#her  #story 

09

I leaned over the window, letting cool air fan the heat on my face.  I could smell the alcohol on my skin, could feel my tongue heavy in my mouth.  My heart ached in a way that it hadn’t for days, and when I felt his hand rest on my shoulder, gentle, soothing words urging me to step away from the window, I began to cry.

"What’s wrong?" he asked, concern etched on his chiseled face.  When my mind was clouded with the taste of rum, he always appeared cuter.  Now, he looked like a god.

I shook my head.  “Nothing.”

The truth was, I was consumed by the knowledge and clarity alcohol provided.  My reality was clouded with silly thoughts and make-beliefs, but with the liquor running through my veins, the hard, pressed truth that the love of my life had stopped loving me weighed on me like it had never before.  I knew then, if I hadn’t before, that he was never going to love me again.

"You had me worried.  Don’t do that shit.  You’re really small and you’ll probably fall right over.  I don’t need you to haunt me."

I laughed as the tears continued to spill over.  He didn’t ask me if I was okay.  Instead, he wrapped an arm around my shoulder in the awkward way a male friend hugs a girl.

Falling in love was easy.  The moment was perfect for the magic to happen.  He was a good person, a familiar face, an attractive guy.  I enjoyed his company and the silence we shared.  By all means, I should have lifted my chin, puckered my lips, pressed blindly ahead and hope he didn’t reject me.

But I didn’t.  Because falling out of love was much harder.  My heart would remain chained by another who had no interest in holding the key.  I would wish hopelessly that I could love someone who was better for me, who was easier, who was near arm’s reach, but the dream would never come true.  Even in the arms of another, he would be the only thing on my mind.

He inched back a bit.  “Want some more?”  He looked at the bottle on the tiny table in the middle of his room, empty red cups frighteningly bright in the darkness.

Nodding, I held out my cup and waited for it to be filled.  I laughed as I took a sip, choked on the bitterness, and wished once more that I could love him and not him.


[He] learned to laugh, and I learned to cry.

— Mary Lennox, The Secret Garden (1993)

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 #his story 

08

He got in the car. I looked at him briefly before concentrating on the road. It was dark, predictably, because it was still 3 AM and I remembered to put on my glasses. As I drove I felt his hand on my leg—a bittersweet distraction. “Hey Pa,” he said. I didn’t say anything. Not because I didn’t know what to say, or was too nervous to say it—I didn’t know how to say everything at once. It was impossible, realistically, but then I felt his hand rub my leg again.
“Hey Lindo.”  
“Just drive around here… we can’t go to my house today. My mom’s still tripping. So drive around there… turn there… keep going. Okay, now. Park.”
I parked, turned off the lights. It was dark.
He looked at me and smiled. He looked at me patiently and leaned over for a kiss. I kissed him, harder and more intense than I expected to allow myself.
“How’ve you been?” I asked.
“Good.”
His hand was still on my leg. I adjusted my seat so it could recline more and stared at the roof. I grabbed the hand on my knee and held it.
“We have to talk.” I looked at him. He was still smiling, looking at me in the eye and smiling in a way that made me frightened.
“Oh, yeah, yeah. What do you wanna talk about?”
It was hard to concentrate on anything other than his face when I looked at him and processed his scent, so rough, so feral and characteristically his. He noticed my expression. He wasn’t smiling anymore.
“It’s been a while since I last saw you…” I started.
He reached over and kissed my neck.
“It has,” he breathed.
“We’ve been too caught up to talk…” I lied. I wasn’t. At any point I would have dropped whatever I was doing if only he would’ve texted, if only he would’ve asked.

“I’ve been thinking,” I felt my mind starting to clear, distracted by his lips. I shrugged him off.

“Maybe you were right the last time. You said you knew in your heart I wasn’t the one for you and I didn’t say anything. But these past two weeks I’ve been thinking about you; I’ve always thought about you ever since the first time we met up. Actually, I’m always thinking about you. Even when I’m with another guy, I think of you. Or when I’m in the gas station I think I see you before you go in. When I see you I don’t talk a lot. I don’t say anything really. I always think that at any moment you’ll disappear because I only see you at night, like a dream I made up to comfort myself. I’m still young. I’m figuring out what I want—“ I kissed the space between his neckline and jaw, “I don’t know what’s good for me but I know I want you. And I know that I deserve what I want. But I complicate your life.”

My voice was quiet. All the chaos, the crying fits, the daytime sadness that plagued me every time I didn’t hear from him calmed down, like my mind was a television show—now muted, the tempests and volcano eruptions lost the music that made them so dynamic, so fascinating. In their silent wake was a soft spectacle, like the first flakes of snow.

“It’s okay if you don’t want me, “ I thought I lied but in that moment it didn’t seem like it, “if you don’t want to complicate your life by having a younger guy like you so much. I know you’re in pain. I could tell since the day we first met… and that didn’t matter to me. It still doesn’t. But I don’t want to chase after you anymore. I don’t like feeling like I have to pressure you into seeing me.” I felt a slight pressure on my eyes. I stopped talking until I steeled myself. “It wasn’t me you were talking about the last time. It was you. I’m not right in your heart and I didn’t want to accept it. So this is the last time I should see you… it’s not because I want to but because I think you want to.” I closed my eyes and felt the heat of his neck, inhaled the sweat and tangy beer that seeped from his pours.

I was crying. Not sobbing like I usually did, but quietly, like I’ve always thought a man should cry. Then I felt his hands. His wonderful, soft hands in mine, like a little miracle, when I noticed my grip. For a while we stood like that. All I heard were our breaths. And he all the while he didn’t say anything. So I kissed him.

His neck, his ear, his cheek and nose. The hand in my hand, the hand on his chest; his collarbone and shoulder, his arm until I reached his hand again and kissed his finger. Before I knew it I grabbed his hand and manipulated it so he was touching me, probably for the last time, in the same place that got me in trouble the first time. I told him to move to my back seat and he didn’t protest but did as I said. And for the first time I did what I’ve always wanted to do—made his body complete and entirely mine, didn’t allow him to be lost in my mouth. I never looked at him in the face. When I was done I sat next to him and asked him for a cigarette. He handed me one and the flame produced by the light showed me that he was moments away from a breakdown. Smoke curled in the air like a grey snake before a strike. 

I looked at his face finally. His eyes were vague, hard to see in the darkness, when I put his head in my lap and started to cry hysterically, finally.


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And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.

— The Perks of Being a Wallflower


 #her  #story 

08

I stood by the door, my fingers playing with metal keys as I shifted my weight from one foot to another.  It wasn’t like I needed my keys anyway, since the front door of my building was always open, thanks to the countless break-ins that left the lock as useless as the intercom system beside it. 

He stood in front of me, awkward and shy, his hands stuffed into his pockets.  He couldn’t really look at me.  It felt like a replay of the countless of times we had stood in the same exact place, me ready to head back inside, him about to go, me giving him every open opportunity, him being too scared to take it.

"I… guess I should go now."  I played with the keys a little while longer.  If this had been a bedroom scene, I’d be practically spreading my legs open in mid air and wearing a neon sign that pointed to my vagina.  But it wasn’t a bedroom scene and there was no neon sign pointing to my vagina.  Instead, there was just him and me, standing in front of am old, beaten red door, a girl waiting for a kiss, a guy too shy to give it.

I turned, hand on the door knob.  “Okay, I’m gonna go.”  My voice didn’t even bother trying to hide the disappointment. 

"Wait!"

I turned back, slightly annoyed but, more than that, too hopeful.  I mean, we weren’t even dating.  We had tried that the year before and for three months he couldn’t rack up the courage to take my face and plant a wet one.  And now, I was only a month away from getting on a plane to fly to the other side of the country and he couldn’t muster his bearings and kiss me.  I had every right to be annoyed.  But more than that, I was just waiting.  Hoping.  That maybe, just maybe, he could find it in him to kiss me and I would know that we were meant to be and I wouldn’t feel bad about leaving because I would know that it would be okay, because somehow, someway, I would find my way back to him.

"What?"

"Hold on."  He breathed in deeply, his hand grabbing my wrist.

"Okay."

He took a step closer, and then another, until his face was close to mine and we were breathing each others’ air.  I could see the whiskers on his chin, the way one of his eyes had a different fold than the other, the way his nose flared when he was nervous and breathing too hard.  I could see a slight mar on the bone of his brow, making his eyebrow grow a little weirdly.  I could see a lot of things, but the only thing I could really take in were his eyes, staring straight into mine, and all the love I saw there, reflecting right back at me.  It was my face I saw in his eyes, like a mirror, and I understood right then and there that there would be no one in this world capable of ever loving me the way he loved me.

When our lips met, I was almost sure that every star in the universe had realigned themselves into perfect harmony, that the world had stopped in its movement, and that somewhere in the distant heavens, angels sang.  Fireworks went off behind my closed eyelids and every part of my skin felt alive, as if lit by an invisible fire that had charged right through and changed me.  It was perfect in every way of the word and there was no other way to describe it.

Suddenly, he leaped away, just as a young man opened the front door, stared at us, and walked away.  He looked back at me sheepishly before stepping right in front of me and swooping down again.

It lasted a few more seconds before a bunch of kids ran through, screaming and throwing things.  He looked pissed beyond belief as he waved goodbye, muttering something under his breath.

A few hours later, my friend’s name flashed on my phone.  I picked up and before I could say anything, “He said that he was glad his first kiss was with you.  He said it was worth the wait.

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 #his  #story 

07

He didn’t ask me to join him and didn’t have to. Before going in we shared the exhaustion of keeping up with each other and relief of endorphins for forty-five minutes. He threw his shirt on the ground and walked to the bank. Instinctively I followed, not remembering how pathetic my body was compared to his.

Moonlight splashed our reflections against the rippled water. It was midnight and we were in our basketball shorts, torsos still sweaty from a four-mile jog, legs in cold water. In the night he was even more beautiful when my eyes couldn’t fully absorb him and my mind tried to extract different parts of him from half-decent memories: the heart shape birthmark on his underarm; lone freckle on his neck; how tightly his skin wrapped around his well defined chest; those piercing almond-shaped and -colored eyes.

“You see that?” he asked. He pressed his face to the sky.

“Yeah,” I looked at him.

“Those three stars,” he pointed somewhere, “are always aligned like that, all over the world.” When he spoke his words changed the air, the way a lit candle changed a dark room.  

“When I’d visit my father in the city we would go to the roof and stay up all night. He’d bring a heavy purple quilt and we’d just lie there, naming stars.”

My right hand moved to his lips of its own volition. His eyes widened with epiphany.“Come on, loser,” I snapped my hand back and waded deep into the river, “Technically you got here first, so I still have a bone to pick with you.”

“Wait.” He said. He didn’t move. “Wait.” I waded faster. “Wait!” he yelled.

I stayed still and the water calmed. My back faced his. He waded until he reached me.

His fingers traced lines on my back.

“You have a scar here,” he breathed. I shivered.

“And here. And here.”

“Stop,” I said. “Don’t look.” Not even the night covered them and the shame floored me. I couldn’t ever run away from them.


“Just like the three stars,” his voice told me he was smiling

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 #her  #story 

07

I used to make calendars.  I enjoyed the process of tracing perfectly straight lines, writing in perfectly round letters the name of months and days, color-coding seasons to make my life easier.  My favorite part was making the month of my birthday, and on the 30th day, writing in big, bold letters: MY BIRTHDAY!

That changed over the years.  I became less eager.  The point of saying “Happy birthday” was to suggest that day of one’s birth was cause for celebration, elation, happiness.  But my birthdays seemed to always stray on the verge of being depressing, mournful events.  The word “happy” was a laughable, almost insulting thing to use. 

On the day before my eighteenth birthday, my uncle died, and so the next day became a flurry of phone calls, people offering their condolences, and my father calling me a bad daughter.  The very next year, I avoided the day like the plague, hoping people would forget, and getting that exact wish.  People remember death more easily than they remember life.  

I was turning twenty.  I had pretended to be busy the night before, but instead, found myself praying to an empty altar that housed my belief: nothing.  I was left feeling incredibly lonely, looking for some kind of forgiveness in the form of chanting ancient words and hoping something greater would hear me.  I begged for happiness and for second chances.  But like always, I was disappointed.  The day did not bring forgiveness or acceptance.  I did not stop crying for someone who no longer lived.  I did not stop crying for someone who actually lived.  I was a mess of tears, mourning the loss of two men, one dead and the other alive.

I ignored the calls the next day.  I didn’t check my Facebook nor did I answer the tweets.  I pretended I had been rubbed off the face of the earth.  That I no longer existed.  That I was far, far away and that nothing could reach me, not death, not love.  And especially not hurt.

There was a knock on my door.  I was faintly surprised but figured it was probably a bouquet of flowers, maybe sent by my dad as he couldn’t get out of bed to see me.  I stared into the mirror for a few seconds, deemed myself decent, and went to open the old door that had seen enough people walk out of it to be a point of Badness in my life. 

He stood on the other side.  It had been over a month since I had last seen him.  He looked exactly as I remembered him: handsome in a way only I seemed to find him, eyes as dark as the way my soul felt the day after he left me, lips still perfectly curved.  I blinked a few times, just to assure myself I didn’t see an apparition but an actual human being made of flesh.

"Hey."

I didn’t respond.  I stared at the box he held in his hand, wrapped in shiny yellow paper. 

"Happy birthday."

I looked at him, meeting his eyes, willing myself not to look away.

"I brought you something."

"Why?" I cut in immediately.

He looked uncomfortable.  He shifted from one foot to the other.  “Just open it”

"No."

He sighed.  “Andy, just take it and open it.”

"No."

He grew frustrated.  “Look, you’re going to regret it later.  Like you regretted not telling me you loved me when I asked.  Like you regretted breaking up with me.  Like you regretted a lot of things.”

I snarled and snatched the gift, ripping the paper apart, silently grieving the death of the pretty paper.  I shook the box angrily before prying it open and looking inside.

The first thing was a picture.  It was an old one from prom, a badly angled picture where I was smiling and he was leaning over, kissing my cheek.  It was before he had grown into his good looks, back when he was still shy and insecure and I was the only one who found him beautiful. 

Next was a movie.  It was the first one we had seen as a couple, a few days after I had landed on New York ground and the first time we had seen each other in months.  As awkward as I had believed it would be, we were completely and utterly comfortable in each others’ presence.  He had asked me if he could kiss me near the end of the movie and I snapped because I hated being distracted during movies.

Third was the email he wrote me when he told me why he liked me.  It had been a short, almost superficial letter, but it was one of the things I read almost every day for a year. 

Finally, there was a closed enveloped.  I stared at it before flipping it over, my finger lifting the flap and reaching inside.  A folded, college-ruled paper with small, hurried writing came out.

"All you need to read is the last part," he said, taking the paper and turning it over, a finger pointing at the last few sentences.  "The rest you can read later."

I love you.  That’s all you need to know.  That’s all that really matters.  I have, always, loved you.  I know that I, always, will.  I’ll try as many times as I have to until we’re together for the rest of our long, long lives.  So, I’m sorry, please forgive me, and please, say you’ll take me back.

Happy Birthday, Andy.  Happy Birthday.

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“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss

— (via artpixie)

reblogged from Artpixie.

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