The void, playing God, and boys with blue eyes.

I must keep reminding myself that I am not my own. Yes, I am not my own, so how could I have so ferociously claimed you?
But I guess that’s the thing that makes it all so beautiful. The wishing we could stand up and claim a single other human being.
We play God every time we stand up and shout, “Him, with the blue eyes, he’s mine!” out into the void.
It’s the closest we’ll ever get to understanding what a jealous God could look like.

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Soaring, Flying

You could be sitting there at my kitchen table studying me while we played cards, and I could see that innocent fifth grade boy with floppy hair singing high school musical songs to me.

Then your arms would be around me so that I could feel every muscle, every valley and edge of your skin, every breath of yours breathed into my own mouth, every twitch in your fingertips reaching for my spine as you braced my back tighter; you would kiss me, and I’d be closer to you than I could have ever imagined being. Yet, I couldn’t recognize the man I had expected. I had lost the child somewhere under your skin, and you were entirely new to me.

But then you’d pull away to tell me that you love me, and there he stood singing his half of the Gabriella and Troy duet.

discipline // v.

A mother doesn’t stop forming her child into a being when the baby leaves her insides empty again. And that’s just it: parents are burdened with having to make sure that we become decent people. Once we reach the age where it becomes a conscious fact that parents are charged with growing us into the person we are meant to be, it’s usually about the same time we become conscious of the fact that we want to be our own person.

All I know is that, in January, I got weird looks from a knotted-haired cashier at some run down Party City when I asked him for help finding reindeer antlers (you know, the kind you put on cars?). My mother had waited in the car and given me one of those bittersweet-but-hopeful-for-my-sake, “I’m here for you” smiles. Those antlers and tacky red nose hung in the garage for four days, the same garage I’d claimed sanctuary in a week earlier while I sat on the phone with you in my mother’s empty car that night we listened to each other cry for the first and last time.

Those God forsaken antlers. My attempt to break the ice after you’d sat me down at a Waffle House and let me tell you how much it hurt while I played Katy Perry songs on the juke box; my attempt to fall back into the past eight years like they had meant something after you’d sat across from me and made promises I never asked you to make; before I knew the promises were empty; before the picture I’d sent you of my new tattoo, the picture you opened but never responded to.
If I could’ve just gotten those antlers on your stupid new sports car that you’d promised to teach me how to drive.

I couldn’t tell you how long those antlers hung in that muggy garage. But I saw them every time I left and every time I came home. Ripping off the band-aid every day, reminding myself that you wanted me to stay gone.

Then one day the antlers just weren’t there.

It’s been five months, and I still have no idea where they went.

But I do know that this is why we need parents. They slap our hands when they see us ripping at a band aid that covers a scar we both know needs to heal.

daydream // n.

We park near the train tracks in the square. It’s a Monday night, and all the need-to-knows are there lounging outside of the coffee house smoking their cigarettes.
I was tired of coming up empty when people asked, “Why?” or “How could you stay for so long?” For weeks I had wondered what story they had heard before I finally decided that worrying about being painted as the one who did the heart breaking was pointless. Everyone knew. The fact that my image of myself had been picked at and demolished bone by bone by someone who I’d once given too much power to was inevitable. But across the square I walk, holding your hand now months later, past the smoke and awkward silences, through the doors— and still holding your hand with my white, shaking fingers I shout, “Look! Everyone come see! I finally got it all right!”

When “finally” became my favorite word.

There was a fire in you. 

I should have noticed it months sooner than I did, but you were always so gentle. Still, I began to notice your determination; once you believed in something, you bled your whole self out for it, the way blood could fill your brain if you hit your head hard enough.

When we first decided that this is what we wanted,

                       us,

                                           together,

                                                                     finally,

I held your hand and tried to tell you that at the first site of my heart growing too big for you to hold, my knee-jerk reaction would be for my shaky knees to start running.

How could I have known that you were a runner, too; 

I learned soon enough that your feet hit the ground as soon as mine did, and as we ran side by side, I realized that we were one and the same, and that terrified me– having to take care of a heart like mine.
We may not have matched on paper, but our souls were made of the same stuff.

I think I’ve been here before.

Déjà vu.
Remembering something that you once lived through in some alternate universe.
There’s no substance to it. You’re just sitting there having a conversation with someone, and all of the sudden you have the funky feeling that you’re throwing up words you’ve already regurgitated once before. You wonder how it’s even happening while the words are spilling out, but you keep on talking with this eery nagging in your head.

You are my opposite of déjà vu. 

For two and a half months I roamed the streets of our city with you, looking at you through tinted glasses. Because what was the point in the hopeless hoping that had never gotten me anywhere with you before.
Then one day we were playing air hockey in an arcade. I looked up and you were smiling at me. It was like the UV rays had seeped past my tint, and you exploded before me like a solar flare.
Every vein pushing past your skin across your forearms and wrist looked like it was stretching out for me; I became uneasily aware of the way your shirt hung on your shoulders, around your v-shaped torso, tugged down on your collar bones. Once this epiphany–this euphoria–occurred, the rest came in waves.

So one day I sat across a table from you in a study room in Maulding. When I looked up, I had my “opposite-of-déjà-vu” moment:
I longed for the day in the distant future in which I could lounge at a cheap kitchen table across from you in a cheap apartment, drinking a strong cup of coffee, with the doors to our cheap balcony swinging wide open, letting the morning noise of the city flood in; my knees would bend beneath me in my chair, and I’d get to watch you; I’d get to sip my coffee, watch your eyes, and write down every inkling I had of you sitting across from me. Morning elegance.
But in that moment, I pretended. And I found the purest elegance in watching you run your lanky fingers through your tired hair while you played with French words across from me.