13

Months have passed and turned
to years, and suddenly a man I
knew so well is now a man some
girl knows better, and well, I
saw him not that long ago and
I’m pretty sure he knew my face and
when you see a man you knew
holding up the girl who now knows
that man on his shoulders, laughing
like there wasn’t a care in the world, like
he didn’t break some girl’s heart
months and months and months ago, like
that man never took a girl’s soul and
pierced it straight through until
a hole became infected and stitched over,
internally bruised and blood drenched and like
he had changed, but a man like that
could never change, and now that girl
who knows that man better, doesn’t know
how freeing it truly feels to be
rid of that man, to be truly
loved by herself, because that man she
thinks she knows is no lover
she deserves

Self-love is the answer to every break-up.

I feel like I’m always jumping ship from one relationship to the other, without much time in between to be on my own. I think the downfall of this type of dating is that it’s hard to see myself as someone out of a relationship, as my own personal entity. I don’t mean to say that I don’t want to date the person I’m dating, but I usually get very swept up in the love and affection that a new relationship brings.

Every relationship is a lesson. That’s what everyone tells us when we go through a break up – what have you learned? As long as you’ve changed as a person, then the relationship mattered, and was worth all the time and the effort and the money and the dreams and the hope and the love –

But sometimes I feel like a relationship just ends. No reason. No change. There’s no grand scheme – you didn’t break up just so you could have an epiphany. Sometimes the end of the relationship is just the end. Sometimes you’ve done everything you could, and everything right, and the person that you had imagined in your life is suddenly gone.

Sometimes a break-up just fucking sucks. The best thing to do is to enter into a relationship with yourself. ESPECIALLY when you’re still in a relationship.

Take yourself on a date. Buy yourself flowers. Take yourself to a movie and splurge on the large size popcorn. Text your best friend and remind her you love her, or bomb her phone with emojis. Go to an animal shelter and cuddle the puppies or kittens. Volunteer somewhere and help someone feel better. Watch that rom-com you’ve seen twenty times before and bawl your eyes out.

Give yourself the love you’ve always reserved for someone else – your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your lover, your friends, your family. If you’re in a relationship, give yourself an equal amount of self-love.

You owe yourself that.

 

(Image source)

Prank

 

Jeanine lined the edges of the bathroom with candles and lit them with care with the matches from the kitchen drawer Mom had said never to open. She had taken the floor pillows from her bedroom and put one against the bathtub, the other right across from it against the sink. She sat by the bathtub and waited.

The floorboards in the hallway creaked, and the bathroom door opened – it was Jeanine’s twin Emily, holding the Ouija board in her trembling hands.

“Jean, I don’t like this,” Emily said, setting the board down on the floor in the center. “I really, really don’t like this.”

“Shut up,” Jeanine said, “and close the door. Shut off the lights. Demons hate the light.”

Emily did as she was told, and the room glowed gold from the candlelight. She grabbed her hairbrush from the drawer, then sat on her designated pillow and brushed her long hair.

“If demons hate the light, then why the candles?”

“The candles, dummy, are the only light that demons do like. It’s like you never listen to a word I say,” Jeanine said, arranging the Ouija board to be exactly center between them. She smiled to herself, knowing Emily would never forget what she was about to do.

She had been planning this prank for months, saving up her allowance, convincing her twin she was buying a new board game for them to play. She conned Emily into forking up her piggy bank cash, too, just enough to purchase it from the strange shop across from their middle school.

Here it was, the yellowing heavy square with each letter painted in perfect alphabetical sequence. The room was quiet except for Emily’s panicked breathing.

“Would you stop it?” Jeanine said. “Demons aren’t real, Em.”

“But why does it have to be demons?” Emily said, catching eyes with her twin quickly before looking away. “Why can’t we just talk to Papa through it?”

“Because Ouija doesn’t reach angels.”

“I hate this already.” Emily brushed her hair faster. Jeanine wrenched the brush from Emily’s grip, throwing it against the wall. It hit the tile with a clang.

“Stop it!” Jeanine said. “Don’t you want to know if it’s real?”

They stared into each other’s eyes for a whole minute. Emily nodded.

Wordlessly, they put their fingers lightly on the planchette.

“What do we say?” Emily whispered. Jeanine’s eyes narrowed at her twin, as if to say shut up, please. The candles flickered for a moment, unnoticed.

“Is there anyone here?” Jeanine said, her voice echoing. The planchette began to move under the light touch of their fingers, hovering over YES. Emily took her fingers off and folded her arms.

“You’re messing with me,” she accused.

“Put your fingers back, now,” Jeanine said, “or I’m telling Mom you bought this with your money. Which is partly true, by the way.”

Emily hesitantly placed her fingertips back on the piece.

“Oh, Spirit,” Jeanine continued dramatically, her voice deep, her speech planned word for word, “who are you?”

The planchette moved, and Emily’s eyes widened with every letter. Jeanine spoke each aloud: “D-E-M-O-N.”

“Jean, please,” Emily whispered, her fingers shaking. “Let’s stop now, before Mom hears us from downstairs.”

Jeanine only smiled. “Oh Great Demon, what do you want from us?”

The piece, guided and steadied by Jeanine’s fingers, moved despite Emily’s trembling. This time, Emily spoke the letters aloud. “I-W-A-N-T-J-E-A-N.”

She looked up at her twin, her eyes glossy, a single tear falling from her eye. “Jeanie, it wants you.”

“No!” Jeanine gasped in fake surprise, putting on her best frightened expression which she had been practicing the last few days and it was especially good. “It can’t want…me!”

Then – the best part of the trick – Jeanine’s eyes widened, and her head hung back as she threw her arms up as she began to speak in a made-up language she had practiced with great diligence, involving a lot of lip-smacking and tongue-flailing.

Emily began to cry. “STOP IT, Jeanie, this isn’t funny! This isn’t funny! STOP! IT!

Just then, the room began to shake, slowly at first, then violently in tremors. The candles shifted and moved across the floor as if the ground were tilting. Emily screamed in terror, grasping at the tile but finding nowhere to hold, looking about wildly. Jeanine stopped her act, too, grasping against the sides of the bathtub, trying to steady herself.

“This isn’t me!” Jeanine said, her voice cracking. “Emily, this isn’t me! I swear!”

Emily screamed louder, tears streaming down her face. She tried to stand, but the room shuddered suddenly, and she collapsed to the floor, her head hitting the tile with a crack. A few candles fell over, cracking the glass of their containers, pieces flying everywhere, dinging against the tile. The board slid across the room and crashed with a thud against the closed bathroom door, trying to escape the little hell Jeanine had created.

Then the earth was still. The earthquake had ended. The air smelled like ‘Fresh Linen’ and ‘French Vanilla’ and smoke.

Jeanine slowly brushed the glass pieces into the corner, and stood the fallen candles upright. Some were still lit, and flickered feebly. Emily laid motionless.

“Em, you don’t have to be so dramatic. Obviously I was joking, you know, about the board and all. Get up and help me clean.”

Emily laid there, silent. Jeanine rolled her eyes.

“Get up, now,” Jeanine ordered, standing up herself. She crossed the room and turned the bathroom lights on, but Emily did not stir. “Stop faking and get up!”

Emily did not move, not even to breathe. Her hands were sprawled over her face. Jeanine reached down to move her arms, but felt something cool and sticky on her fingers. She then realized that around Emily’s head, a pool of something thick was leaking out.

Jeanine screamed as she had never screamed before.

The planchette moved silently across the Ouija board, spelling out:

G-O-T Y-O-U

 

loving new

give me your undivided attention
your eyes your mouth your ears, give
your reasons your excuses your pathetic
avenues, twisting yourself out of
all, giving me lie after calculated truth
give me your undivided affection
your fingertips your elbows your blood and
curve, isn’t that what you’ve always
longed for, a way to breathe into someone
else and give them a glimpse of you, give me
a peek of you unadulterated, a part of you you’ve
never wanted, give me the sharp parts you’ve
forgotten and buried shallow, give me your soft edges
let’s break
them wide open, give me and take
from me, take what I’ve always wanted to build, take
from me the memories I can’t say with certainty
without wondering where we all and it all began
give me your empty and I’ll fill it ever full with
my regrets and my glass body, so easy to crack
I’ll give you my undivided
isn’t that what they’ve
told us, they’ve always
told us

february fourteenth, twenty thirteen.

kiss me, skin prickling, lips cracked but now moistened,
lead me to the table and we’ll exhaust ourselves and exhaustingly
exhaust all topics of conversation until we’re bled dry of talk and our
throats are sore from giggling over wine glasses of crimson acid,
taking no extra breaths than needed, devouring each other
with our minds and our thoughts and our eyes until
we leave a tip with the check and escape
into the cool whisper of the winter wind.
my feet are aching in these high heels I wore
just to be near your height – so up I go,
into your warm arms, carrying me
across the street and up stairs
key unlocking the door with a soft
click click, thud behind us.
you cough, your chest heaving
you’re handsome, even when
you’re sick as all hell,
and I love you for
taking me out
when you
have the
flu.

12

I want to taste the poison on your tongue
I want to feel your breath upon my neck
warming me against the bitter cold
that threatens to destroy us limb from limb.
Tell me that the world will never end,
Tell me that forever we will be.
I will stay if the demons come to call
and be with you until my dying eve.
But kisses are not shields
and the world is not a home,
but a radical existence of
bone against bone.

Trifecta challenge week 42: write at least 33 words based on the third definition of the word radical: a : very different from the usual or traditional : extremeb : favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutionsc : associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme changed : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs <the radical right>

11

breaking the silence

with your words

You know nothing of suffering.

you shift your weight

turning to me

blessing me with the sight

of your marble eyes.

they glisten like the blood of warriors

but I only imagine them red

because your eyes

are the color of aged leather –

fierce and calculating,

warm and rugged,

you have me shaking to my core

and I’m falling, falling

from grace, into

the splendor that is

your eyes.

 

You know nothing of suffering.

And I know nothing of you.

preface to the ending

this is the moment

before the clock strikes

before the cock crows

before the sun sets.

they say beginnings are born

from endings, but I –

I am born from the ashes

when the pain ebbs

when the blood drips

when the marks fade

and fade

and fade

and fad

and fa

and f

and

an

a

an

and

I am born

I am new

I am the end

and the beginning

and I slough the ashes off

and I can feel

so very clearly

what life is

who I am

who I must become