“How could I ever fall in love with anyone other than you? You’re a dream come true.”
“Every time I think about it, I question where my strength is. It ebbs and flows, and more often than not I feel like I’m just stuck in the sand at low tide. Flip that around, and I constantly feel like I’m almost drowning. Strained breaths above the salty water, and it erodes at both my strength and my capacity. I saw this story going differently, and saw myself living a life I played out in vignettes. Where are my accomplishments? Where is my home? Where are you? You’re near in spirit and in heart, but what I crave is your smell and the feeling of you body pressed against mine. I’m not as strong as I’d have thought, and all I want to do is run home to you. I’m sleeping in the cold on metal sheets, and every time I move to quiet my brain, the sound of them reminds me just how far I’ve strayed. Why can’t I see the forest for the trees? Where is this leading me? Why can’t this fever dream just end?”
“Who knows what I can do when I’m alone? I have to make my own fortress, but all I’ve got is a dull kitchen knife, and how do you cut a table with a butter knife? There is no symbolism and no white horse, but I’ve got darkness all around and I’d like to know how to escape it. My depth perception was fucked from the beginning, but what am I supposed to do? I can’t admit regret and failure, and have I even taken a step yet? I’ve put a shoe on and there’s a rock in it, turn it upside down, and turns out the shoe’s all worn and torn. Do I change shoes or do I wear a pair that fits my feet down to a T? Wait, do I even remember how to walk? Which metaphor fits right for what I feel, and which one tells me how to get back up? I’m sitting on the ground with no idea what to do next, much less how to just get up and stand up right. Inertia is a silent killer and comfort is the enemy of progress, but what if I can’t feel my limbs? What does this all even mean?
I can’t accept my present or my future, but I have no idea where to go or what to do. I’m knee deep in mud and quickly sinking, and do my eyes lie or is the rope to save me really all that far away?”
“Do the streets look the same over there where everything will be different? Will the air smell like it does when I come home? Will it make my heart hurt just a little bit because it will smell like coming home to you? Will I hear my shoes go clack clack clack and know that you’re hearing it, too? The air is heavy, but it’s light because I disappear every night. I walk up stairs and through doors past which I dive into a world that lets me breath like I am underwater. It’s mine and safe, and you are mine which means this world is yours as well. Over there, where the streets are heavier and busier, will our world be there too? I hope I take a part of it with me. I hope I nurture it and grow it to become all mine, and when you come and knock it down, it will be that much better. You’ll stretch it to fit you, and I’ll gladly sit and watch you plant trees that will take root and grow and remind me of you. “
“She’s like a child refusing to see the forest for the trees. She’ll bite the nose to spite the face, and fail to acknowledge any damage that she’s caused. Everyone’s a villain when she’s hurt, and she’ll set everything ablaze just to cut you down. She’s passive and kind most of the time, but when that anger strikes she can’t control herself. She’s shaking from the inside out and refuses to bide her time. There’s no future, no five minutes from now, that makes more sense than the urge to hurt and pillage. It’s fire and brimstone and ‘why do you hurt me like this’. All I wanted was my own, but in her eyes I don’t give enough to get enough. Hell hath no fury like an emotional invalid scorned. “
“The streets were made wide to help the city grow, but everything here feels stagnant and stuck in an imaginary era of prosperity that’s some thirty years in the past. This city’s air is heavy and choking, and it doesn’t care for your poor and huddled masses. This city of the country that welcomed your ancestors with open arms now tells the others they’re not good enough. But they come and they bring their poor and huddled masses to live in cramped apartments 10 to a two bedroom home only to wait on street corners in the twilight for something to send back home to abuelita and the niños. This city is for men who like building gates both to keep out and to keep in.”
“It starts with a single cigarette, smoke wisping up in a windless space over your cup of coffee, no milk one sugar. Then it’s a cigarette on the street in the cold when the city is silent and all you hear are far away voices and sirens blocks away. It is a silent calm in a dark environment. It’s cigarettes in the morning, when you’ve got sleep you can’t yet rub out of your eyes, and a city and sky blending into shades of gray outside your window. You start moving a little lither, a little slower, and more like a work of art. There is an ease in your movements that’s so perfect it’s like you’re a figment of someone’s imagination. You’re bundled up in sweaters too big, but they hang off you so chicly that you make all the other girls worry. You’re covered in old clothes that fit like second skin, and you’re a determined fire set up by accident. It starts with a cigarette and burns like a wildfire, and there’s no relief like you passing through.”
It should be like putting one foot in front of the other, but when the times comes, the feet just don’t work. The mechanism churns when you don’t need it, but then it sputters, grinds and comes to a complete halt just when you want to use it. The fuel comes and goes and it’s recorded, but it leads to a blank mind and a blank page. You’re left feeling farther from your goal than you were steps before this.
“What she did was stare at the void and try to think of the last time she had felt the courage to leave, and how it drained from her the second angry footsteps came clop, clop, clopping down the hardwood floors. It was hooves on the stones outside, and nothing but a drip-drop in the empty sink, and she stayed glued to her well-worn spot on the floor.”
“I stood in the entrance to the kitchen, and everything was so bright, it felt like all the lights were on. Everything was bright, and everything was shabby, from my brother’s clothes to my mother’s robe. I didn’t understand why she was wearing a robe when it was 3 in the afternoon on a weekday. She was a stay-at-home mom, sure, but she was never in her robe unless it was early morning and everyone was asleep. Her hair was covering her face, and when I think of her body then, I think of it as it is now - older, more weight on it, stooped. I know she wasn’t like that then, but her image then has bled into her image now, and I can’t see her for how she used to be. I said hello, and my entire childhood shattered in a moment. I can’t see her face without those swollen purple cheeks, and that eye swollen shut like you see in movies. I had never seen anyone’s face look like that, not even close. I could see a sliver of her right eye, and it shoved its fear and sadness and pain onto me. I saw my brother and his face was red and his eyes swollen, except his were from crying. Past them, at the table, he sat and watched TV. All I remember is him sitting in that kitchen, and perhaps that’s the image that inspires my feelings toward him today. The two people I love so dearly standing in silence, fear and sadness while the king sat on his throne. Everything was bright, yet everything became so dark. There was nothing else, and there was everything else. This was where my world fell apart, and it pulled itself back together in some twisted, messed up version of what it used to be.
I learned about violence and fear and respect. I learned about my father and my mother, and, eventually, about how people can damage each other beyond all belief and any repair. Most importantly, I learned about hatred and about pain, and about how cruel the world and life can really be.”