So for art class I’m currently drawing this huge piece of two cats with the use of oil pastels. The paper is bigger than me, so my teacher has all of us working outside the classroom in the hallway over lockers and walls. It’s really awesome to see people’s reactions as they walk by and see everyone working on their huge art piece. A couple of kids who were videotaping for another class put me and my kitties in their video. I even passed by another student who was trying to mimic my drawing and I felt proud because I inspired someone to try it themselves. The rest of my week has been shitty so far, but this art piece I’m working on now keeps me going :)
i love your writing. It's everything i want to say, but can't seem to write down correctly. it makes me cry, but in the way that someone out there understands.
I just want to say, a million times, thank you. I hope you don’t mind that I post this message. I am pleased that you can relate to me. I find it amazing that, as humans, we go through similar experiences and emotions without ever directly meeting, and I am glad you find a sort of comfort in what I write. Your support is what will keep me writing. I hope you have a lovely rest of your day!
It bothers me so much when I’m sitting right next to you and I fumble over my words, as if they’re the steps I tripped down earlier this morning while rushing out the door to be in class on time—so I could be sitting next to you on time. It hurts so much I start to choke on my silence, my hesitation, my stuttering. The words clog in my larynx like the dull sides of a potato chip stuck in my esophagus, and I continue to swallow the knives I call familiarity. You just sit there, sometimes with your head down in your sleeve, eyes closed, and I try to imagine how your own voice sounds in your head, and I wonder if love tastes just as bitter on your tongue as it does against mine; I wonder how many tears you save and how many you let go, and if you only allow them to fall when it’s raining. I wonder how you remember me, if you even do, when you’re sitting at home, fourth beer in your firm grip, cursing at Love for its detriment. Other times, you sit with your elbows on your knees, looking over at me, sometimes with a smirk or sometimes somberly, never saying anything. I wonder if you’re choking on your words, too, or if you’re wondering why I shy away from my feelings or why I smile even when the sky is gray and lifeless. Do you wonder about my secrets or are you stuck at a fork-road, one labeled, Accept Her, and the other labeled, Question Her—or are you creating a new path in between?
I was slumped over the desk, falling asleep with my cheek against piles of papers marked with derivatives and indefinite integrals, when you gently tapped me and told me to wake up. Your eyes were very very green and I almost thought I was still sleeping as I smiled at you with my mouth closed, rubbed my head, and looked down at the loose leaf in front of me, spilled over and rumpled like tarnished bed sheets. This marks a second day we conversed naturally after five months of silence. I glanced around the room and felt you watching me, so soon I resorted to my work and ran my fingers through my hair every now and then as if deep in thought, but really my nerves were kicking in and I had no where else to go. It was comfortable nerves, though—not the kind you used to give me—and it’s a long shot and I’m not asking for anything, but to just please, stay like this so I can tell my daughters there is such thing as closure without anything being said.
I had my third genuine conversation with you today, and it felt natural; I liked it. I wondered why it couldn’t be that way before and why I had to lose all feeling for you before I could be comfortable in casual confrontations.
It’s so easy to get addicted to certain things like sadness, the smell of ginger, the sound of chirping crickets when everything else is silent… The color beige—especially the color beige. The worst addictions are people, the way you start memorizing the sound of their footsteps against the floor, the way they tap their thigh with their index finger when they’re bored, the way they write, the way they brush their hands through their hair, how they resemble the sun when a laugh slips out, and how quick they are to hold the door open for others. These addictions make your mind race like cars on a track, and even when you’re tired, you can’t stop or you’ll crash. You might crash anyway because these types of addictions sometimes leave on their own when their engine decides to stop. It happened similarly, just last year, when I was stuck in a snowstorm with frostbitten fingers, twisting like roots in pursuit of someplace warm but too rigid to move. He came along for a few months, acting as an apparatus. He held my hands in his and whispered my name—over and over until, eventually, my name lost any meaning it might have once had: I heard it before I fell asleep and in the middle of sentences consisting of short, to-the-point messages, and though his hands were still loose around my waist, even while embracing me, he, too, started to question the four syllabic term he kept reiterating. We were running with the check engine light on, before Love even made its way through our air vents. My name became gibberish and soon enough was unworthy to be said aloud. He stayed a little while longer, maybe because, against my criticism, he still had a heart, but no matter how small it was, my meaningless name had been imprinted where it supposedly hummed. I was a tattoo he was too young to comprehend, wanted to remove, but couldn’t, and it took me a while to rid myself of my addiction to him and the way his bare skin felt against mine. I knew he’d remember me. After all, I was his first blank stare, and I hope I was strong enough to weaken his nomadic legs and attenuate his bitter gait, so that my first teasing dose of purity would stay for his next and use words he could actually understand.
They told me to keep writing, even when I had nothing to write about, and even when my fingers began to grow numb, my palm began to cramp, and my back began to arch in ways deemed crippling. It started off simple, a few sentences about how much I loved my mom, how she bloomed over the hydrangeas and lilac trees in her garden—the very garden she’d force me to dig up with her even though I feared the creepy crawlers hiding beneath the soil—and how she’d juggle pots and pans as she fabricated the night’s meal while my melancholic father sat on the sidelines, a water boy with dormant potential. As time went on, I began noticing how little she gardened, and when she did, she’d complain about the rocks my father kept throwing back with the unwatered vegetables, even when she told him not to, or she’d decide to garden right before a rainstorm so she was forced back inside where she could sit in her chair and read her favorite book while dinner was burning in the kitchen. They told me to keep writing and writing, even when the story ended. That is where the story ends, and I continue to write. When my mom stopped gardening, her story and my father’s became static, and upon happening, I became static, too. The only thing I could rely on were my trembling fingers, the way they felt for answers as they brushed against cold walls at night, how they were always searching for a writing utensil to scribble selfish nonsense in toilet stalls and crumpled up loose leaf, and how they searched for answers in history but still remained guiltless and unaffected. More time passed and I began to experience new foods, new people, new cultures, new textbooks, and I began to thrive for knowledge while my parents continued to eat away at the sorrow between their toes. I was introduced to boys, the smell of the beach at midnight, the cold wind against my face as I ran around the streets in the dark, musing over endless possibilities, finding solace in people, books, and places I’d never been before. I found a world beyond overpopulated front yards, chipped white picket fences, and burnt food, and I was thankful for the consistency of the old creaking house for it birthed a venturesome spirit: I found new ways to get dirty, to build up the calluses on my palms, to create a story that ever changed—a new kind of gardening with different soil and different flowers—and I realized history alone won’t fulfill you, I had tried before, but the combination of the past and present will. I continue to write, and I still consider this old exterior, with its mourning interiors, as my home, but I have fashioned other homes—pieces of then and now—where I go sometimes when the static isn’t so welcoming.
Tonight I found myself in the kitchen, rummaging through cupboards in search for something sweet, and finding nothing to reduce the dejected feeling in the pit of my stomach, I resorted to pacing back and forth, thinking in time with the sound of my slippers sliding against the tiles—some tiles worn down and dirty because of negligence. I was mostly frustrated, not because my sweet tooth was aching, but because I’ve been in this waiting line for so long—the front of it, a mystery—and I keep calling to you with my illegible words, yet I’m still a message at the bottom of a glass bottle, written in a language you won’t understand, lost somewhere, stuck in a sand dune, maybe, or still fighting the ocean wishing to be found. There’s so much I have to tell you that I could easily be six pages, and I fear you might look at my tea stained tattered edges, laugh, and say, “Wow, I’d never write this much to you!” like someone I once knew when they read my first two-page love letter from a boy I’d never conversed with before. Then, as my pacing turned into circling, I remembered you telling me to give that boy a chance, and so I’m hoping you’re not as heartless as I when I ripped my first two-page love letter to shreds and ignored you for a month during that summer I was aspiring for someone else—that someone I once knew who warned me from the beginning that he’d never write this much to me—that someone else who left without even a post-it note stamped “goodbye.”
We were in the library together, sitting 90 degrees from each other, and I never felt so uneasy. Being near you used to be a simple thing: I could laugh, cry, and close my eyes without feeling you outlining my skin and counting the breaths I took—without your silent gaze haunting my trembling fingers as I fumbled with the book in my hand. Even surrounded by hardbacks and worldly knowledge, the faint hint of maple, and a teasing whiff of cold coffee, I had never felt so nostalgic for the way things used to be. I’m always torn, like the letter I once wrote you but then dismembered before throwing it into my waste basket. I’m stuck at this standstill, driven mad at three in the morning knowing you’re crazy over someone else, and I can never sit right in my bed anymore because the empty space my body leaves feels exactly how it is, empty. Maybe that’s why I forfeit to sleep while you stay up at all hours of the night, never wondering why I hardly say “hello” first, or why I try my hardest not to cross your path in crowded hallways, or why I sit down in the middle of chaos reading a book, secretly wishing you’ll pass by and ask me where I traveled to this morning, to which I’d enthusiastically reply about my journey as I flip through the pages of a fictional character’s life. You never wonder what my secrets are but rather drown in your loneliness and all I want to do is hold out my hand to you—I hold yours in my dreams, but you don’t realize because you are always watching your clock change from hour to hour until you’re questioning your existence at four in the morning, wondering where the time went, what you did with it, and if there’s still time left, with no one awake because we are all taking Melatonin. If you ever do wonder, though, I’ll give you this book, and we will read it together and we will be as we were before—two friends who love each other, instead of two strangers who might love each other but leave too many secrets unknown.