’t sign it. Feel yourself drifting off to sleep.
Wake up in Connecticut. Think about calling your grandparents. Decide against it because that would require opening up old wounds. Contemplate ripping out what you have written so far in your notebook and abandoning it in a dimly lit corner of the gas station. Think about telling the stranger three rows back that you could fall in love with them. Call ahead—to home? Is home in his arms, or in the hands of the man who robbed you of your innocence? Is it in a fig tree, or in a snowstorm? Neglect to answer because the bus arrives at its destination and there isn’t enough cotton in the world to plug the holes in your pericardium.
I almost handed in the paper I wrote three nights ago suspended as if in a dream. It traced the origins of my suffering through my organ systems, but when I got to the brain all I could do was sit and cry. Instead, I gave up in favor of a paper on the snapshots of my life, which somehow felt less personal because they didn’t talk about how my pulse raced, or my heart hurt, or how my ribs fell to the ground and I flew to the clouds. The paper didn’t say that I was afraid that those organ systems that fell apart and told me what I felt might one day materialize, and then I might have to face the fact that all that makes me could fly up to the moon, and I could wander weightless on the outskirts of this universe that has no edge.
i heard a laugh today. it sounded sparkly and crystal-like, just like yours. i lifted my head to look across the street at a girl whose long dirty blonde hair was blown by the wind and whose hand held a boy’s. i’ve been seeing you in the autumn’s falling leaves, in the smell of peppermint, in strangers’ hair, in my ear, and in my heart. do you remember that time when we ran through a fountain on the last day of summer? i do. do you remember that time we threw ice cream cones at each other to see how much ended up in our hair? i do. do you remember that time you said that you would see me graduate and we would stay this way forever? do you remember that time you took those pills? no, you don’t. you don’t exist anymore, except in all of the fragments of you that remain.
fortune cookies whisper into my ear: ’when you feel defensive, examine what you fear;’ your eyes, my cognizance of you, that this will all fall apart, that other people are stronger than you and i, mere mortals that we are. i fear not being able to read words off a page and let them seep in to my bloodstream. i fear not achieving my dreams. i fear heart arrests, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain. i fear crossing the street and getting a splinter in my foot.
i fear that which i love; i fear life as passionately as i embrace it.
a year ago we had not kissed, a year ago she was still standing next to me on the first day of fall. today you are miles away, there is a baby in the hospital i watched breathe his last breath, and my father cried shaky tears onto my shirt. i haven’t washed it since that night. i gave away the clothes i wore on the night of our first kiss, but i still live in your sweatshirt. according to my textbook, louis xiv’s absolutism served as a model for current modes of government. the problem is that absolutism is never absolute in and of itself, because it needs the approval of the people it affects. i may not be absolute in my claims to loving you unless you do too.
even though people leave, and take a piece of you with them every time they do, others will come to take their place and begin to fill the gaps as best they can, but they will fit into the puzzle of you in a slightly different way, and in doing so mold you into a different person granule by granule, just like the waves shift the sand beneath them at low tide.
you and i may not be in this place forever, but i know that i have loved before you, i love with you, and i will love after you. this is a cycle, a phase, and what matters is finding people who love and loving them back, even though we might not be able to give away as big a part of our selves as before.
i am here to say that i am no longer afraid. i have shed not only skin cells, layers of me i have left in places long forgotten, but also fear. i am here to say that the shedding of fear is unlike anything else. it means embracing things as they are, facing the future, but also synthesizing the fear, the attacks, and the shortcomings of the past. today, i am new. today, i know that you took something from me, and that because this world is ever-changing, i will never get it back, but that i can beat this, and beat you, by embracing this and telling you: you robbed me of my innocence like no one ever should, but i am still here. so take that. i am still here, my heart is still beating, i am still breathing, i hold someone’s hand in mine, and i know about uncertainty, but i embrace it.
today was spent grasping at straws and loosing the ones you braided into my hair. everything must go, one way or another, and i am aching to get out of this place, to go scream my lungs out at the trees, to go bury a box in the middle of nowhere with all of this dead skin too soon turned to dust that i have been trying to vacuum out of my brain. magazines tell me that perfection is possible, but all i can do is laugh; perfection is no fun, perfection does not allow for laughter or for sorrow, for highs or for lows, for this or for the past. i want a map of where i am going, but i want it to be stained by the dirt and sweat and tears and joy of life in some places where i might need to take a detour. i want to know whether to go north, south, east, or west, but i want to discover, to be surprised, to find perfection in my coffee one morning, but loose it because i am stirring. i want a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but most of all i don’t want to always have it my way.
“I’m not sentimental—I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last—the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald
the moon is soaring but i am stuck here tiptoeing, waiting for something unknown. i try to listen in the hopes that i might catch the faintest echo of the earth’s heartbeat, but since the day you decided that forsaking me to appease yourself was the best you could do, all i can do is press down on the vein in the groove between my thumb and index and feel my own irregular tempo. and sometimes, i even listen for his, and did you know that he has lifted me higher than you could ever dream? yet, still, the only discernible syllable of my heartbeat is a what if, what if whispered into the dark of my muscle tissue, enclosed in the circuit of my blood. what if you were still here? what if he still remembered me? what if this love ends and i am alone? what then, what then my love?
tonight i am filled with love. tonight, i laughed until my sides hurt. tonight, in some magnificent moment, nature overtook me. tonight, i felt at one with the sunset and the grass and love and beauty. and you.
today i spoke with someone i respect about learning, and taught a four-year old how to navigate the challenges of balance, despite the fact that my compass seems to be pointing due east these days even though the north pole is still alive and well. i told children’s sad faces that paper does not fly inside, but left them unchallenged in their belief that they and their souls might one day take off and soar above this ever-changing earth. some people have told me that they wish to become children again, but i find myself content in the knowledge that i do not still have to learn that gravity inexorably keeps us human; only variations of themes are left to learn, and i will open my ears like those of a child hearing their mother’s voice for the first time, so that i might come to recognize the oscillations in melody that herald dissonance and perhaps even a conclusion.
there’s so much i want to ask you; did you know that we once kissed under an arch that dooms couples to marriage? did you know that i once ran barefoot down your street only to realize that you were two states away because you were the most alive thing i could think of after seeing someone die? did you know that whenever someone mentions their favorite sounds your laugh is the first thing that comes to mind? but most of all, do you have a list of questions stashed away somewhere? because if you do i will not stop until you know the meaning of life and maybe even which way is left.