I'm skinny dipping into acid
Every time my lips touch yours.
Quivering as my skin strips off
Yet smiling at the thought of you.
Those soft blue eyes and that smile,
Fickle and reptilian yet so enticing,
So reassuring that it'll be different,
Though I know it won't be.
It never ever changes with you.
Yet, there's no Clyde with Bonnie,
No yo without yin and yang,
No us without work and sacrifice,
And I need to sacrifice like you.
Sacrifice those friends that judge us,
Those relatives with side eyes,
Those strangers that sneer and sigh,
All to make this work for you,
You and I and this new life we created.
Random Thoughts About Me
Let’s skip the mundane. (You know what I mean: Two eyes. Two hands. Two feet. Etc.) Most of us are built like that — though not all.
Skin? If the average person has 22 square feet — two square meters — then I have a bit more. In fact, a bit more than I should. Veins? Let’s say 75,000 miles. That’s close.
If you scraped off my fat, you could make seven bars of soap. (Maybe 10.) But who'd want to shower using soap made from people fat? Not me. That's for sure.
My brain could survive a handful of minutes without oxygen. Perhaps a few more — but not many. When I listen to music, my heartbeat tends to sync with the rhythm. Yours does, too. Most people react that way.
Here’s something odd: One-quarter of the bones in my body are in my feet. Imagine that! I can’t. (Seems like it should be more.)
There's something like 100,000 miles of blood vessels squirming through my body. That means you could lay them out one-by-one and go around the world four times — though I can’t image why you’d want to do that.
By the way, I’m taller in the morning than I am at night. My left kidney is positioned a bit higher than my right one. I can’t breathe and swallow at the same time. (That’s probably true about you as well.)
Although I’m 72, my ears and nose continue to grow — at least that’s what someone on the Internet said. Know what else they said? That I shed about 600,000 particles of skin each hour, my brain produces enough electricity to light up a light bulb, and my body carries around about four pounds of bacteria. ("Yuk!")
One final thought: half of my hand-strength comes from my pinky finger. Ponder that next time you want to make a “pinky promise” with me
Failing My Way to Womanhood
Turning 18 might be the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me. I can vote! And get married! And receive the maximum sentence for homicide! Maybe all on the same day if I’m feeling ambitious. You see, I am now an official, card carrying (according to the State of California DMV) woman, and that’s a bit terrifying because it begs the question, what kind of woman do I want to be? Now, I have a vague idea already, independent, can do 100 push-ups in a row, and finally able to own the fact that my ideal man looks like the lead for a Tim Burton movie (tall, skinny, has scissors for hands, the usual), but after that it’s all ???, ???, and ????
All of my role models (except Dan Savage and Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch) are women. “But what about Gandhi?”, you may cry. “What about Martin Luther King? What about JESUS??” To which I would reply, “Did Gandhi have the gall to dye his hair and eyebrows fuschia and take up jazz singing at the age of 76?” Please. That was my Grandma Vicky. “Did MLK fight off a mountain lion using only a NorthFace fleece?” As if, that was my Aunt Marge. “Jesus may have died for our sins, but did he join a sex cult to do research for his masters thesis?” If so they conveniently left it out of the Bible. My beloved sociology professor on the other hand? Well, I’m sure you know the drill by now.
These women that I look up to: my friends, aunties, and teachers all come from incredibly different walks of life. Yet they have a few essential things in common. They live their lives intentionally, fighting their fears. They know what they’re about, and are working hard to make it happen, all while putting together cute outfits, and having amazing personalities.
Me on the other hand? So far, what I’ve learned about being a woman is a) Acne doesn’t just magically go away the second you turn 18 (seems like that should be illegal but ok) b) The best part of a metal show is that there is absolutely no line for the women's restroom, and the worst part is everything else. (To all the ladies I see looking bored to tears next to their boyfriend thrashing about like a dying fish, why are we doing this to ourselves? We could be at home eating snacks from Trader Joes and watching My Strange Addiction!) and c) Life is absolutely terrifying and exhausting, and some days you just want to take Lyft home, but then you remember the whole being sold into sex slavery thing. Not that it even matters, because you don’t have enough money for Lyft anyway, so you just have to boss up, take the subway and pray you don’t get stabbed by a crackhead (#relatable). Yup, that’s pretty much the sum total of what I’ve learned in the 4 months I’ve been a woman. How will I ever become the woman I want to be when I still haven't figured out basic stuff, like how to rock a beret in a way that looks more French and less Che Guvarra, and how to open a pad without alerting everyone in a five block radius?
According to a couple fairly reputable sources (a woman I met on the bus, and Cosmo) the answer to becoming this woman would be mastering calculus because, “If a woman can do calculus she can do anything!”, and learning how to properly suck the D (“The day you learn that you mostly use your hand and create the illusion that you are putting an entire erect penis in your mouth is the day you really become a woman”) I did get a D in calculus, does that count? No? Ah well.
So how did these women do it? In my head their transformations from awkward adolescent to confident queen took place in a smoothly edited montage set to “Eye of the Tiger.” In reality, they did things like accidentally murder their bosses parakeets, elope to Mexico with men who didn’t speak a word of English (not a problem if only they had spoken Spanish), and get perms. In short, they messed up. A lot. They took risks, often foolish ones, made mistakes, and got knocked down. But they always, always, always got back up again. Learning from their mistakes, they continued to move forward. So there may be hope for me yet. You see, unlike calculus, and fellatio, I am amazing at messing up.
an unknowable love
i fell in love with a girl
whose name was the sound thunder makes
when it hits the ground.
she was not thunder, though.
her skin felt like falling,
her lips tasted like what rain should have been.
i am not sure that she was human,
nor was she alive.
for to breathe,
and to possess a beating heart,
is not to live.
she was not meant to fall in love.
she was not meant to kiss,
or to touch.
to inhale and exhale,
to feel the way fingers lock around each other.
she was meant to exist,
but not to live.
so she existed,
and i lived.
we were broken.
So a few people know this and a few people don't but I think it's wrong. A few Prosers that know about it have already contacted Prose and yeah, I get that it's the holidays and all but I think this needs to be taken care of as quickly as possible.
Here's the deal. There's a user named Unique who entered into the Challenge of the Month for December. Perfectly fine. But she went and created over 90+ side accounts to go and like and repost her post. It has over 400 views at this point.
Problem Number One: You're only allowed to have one account on Prose. Yeah, sure, a few of us have another account that we like to use when we want to write just to write and now for people to see. It's a personal account that is normally on private. But over 90 is a bit exessive.
Problem Number Two: She/He/It/They deleted any comment that wasn't in favor of the post. I had to recomment twice and then block the user so they couldn't delete it. A fellow Prose reached out and asked what her explanation for all the side accounts was and they responded saying they were people they had invited to Prose. Cool, awesome, we love new people but over 90+ people? There's no way that all of those are you 'friends.' I'll give you like five or eight.
Problem Number Three: This is probably the biggest one. Imagine being a new user on Prose and stumbling upon this post and seeing that Unique is too a new user but has so many views and likes and reposts and you work has like five at most. I know how this is! When I first started, I was excited because ten or so people had liked my post and then I saw veterans on here who had made a bit of a following as they had been on there for so long and they had tons more likes, reposts, and views then I did. But you know what? They took me under their wings and helped me and would even tag other people to come and read my posts. I grew and since I've been on here, I've been trying to help those that are new to Prose. But just imagine! for a split second the discouragement they would feel.
Problem Number Four: Prose is being slow. Now, I mentioned earlier that yeah, it's the holidays and all but it's a matter of time before Unique starts screwing with the other challenges. Luckily, you don't win the challenge of the month because of likes and reposts or they would have blown us all out of the water with their fake system. I messaged Prose several days ago and have heard nothing about it. Yet Unique is still getting away with it.
I just hope that something can be done about this and quickly.
The room falls silent.
The heart monitor has stopped.
My true love is lost.
The One That Got Away
I’m moving back to my hometown. It has been almost 20 years. I saw her last night. She was visiting my mother. Her strawberry-blond hair is exactly as I remember it. Probably a bottle dye job, now, but it looked authentic. So did her smile.
She asked about my family. They are moving up from Chicago as soon as I find a house. She asked about my new job. It is going well.
Then there was a moment. She had no more questions, she was standing in mother’s kitchen wearing her coat, keys in hand. She paused. I paused. Our eyes connected. I saw an alternate universe. We never drifted apart. We married. We had children, a boy and a girl with strawberry-blond hair. We traveled. We laughed. We made love in a home near the beach where she grew up. We were drunk with love, fulfilled, assured, and living without regret.
Another moment, and the fantasy was replaced with reality. I know she saw in my eyes the same pain I saw in her’s. The year’s have not been kind. Mistakes. Hurt. Regret.
An hour later there was a new Facebook message. She said it was nice to see me. Her words were full of tension, longing, and loneliness. The same washed over me. I remembered the feel of her strawberry-blond hair running through my fingers and the low moan of contentment she would make when I did that. I reflected on the timing of it all. It was me, really, who drifted. She always made me smile.
I replied, returning the sentiment. I waxed eloquent. She always liked my writing.
She asked about the past. What happened, anyway? I didn’t really know. I fumbled out a reply, then deleted it and took a moment. What did happen?
Life happened. And it hasn’t been easy. We went our separate ways.
I scrolled through her Facebook profile. She married a man. They have four children. One she named Whitney. I knew she would, she wanted a Whitney since we were kids. Whitney has strawberry-blond hair; beautiful.
I married three years after we split. My wife is kind. We have two children. I adore them. Being a husband and a father has been incredible. I treasure my family.
I replied. I wished her well. I explained that though I was moving back to Michigan, we wouldn’t be seeing each other much. I told her I was happy, which is mostly true. I told her I want her to be happy, too. I used the word ‘boundaries’.
She thanked me. She explained she would be “unfriending” me on Facebook. She wished me well, too.
I lay in my bed for a while thinking of strawberry-blond hair and love. I pictured my wife’s face, dwelled on it. I love her. I don’t know what happens in alternate realities, but I live in this one. And I am thankful.