beat / melody
(Please note this work isn't finished and will likely stay that way.)
Artistry is your mother’s greatest weapon, greatest song. You are five when you first touch a piano- she hires a tutor a week later. The glory in this gesture is how you agreed. After all, you wanted to be just like your mama, fingers gracing the keys, painting the air with art and love. Yes- you wanted to be just like her.
You are six when your mother decides you’re ready for your first recital. An hour before, she straightens your hair and kisses you on the cheek: You’ll make me proud, dear love. I promise. She laughs, and the heart sinking to your stomach lurches. Yet you say: Okay.
You make no mistakes that day- your melody, simple and true. Your mama is in the first pew, and she claps, face lit up. The shine in her eyes makes the butterflies disperse- or maybe sink lower. But you smile, bow, and take your seat.
From then on, your piano tutor starts coming every other day. He assigns you new pieces every week, and you learn them all obediently, hands deft and practiced. Your mother sits in, often falling asleep to the sound of your work. The sight makes your chest warm- your accomplishments are mounting to something, after all. Your skill level is slowly approaching hers, and every night you hear her grace the keys before bed. A sonata here, a tune from your childhood there. It’s breathtaking- you’d give anything to sound like that, to be like that. In your mind’s eye, she had mastered the art. Yet she tells you often: You are on your way to mastery yourself, dear love. And well. Is she wrong?
You are eight when you win for the first time. The elation thrums between your knuckles, a heartbeat of its own.
The first time you freeze up in a performance is when you are twelve years old. You are auditioning, or competing, or something of that sort; the sort where all eyes are waiting for you to fumble. And you do. Your heartbeat flails for a fragile moment mid-piece, and you are overcome with the sudden sensation that you cannot breathe. Yet it ends as soon as it begins, and the silence is stronger than the preceding song. You start up again- of course you do - but it is not quite the same. You finish, exiting the stage with a strange feeling behind your wrists. Your mother looks confused. You feel like crying, suddenly, but you don’t know if you can.
It doesn’t happen again for a while, and your walls glimmer with the gold of success. Or maybe it is accomplishment- it feels too empty anyways, and you don’t know what prize will fix it. In the moments when your mother isn’t home, you find yourself at the bench automatically, playing dissonant chords into a broken melody. It is sad, simple- unoriginal. Worst of all, they are not beautiful, nor are they the art your mother weaves out of wit and vision at night.
They are yours, though, in a world full of things that are not. And for now, that will have to be enough.
You are fourteen when you first consider quitting piano, after an announcer calls your name and the audience claps politely. It is a national honor to win something like this. Your mother is cheering too, crying a bit. Once upon a midnight you might have cried at the chance to make her proud too. Right now, though, you are tired. You can no longer hear the melody, or even the heartbeat. Yet you come up to the stage, shake the announcer’s hand. Take your bows. Smile automatically. On the plane ride back home, though, you find yourself repeatedly touching your chest. You think you are looking for a sign of a pulsing thrum, a sign you are alive. Your fingers come back cold, and you are not surprised anymore.
You tell your mother at sixteen, and she cries for a long, long, time. And the relieving thing, the sorrowful thing, is: your mother doesn’t shout in a blaze of anger, but shuts herself away for hours upon days. You do not understand, but you do- the art she so treasures you are throwing away without a second glance. And once upon a midnight, you would have been horrified at the thought. Music is in your blood, entwined between childhood and memory. What would you be without it? Yet a question comes anyways, in wary mornings as you stare at your reflection in the mirror: What am I with it, anyways?
And so the piano gathers dust, a dreary layer of grey upon once pristine keys. You never meant for her to stop, but when you tucked away your sheet music into a forlorn attic, your mother tucked away that part of her heart as well. It confuses you, her not playing- and you ask her about it, once. The refusal to continue to melody. So your mother looks at you with grieving eyes, and takes your fingers gently, pressing your thumbs against your heart, then hers. You don’t know what you’re supposed to feel, so you pull away (and you only see her hollow eyes for a moment)- but you inspect your thumbs a lot that night.
You take down your trophies, medals, certificates. They don’t mean anything anymore, though you suppose they hadn’t for a long time.
You were never quite as academic as you were musical, you will admit, so you end up going to some nowhere college in a nowhere place. But it’s fine. It’s fine, because the melody had been lost years ago. You stand at crossroads with no gilded twine, no pulsing heartbeat to guide you. It’s foggy.
You are tired.
You are twenty when she dies. Your father (how dare he) calls you on the phone, tells you the news flatly. Once upon a midnight, you might have cried; your fingers turn towards your chest again, begging for something, anything. It is cold. Your chest rings hollow.
You hang up and go to sleep.
Your aunt texts you a week later, asking if you could play the piano at the funeral.
So you return home, dust off the piano, retrieve the sheet music from the attic. Finger a tentative note, and then another into the clarity of the morning. A memory flashes: your face innocent, hers shining.
You look up, and it is well into the afternoon. Later, you fall asleep on the couch, and it smells like sonatas performed at dusk.
But here is the tragedy- you tried. Yes, you tried, you really did. But your hands were too shaky, too stiff, for it to be anything close to art anyways. Your aunt pats you gently, hand on the phone. She is calling a for-hire pianist, and you don’t think your mother would have wanted that. Then again, when have your choices ever been ones she’s wanted?
The funeral is nice, you guess. The pianist made no flaw, but the melody did not reverbate as hers did. You look away from the coffin as you pay your respects and leave before lunch starts. You’re on the plane again within the week.
So you are twenty three when it hits you fully. You had graduated with a degree in something that didn't hit too close to home- history, or something like it. There you are, getting in the car after working 9 to 6 at the office, turning on the radio, when you realize yesterday was her birthday. It hits you then, a surge of what some people would call grief. She’d use some other word in a lovely language she never thought to teach you, a word you vaguely understood not as sadness but as longing- regret and love and wistfulness; a promise repeated over and over under roofs and sky and sun, not through words but through heartbeats and thumbs. The melody did not say: look at me, ma, you’d be proud; because would she be proud, really? No, not that, but something like:
know me promise me come back come back let me feel your pulse again your symphony again your thumbs under mine
Well, you return to your old house a week later, unsure of what to expect. Maybe the melody will still echo silent. Maybe the heartbeat will never come home. And yet. The bench is pulled forward, hands poised unsure and unsteady. There is no choice, you think, somewhat bitterly, somewhat thankfully, but to move on. To move on and continue the symphony, the song, the sonata. To finish hers, even, and start your own.
(unfinished transition. poorly executed.)
Your thumb presses the middle C, and then again. Another. In and out, dear love. Press forward, in and out.
It fills your lungs- do you understand this? You are alive and breathing under brilliant skies and gentle dirt. This is the heartbeat, the sonata. The melody she dedicated her life to. The melody she tried to teach you. And she failed, didn’t she? Or maybe you failed- you never understood, but neither did she. This careful dance of burden and blame will not lead anywhere, you think. In the end, it led to the same place anyways.
Try a chord now, dear love- dear dreamer. Press forward. Hear it ring deep within your chest. Oh, the well has been empty for so long now. Aren’t you ready to fill it with something new?
In and out, dear love.
In and out.
dear editors, i have swallowed a thesaurus for you but
sorry, i never learned to spell. i never learned to trace
out these foreign sounds in my mouth and marvel at
the tastes they draw from my tongue. i have got only
simplicity to offer, and so i submit it to your altar.
dear editors, funny thing- i'm supposedly a poet (and
the weight that comes with that title) so i thought
i'd say it in words- anxiety's a strange state of matter
to live in. it crawls in the space between my index
finger and the mouse, hovering over the 'submit's of
google forms and 'send's of stiff emails. and get this:
i close the tab and delete the email, waiting for the feeling
to retreat. i ask myself, weakly: 'what is art without
perception?'; myself says back: 'i see no art within
these words.' it wins again; i delete the pdf off my
laptop without a second thought, and the list of altars
i've shown my heart to remains unchanged.
dear editors- inevitably, i've come to the altar again,
with so many others, of course. they bear ink
on their tongues and graceful words underneath
their nails. these artists go forth and present
their lovely offerings; they are brave, something i
wish to be. the fear of something stirs in my eyes.
i stay back; my finger hovers over the submit
button, the send button. i feel the fear twist
down through vertebrae into my stomach.
and so i leave the altar.
the loveliest lies of all
you trip and
you almost let something unsavory
come out of your mouth, but close it instead.
you steady your pace, and your partner laughs,
and readjusts the grasp on your waist; after a few
beats, you find the rhythm of the waltz again.
the pianist accents the note with a flourish, with the
violinist stretching out the melody. you turn
to glance at their faces but the dance continues
and you catch only a blur. the small cabin is cozily
warm but filled with partners. the tap of shoes against
the wooden floorboards is hypnotizing, but your partner
taps you gently on the shoulder, and you look
you tilt your head in question. your partner
laughs. don't tilt your head at me, he winks.
something about that makes the back of your neck
shudder, but you ignore it. whats wrong? you wanna
that's the wrong question, isn't it? that thought
disappears as quickly as it came, so you
instead say, what do you need?
your partner blinks,
and something flashes behind his eyes.
you aren't sure when you stopped moving, or when
the music stopped, but the massive ballroom is
empty and cold, and you can see your reflection
in the marble flooring.
you stop. you glance up at your partner,
then look down at the ground again.
there is only one figure in the reflection.
automatically you flinch out of your
partner's fingers, but his face remains
blank, mouth neutral. where is your reflection,
you say, not quite a question. and then:
we weren't here before- where did the
a beat passes, and he steps back, drops
his eyes. you track his movements,
and watch him walk away, walk to gaze out
the arched ceiling reaching up to the ceiling.
you wait for a moment, then join him.
the sky is too gorgeous, an unnatural shade
of lovely black ice blue. you look away
after a second- you have to. at long last,
your partner(?) looks down from the window,
though the light still illuminates his figure.
so. he smiles finally. you figured it out, right?
you think for a moment.
the cabin. the ballroom.
the violinist. the lone reflection.
something is wrong. you manage.
that's not incorrect. he jerks his head. and then:
well. you think you'd have noticed that sort of
thing. still, you suppose it makes sense.
okay. you decide. okay, then. you're a figure
of my imagination?
oh, you wound me, he smirks. little sister.
a broken noise comes out of your throat before
you think, and you do not know why.
'i'd remember my older brother,' you want to say,
but instead you swallow, and try to think.
you realize, watching him, he looks at you
with a sort of fondness,
the sort of fondness that comes from
someone who hasn't
seen you in a while.
you don't realize you're hyperventilating until
your brother grabs your fingers in his, going over the
breathing exercises he taught you until your heart
stops feeling like it will collapse into itself.
the ballroom has gotten so cold you can see your
breath dispersing into small clouds. but,
you're dead. you whisper.
always the smarter of us two, he agrees.
you sit there for awhile, focusing on
steadying your heartbeat. its so obvious
once it is said in words. finally, you look up.
well, why am i dreaming of my dead brother, then?
he looks mildly amused at that. i dunno. do you miss me?
'all the time', you want to answer. but you look around instead,
expecting the ballroom to change. why now? i've never
dreamt about you before. at least, not in years.
he bows his head. you know the answer to that one.
you don't reply, choosing instead to turn and watch
shooting stars flicker across the window.
you watch the stars with him for what feels like
eternity. it's not, but it's long enough to make up
for long lost time. you don't say anything at first, he doesn't
either- you're dreaming, what's the point? but at
some point, he turns to you, with an unreadable expression
on his face. he speaks: so, little sister?
you swallow, and lick dry lips. this isn't real.
a nod. and?
your eyes are unfocused when you turn to him.
i wish it were. and: i want to stay.
but you can't. he says. he waits for an echo.
when you don't reply, he frowns.
but you can't, he says more forcefully. you can't, right?
you shake your head, but he goes on: we're beautiful
little things built to live in the fabrics of reality, not the
deceitful satins of dreams.
always a poet, you think. you were never so good
with words and you end up muttering something
stupid like: it's just hard.
but he just smiles and shrugs: well, that's the
glory of it, is it not?
sometimes it's not glorious. you exhale.
usually it's not, actually. he corrects. i'm dead,
yeah, i do. you snort. not very glorious of you, actually.
maybe glory isn't the best word for it, then. he taps
his chin absently. have you got a better idea?
i guess not. you say. i'll think on it though.
when you get back? he asks and
a beat. when i get back.
he bows his head. thank you.
you stand there for a second longer, and he
takes that as a signal to leave. but as he
turns away, you grab his hand. will i see you again?
he raises his eyebrow. i'm literally in your head.
you're not sure if that's a yes. then i can conjure you whenever?
he slowly releases his hand. i'm not real, little sister.
but: why not?
he smiles again. it's a bit sad. it's not healthy to
cling to echoes of dead brothers, don't you think?
you watch your lone reflection in the marble. i don't
care if it's not real. i want you, even if this you
is a lie. it's a beautiful lie.
he considers this. then, this isn't where you find me.
then where? you demand.
he takes his time answering. in sunrises and art
museums. classic poetry and fireworks. the smell
of citrus and the taste of sourdough. in the glory of living.
in things i loved.
your voice is barely above a whisper: but you're
not there to enjoy those things with me.
he shrugs. not in the way you want me to be. and yet
i'm inexplicably there, aren't i?
you inhale. exhale. in the glory of living.
in the glory of living. he agrees.
you watch the stars for a bit more before
you have to leave. the goodbye isn't with
a kiss or a cry but with a
you wake up sometime in
the blissful crevices of the morning,
restless. getting up from your bed, you
walk through the celebratory decor your family
hung about the house. eventually,
you make your way to his room, cracking open his
door and slipping in. his neatly made bed
has a fine layer of dust over it, but you settle in it
you do not feel eighteen and
you do not feel older than him and
older than he will ever be.
the thoughts leave an empty ache
between your shoulders.
you don't feel glorious. and yet,
when you wake up the next day,
you ask for sourdough and fireworks
as a birthday gift.)
wtw 100 qna cause it got taken down over there kekw
i cannot fit the whole thing in my bio + authors notes i tried i really did. i guess i still can answer questions from the prose crowd as well
favorite youtube video: youtube is such a large platform i don't know if i could choose a singular video? i mean i doubt i remember many of the vids from my history (mindless media consumption my beloved) but charlie slimesicle's 'corn' is always a classic. i always watch a ton of fandom related animatic/animation as well so thats a thing
how i found my niche: still finding it. but what has personally helped me is just like,,, reading what i like, writing what i like, and getting feedback on that writing? particularly when people go 'i really like x line' or 'your writing is always so x!' because i cannot critique my own artistic ventures if my life depended on it so i'm always like, 'oh cool that worked then'
process in finding niche: see above haha. still an ongoing process though
what changed the most since the great migration: man that seemed so long ago. idk, wtw just feels a lot less. personal now? still friendly, but (with exceptions ofc) a lot of things seem like the sort of 'we work at the same mcdonalds so we should be courteous of each other' sort of friendly. there is a word for this and i do not remember. also missin' wtw highlights + all the transitioners every day sadge
how i'd describe my writing style: uh idk i cannot look at my own art particularly objectively like i said above. a lot of people tend to use 'raw' to describe it, and i definitetly wouldn't disagree? i have difficulty describing how people (including myself) feel emotions in an eloquent way, so i guess at one point i thought i might as well stop fighting that. im not sure if this counts as style, but i also tend to like (and write well) story-driven poetry? a lot of people write what i would almost be inclined to call one-shots- like snapshots of a little universe, which is more than perfectly fine, but i find myself preferring people doing things or something. maybe cause i come from a background of writing novels, or more precisely, thinking about writing novels.
favorite song: depends on mood. tend to like edm, vgm, jazz, and indie; i'm expanding my taste though! my time by bo en is always a good bet. reminds me a bit of your piece 'decay', maybe if the piece was high and on steroids.
personality type: entp, also known as NeTi. not a lot of thinkers in wtw ('n poetry in general), i will readily admit (yellow sweater had always struck me as one though their work screams some combination of intuition and thinking), likely because it tends to be an emotionally-driven genre. i guess that Fe needs an outlet somewhere?? theres a reason i publish anonymously though heh
fiction character i identify with: used to kin ness from earthbound in 6th grade. its not particularly relevant to the conversation but i thought i'd say it. besides ocs i project emotional trauma onto, i just tend to like a genre of characters? any character that gets a found family i am now you
how i came across wtw: don't remember if im being completely honest. probably just saw an ad for one of their contests or something? its possible i saw something about it on ywp nanowrimo.
finding inspiration during writers block: i actually don't read a lot of poetry during writers block? besides scrolling through wtw and all. mostly just consume other forms of media- video games, animation and tv shows, fanfiction if im in the mood. art inspires art, it'll come back to me eventually. i hope.
first thing i ever wanted to be when i grew up: probably a princess or something lol. i also wanted to be a stage magician too, or an astronomer. don't remember which came first.
how i'm so brilliant: bounce your thoughts around in your brain like a dvd logo, when it hits the corner it will form an Idea™. hope this helps <3
prophecies on the subway walls
i live on dirty subway corners where you can hear the resonant
afterthought of a musican's heartbeat.
(and orpheus reaches out.)
and my breath is the passing thrum of the
metro, because my home
is not heaven nor hades so perhaps in between.
rest your feet, traveler, toss me a coin or two.
i can spin you a tale or sing you a song, like
the poets before me. i construct
ballads out of discolored chewing gum wads and the
stink of cigarette smoke and it might not be
pretty, wanderer, but it is home.
(and home is not where gods live but
where humans die.)
bend down, little one, sit if you wish.
(the metro won't arrive 'til the show is complete.)
what has brought you to me? a melody? a legend? perchance, a wish?
maybe a dream, these days they say
dreams are wishes in wolves' clothing.
humans say many things nowadays. but some things are constant.
you know, they sing how 'the words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls.'
i think it's a funny little saying, funnier still
how we choose to ignore them.
cassandra would have hated that no one learned.
(or maybe she'd laugh, and have another glass. pessimism is
fashionable on those fate favors, on those fate twists.)
but troy's been in the same cycle for a millennium now.
different names, same games. history repeats- in fact, it rhymes,
and perhaps this verse will be mine to spin.
ah, the time approaches. and so for a bow. a finale, an ending. how will the curtain
close? a metro station is not for these things, you see. i am
not a beginning or an ending- i am a transition, like all important things.
perhaps you'll learn to value transitions one day- these walls are not
sleek marble, not polished wood. they are dirty, a half note of an unfinished song,
abandoned. traveler, learn to listen, learn to see. and when you leave, hear the
hum of the subway, read the prophecies on the walls.
and maybe this time, when cassandra speaks, someone will listen.
the deceit of dreams
the chance to dream means the chance for nightmares. a dream without its mirror is not a dream; it is a lie. and yet ignorance is bliss and i suppose bliss wins all.
i don't remember my dreams anymore and sometimes i'm sure it's a conscious decision. i think if i cannot remember the good i will not remember the bad. then what is there left to love? am i so afraid of the monsters in my mind that i turn away all chances to live? there is no flight without first a fall. i refuse to fall. i'm stuck in the white space called repression. it's comfortable, it's safe. it's hell.
so, let us ask then what lies behind the suppression of a dream. does each suppression build? i can feel the pressure between my eyes. perhaps they fall away, shedding off with each forgotten promise. do repressed reveries melt off my skin, dripping radioactive sludge? one day it might kill me. haha;
oh, the irony of erasure.
eternal golden hour
Last night I dreamt I was on a train at eternal golden hour heading to a place I don't know. It was so real I swear I could feel the thrum of machinery when I fell awake. It seemed so lovely when I stood there among blurry faces and dirty sneakers. Maybe that's why it couldn't stay.
Last night I dreamt I was on a train at eternal golden hour heading to a place I don't remember. It was so real I swear I could feel the dripping sun when I fell awake. It seemed so still when I stood there among blank eyes and grimy seats, like flies in amber. Maybe that's why it couldn't start.
Last night I dreamt I was on a train at eternal golden hour heading to a place I don't think exists. It was so wrong, I swear the faceless passengers were taunting me by the time I fell awake. It seemed so terrifying when I stood there among those repressed memories with a name. Maybe that's why I was glad when I blinked awake.
And last night I dreamt I met myself on a train at eternal golden hour, heading to a place I don't want to find. Her face was vivid and out of everyone in that train, she was the only to meet my gaze. My reflection whispered a thought in my ear before passing by, yet when I fell awake the dream dissolved under my tongue. It seemed so lucid, and I wish I knew why.
sketches in marigold
i think marigold is the color of
childhood, or at least the color of mine. memories
dipped in deep mustard, touched
gentle amber with the passages of time.
i think marigold is the color of
innocence, or at least the charade of it. rubbing
playing cards tinted ochre under my calloused
thumbs, sticking fingers in lunchtable holes.
i think marigold is the color of
childish love, or at least the high of it. mashing
buttons on the family wii, pinky promises
sworn under glow-in-the-dark stars.
and i think marigold is the color of
a time now lost, and the aftermath of wistfulness
paints the sketches in.
maybe im a coward (but a coward doesnt try)
its 3 am and i think maybe maybe i should be sleeping but
im not sure i care anymore.
its me again and i might just be crazy and i might just be stupid
but i think i like it at 3 am because all of it is gone. but if its just me
and my light of my phone then theres no excuse for all those read-mes i left
behind in the haze that is life nowadays. and i promise i promise im getting
to them someday but its just too much.
its 3 am and i think if i close my eyes when i open them my mind
is clear and im beside someone, maybe you, and maybe in this better reality
i remember how to form a smile and maybe i could even touch your hand.
i promise i promise im not weird or creepy and i know i wasnt this way before
but exhaustion catches up with one at some point, and i could stop pretending
were all okay.
its 3 am and im getting tired just looking at all the emails i forgot to reply to
but i cant muster the energy to say hello or maybe how im doing i guess.
im scrolling to the end of my dms and i find ours and im sorry im sorry i didnt
answer six months ago and i care i promise
(but if you care why dont you say so?)
its easier to walk past. its easier to move forward and say ill get to it later and
im sorry for doing whats easy. im sorry im sorry and i know you said i dont need to
apologize but im trying to do whats good and right now so why is it so hard
to reach out again.
(i know i said id stop but why does it feel like such a lie why people say
'my dms are always open' because your dms are open i guess thats true
but my heart is closed im sorry im sorry)
its 3 am and im scrolling through twitter again and yeah i know its not
the greatest use of my time or the best habit but do i honestly have
the strength to do anything else? my timeline is full of sorrow and i dont know
how to say 'im so so sorry i just dont have the strength or the money
to help you and im so so sorry but sometimes it feels like i cant handle
the responsibility of another tragedy' in tweet form.
(there are just some things you cant put into words.)
its 3 am and i inevitably open our dm again.
theres no such thing as electronic silence yet here it is and its powerful
and i dont want to disturb the Six months ago that sits above your last text.
and maybe im a coward for that.
but i whisper to myself a coward doesnt try, letting my finger hit the input bubble.
i tell you i cant describe the weights shifting my chest when i tapped in
and a new bubble popped up.
and its 3 am and i think my heart opens a bit.
you shot my heart (i hoped to die)
tw for death- car crashes (and a bus but thats a car too??), falling (?), allergy attack . be careful.
three's a crowd, that is true.
but take one more. take four,
and you have death.
we live in a world that wears our humanity around our necks.
four lives, the wind whispers weighing lightly under my chest.
four lives, four deaths.
i'd almost wish for only one. one life, one death-
because then would it truly matter.
that week you didn't come to school. everyone wondered
what happened, but when you appeared the next,
you had only three of the four pins everyone wore on their shirt.
three, not four, metal pins, each shaped like a heart.
i think i cried.
you know, the first time you lose a life, you lose the red pin.
(then blue, white, gold.)
i lost mine shortly after yours.
you reassured me death did not hurt; but you died from falling
down (down) your stairs. a painless death indeed.
(you were no icarus, and indeed
this is no myth, no fairy tale.)
but that night, when my sister was far too intoxicated to be
driving, for the minutes (hoursyears)
it felt like i was conscious before i slipped away, (a leaf in a breeze)
all i could think about was you, and your fall.
they say dying the first three times has no physical effects.
that might be true. but it'd be a lie to say that the other kinds
did not exist.
no one around me seemed to fear death in the way i did.
after all, you had more tries afterwards, didn't you? you and i,
we were the only two who had actually experienced it
until high school. but even you didn't understand the
way i couldn't sleep or think or feel on those certain days as
the weight of only so many chances starts to dawn on you
after you lose the first.
you were never the same after my first death; in
retrospect, it started when you lost your first.
you became more careless after the first pin disappeared
from your jacket. you wore the absence of red like a
badge, while i wore mine with shame. i asked and you
said that now i know what i'm gambling. i nodded but
really i don't think you did.
a month later you had an allergy attack; peanuts.
(a blue heart gone, a shard of humanity.) i worried so
hard that weekend, i slept even less than usual
out of fear and anxiety.
when i told you this, you laughed. why so worried?
i've gotten the hang of this.
but i hadn't.
it wasn't particularly unusual for high schoolers to have lost
one life, maybe two. some even consider it a rite of passage,
losing the red. my fear of death was profoundly unusual, so i tried
to hide it. i went along, tried my classmates daring ways,
along with you, of course.
the lake behind our school, that was always a subject
of dares. one time i hit the water too fast, too wrong, and.
well. and i lost my blue.
when i woke up the next day unable to control my breath,
you called and congratulated me. you're getting the hang
of it, you said.
i always thought i cried too much, though you used to disagree.
but i thought maybe you'd be proud of me for holding back tears
while throwing my blue pin into the wind.
and so we were equal once again. we were so young, spending
away our chances at such a small age. i tried to understand, then
to reason. look, we need to change. we've already wasted half our
chances. we cannot afford to keep this up.
you nodded, agreeing. we promised each other no more
gambling, that we'd wear our hearts together with caution.
but fate held no such promise, so the next year
the school bus we rode every day skittered
out of control, and off the freeway. for a moment
we were weightless, timeless, ageless. like the universe
held its breath. and i caught the glint of your eyes, angry and
desperate and confused
but not scared.
so much tragedy, i could hear everyone around me whispering.
that week we came back, (always back) to school. a senior, already
on one life. the white was gone, only the gold remained.
but when i met up with you at lunch, you were not angry, nor scared.
you merely looked to me, so resigned. one more, for both of us, eh?
i fingered the singular heart left on your jacket. yeah, i said.
one more for both of us.
but how to spend it?
i think life is much more impactful when you only have one of them.
sometime around now you at last understood my thoughts back when i
had two or three to spare. you were sorry, i think, for not understanding,
though you never knew quite how to phrase it. but now that we had one
we laughed and cried and felt more because we could feel the
hourglass turning at the back of our necks. i thought that at last one life
would bring us together. and it did, for a while.
but here we are now, yeah?
i know you never meant to hurt me, at least this final time. but the fact is.
my hourglass reaches its end, even in this hospital room. i shouldn't have
driven so recklessly after our argument. i shouldn't have argued with you at all.
it wasn't worth it in the end, being right. but things end how they start, don't they?
i wish it didn't end this way, but the fact is that you are a direct cause of this.
you are a direct cause of my heartbeat going still in too few minutes or hours but
so am i, because nothing in all of the lives i've experienced is ever one person's
fault. my gold is going to be gone, shattered by a shot to my heart- a shot taken
by you, me, who even knows. but in the end i don't care because
yours won't be, hopefully for a long time.
and despite everything that happened, for every wrong thing you've done to me or i've done
to you, i still care.
because now you have that one life and death that i used to so desperately wish for and
now for once in every life we've lived it matters.
so use it well, alright?