In Your Eyes
Ocean waves rolling, crashing,
A sky full of hope and wonder.
A marker gliding across the surface of a whiteboard.
A hydrangea thriving in acidic soil that has
Turned it to a symbol of summer, sun, and happiness.
Eyes that pierce the soul,
Taking your breath away in awe and adoration
That too soon becomes pain.
This time your breath is stolen unwillingly,
Leaving you gasping for air,
Forcing you to
Blue is the color of the tear-stained ink
Running down the envelope
Of a letter that will never be sent.
Meant to be hidden in the back of a closet
Inside a box full of moments you wished had never happened
And memories you will never forget.
A blue box.
Blue is the calm before a storm.
A glimmer of possibility.
A reminder of the past and a reassurance of the future.
It’s temporary butterfly tattoos and sapphires.
A pair of ripped jeans or a length of silk.
A memento of the tears that shaped your life.
In your eyes she sees a spark. A flash of a memory that hasn’t yet happened. But she knows something has changed even before her mind grasps at the sides of the veil that has been pressed over her body since the moment she understood that she had something to hide.
You see her. You saw her when she stood in a corner trying not to look as out of place as the world she lived in made her feel. Your hand reached toward her and you pulled her from the safety of everything she knew to be true. She trusts you. Trusted you.
Postcard from Confusion
Walls of periwinkle that blanket the mind
Start suffocating the more time spent staring at them.
I need to get out of here.
The piano playing in the background shifts in and out of focus,
But sometimes its keys slam so hard it’s impossible to ignore.
A bittersweet thought can cause me to stumble, yet
I don’t know how I woke up on the floor.
This room I’m hiding in has a lock, but no door.
Why is this happening? She doesn’t realize what it is yet, but a nagging feeling hides among the crumpled math worksheets and empty promises that litter her mind. Slowly you become her everything. You’re everywhere, filling her vision with nothing but your bubbling laugh and your lung-crushing embrace. She can’t breathe.
“Just tell me!”
“No. Not at school. I’ll cry.”
She knew she was broken long before she noticed you, but a tiny part of her blames you for turning her into a person she wishes she didn’t know. A person who speaks inside her mind telling her, “You’re worthless. Your feelings don’t matter,” as she darts through a sea of people in a crowded hallway. The same lessons you unknowingly taught her, yet somehow it carves its message deeper when it’s in her own voice. She plasters on a smile.
You have no way of knowing that she still cries when she thinks of the person she used to be before she loved you. And that she stands in the shower silently screaming as waterfalls of doubt span over her aching shoulders. She lies in bed, gasping for air and a will to keep moving, feeling like a well-worn jigsaw puzzle where some of the pieces are creased or cracked. A few are missing altogether.
“Yeah, I can guarantee I’m more nervous.”
“Why don’t you come in. Sit down. Talk to me.”
You’ve said she makes you sad. When you told that to her best friend, did you really believe that it wouldn’t get back to her? That it wouldn’t scald her soul and come back to haunt her every time she let any weakness show? And the day when exactly a year later you called her up out of the blue and said you were grateful for her, she cried so forcefully that her throat went raw. Mascara streaks still stain her silky pillowcase.
She poured her heart out to you. All she got in return was silence.
Your eyes are so blurred with your own life that you can’t see her misery. You feel guilt in the place she knew love, but turn it into a weapon, not a plea for forgiveness. God, how could you be so blind?
She doesn’t understand because she can’t understand. Because she isn’t you. She isn’t inside your head as much as she wishes she could be, even just for a day. She doesn’t understand why you gave up so quickly. Why you gave up on her. Why it made her give up on herself.
Stop it. You promised.
You weren’t supposed to do this anymore.
Stop it stop it stop it.
Put it down.
You’re supposed to be stronger than this.
You have to be stronger than this.
Your eyes skim over the outline of Band-Aids through her almost-transparent dance tights. One, two, three. She’ll never tell you why it started or how deep the measuring cup of dots and dashes pushed into her skin, a Morse code of shame and regret. She’ll never tell you that sometimes she looks in the mirror as she swallows the pills that are supposed to fix her and sees your face instead. Hadn’t you learned by now? Not to mess with the crazy girl? Of course you had no way of knowing what this would turn into. Neither did she.
Clack clack clack.
The pedal of the sewing machine presses hard into the floor.
Fabric racing, needle flying.
Don’t look back.
You’re trying to sew me back together
But you’re too late.
The seam ripper has left little holes in the fabric
Where it once held strong.
Attempting to mend what’s broken—
Isn’t it so much easier to let things fall apart?
She hears you calling her name, but half the time she can’t tell if you’re actually there.
She’s constantly turning in circles looking for you. Do you even see her anymore?
“I guess it was probably around January. I realized something had changed. Something wasn’t quite right.”
“You’re scaring me.”
She hears the rumbling of a school bus, feels the arms of someone she barely knows wrapped around her, telling her everything will be fine. She’s losing her grasp on time and space and constantly waking up feeling as though she’s looking down on her life from above because this isn’t her. This wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did, and she can’t shake the feeling that it’s all her fault even when you try to tell her it wasn’t under her control. She doesn’t know if she should believe you anymore.
“I realized . . . I realized that—”
“You can tell me anything.”
She’s drowning. Sinking toward the bottom of an endless wishing well, and she can see the sun making a mirror on the water’s surface, but she can’t reach it no matter how hard she kicks. She’s running out of air as fast as the time she was trapped under a raft in her uncle’s pool, pounding against the plastic, trying to let them know she was there. The beautiful blue dragging her down. She almost died at nine years old. This time there’s no water.
Because who knew a secret could weigh a hundred and twenty pounds of hatred.
“I fell in love with a girl.”
And she’s counting inside her head, five, six, seven, eight, until the moment it all unfolds. She knows what has to happen now. You look so relieved that she isn’t moving across the world or dying of disease as you had thought when she said, “I have something to tell you. Yes, it’s important. No, it can’t wait another week.” You’re smiling. Letting her know you’re so proud of her for telling you, that you’re honored she trusts you this much. She won’t look at you. There’s more to this than she’s letting on. So you reach for her hand and whisper:
“I guarantee nothing you can say right now will ever make me stop being your best
“What if I told you it was you?”
In your eyes she watches the lake she splashed around in as a child freeze over. Her lips have turned to ice.