Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

genesis

     Sometimes you feel like you’re floating.
     It’s like you’re nothing but scattered conscience, sewn together by skin and bones and blood. You want to say it feels like being a god trapped in a human body, but that’s just arrogant, isn’t it? At any rate, the only thing that convinces you you’re human, breathing and living on earth, is that feeling on your chest that you get (when night comes too early and your room looks like your mind threw up all over it)—sometimes it’s a dull pounding, like your heart is a drum that’s been played too many times by the same rough hands, and sometimes it’s quick and sharp, a slap to your face of reality that leaves you searching for a breath you’ll never catch.
     You’ve been taught to love a certain way. You’ve been taught to fall in love until you forget what it feels like to float, to find someone who grounds you and makes you feel each grain of dirt beneath your toes. At this point you’re not sure if you’re supposed to find someone who will pull you down or hold you down.
     You’ve been taught to love a certain way. He must be taller than you by at least three inches. He must have dirty blond hair and aquamarine eyes. He will make the first move, sliding his arm around your waist with minty breath and refusing to go away until you forget the difference between “yes” and “no”. You will love his smile and you will love the way his honeyed words drip into your mouth and glue your teeth together until you can’t speak.
     You’ve been taught to love a certain way. He will not find you or love you or look at you if you don’t love yourself, because happy girls are worth his while, happy girls never, ever cry, and happy girls aren’t sewn together by skin and bones and blood.
You accepted the fact that you will never be worth his while a long time ago.

 

     Sometimes you feel like you’re drowning.
     All your friends go to bed feeling like they are worth something now, and you truly are happy for them—nothing hurt you more than seeing them paint smiles on their faces with their own blood and then saying it was lipstick. But they’re better now. They learned how to swim, how to love the water, and how to know when it was time to get out. They’re inviting you to more parties than ever. They're texting you silly pictures all day. They don’t wear lipstick anymore.
     You’ve never felt so alone.
     There’s something about being alone in the water that seems so calming at first. It’s a quieter world out there in the open ocean, all gentle waves and cool breezes and the sound of the sky. And then the waves get bigger. The breezes get colder. The sound gets louder, and louder, and more violent, until you realize it’s the heavens laughing at you for treading water while everyone else has been saved by a lifeboat.
     He had dirty blond hair and aquamarine eyes and a voice that could lull you to sleep within ten minutes over the phone. He whispered sweet nothings in your ear as he circled around you in the safety of his boat, keeping the paddles just out of reach so you couldn’t hold onto them. So you held onto his words instead, dripping with honey, washed away by the waves at the end of each night.
    He left you to drown, and as your tears fill the ocean even more, you tell yourself you deserve it, you deserve it, you deserve it.

 

     Sometimes you feel like you’re falling.
     Eventually you get over him. It’s not easy; it’s all jagged rocks and lightning storms and ships that sailed by without seeing you stranded in the water, but you make it to land.
The stormy seas left you with cuts and bruises and a stone heart (hidden behind layers of masks and careful words). You’re untouchable. You’re a god. Your anger makes you feel almost powerful, but in the back of your mind you crave honey and sweet whispers and lingering touches.
     Your friends are going to bed with other people now, hands interlocked as they drift off to sleep and breathe in each other’s dreams. You’re happy for them, because you never wanted them to think they were unlovable. They ask you about your life, and ask to go on double dates. You don’t say anything about how cold your hand feels when you lie in bed, or how you wish you could wake up next to someone and kiss their cheeks and fingers and forehead until they woke up, or how the city seems far too big for one person to navigate. Instead, you shake your head, mutter something about not having enough time, and leave it at that.

     

     Sometimes you feel like you’re falling.
     It’s not like you wanted this to happen. It wasn’t supposed to happen, because your heart is supposed to be stone and you don’t ever have enough time.
     But when she throws her head back and laughs, you can’t bring yourself to look away, because her hair falls over her shoulders and captures the sunlight in a way that makes her look like she’s glowing and her laughter sounds like spring and the first snow of the year and when she touches you you hope that her fingers are on fire like your skin is and her eyes see everything you try to hide and—
    (Oh god) You’re falling. It's terrifying, it’s blind, it’s beautiful, and it’s okay.

 

     Sometimes you feel like you’re drowning.
She whispers sweet promises into your ear when you can’t bring yourself to move from the same spot on the bed for hours. Things about how she’ll never leave and you’re okay and you’re beautiful.
     And you know you can believe her. Because when you drown in her brown eyes every morning when you wake up, she doesn’t turn away, and when your shoulders shake so hard that it seems like the earth is falling apart, she never lets go of your hand, and when you want to lay in bed for hours to trace constellations onto her skin with your fingertips, she turns around every now and then so you have a new canvas to draw on, and when you ask her why she hasn’t left someone as sick and messed up as you yet, she smiles, kisses your shoulder, and says that the two of you are messed up when you’re apart, but when you’re together, it’s art.
     She means so much to you that sometimes what you feel for her almost suffocates you, but it’s not the type of breathlessness that you’re used to (panicked breaths and wide eyes and white hot skin)—it’s breathtaking, and it sweeps you off your feet, and you know she’ll be there to catch you.

 

     Sometimes you feel like you’re floating.
     It’s the way she kisses you until you’re out of breath. It’s the way her hand always finds yours when you’re navigating the city streets together. It’s the way you teach her your favorite songs on the piano and the notes bring out this certain feeling in your chest (as the sky grows darker and the two of you laugh when her fingers slip onto the wrong keys)—sometimes it’s a dull pounding, when you realize just how much you love her and just how much she’s helped you, and sometimes it’s quick and sharp, when you realize with a pang that you helped her just as much, and all those feelings of home and safety and warmth hit you at once.
     You’re better now. She’s better now. That’s not to say the two of you are fine, because there will always come a time when night arrives too early and the waves get too tall. You still wake up to her gripping your arm in her sleep (holding on to the one thing she knows). You still have days when even she can’t reach you, and you lie in the same place for hours, staring at the same spot until it becomes as familiar as the thoughts pounding in your brain. When she wakes up, you’re right there, rubbing her back and pressing your lips to her forehead in a desperate attempt to kiss her pain away. When you come to, she’s right beside you, saying hey there, I've missed you and asking if you want to do anything, understanding when you shake your head no.
     Sometimes you feel like you’re floating. Sometimes you feel like you’re drowning. Sometimes you feel like you’re falling. And thank goodness you never lingered on the honeyed words and aquamarine eyes. Because now you finally feel like you’re in the place you were always meant to be, and thank god it's the most beautiful place you've ever been—next to her, sharing the same air, breathing in her dreams.




Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback