A Calendar of Sorts

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Get tattoos, they’ll teach you about commitment.
Cut your hair, it will teach you about patience.


I think I’d like to date a man with tattoos. Only because he gets it. He knows about commitment.

I think a lot of people get tattoos because of the rush, maybe some just to say they have a tattoo, others because they actually enjoy the pain. I know, for me, there’s just something about that needle against skin, that first mark made: you know as soon as the cut is drawn and something beautiful starts to get carved into your skin, there’s no going back. Needle against flesh, a step into forever.

So I think I’d like to date a man with tattoos. He knows about commitment. He knows that little words like “forever” are spoken like a promise, whether you’ve said it’s so or not.
He knows that “forever” is not a word at all, but a deep mark in the skin; a promise you get to see and follow through on every day because it’s there, and it’s beautiful.
Oh yes, I think I’d like to date a man with tattoos.

Because for me, “forever” was a deep cut in my arm. To you, it was just a deep sigh that you couldn’t see when you breathed it out into the air around us.


October 31, 2014, 4:13a.m. //
My necklace broke today. It broke a few months ago, too. But his hands reached out to fix it.
Well today it broke the same way. Just like the graffiti we had searched for on the corners of streets has faded into something you can barely see, now.
And if that does not break your heart, then I don’t know what will.

What I found out about the world when he stopped loving me //

It was the kind of thing that made you turn your car around and go back. I’ve learned that not many things are worth doing that for, and I used to think myself included. But people are always worth stopping and going back for, even if you can barely see the parts of them that you used to love. So I made an illegal U-turn in the middle of a street and went back.
For the longest time I had been watching my every step, looking for the words “Protect Your Magic” to be graffitied on a corner at any moment. I didn’t realize that they were so hard to find because of how quickly they could get worn out, how time and strangers walking on them and the sun could fade them out.
And then, on a stop sign up the street from where I work, there was something stable.
A “Protect Your Magic” sign drilled into the post.
This was worth stopping and going back for. Because I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.
Permanent. 


 

November 1, 2014, 2:27 a.m. //
I miss the way he used to pray before he went to sleep. He would pull me in close, and I’d start tracing the lines on his chest.
His prayers were never out loud, and for a while I loved that; it was like I got to be in on some little secret, somehow hear him and God talking in the silence by the breaths he took.
Then he’d look at me and tell me I was the love of his life and that he hoped I had sweet dreams.
I miss the way he used to pray at night, but mostly because i miss the way it felt to lay next to him while he did it.

What I found out about the world when he stopped loving me//

He made it hard to breathe, standing next to me.
He doesn’t want you anymore, was the only thing I could hear until the preacher man stood up and started telling us about what real love looks like.
And I was so angry. Angry that he was there, angry that he wanted to sit next to me, angry that he could love me but not want to be with me, angry about how that didn’t make sense to me.
But then the preacher man sat down and the band came up, and he swayed to the sound of the music and worshipped.

When they prayed us out into the world that night, I thanked God that He is bigger than me and all that my heart felt and couldn’t understand. Because my heart’s anger wasn’t changing anything. But He was in that room, changing the boy I love.
That’s something I can understand.


 

November 3, 2014 1:11a.m. //
So you’ll drive home at midnight, and your radio will be off, and you’ll miss the way he used to remind you to turn your headlights on, and you’ll hate the third day of every month because all you’ll be able to think about is the blanket and the park and that moment when his thumb rubbed back and forth on your calf and yours smoothed out the skin across his collar bone and the way that kiss felt.

What I found out about the world when he stopped loving me //

We sat on the old wood we’d walked miles to end up at. I say that like it was a destination, like we walked with the intention to find that deck, but that’s not true at all. We hadn’t even meant to end up there. My feet hurt and she felt nauseous, and we just happened to find the deck at the right time, like it had just been waiting for us while we did what we wanted to do and felt what we wanted to feel and just kept moving through our lives together. Still, it was there when we needed it, so we sat; we leaned back and put Taylor Swift on and studied a cloudless sky like it could change at any moment, and we didn’t want to miss it in the midst of all the feelings that were distracting us from it. There was me and there was her and we had two hearts cut from the same mold.
I don’t actually know how long we laid there.
But I do know that I woke up the next morning, and all I could think about was the way that deck felt against my back and making her hold my hand when she didn’t want to use words and how the air felt different without any clouds in the sky and the way that day felt.


November 5, 6:43 p.m. //

“It’s like a movie” she had said in my ear and I had looked up to see you standing in the doorway.
I walked up to you, and you had your arms wrapped tight around my neck so I felt like I could breathe again, like I could keep up with all the important people in the room, that I really was meant for this life I wanted.
“Today, I feel like a little fishy in a big sea,” I had once told you.
“Well that’s alright!” You said, “How else are you to grow if not in a big ocean?”

What I found out about the world when he stopped loving me //

You’re going to meet people tonight, and they are going to be important. Whoever you talk to is going to most likely have their own business and a URL to their own website and they’re going to be doing big things. And yeah, you’re nineteen and still in college and live way outside the perimeter of the city, but that’s all okay. And yeah, he’s not going to walk through the door tonight and watch you talk to people and look at you like you’re bigger than anyone there, and that’s okay, too,” I told myself while I was walking up to the door of the coffee shop. Pushing open the door, there was just noise, and I felt small even after my own pep-talk.
And before I could figure out if I was overwhelmed by the faces or excited about the hearts in the room, her arms were around my neck and her platinum curls in my face. Just like a movie. Two little fish in a big sea. With plenty of room to grow. 


Apparently, there’s this man out there named Brett who likes to blog about the advice letters he would write to his younger self. One of the things he wanted to tell his younger self to know was that life is full of choosing people. He had written a post about how there are two types of people when can choose to keep in our lives: the vampires or the surgeons. There’s the vampires, the people who suck the life, the guts, the hope, the aspirations, the joy, the security out of us; the surgeons are the people who know how to cut into us and make us better.

But I don’t think there is such a thing.
I don’t think you either keep a vampire in your life or a surgeon;
I think you pick a person, and that’s what’s hard. Because they’re just people, and we are just people, and we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves sometimes.

So. I’m gonna learn how to be really good at being a person. So that someone looks at me and doesn’t say, “Oh wow, she’s going to suck the life out of me” or even “She looks like someone who can fix my heart.”

I want someone to say, “She’s a good person. And I want her to stay.”

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