Her dandy, dazed gaze was so disarming, mired in my haunted bliss, and all the promises that I had made her, she was still so surprising, scorching the earth with a smirk on her lips and a cold can of demons in her delicate hand. She tasted like danger, candy from a stranger, the kind of love that God gives out to little girls that he couldn’t quite give up on.
She makes me destructive, but I deserve it, quite richly, for all of my sanctioned suffering, and how my hopes were dashed, my hopes that were once high enough to greet the clouds as they awoke. It is not time to hope, now, it is time to live, to love in a way that makes my father sick, to destroy his daughter and be reborn in the shadow of a soulmate.
She keeps me captive, and I scratch stanzas into the steel bars with short fingernails that deserve to be forgiven, for this is disarming, charming love, destructive to the last second, delicious to the last bite.
The poetry I write says nothing to me about my life, because my life is preciously provincial, still doing the same routines, no matter how I age, writing the same stanzas again and again, chilling but charming, page after page, because it doesn’t matter what I say, my velvet voice makes it much more pleasant.
She told me that I was her favourite thing that I had ever written, so I wrote an affectionate album across each inch of her hands with lonely lips, kiss after kiss, restrained and trained to taper off when it all got too much, and it always gets too much, because heaven is hazy and heated in a way that one can never take for too long.
She talks as if I created myself, but truthfully, I am a creature created by life’s cruelty and God’s gawky sense of humour, getting through it and assessing the damage when everyone else is resting, resisting the urge to ask for a refund on the human experience, because nobody likes a whiner.
So cynical, with so little to say, it’s all so hideous, so hard to hear, the cross of the lord around the neck of a girl with feminine fingerprints across her throat, in a chokehold of my own torment. So little to say that isn’t sullied in sorrow, but, oh, such a sweet little voice, so enunciated, so overrated.
It is 4am and I need to empty out my head because every time she hits the pillow, she pauses to read aloud another tortured thought, and, of course, that means no sleep, so I have a sly plan, to make a list, leaving it all in the lines, so I can lie down and get lost in rest.
I start thinking about these things because they are easier to think about than the thing I have been avoiding. Perhaps I should stop avoiding it? Perhaps not? Who even knows at this point?
I don’t know if my mother will like the Christmas gift I lovingly, but poorly wrapped for her, even though she picked it out herself. I wonder this, because I don’t know if she likes me. I wouldn’t like me, if I was my daughter. I don’t even like me now.
I don’t like myself, because of the thing I am avoiding. I can talk about it in flowery, flamboyant prose or stunted, sweet stanzas but I can never just say it scientifically.
I am living in a pandemic and I still don’t understand the first thing about science. I feel stupid and I wonder if it’s because I went to a bad school, or because I have a bad brain?
The brain can’t be THAT bad because the brain wrote wonderful things, and the school is just a derelict building now, closed after collapsing under the weight of its own worthlessness (by that, I mean they failed one too many OFSTED inspections).
I hold onto the idea that I am a great writer because I don’t have anything else. I’m not pretty (despite the title of my last record), I’m not a nice person (despite constantly writing myself as one), I’m not funny (despite my life being hilarious from an outside perspective) and all I have is… this. This is my only value to the world. I will never discover the cure for cancer or bring peace to Palestine and Israel. I will never be a good mother. I am not a good friend. I would make a terrible wife. I am not a good person. All I am is a good writer. Not even great, just good, with delusions of grandeur.
I’m 90% sure my landlord is touching my underwear when I’m out of the house. He comes round to do a lot of “maintenance” and always seems to come round when I’m out. He never used to do this when a man lived in this house.
I was in love with my best friend at school but I never told her because I was disgusted by my desire. I used to start fights with her just to try and make her leave but she never did, and every now and again, I delude myself that maybe it was because she was in love with me too, and I cry out of nowhere because I didn’t ever tell her and she used to get so sad about how she wasn’t beautiful, like the other girls, but she was. She fucking was and I never told her. Maybe she’d think I was disgusting, but at least she would know that someone thought she was beautiful.
Maybe she wouldn’t have thought I was disgusting? Maybe she would have felt the same? Maybe if she didn’t feel the same, she would have at least accepted me as I was?NO. We are not doing that tonight.Maybe I should tell her now? I’ve still got her number. We are still friends on Facebook. I could tell her now. I could tell her today. I SAID NO.
My first girlfriend died and all I ever had with her was a few chaste kisses, because we were both too afraid of how passively powerful our vaginas were. I miss her. I miss the sadness in her eyes at the state of us. I miss the promise of more to come, if we ever found the courage. I miss imagining how she’d look if she only looked a little less guilty and sad. I miss the hope. I miss the secrecy.
I am thinking about the thing. Ooops.
I hate when people tell me that I’m “valid” because there is still a big part of myself that sees a monster in the mirror. I see a demon, preyed upon by witches, surrounded by hellfire, with nowhere to go. Born bad but tricked into worse by pretty girls, with their pretty faces and their pretty perversions. I don’t want you to tell me that I’m “valid”, because being “valid” means that I’m marked. “Normal” people don’t get told they are valid. Nobody needs to tell “normal” people that they’re valid. Now that I’m “valid”, I am no longer “normal”, and it all feels very vapid.
Sometimes, I think I want to go back. I want to take it back. I say to myself “You can suffer again!” It could be fun, like the old days. Vintage virtue. Suffering, but in a sentimental way. Breaking down at the sight of a bed because it reminds me of what I have to give away for the safety of a “normal” sexuality. That isn’t “valid”, but it’s all I’ve known for most of my life, and suddenly being “valid” doesn’t keep me safe from my own disapproval. What do you do when the calls of “God hates dykes!” are coming from inside the house?
I no longer desire death. I think that’s an achievement. I suppose I felt like I had already stuck around all this time, I may as well see it through and see what happens.
I know what happens. I spend a few months being adored because I’m “exploring myself” and being “brave” and “valid” but then I get scared. I stumble back into the dark depths of my wardrobe and I hold hands with the ghost of my Angel until I find some dreadful man that I can be sure will cheat on me enough that nobody questions my lack of sex drive. I marry him. I have a child, that will be my one and only reason for living, and I slowly die, finishing off somewhere in my mid forties.
I am going to watch Paddington. I always watch Paddington when I can’t sleep, and the only reason I can’t sleep is because I’m thinking about the thing. Paddington doesn’t think about the thing. Paddington just cares about politeness and marmalade sandwiches, and I marvel at a life like that. Oh, to be a small bear with a fulfilling life.
Girls on dating apps make me feel disgusting. Girls in bars make me feel invisible. I am caged by how unsociable I have always been and how little effort I put into being a “free spirit”. I’m too much of a prude for Tinder. Too much on the brink of alcoholism to be a beautiful barfly. Everyone wants to hook up and I get off on shaming them, because I desperately want “real love”.
I need “real love” before sex because it’s a coping mechanism. I tell myself that if I’m in love with her, it won’t be so wrong. Maybe, it won’t be wrong at all? Part of me thinks that is a lie, but I’m too old to try and rationalise my own lies, and getting older by the second, so I really should get this show on the road, right? I have wasted so much time.
My greatest fear is that I’ve done all this for nothing. I wrote the meaningful monologue about “living my truth”, and everyone clapped, but then everyone dispersed after the discourse. I am not rewarded with a soulmate or even a six month fling that I can spin into the most dramatic of love affairs in my memoirs. What if there isn’t really someone for everyone? What if there are not plenty of fish in the sea, because of climate change or whatever? What if my best chance at not dying alone was dying without dignity, with someone I despised? What if I’ve walked into the sunlight, and now the sun is falling?
It is now 4:15. I am not any less tired, but I will lay here in silence, because there’s nobody to see me cry, nobody to impress, nobody to lie to, nobody to tell the truth to. Just silence, and that is what I need right now. I need silence. I need to shut up.