Not my story.
I get so tired of the questions. How can I tell you what's wrong? How can I express how I feel? This story, it's not mine. Not this time. And I don't want to talk about it. What can I say?
Do you really want to hear? And is it because you're worried about me? About her? Or is it ghoulish requests for details you can shake your head and clutch your pearls over?
I won't parade her barely mended soul in front of the world to explain my tears. They're not for me. I will not tell a story that is not mine.
So I'll stay quiet, until we find out how the story ends.
I won't ask that you forgive my silence, but that you respect it.
There used to be a tree in the backyard. It fell two summers ago, struck by lightning. We chopped it up, used it for firewood in the winter.
That stump, I used it to have tea parties with the fairies that lived in the honeysuckle. Little acorns for cups, leaves for plates, while they wove flowers into a crown for me. Said I was a princess, and they loved me. I wished so bad I could fly like they did. Wished a bite of leaf would fill me up, so I wouldn't be hungry anymore. Wished I could live with them, and smell honeysuckle all day long.
They said I could, if I listened close, and did as I was told.
So I went down to the creek, all dressed and laid down.
Now I can fly, and I'm not hungry anymore, and there's honeysuckle curled around my headstone, and it smells so sweet.
Cold marble under my hands, the reflection of a person I don't remember on the wall. I've looked so hard, for a part of me I thought you'd like. Something you could want.
But all I ever found was bigger tits, smaller waists, new faces, empty eyes, and the thrill of a chase I don't give.
Not even good enough to chain up, devoted enough to stay with no bindings, alone, in a bathtub long gone cold, waiting until you tire of the chase, and long for the meager pleasure I will always willingly give.
Never my name that falls from your lips, never my flesh underneath yours, never any demands on me, never commanded to strip and serve. I can hear you, and the newest faceless girl, one room and over, while I wither and wrinkle, alone, and envy the strangers you desire.
That was my nickname, did you know that? My grandpa called me that, as long as I can remember.
"Hey hey! Come here little outlaw, and hug my neck."
Because of my name, you know? I didn't get that, till I was older. Just thought grandpa gave funny nicknames to all of us.
I wonder though, if you know my middle name. If you remember? My favorite food? Favorite color? Do any of the parts of me that can't be seen, can't be touched, do they matter?
It was a good nickname though.
He always imagined she'd taste like bubblegum, it's all he thought of, when he thought about her lips. Bubblegum and softness, and the slow, sweet drawl he teased her about.
She didn't though. When he finally tasted her, it was like pecan divinity. The smell of vanilla surrounded her, and the salty sweetness of her lips was surprisingly complex, and utterly intoxicating.
Bubblegum, he realized, was just what she looked like, underneath she was much, much more.
The lack thereof.
I remember, back when hungry was a permanent feeling, what it was like anytime anyone put food in front of me. Even saltines with peanut butter on them, they felt like a feast. A treat. Gourmet. Delicious. Spam? Like filet mignon to a small, empty stomach.
I think, sometimes it's like that with kindness. I spent a lot of years with a man that liked to be mean. It made the times he was less mean, it made those times seem like kindness. I feel like I've learned to take kindness, real kindness, as more than it's intended, now. I forget that sometimes people are just nice to be nice. It doesn't mean they care, not in any sort of intimate way. A man being nice to me, being kind, it doesn't mean he loves me.
I need to remember that. It's not love, even if it's nice. I ought not be so silly, to think that way.
Blondes, they have more fun.
It seems like all my existential crises are about my hair.
Or at least reflected by it.
Which is probably not healthy. I shouldn't rebel against long gone voices and the damage they did, thumbing my nose at people I no longer have to please.
What if my hair was just...hair.
What would that feel like? To not have to hate it or change it or mold it or fix it to fit some random ideal of beauty I'll never fit anyway? What if it was just there? What if it just was? If I didn't have to dye it every two months, and worry about finding the money to get it cut, not finding it and cutting it myself? What if I just learned that it was ok, to be however it is? Mousy brown and weirdly waved, is that ok? Can I do that? Can I leave it alone and learn to just love it, to love me, without fixing anything for anyone, including myself? Can I just be enough?
Just as I am, without alteration, with the understanding that I am not intended to fit an ideal. I do not have to be pleasing to anyone's eyes but my own. I don't have to be blonde. I don't have to be thin. I don't have to be anything.
Maybe being me is enough. Maybe it isn't. But I'll take it one step at a time, and the first step, I think, is literally getting back to my roots.
Dusty leather and polished pearls.
She knew from the start this wouldn't end in happily ever after. He looked like trouble, from the first glance, all leather and denim. Good boys didn't dress like that, didn't move like that, damn sure didn't talk like that.
He pushed past her Southern belle exterior, past the pearls and polite yes Sir's, pushed down into the parts that made her wild, underneath that petticoat. Touched all the parts she pretended not to have.
Before the dust could settle under his well worn boots, he was gone. Leaving the imprint of his calloused hands on the soft white parts of her that never saw daylight. Leaving her wanting more, and vowing from then on, to only date Yankees in polo shirts.
She wore a yellow ribbon nestled into her soft red curls. Ivory skin dusted with soft freckles, and eyes as blue as the bonnie blue flag, she was never without a beau, a line of suitors behind her like the train of a dress. All the cotillions, the dances, the barbecues, you could find her by the crowd of men, and that yellow ribbon in her hair.
A yellow ribbon, frayed around the edges, but still bright, now tied around a pile of love letters. Her love was gone, their life was over, no more forever, no more today. Her eyes went dark, her luster gone, but that yellow ribbon stayed in her hand, circling what was left of her heart.
An old woman, with a few strawberry streaks left amongst her gray curls, dies alone, in an empty house, with a faded yellow scrap of ribbon twirled around her fingers.
I think some people are forever people. People with good hearts and strong wills that command love, and earn respect. They find love early, and love forever. Soul mates, maybe, is the right word.
I don't think that's what I am, I'm not a forever person, I don't think.
I think I'm a maybe for a little while person. It's not that I'm unloveable, so much as I'm un-foreverable, instead. Good for a year, maybe two, before you move on to forever.
Or maybe I'm an in between person. Because seems like there's true love in the ones that came before, and sometimes the ones that come after me. Maybe I'm just a placeholder, until it's real.
I sometimes wish though, that I was a forever love.