You and I
Everyone around us is sweaty. Not the normal kind of beaded-sweat-sweaty, the drenched and stinking sweaty–typical of a concert, really. The smell of weed permeates the air, fogging our senses. The deafening beat echoes throughout, the ground practically trembling. I’m not claustrophobic or anything; in fact, I love crowds. I just don’t like the prospect of going into one alone. But, I’m not alone. You’re with me and for some reason, you’ve been able to talk me into it.
We head into the crowd, you–always the leader–pushing forward into the first barrier of people. I sigh, peel my hair back from my sticky forehead and head in right behind you. All of a sudden, my oxygen cuts off. People around me are tall and imposing and oh-so-loud. I contemplate heading back out and I’m just about to turn to do so when you grab my hand.
I see this twinkle in your eye–you’re excited to be here, I can’t deny you that. You gesture with your head, nodding towards the stage as if to ask me, “You coming?” I would never say no to you so of course, I nod, gripping your hand minimally tighter.
That makes you smile. You give me your characteristic ‘you ready?’ look and I nod, “Just don’t let go.”
Your face splits open in a smile and you whisper–but for some reason, I can hear it louder than the bass and the screaming and the singing–“Never.”
The world freezes around us and in this moment, it’s you and I. Nothing around us moves; not the people, not the air and not a blade of grass. We are frozen in this moment, you and I–just two people who were going to be more in love than we could have imagined in that second. Your smile encompasses your face and that twinkle in your eye is brighter than the floodlights. You look at me like you’ll always have my back, like you’ll always take care of me. And I? I look at you as if I've already found some semblance of home. My usually stoic eyes melt away and they’re softer–the kind of soft they will only ever be around you.
What I will never forget is that in that moment, you gripped my hand like it was your lifeline but really, it was mine. What I will never think about though, is that in that moment, we’d already fallen in love. We may not have known it and we may not admit it now but when the sound of that barely-audible ‘never’ resonated through the arena, we’d sealed our fate in stone and promised each other that we would never, ever let go.
It’s a shame we did really, because I would bask in the glory of that moment for the rest of my life. Your cheeky smile and matted hair, shirt drooping slightly over your shoulders because you loathe tight-fitting clothes. My admiring eyes and sweaty palms. You and I. Always, you and I.
We hold on to different people now but that moment, that was everything.
It’s as if God has himself come down to Earth. The world is barely whole in my just-opened eyes, little swirls entangling themselves in my vision. And then, I see her.
I blink once.
My vision clears and my heart blooms in contentedness––she looks so peaceful. Her hair sprawls around her head, almost like a halo. The weightless strands barely touch the pillow, trickling off and rising up and down slowly with the soft breeze. Too preoccupied with her to notice that there was actual breeze, I feel the gentle movement of air around me; of course, she woke up again––in the middle of the night––to open the window, and the curtains. But boy, am I thankful.
A ray of sunlight streams in unbroken through the gap, and the rest spills itself on the floor all around the room. The light makes her look even more ethereal––if this is even possible. The light illuminates the planes of her face; she looks almost carved, hand-chiseled by Michelangelo himself. She’s curved into herself, sleeping in her own cocoon of comfort and rumpled blankets. Her––or rather, my––shirt is rucked up and her cute panda shorts are on display. I giggle, she’ll be the most beautiful woman in the world in anything, even baggy sleep shorts with cartoon pandas on them.
Her skin looks aglow, she radiates beauty and goodness and all things soft.
Her face is restful, her features gentler than when she’s awake. Her button nose looks smaller, her cheeks plumper and her lips brighter. She defies every standard of beauty that anyone has ever set.
“God, I am so in love with you.”
Her eyes flutter once.
Her entire face––and the room––lights up. Her cheeks raise, a smile slowly weaving itself onto her face. Her eyes open and they look unfocused for a bit until they land on me. They look like pools of honey, almost translucent and she looks at me with drizzles of love in her eyes. She smiles a little more, shakes her head and giggles––pleasant laughter filling the room.
“I am so much more in love with you.”
She sighs a little, a smile still gracing her face. Sitting up, she fixes her––my––t-shirt and with the sunlight dramatically framing her, she’s an angel. Stifling a yawn, her arms fly up in the air as she stretches out the knots, “What’s for breakfast? Have you gotten around to making any or have you just been staring at me?”
She’s absolutely perfect, and I will believe so until the day I die. The parts of her I saw in that moment were enough to change me indefinitely––all for the better.
A Consumer’s Delight
glares you down,
Makes you cringe.
Some generic pop song
plays over the speakers,
The corridors stretch on
Walls lined with boxes
Colors flood your sight
a drug trance
And in that
amidst a top-20s song
you find love.
Love for food.
Somewhere at the Bottom of the Morgue
Everything is dark.
Smells foul—reeks of lost ambitions and broken dreams
In some kind of box
Don’t know if I’m dreaming or not
Sounds and swirls echo
Whispers of Everyone I ever loved
and Everyone I didn’t.
I want light
To feel it–the soft warmth of early morning sun
To see it–sunbeams split through leaves
To be it–the only escape.
But there is none.
and my ghosts
that I took with me
that I keep in me
that are me.
and my ghost
somewhere at the bottom of the morgue.
A Different Kind of Bloodbath
Yesterday morning, I woke up in a pool of blood. Sticky, gooey, red, eekily bloody blood. Whose? I had no idea. Definitely not mine though, I crashed last night completely unscathed. Well, as unscathed as one can be after you get off a 32-hour surgical shift and you're so blindingly exhausted that the liquid flowing in your veins is no longer blood, but caffeine.
How did I know it was blood? I didn't until I opened my eyes. Before I saw it, I was scared for a minute–had I peed myself again? I'm not a slob, no, but when you get home from a 17-hour labor stint where the mother is crushing all the bones in your hand, the last thing you care about is your own bladder. I thought it was sweat, maybe some kind of bodily fluid, or maybe just water from the shower (a lie, truly–I hadn't even bathed the night before). Imagine my absolute shock when I sat up and saw the darkening crimson stain near my pelvis.
Ugh, I thought, I'll have to shower before I leave for the hospital. Yawning, I padded over to my bathroom, dumping my cargo shorts on the way. I need to set a reminder to do laundry today after I go out for dinn–AHHHHHH. I was transfixed, my eyes focused on the set of breasts I saw in the dull bathroom mirror.
The lightbulb in my head flicked on and I dropped my pants and voilá, there it was–a vagina. Don't get me wrong, I love vaginas. They're the reason I'm here and the source of utmost pleasure and yada-yada-yada but I never had one myself. Up until today, evidently. It didn't take much to figure from there that my newly-found vagina had decided to, ahem, shed today.
Before the confusion could settle in, a dull pain started creeping up into my stomach. I was suddenly hyper-aware of the ache in my lower back and the throbbing of my thighs. A watery bit of blood trickled down my leg, staining the tiles. I looked up at myself and sighed–at the very least, my face was my own; the genitals could be hidden. The pain amplified–they could be hidden, definitely not ignored.
I'm a medical professional. I have four sisters. Periods are right up my alley, this is not going to be that bad–another cramp hit. Holy mother of Jesus, this is going to be fucking terrible.
By now, I–no, my vagina–was dripping blood onto the bathroom floor. A quick scan through my bathroom told me I had condoms (lots of those) but absolutely no sanitary products. I was going on an adventure.
A quick shower and a prolonged period of staring at my breasts (breasts, they made giggle like I was 14 again) later, adorned in my darkest boxers and baggiest clothes, I headed out.
The stark lights at CVS reminded me of the hospital–which I have to be at in less than an hour!–except these were more accusatory, as if singling me out. I snuck into the sanitary product aisle, hoping to pick up a box and rush out, maybe grab a couple chocolate bars on the way to substitute breakfast. But as soon as I saw the piled-high shelves with packet-after-packet of pink and purple and orange products, I knew that wasn't going to happen. Did I want medium flow tampons? An applicator, maybe? Oooh, night-lock pads sound fun, how much are these fo–20 fucking dollars! Oh Lord, they don't lie to you, it really does take a toll on your bank account to be female.
40 minutes of pondering various colors and choosing between 5 kinds of chocolate bars later, I left with a significantly lighter wallet (FYI, I took all 5 bars). Panicking about the time, I headed home to waste a little more time watching a 12-minute tutorial on how to wear a pad.
Ah-ha, I'm not even running late, I thought as I scarfed down mmy fourth chocolate bar for the morning, on the lookout for my keys. Pads aren't such nightmares, they're pretty comfy if I'm being honest. Then something weird happened (as if everything that had gone down wasn't weird enough). As I bent down to pick up my bag, the little bit of the pad I assume had stuck to me, came off. And boy, oh, boy. The less said the better, but I could guarantee that I'd lost some of the hair on my butt.
A couple aspirins, two pads and a very long 14 hours later, I hit the hay.
This morning, I woke up to feel something uncomfortably pressing up against my dick. Wait, my dick? A quick check told me that the breasts and the vagina had been given back to their rightful owners. Whoever you are I hope you're okay–that shit is like a damn bloodbath.
I still don't know what happened or why what happened happened, but what I do know is this; women are made of some kind of metal and you'd best know that I was going to treat every woman that came into my ER with more respect.
The first time you got me flowers
was just because,
you lost them on the way here.
The second time you got me flowers
was for my birthday.
You picked them out of my own front yard.
You didn’t think that I would notice.
The third time you got me flowers
was for Valentine’s day,
and the roses still had thorns
and we had to go to the ER
to get that thorn
pulled out of my thumb.
The fourth time you got me flowers
was after a fight.
“Yellow,” you had said
“for the colour I feel like
when I see
I told you off—
sunflowers were expensive.
You waved my concerns away
and tucked one
behind my ear.
And all of a sudden,
My sundresses went from peach to lemon,
my walls went from beige to canary,
my heart went from red to you.
I planted sunflowers.
I wore sunflowers.
I dreamt of sunflowers.
I became a sunflower,
always facing the light:
It looked good on me,
A new hue,
a brighter you.
“Yellow,” you say,
“like the light you are.”
I stare at the yellow,
it stares back at me.
With pity, really.
The sunflowers are weeks old,
just like how we were.
They look at me,
because I have no yellow left.
How could I?
When you took all the light with you.
If looks could kill, I’d be long dead. Her narrowed eyes stare daggers into my soul and my fingers nervously pick at the couch. Confrontation is not her thing. So when she texted me saying she needed “to talk”, I was plenty surprised.
What would she even need to talk to me about?
She doesn’t know about last weekend. She can’t. Can she?
But then why would she need to talk about it? She’d have undoubtedly kicked me out.
She looks up and our eyes meet. I can see the repressed fury in her eyes. She knows I messed up.
I should go pack my stuff and OH she’s moving her mouth and words are coming out–“and you know that you’re my favorite person on earth.” Wait, what?
“And you know I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but we need to address this before we move forward,” she says, her voice devoid of any and all emotion.
“I love you–I really do–but I know what you did.”
My heart freezes and my blood turns to ice.
“I love you, but you can’t do it again.”
She puts her hands in mine, breaking me out of my trance.
“Hey, listen to me,” she stares into my eyes earnestly and I brace myself for the words that’ll shatter us.
“Baby, I love you, but you really can’t keep putting empty milk cartons back in the fridge.”