Dear C.

My first distinct memory of you is from our poetry workshop–you sat across the circle from me, and during one of our impromptu writing sessions, you began playing a Radiohead song from your phone, stating that listening to them is something you like to do when you write.

I remember thinking at the time that I only knew a handful of Radiohead songs and also who were you to be so bold?

And then you created such a deep love affair between Radiohead and myself that, to this day, I get chills whenever I listen to them, and none of my friends listen to them, so I have no one to go on about Thom Yorke to or listen to the entirety of In Rainbows with.

Friday nights were ours.

We would sit on your bed amidst the anti-capitalist artwork you created and the candlestick holder made from an empty brown beer bottle and drink Yuengling and smoke cigarette after cigarette until my hair was drenched in the scent of smoke and my lungs quaked.

The first time I did coke was after one of our group writing meetings, just a few blocks from your apartment. It was a sunny day in winter, and I drank a beer and did a single line and didn’t feel much.

That didn’t stop us though.

You’d play The King of Limbs from your laptop as we cut lines on the floral-print plastic tray. I’d tie my hair back, press the rolled up piece of paper to my nostril and inhale. We wouldn’t even go out. We just sat and let out tongues and teeth move at top speed.

I still have the Javas coffee card you used to cut the lines with. You told me I was great at cutting lines. I guess I can put that on my resume.

I fucking loved you. There’s no doubt in my mind. I fucking loved you. I loved your scratchy voice and how your hair cascaded down your back, how you deliberately let your black negligee glide off your shoulder as you sat with your thighs crossed over the mattress.

I loved you despite the dirt beneath your nails. I loved you when you were a crumpled heap in my arms, and I brought you dark chocolate and Tension Tamer tea.

Not long ago, while at work, I pressed my face into a shirt someone donated because it smelled exactly fucking like your apartment–like laundry detergent and lilies and cigarette smoke.

Hell, there was even one time when I was in your bathroom, and, after reading the back cover of your copy of Slaughterhouse Five, I plucked your discarded black thong from the tile floor and pressed it against my nose.

Because I’m a creep.

I’m a fucking weirdo.

Even at the time, I knew it was a tragic thing, to love you. To want you.

And I don’t even know how we split apart. It just happened. I do that to people eventually–I just inch further and further away. You called me up one evening and I drove over, and it was like old times. I cried about my mother. We saw each other again that summer, sat on a park bench outside and drank iced coffees, talked about our mothers.

I’m truly sorry I became cold. Seeing you at my new school was like seeing a ghost. Your voice no longer charmed me. I didn’t know what to say to you. And I’m sorry.

But I see that you’re happier than ever now. You seem so fucking happy and I’m so glad that you are and even though it makes me sad, I know if I had stayed in your life, you wouldn’t be this happy, because that’s just how the world ties things together. It’s the butterfly effect.

I hope someday you’ll call me up again. I know you won’t. It’s okay. I’ll think about calling you but I won’t ever do it.

People come and go.

God, you’re unreal. You always were.

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Dear D

I’m pegging our first interaction as you complimenting my pink sweater in what I think was 8th grade. I recall debugging you in my own reserved, shy way. Fast forward to a year later; we’re holding hands in the middle of the mall.

You were the first friend I loved while also knowing what love means.

Our high school days were full of teenage angst, mood swings, but most importantly, the hundreds of folded pieces of loose leaf paper scribbled with blue pen. Doodles of characters you made up, the never-ending song lyrics that I had memorized; talk of boys, teachers we didn’t like, spiralling emotions. God, we were the epitome of outcast teenage girls.

I don’t know why the universe treated you so poorly. From the moment you were conceived, you were doomed. And, unlike adults with choices, you were a child and you were helpless. You were flung into a household that denied you love and spoonfed you dirt and lies. I’m sorry for the time you hid under the house in the dark. I’m sorry for all the wails against your body. I’m sorry for all the times the people you were bound to by blood turned their back on you and ignored your pleas, your whimpering eyes.

There was one day in February when we were sitting in Dunkin Donuts and you were wearing the hot pink hoodie I had given you. You started crying.

You were in the habit of lying face down on your bed and texting boys until you fell asleep. Shit, I tried to tell you. Not so much in words, I’m sure, but I tried to tell you that you deserved better than to get fucked from behind outside the public library. You deserved better. You wanted love. And they just fucking preyed on that.

God, we had good fucking times. Remember when I ran out of pot and we smoked catnip? Our weed connections were few and far between. I loved smoking with you. I wish I could remember it all, but I remember very little of it. But it brings me a bittersweet feeling.

You always wanted a baby. And now you have one. A little girl. Shit. I knew it would happen but I always hoped it wouldn’t.

Please tell me you haven’t forgotten taking a pregnancy test in my bathroom when you were 16.

Please tell me you haven’t forgotten all the obscene doodles that I would see once I unfolded the pieces of paper.

You must remember when you got shit-faced for the first time on vodka and pissed on your hamster’s grave and I tricked you into drinking water.

I dreamed about you the other night–I know it was a dream, because if it was real life, I don’t know how I would react to you. But in the dream, you were happy. You weren’t doing anything “amazing,” but you were happy. No baby. It was truly like seeing an old friend.

I think about you for a while, and then I don’t for a while.

You’ll always have a place in my heart.

 

Drunk, After Party

I’m a solo cup of rum and butter and cider in and I feel the warmth hit my stomach like a bomb.

I just can’t escape the trenches.

I ask her, “Do you want to leave?” because, despite her sobriety, she’s nodding off on the damp stoop.

“I’m fine,” she says. That’s all she ever says.

So, okay, I go beer after beer deep.

On my third (?), a tall lanky guy who introduces himself as _____ stops in front of us. I first notice his costume; mistake it as Waldo “humping” a leprechaun but he corrects me–he’s riding a leprechaun. He comments on my t-shirt, he asks what I thought about the remake. We talk. He seems stable. Nice. Sober, because he has to drive an hour and a half home.

“You drove over an hour for this?” I ask.

Fast-forward.

The warm feeling has burned out but the inebriation in my brain is full force. I’m socially lubricated and my body is loose. I’m leaning against the wall, I’m laughing at stupid things I overhear. I’m talking to a kid who is younger than me but graduated with a four-year degree sooner than me. We went to high school together. I’m friends with his ex. I have reason to dislike him; I do dislike him.  Yet, his stupid banter and commonality between academia is much needed at this time in the night. Him and his girlfriend are even more of a social lubricant.

“Gangster.”

“Can I buy a cig off you?”

“Mugwort.”

“The competitor of Uber.”

They start playing a live rendition of “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer and I tap my foot against the stoop.

My old neighbor, younger than me, probably has an IQ of 150, has travelled all over the world, is as lifeless as I remember him being even back when we were small and played house and I got a mouthful of sand and dirt in my mouth and he kissed me.

His house was full of secrets and dimness and smelled like sugared cereal.

I have moments of introspective drunkenness.

It hurts. Vaguely.

My ex-neighbor sort of encourages me to take a Jello shot. Sure, I’m all about having more vivid dreams. I like to remember pain. I usually forget. I swallow a slice of clementine. The Jello is slightly bitter, slightly sweet, and a vivid orange. Where’s Waldo joins me–this pleases me.

I feel dumb.

She and I go back out for one last smoke. I tell her, I’ll talk to him before we leave. Before we leave, though, he’s walking out and we’re telling him to have a good night.

There’s a certain kind of loneliness the stems from being intoxicated, even if you’re having a good time. There’s a moment–perhaps you’re in the bathroom, or you’re having a cigarette, or reaching into the fridge for another beer, or standing against the wall. But it’s there. It reaches up into your  brain and tugs on your flaws, your insecurities, your hopes, your dead dreams.

In two years, two months, two weeks, two days, two hours, this moment, this night, this experience–it will not matter.

 

Porno Flickers

Am I doing the right thing?

I mean, everything feels like a wrong turn.

My manic energy, however wavering, and lack of sleep has given way to a compulsive, stressed, panicked being who needs to cum six times a day just to distract themselves.

That is, until the questions pop up as pounds of flesh and blood swirl around on my computer screen, and suddenly I can no longer feel my own body.

It all just feels so…hopeless.

I know that’s a cliche.

It actually feels surreal–to know there is no right answer, no correct choice, no way out, no solution to anything.

When I was younger, I didn’t even think about the possibility of my whole life becoming, well, shit.

Every smile feels forced. Every laugh is followed by internalized anxiety and paranoia. Every conversation is emotionally draining, usually followed by irrational rage at people I love. I’m tired of the blank stares, the tired half-smiles that are a poor attempt to reassure me that I’m not going to sit on the train tracks and wait for my body to be run over and crushed into nothing.

My hatred for others has grown immensely and quickly. I lash out. I make jokes but they’re meant to burn. I dread seeing people I call friends.

And you know what? They don’t actually care. Nor should they have to.

They have their lives. And despite all their own problems and all their own complaining, I would take any single one of their lives over my own.

I feel like my best friend and I are drifting apart. And I’m self-aware enough to know this isn’t because of my current state–I’m always in a good mood when I see her, but that mood is dissuaded throughout our interaction because she just seems so…distant. So irritated by me.

I have my guesses as to why.

But I don’t want a repeat of last year, where she held everything in until she exploded via text message and I had to drive to her house and threaten to leave if she didn’t fucking talk to me about what was going on.

I know she doesn’t like to talk.

I just keep feeling like I’m letting her down and I don’t even know why. I feel insecure. I don’t really ask her to hang out anymore. I’ve almost stopped completely. I’ve learned not to text her because she never texts me back.

Every time I’m with her, it’s like we’re not actually together.

It makes me even more sad.

I just want to sleep for a while, stop jerking off so much, eat an actual meal, wear clothes that aren’t work clothes or gym clothes.

But tomorrow I’ll be back to staying up until 3am watching porn to, what? Distract myself?

I’m running out of distractions.

Down in the gutter.

It’s always a little disappointing when someone asks I am and they immediately disregard what I’ve said and delve into a whole spiel about their own misfortunes, in this case, something I’ve been hearing about for a long time. To me, the solution is simple.

The terrible rap music pulsates against my eardrums, gyrates in my skull. It is not fitting for my defeated and agitated mood and I’m tempted to change it but what would be the point? It’s only four more minutes out of…

I hear the word “boyfriend,” in a vapid attempt to relate to my expression of loneliness and dissatisfaction, and I literally roll my eyes to the roof of the car.

It’s a good thing that it’s dark outside.

“He’s a bum,” I want to say. She’s said it herself. I’ve agreed. But I still want to say those exact words in a bitter yet confident tone. I don’t want to say it to be cruel. I want to say it because I know she can do better.

Because, honestly, he’s like all those empty beer cans he’s probably recycled for five cents apiece.

I know this person. I know him very well. I know his manipulations and pathetic attachments and inability to help himself, or perhaps, his lack of desire to help himself. I know he will drag himself into the ground, and, if she’s not careful, she will be dragged down with him.

As she said, “I put up with everything.”

Taking (Another) Break.

I’ve been on the same dating website on and off for about six years now. I’ve been on my fair share of dates, but nothing’s ever amounted from them. I got pressured into giving a guy a handjob when I was 18, and that’s really the highlight.

Which is pretty sad.

Then came tinder. I’m pretty sure, if my memory is correct (which, to be fair, it is often not), I’ve only met two people from tinder–that guy I met who drove me to the res (which I wrote a blog post about last year), and a person who I fell for but ended up just wanting to be friends with me (and that’s where we are today).

I was talking with this friend recently about the frustrations I’ve been having, and she’s been having many similar ones. She has come to the conclusion that she is unlovable—while I tried to argue with her on this, I see where she’s coming from. If it hasn’t happened already, it probably never will happen, and probability and simple logic lead her to believe that she is the common factor, so it must be her.

I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the idea.

I’ve spent years trying not to believe those exact thoughts. I’ve spent my entire young adult life holding onto this hope that someday I will find someone. And I’m not even asking for a long-term partner or a soulmate–I’m merely asking for someone to show me a little bit what it’s like to be romanced, to be loved, to have a good time, to have something special with someone, even if for a while.

But, it seems highly unlikely.

Last night I checked Tinder and, lo and behold, the guy who I had talked with at the bar for a little while who I also matched with on the app, unmatched with me.

Now, this really isn’t a big deal. But I was still befuddled. Any number of reasons could have caused this unmatching, but damn, you’d think, Hey, we’ve already talked, sliding into this online conversation will be a lot easier.

But I don’t think people on tinder are that serious. Tinder is game. It’s an ego-boosting app, and that’s usually the end of it.

So I deleted all my “dating apps.” Because my friend may be right–it may be time to give up the ghost. It may be time to just try and accept being alone. Sure, I’ve tried before, but I was younger then, and now that I’m 23 with a pretty solid understanding of myself, maybe it’s time.

The reality is, not everyone meets somebody else. And it seems like that’s probably my reality.

The Internal Argument – Intimacy

I’ve been dating my partner, boyfriend, whatever you want to call him for two months. The first time we were physically intimate, beyond a mere kiss or subtle touch, occurred when I grabbed him against me and made out with him. The second time happened when I straddled him on the couch and we made out, again, for a long time, and I completely explored his body and eventually gave him oral sex.

My boyfriend is actually less sexually experienced than I am, but he’s more open to engaging in physical acts than I am. When we were fooling around, I refused to remove any article of clothing.

I know everyone deals with body confidence issues, but it angers and upsets me how deep mine go.

Yesterday we were sitting on his bed and he touched my shoulder and I recoiled in quite a volatile manner. I apologized, and we discussed it briefly. I was feeling depressed and although one part of my brain wanted to accept the touch, deeply desiring and enjoying it, the other, more dominant part of my brain, told my body to retreat, that I didn’t deserve to be touched, and to avoid it.

This toxic, argumentative part of my brain is always the part that wins, and I don’t know why.

Again, everyone deals with body confidence issues. We’re not thin enough, not toned enough, not muscular enough. We have cellulite and scars. Our stomachs aren’t flat. We have hair in places we don’t want hair. Whatever it is, it’s an issue. I guess my issue is, there’s not one part about my body that I like. Even when I was in shape and 75 pounds lighter than I am now and could actually be deemed “attractive” by the average person, I hated my body. But gaining the weight back has made my self-hatred even more severe.

The idea of not being in control scares me. If I let my partner dominate the situation, I lose control, and I won’t be able to enjoy myself amidst all of my worrying and self-hatred.

And don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate myself. I’ve come a long way, and generally, I quite like myself. But I only like the inside of myself. In fact, I love who I am as a person. However, that love and respect does not translate to my physical form, and for whatever reason, my disdain for my body trumps all self-love I do actually have.

I feel guilty because I don’t want my partner to think it’s him. I feel guilty because I can’t change how I feel about my body. I feel guilty because I can’t give my partner something he wants, and deserves.

I’m not sure how others, as uncomfortable as they are with their bodies, can take off their clothing and be okay with it.

-Zara