Non-fiction, Vignettes

The Two-Year Stand

It’s the ways we fell asleep that I think I’ll always remember.

Sometimes I would close my eyes and press my ear to his chest to hear his heart beating, just a minute or two, before turning over and away. There was a part of me that always understood all too well: I could have it in that moment, but only for a moment. It was never really something I would ever possess.

For a time, that was enough.

Beyond the fire, the little tenderness that always followed. Sleepy kisses on my forehead, on my bare shoulder, along my spine. The gentle graze of fingertips back and forth on my arm, draped across him, as I fell in and out of slumber. The featherlike brush of hands as they traced the curve of my hip, the dip of my side. Memorising with his skin the texture of my own skin. His touch is seared into my memory.

Sometimes he would pull me close, an arm slung over my waist, his hand on my chest, or holding my hand, so close I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. A soft kiss, a whisper.

Sometimes we were face to face, with foreheads pressed together, hands clasped between us.

Sometimes, apart, our fingers twined across the small gap that separated us, holding on to each other as we both slipped away into dreams.

Sometimes I would wake in the middle of the night, or whatever hour of morning or midday passed for night with us, and gaze briefly upon his sleeping face. Lips pursed, brow knit ever so slightly, hair tousled, eyes shut under long lashes, peaceful. Then I would close my own eyes again.

It will always be impossibly strange to me, that in those moments I felt like I had never been so close to — but also so very far away from — another person. So comfortable, but so tense. So safe, but so afraid. So warm, but so cold.

He would plant three kisses on my lips before leaving me in the mornings. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

I knew I would always be saying goodbye from the first time that I kissed him and felt it in my chest, in my belly. Every kiss started to mean something after that. Every kiss I gave him was a farewell.

I would sleep in the remnants of his warmth for as long as I wanted to. And when I woke, I would make his bed. I would gather my things. I would gather myself. I would lock his front door behind me, and then I would be gone. Like I’d never been there at all.

It’s the ways we fell asleep that I think I’ll always remember.

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Attempts at Poetry, Vignettes

Unhinged

Oh
I could ask you a million questions
All these words
That can never again be a conversation
Because I don’t talk to strangers

I would still struggle against the reflex
To call you
Love
I can’t
Because love is enough

The only thing that ever closes
Is the door


I found this buried in my archives. I’ve always been partial to paragraphs, but I guess on this one occasion in 2017, fewer words conveyed the feelings better.

It’s been rather hard to find words, if you couldn’t tell from the silence here. I write a fair bit of them on my Instagram, but haven’t really found a way to make them happen here, where I like to think I put my ‘better’ writing. There are all manner of things — good and bad — that I have wanted to write about seriously for a long time now. The question has always been how, or perhaps more accurately, how much. But I think this is going to be the year that I actually start trying again.

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Essays, Journal

Time and space

It’s been a while, I know.

Staring at my screen now, with my fingertips on the keys for the first time in almost a year, I realize that it’s because this — the written word, this space — has always been where I am most vulnerable, and I have not wanted to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is an exhausting, terrifying quality to possess in a world like the one we live in now.

The last thing I wanted was to make myself vulnerable again.

Experience has taught me that it never ends well.


It is a year to the day since I learned I’d been cheated on. Mayon Volcano erupted this morning, something I took as a sign that it was finally the right time to write again.

I want so badly to be able to write this without referencing my heartbreak of 2017, but that makes no sense. How do you write about recovering from something without mentioning that something, that someone? You can’t. I can’t.

I want so badly to free him from my narrative, because he hasn’t been in my life for nearly a year now, but that’s impossible, because he will always be part of my narrative, and the loss of him, his absence, the emptiness he left in his wake, and all the hurt, figured so significantly in the year that was my year.

That is the nature of life, I suppose. It is the nature of stories, of interpersonal relations and their endings. It is the nature of writing, and one of the perils of dating a chronic oversharer who has made words her living from the age of seventeen.

“You own everything that happened to you,” says Anne Lamott in her Instructions on Writing and Life. “Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” I’ve lived by those words since the day I read them. I’ve been living by them since before that, really.

You’re always going to be a character in my story now.

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