Eyes, Nose, Lips

Drama burns us. It’s why we try to stay away. We fear. That it will consume us, burn us like dry leaves and branches, and eventually, become a parasitic fire of hell. A hell that keeps us obsessed, poring over the memories and letters and body memory.

Is this why the French cling on to summer romance? An ephemeral happenstance which will fade away into photographs of sunny woods in the Ardennes, the Alpes, Aruba. Fleeting memories of walking barefoot on the beach. Sharing cups of hot cocoa. Of sitting on the grass, listening to the birds and reading my Kindle. The ladybug who came to sit on your lap, white and red spots on a layer of denim.

Emotions, we are told, must be reined in by the rational. Heels over head. Don’t lose yourself, she told me. Years later, she told me, you’re too rigid. Why don’t you have any feelings to show? I said, well, you told me emotions were booboo. You fucking raised me.

And after all, it may have nothing to do with our lovers. It may be, surprise, surprise, all about us, the actant. Does it matter, then, who it is? As long as we know we are the constant variable holding it all together. A voice in my head says: Are you using people? I tell him, Well, it’s mutual, don’t push it, angel.

A woman once taught me the art of fragmenting and compartmentalizing one’s history. The most broken, strong, and ‘hard’ woman I have ever known told me:

You tell Adelaide about the time you cut your wrist. For the tenth time.

You tell Lila about the time you had sex with a black man and couldn’t get it in, how it was funny and you both had a good laugh and remain friends and you will go to Taco Bell with him at base camp this week.

You tell Blue that by age two, you were abandoned by your family and sent away to Canada and you have a constant fear of abandonment and feel like you have to be perfect always everywhere and this is why you have a drinking problem and are a nymphomaniac who releases all tension through orgasms but at the same time is afraid of getting pregnant for the social stigma but also wants to appear cool enough to her fuckbuddies not to fret about insisting on using condoms and menstrual cycle calculations and never having sex until two weeks from her last period but when you stress out you don’t get your period anyway and you haven’t been to see the doctor because you don’t want to know whether you’re pregnant or having completely messed up hormones but you think, hey, if I get pregnant now, maybe that will be a good excuse for me to kill myself, and at least it will be a socially acceptable tragedy, not like my fucked up childhood or trauma.

You tell the smartly dressed man sitting next to you at the bar that you were raped. You never told anyone else this, because you’re a strong woman and strong women don’t get raped. They are independent and fuck anybody they please and they don’t give a fuck. When the man starts taking interest in healing you, you walk the fuck away because he’s a fuckboy.

I tell Adelaide. I tell her in my head because we haven’t spoken in years because we drifted away, but I tell her because I know she would simply look me in the eyes and say, fuck thatFuck people.

I tell Adelaide that I’m both in love and not in love at the same time and that for the first time, that is okay. I tell her, maybe she and I don’t know what love is, because we were never given it in our childhoods. Did we even have childhoods? Does any one of us do? Then we laugh and say, ain’t nobody got childhoods, just fucked up parents who want the best for their kids – but the kids, they are on pot and ecstasy and running away from the dreams their parents blow up for them like balloons at the amusement park.

Then I tell you in my head, you who is both an amalgamation of my imaginary perfect-beings and a God I don’t believe in, that one day, I will hand you all the fragments of my life and that you’ll still love me and remember every one of the stories I tell you a year from now, long after I’ve forgotten them.

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