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This Town is a Cemetery of Relationships This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , South Elgin, IL
I guess I just needed to go out for a little bit. I drive down these roads and the houses loom next to me. They are gravestones in this town that is a cemetery. It’s raining, but only a little bit. I just came from getting high at my friend’s house. Not that that’s really important, I just thought you might want to know.

I like him a lot. I wouldn’t mind kissing him, but nothing more than that. I just want to kiss him. I know that you know that I’ve kissed a lot of people that live in this town. But I don’t think that really matters. We all do things to make ourselves less lonely sometimes. Other times we do things to make ourselves lonelier.

The raindrops on the windshield are like diamonds. Beauty exists in strange places sometimes. I can’t feel my fingers. But anyway, I really like that boy. He likes me too, I think. Maybe he wants to kiss me too. I hope so.

Look, there it is. That house. I pull up next to it, it’s white. I think that’s all I notice about it. It’s so white. I feel like I’m going blind. His silver car is parked in the driveway. It’s crunched on one side. The memory of stale booze seeps back into my throat. My heart beats fast as I remember being dragged by my hair into the basement. But after that…

I fucking hate him. That’s all I want to say about that. He’s not like the other boy. I want to kiss that boy. I really do.

I wipe a tear from the corner of my eye and I drive off. Now my tears look like raindrops that look like diamonds. It’s funny how beauty can survive in bad places. I decide to go another boy’s house. I slept with that boy too. But that was a long time ago so maybe it doesn’t really matter anymore. The road curves where his house sits. His house is blue, it has flowers outside, and it has his green car sitting in the driveway. I hate his fucking basement and his fucking kitchen and his fucking room. With him I was a bit more willing, but I was just a baby. I was just a fucking baby.

I’m getting mad. This wasn’t supposed to go like this. Slow down. I just need to think about happy things. I think about kissing my friend, I’m wondering if maybe he’ll kiss me as more than just that. Maybe.

I’m feeling better now. I’m feeling good because I don’t think any of those other boys mattered. I keep driving. I drive and drive and drive and drive further and further away from anything that resembles home. I blink my eyes and realize that I’ve led myself to another boy’s house. There were so many. Too many. I park my car on some quiet, midnight street and I get out. Maybe I locked the car, but I’m not really sure. I smoke in the park that he told me that he used to smoke in. Maybe that was a lie, most of what he swore was truth turned out to be nothing more substantial than the ash I flick into the wind.

F*** him too. For some reason I don’t go another boy’s house. I mean, there are plenty more. There are so many shadows in this town that I have lingered in too long. But I don’t travel to any more strangers’ houses. They didn’t really matter anyway. They still don’t.

I find my way back by slowly navigating the labyrinth of this place. Discovering I am back to where I started. There are tears that stream down my cheeks. They don’t look like diamonds anymore. I don’t know what they look like, it doesn’t matter though. I pull up to his house. I can’t see the color and I’ve never bothered to look before. The trees are nice though. I really like trees.

I slowly get out of the car, feeling my body roll and bend smoothly. I close my eyes and smell the trees and the grass and the leaves and the wind. Things that happened so long ago just don’t seem so important, at least not right now.

I know he’s in the backyard. He’s probably getting high because who would ever want to come down? I lazily walk behind his house, trailing my fingers along the side of the house, feeling the rough texture of it all.

There he is, relaxed and quiet in one of his lawn chairs. He doesn’t notice me yet. I tilt my head and lean my weary body against the house and just watch him for a few passing moments. His hair is gently tussled by the wind. He’s smoking a cigarette. The orange glow illuminates only his sharpest features in the blackness of the night. Sometimes beauty can be found in the strangest places. As rain begins to slowly plummet to the ground, I step forward and reveal myself.

I smile brightly; I hope he thinks the tears are just raindrops. I almost believe it myself. Long time no see he says to me as he takes another drag from his cigarette. What can I say? I just couldn’t keep away. I half dance half walk over to his chair, almost falling into his lap, wanting to just fall into his lap. He gestures for me to pull one up for myself. I do just that.

The rain falls more heavily. I’m too distracted to care and he’s too stoned. We sit in silence for a while. I stare at the grove of trees around his house. He stares at the stars. The rain crescendos and diminuendos and its melodies and harmonies form a symphony in my ears. Suddenly, I’m happy. It’s not really that important though.

I reach over and hold his hand, eyes still fixed on the trees. I lace my fingers between his; they’re wet from the rain. He smiles although I don’t look at him. He adjusts his so it fits better with mine. Only then do I look over. He gets up, comes over to me, and kisses me. His lips are soft and his touch is gentle. We part and smile stupid stoned smiles. More? He asks me, gesturing to the plastic bag peeking out from his coat pocket. My response is a kiss, followed by a trudge into the darkness of his backyard.

We delve deeper behind a tree that acts as a tent, protecting us from the cold rain. Here we are, so sleepy but so cold. We sit closer than we ever had before. He rolls a joint and together we pass it between us. We slowly drift in and up and close, whatever that’s supposed to mean. And as we slowly get stoned I realize I’m not so cold anymore, and I’m not so lonely anymore, and nothing seems so bad.

•••

But now that I think of it, I’m not completely sure that that is how my night went. Looking back, maybe I didn’t visit all of those houses; but then again maybe I did, maybe I visited more. I feel like maybe it wasn’t raining either. But wouldn’t that be nice had it been? I really like the rain.

I’m sitting on my roof right now. I have that joint that I remember from before, but I don’t know where he is. I look around but find nothing but rustling leaves and a moon strung up by threads. I think I might’ve spent my whole night here, but I’m not sure. I feel my cheeks with my free hand and tears are transferred from my eyes to my hand.

I don’t really remember what happened tonight. I remember what happened 2 years ago and 6 months ago and 3 weeks ago, but not tonight. It’s like a dream that you’re woken up in the middle of and even though you want it to play on a loop for forever to infinity, it’s gone in a puff of smoke. Infinity, that’s a nice thought. I feel like that sometimes, times like right now. Right now my lungs really hurt, but then again I don’t think I can feel them.

None of this really matters though. The only thing that matters is this one boy. Do you want to hear about him? I really like him. I’d like to kiss him. But I suppose that’s another story for another time.





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