"Um...because you just fell from the roof of the hou-"
"See, that's where you're wrong. I didn't fall. The floor challenged me and I accepted."
"And how did that go for you?"
"The floor won. But only because it had the advantage."
"Of being non sentient and vast in size, along with the fact that there is a freaking storm out!!"
"Nope. I just attacked from the wrong position."
"I overestimated my skills."
"I'll say. You're bleeding!"
"Only a little. Ask me again."
"If I'm fine."
"Is it because you're bleeding?"
"You're supposed to ask 'Why'."
"God, you're so bloody difficult!"
"But cute. Just ask."
"Because this world we live in, it gives us these dreams, you see. These great big beautiful colourful galaxies in our heads of ideas, thoughts and empathetic conclusions to our fellow humans. Our brain tells us, go on, be curious, make those mistakes. Make big, small, tiny, angry, happy, playful, experimental, challenging, beautiful mistakes and the world will reward you with answers, knowledge, and all the beauty it has to offer. But..."
"No one really prepares us for the heartbreak it all brings with it. No one ever tells us that the world will greedily take the good in us, our dreams, and spit us out, soulless, but still alive...and then it blames us for watching all our beautiful dreams die."
"What? Say something?"
"Why were you out on the roof today."
"I was looking up at the sky."
"During a storm?"
"I just like knowing it is not just me. I just like knowing that even the skies scream, with the weight of all our lost, forgotten, broken little dreams..."
It has been a long time since I wrote a conversational piece. And then I had an epiphany on the way down between a rooftop and the ground. I except if this was a conversation in real life, it would end with "I think you need medical attention now." which is decidedly less romantic, and doesn't make the best of stories. Sentences have been made prettier with artistic license alone.
i hope you find someone who loves you for your scars.
your scars are the battles you fought alone, scared, broken at midnight navigating the map of your lost soul, wearing nothing but threadbare dreams, with demons who would not die, and who could not rest. and still strong, you fought on.
i pray you find someone who loves you for your scars
your scars will tell the stories your lips cannot. your scars will reveal secrets your heart cannot. your scars will create meaning to the little things you do. so find someone who loves you for your scars. this is all that I can pray for, for you and for you, and for you...
I call them fragments, the parts of me that were too exhausted to stay. He calls them flecks because I am a flake. I wish I was a flake. It sounds prettier than being a fragment. Flakes are like snow. Soothing, falling from the sky on the tip of his tongue that melt and disappear. Fragments are archeological findings of a scarred past we really should not remember.
I want to remember my scars. So I am a fragment.
I draw on my legs. When my skin dries out, I use my index finger as a pencil and draw what the clouds are trying to tell me. Sometimes it’s a dog, and sometimes it’s a bear and sometimes it is his face looking at me disapprovingly.
That is when I stop drawing.
At night, when the rain falls, I sit at the bay window and pretend to write stories whilst he pretends to sleep. “What are you writing?” he will ask in his asleep voice. “A funny story.” It is not. It is a pale, scary story, and it looks like my skin. “Were you dreaming?” I will ask him and he will always nod and say, “Yes, a good dream.” No, it is not. I have seen how his back tenses and sweats in the moonlight when he sleeps.
I worry when I read scientific facts, so he hides the newspapers from me when he is done. I always find them and spread them out on the table till every inch of it is covered. Today's newspaper said that the average human sheds eighteen kilograms of skin throughout their lifespan.
I am not sure about how I feel about the fragments dropping in trains and cars and planes and traveling to places I shall never go.
“Do you think you’ll ever go to Japan?”
“Doubt it. I shall never have the money.”
“I bet parts of you have already got there.”
“You and your fragments.”
“Me and my fragments. We’re both so uncomfortable.”
“My fragments and I. And it’s not you, or them that are uncomfortable.”
The girl he loves is midnight, like the blue of the sea cradled by the moonlight. The girl he loves is verdant, the very green of the hill kissed by the summer delight. The girl he loves is coral, as pink as the roses that grow in his mother's garden. The girl he loves is crimson, red like the autumn leaves that lay abandoned.
The girl he loves I can never be Because he's allergic to violets, And violets are too much like me.
I haven't written in ages. And all I have been able to come out with after struggling with a blank page the whole day, is THIS.
When I was thirteen a Wordsworth like boy who was loved nature and who I liked very much told me that he was not now, not ever going to date me because I was too different, too boyish compared to other girls.
If I met him today, I would tell him: "Actually I like being different. Oh...and from thirteen year old me, fuck you."
I am not here. These are not hospital walls. This is not a nurse who is speaking to me. That is not John unconscious, lying in a bed that faces due North, and that is not his mother trying to explain why his bed should always face North because he hates sleeping facing South.
This is not happening.
I am not taking a deep breath. I am not walking down the sickly white corridors with their bleach scent. I am not buying this cup of coffee from a cafeteria lady who is working at an hour that is reserved only for intensive care patients. This is not the way back to what is not John’s room.
That is not his heart rate dropping, and I am not running out of the room, screaming for help. We are not being pushed out, that door does not have a red light that claims intensive care, it has not been all night.
That is not John’s doctor explaining how they were not able to pump his stomach completely and it is not John who flat lined. That is not an empty hospital bed. That is not his mother in shock and these, these are definitely not my tears.
This is not a funeral. And if it is a funeral, it is not John’s. Because it just can’t be. I met him last week and he was fine.
We were fine.
“Name an unusual fact about the stomach.” He had asked me on one of our study dates.
“The stomach has acids strong enough to dissolve zinc.” I answered.
You are all so beautiful and so gifted and so talented. Please don't listen to the world when they deride you and let you down. I pray that you all speak your minds and are welcomed and loved for it by someone you hold dear.
Because they say that for every single boy who counts the stars, there is a little girl who is wishing upon one. (And they never mention what happens after the stars fade into morning and the other falls into oblivion)
Because they say that people fall in love when the time is right, they are true to each other and are ready to be together. (But no one ever mentions how she is so damaged she can barely think, and he is so cynical that he may never be ready.)
Because they insist that your soulmate is going to be a good, kind, caring human being who will love you from the bottom of their hearts. (This is due to the fact that even if there is someone for everyone, bad people are immune to the soulmate theory.)
Because they always have a happy ending (And real life begins after the sun has set and she has realized that he may not be everything she hoped for and he begins to have second thoughts about commitment.)
Because everything is assured in its predictability (And the trouble with predictability is that there is no room to be surprised.)
Because there is such a thing as a big romantic gesture that makes everything all right. (And no one talks about what happens if she says no and that he’s made too many mistakes and her love for him has dried up.)
Because even if I hate that every single thing they say is, and believe untrue, there is something that draws me back to them every single time. (It’s that stupid, tiny, romantic broken bone in my body that one day, I will find someone who tastes like gold, talks like silver and has a solid platinum heart too.)
Summer will always remind me of hot, sweltering nights spent drinking sangria, through the dripping fairy lights of your bedroom window. A sticky, starry sky looked back at us, the glow of the moon almost golden in the heat. Fourteen meant we weren't growing up fast enough and a liquor cabinet key seemed to hold the answer to that problem.
You taught me how to drink that night.
(You also showed me how beautiful it was to just hold your breath till your head spins and reality seems like it is going to fade further and further away.)
Six summers ago I met a boy who liked to tell me how much like summer I was. He was big boned and thin skinned and the first time I told him he wasn't mine to keep, he left handprints on my skin that reminded you of a canvas covered in autumn leaves that you saw in New York. Then you proceeded to break every single window in his house (Yes, even the one in the attic he loved so much.)
You taught me how to smile through heartbreak that night.
(You also showed me how to breathe through the broken pain that came from a pair of violent hands that didn't know how to accept themselves in any other way.)
We took our easels up to the woods that hot summer day and didn't speak until we were both finished our paintings. I just drew a face. I always drew the same face. When you showed me what you had made, I saw angry slashes of red across a vacant canvas, a pair of scarlet lips open in its center, as though in a silent scream. When I looked at you, your face was shiny...not with sweat, but with tears.
"What is it?"
You taught me how to draw more than faces that day.
(You showed me what it was like to breathe in a life into a thing that was too broken to breathe by itself.)
It has been four summers, seventeen days, twelve hours, twenty three minutes and ten seconds since the most beautiful service I have ever seen. Your mother was pale, but always graceful in her kindness, in her wisdom. She asked me to speak for you. She asked me to tell people what you were like.
If she had given me a year, maybe I could do justice to you. So instead, I told them about the movie we had watched based on our favourite novel where a man had been held trial for a crime he never committed and forgotten on a prison island somewhere in the middle of the ocean. I told them about how he slowly lost his powerful faith in God, and how one day...he was saved, redeemed and given back his life. I told them about that moment, the electricity, the elation we had both felt in the second.
To me, you are the electricity I felt in that moment.
To me, you were the saviour who caused my freedom. To me, you were the elation of a moment where your world, your life, your whole being changes for the better.
That is what you were like. That is who you will always be.
In the end, it was you who taught my summers to breathe. In the end, you taught me to be a novel, not just a summer read.