safekeeping

i’ve written so many essays over the years. cut out paragraphs; stitched together points of view. i’ve gotten pretty good at it, honestly–figured out what you want to hear, served it steaming hot on a golden platter. i’ve walked these beige halls so many times; memorized the graffiti conversations on the bathroom stalls, and grown weirdly fond of the inspirational posters. but in the end, does it really matter?

because i’ve waited at the bus stop in the pouring rain. i’ve watched it go right past me, and wished i could just scream wait. but the bus doesn’t really care about me, so i’ll just… walk around campus, and catch the 1:30.

i’ve drank coffee from a thermos, rubbed my eyes and plugged in my earbuds with a melodramatic sigh. then spent half an hour, rehearsing in my head how to ask for some graphing paper. and it’s awkward, and painful, and i’ll probably have a panic attack about it later. because i never wanted you to hurt me–but that doesn’t mean i intended to disappear so completely.

i’ve come home, and just collapsed on my bed. put on cartoons; changed into my favourite yellow sweater, drowned out a bad day beneath scalding bathwater. screamed at the sky, and cried to the river. called every single number in my phone. because i’m scared, and confused, and it feels like forever, i don’t know what to do–

because if i had a dollar, for every time someone has told me that i’m wise beyond my age, i could finally get some rest. i could take a day off, i could dream about the future. i could unclench my fists, and let myself be a kid for a few more minutes. and god, that would be nice.

i could let down my guard, for the first time since march. i could cling to your hand as we cross the street, and cry into your shoulder. i could sketch out your face on scrap paper; godlike and simple, and shove it in my wallet for safekeeping. put it in a scrapbook, someday–or whatever happy people do.

butterfly

it’s getting colder by the minute. as the days wither in my palms. so i pull up the hood of my jacket, shove my hands in my pockets, and run all the way home. if this is your price, i’ll pay it.

because at least i survived. at least i cried and cried and cried, and weathered the storm for just one more night. stockpiled books and candy and costco pens; made a blanket fort in my closet, for when it felt like the world was going to end. and it’s sad, and pathetic, and it shouldn’t have happened but thank god i’m here. out of desperation, or blind hope, or love, or fear…

thank god for panicked phone calls, and for flimsy notebook pages. for flannel shirts and earl grey tea, walks in the forest and mediocre therapy–

i light a fire in my chest, when sky turns black, and the vultures descend. because it happens, sometimes. and it’s not fair, and it’s not all right, but for now, this is how is. i’ll twist my scars, and scrapes, and bruises into little paper butterflies; delicate, and strange. and i’ll protect them, until my dying day.

but when it’s over, i’ll tiptoe gingerly down the hallway. i’ll pull up the bathroom window; let them go, when they’re ready. and watch, as they fly south to somewhere loving, and safe.

i hope i can join them, someday.

landslide

my plants all died amid the bitter winter days. i killed them in cold blood; let the bedsheets droop onto the floor. let the mugs pile up on the kitchen counter. my lunch gets cold in the microwave, and it sits there for hours.

i cry in third person over the pasta drawer. because i’m sad, and angry, and tired of this bullshit. because i’ve kept my mouth shut all day, i’ve gritted my teeth and worked around it. but my tears are sticky and pervasive. and i hate them, a little bit.

i hate the bright blue sky. i hate the bleeding roses, and the neon-yellow sunshine. because this isn’t normal, and i’m not okay.

and i just wish things were different. but i’m so fucking exhausted. and i don’t want to try anymore. i don’t want to fight. i just want to walk out to the ocean, and cry you tsunamis, and earthquakes, and landslides. i want you to just listen, for once in your life. i want you to hold my hand, and promise that it’s going to be all right; make me soup, or peanut butter crackers, like in the movies.

but right now, i guess that’s not really an option.

dandelion girl

she blows me away. in some meadow in france, or spain. lays her dreams on my trembling arms, and kisses my cheek. i won’t say a word, as the breeze makes me dizzy, and the clouds begin to blur. i know it’s silly, but i don’t feel like myself anymore.

not really. because my heart is cold, and far away. my phone knows me too well, and the thunder lasts for days. but the girl i knew would have run towards the storm, just to let the sky put her in her place. she was sad, and reckless… and she was so fucking brave.

she pats me on the back, and mumbles some platitude, about getting better. about how it’s gonna be all right someday, or whatever. and i cling to it like it’s all i have left, when my fingers go numb, and the clouds turn black and blue.

they say religion is faith without reason, and i think that’s what i have to do. so i will worship in the church of okay. where for a few precious hours, my breathing is slow, and steady. and my hands don’t shake.

***

i make a home on the edge of disaster. lay down roots between the concrete slabs, and do what i have to. save up like my life depends on it. feverishly watch the news.

just to see them; with their brilliant smiles, and their words like sharp glass. they’re beautiful, and kind, and everything i want to be someday. i hate them like i hate you.

because how dare you speak out, while i sit in the corner, eating my own words for dinner and ignoring the bitter taste. how dare you be so vulnerable, and brave? how dare you hope, how dare you sing, how dare you make me smile on bad days?

i’ve never been much of an artist. but i spend lazy afternoons, with some sitcom playing in the background–shaping myself from messy river clay. but it’s never quite right. i watch the ceramic shatter, and storm away.

the girl is waiting for me. her hair is wispy, and her gap-toothed smile makes me giggle. she dances around the kitchen, dodging the shards of ceramic with a six year old’s precision. she cries, and i bandage up her wounds.

i’ll bury her one day, beneath autumn leaves and her favourite stuffed animals. write her a eulogy. it’s convoluted, and kinda shitty. something about moving on, and trees. i’ll make a million daisy chains, i’ll let her blow away in the breeze.

and who knows? maybe i’ll even light a candle.

.

tomorrow

it’s so sad it’s funny, the way the rotting leaves soak into my sneakers. and the cars roll past, one after the fucking other. how i pick at my cuticles until my fingers bleed, and want to scream a little bit. because i never meant to hurt myself. it just kinda… happened.

it’s depressing, and pathetic. the way each night, i tell myself i’ll get my shit together tomorrow. and i really mean it. but tomorrow never comes; it is bright and effervescent. it is new year’s eve promises, and dollar store condolence cards, screaming i’m sorry as you bang at the front door. but people are people. and i don’t think it matters anymore.

because i’ve worn myself down to nothing. mastered the art of hanging on by a thread. let my lips go numb, and my shoulders grow tense. allowed dark circles take up permanent residence…

but tomorrow warms me like a sunrise. it is the flicker in my eyes; it is the lump in my throat. one slow, careful footstep after the next; goodbye melting into hello. long car rides, clinging to the words of some stranger on the radio.

and i know what you’d say. some bullshit, about not crying because it’s over, but smiling because it happened. and of course, i’d only half believe it. but i’d cry a little bit. because your hugs were warm, and your flowers bloomed golden.

because you promised me, that tomorrow would be better. that it would be okay. and whenever i forgot, you’d teach me how to breathe again, which is stupid, and embarrassing, but… i think you might have saved me, back then.

and so i will build myself back up, like a jenga tower or some shit. and maybe it won’t be the same. maybe it’ll be wobbly, and imperfect. but tomorrow, tomorrow, it all be worth it.


Hey guys! I hope you liked this piece, I love it so much! I wrote and edited it in the same day because I was itching to get it finished. I think it speaks for itself, so I don’t have anything to say in that regard, however: I’m planning on doing a spoken word track for this piece, so expect that soon! Also, I’m working on a video for “be okay” but as soon as that’s done this is next on the chopping block.

Lots of love,

Lorna