At midnight, I was at the log, just like Avery had asked. I was wearing makeup, something I really never did because Grandmother thought I was too young for it. She said she didn’t want me growing up and having children as young as she did. I also wore my favorite nightgown, a blue one, that was once my mother’s. Only when I got to the log, I didn’t see Avery. And I didn’t feel alone. “Hello?” I called out.
A voice spoke quietly, so quietly I couldn’t make out what direction it was coming from. “Clementine, I’ve missed you.”
“Is that Avery?”
The trees were like tall ghosts. They were haunting at night. It didn’t seem like a fairytale with a happy ending, the way this place did in daytime. Everything here was sort of haunting. “Don’t make a sound, okay?”
“What’s going on?”
Avery stepped out from behind a tree. “I want you to stay quiet.”
I noticed the reflection of the moon in the knife he was holding. His feet didn’t make a sound on the leaves. His father must have trained him to walk quietly on their hunts. “What are you going to do with that?” I think I would have panicked in that moment, but I trusted him too much.
“Clem,” He pouted, “Shut up.”
And before I could speak, he walked behind me and put one hand on my waist, and the knife up to my throat. “Please don’t hurt me.” I could feel the tears swell in my eyes.
“Clementine, you hurt me. Why do you go around trying to handle things you know nothing about? You can’t keep hurting me!”
“I did the right thing,” I choked.
“If you don’t be quiet, I’m going to have to kill you. You’re going to get me caught.”
I screamed as loud as I could. He didn’t slit my throat, but he stabbed me in the stomach. I never could figure out why he just didn’t kill me. It was like he knew I would survive. He ran off in the night and something caught my body that wasn’t him. It was white and glowing, and its presence was warm and familiar. “Who’s there?” I asked, though I could feel myself losing consciousness. I turned and saw its face as I was losing my vision.
Tilda smiled down at me. If this had happened to anyone else, I don’t think they would have known that it was her, but she and I, we had this sort of way when we were together. Like we were kindred spirits, I could feel her.
here’s a story
about one of the three reasons why i’m glad to be a part of my generation.
when i was fifteen i wrote a cruel poem about a really nice boy who shattered my heart. i posted it on a social media platform, that’s how benjamin saw it. the world is big but social media makes it small i think. he lived two hours from my house, but when we messaged it only took him a few seconds to respond. it was like real life. we video called all the time that summer when i was fifteen, and it’s so interesting to fall in love with someone without ever being able to touch them. i knew i loved benjamin when he called me crying the week we started dating just to cry to me. his dog had died. here’s a man i’d never touched, but he was a man who was more open and gentle and unashamed than any boy around me ever could be. we hadn’t even touched, and i knew i would marry this man. i’m seventeen now. it sounds funny to tell our story from the past tense, but that time feels worlds away because now he’s right at my fingertips. still, i’m glad we have an uninteresting story. i’m glad that communication is available.
the other two reasons i’m glad to be a part of my generation are that we have modern medicine and that i won’t be as harassed as women in generations before mine just for being bisexual.
part one <3
i sat at a table in the back of the party, far off from the crowd, but i could tell that those around me still felt my draining presence. a friend would come up and say, "dance with me!" and i would motion them away with a sigh and say, "i have social anxiety."
i preferred being alone at parties. times like that and i wondered why i even went in the first place, then i remember it was for a social media post or just status. everyone went to those parties in highschool, and if you didn't, you were odd.
i was thinking about that when jake approached my table.
bottom lip, front and center
my older cousin called andrew used to say that if a boy ever went to kiss me on the mouth he would turn away because he'd mistake the freckle on my bottom lip for chocolate
he said that when i was in seventh grade and i still remember it
well it turns out that i had better luck than andrew because his eighteen year old brother died that year
and now i don't only kiss boys
i kiss girls too
the point of the story is that my freckle is placed sort of unusually
and i hadn't met anyone with a freckle like mine until i met my lover
we met back in the day when i was into angel numbers and signs from the universe
and i read in a book back in that lifetime that lovers with birthmarks in the same place are soulmates
and i thought
oh god it's a sign!
i don't believe in signs from the universe or god or whoever placed the freckles on our lips anymore
but i do believe that sometimes you just have a lot in common with someone
shared trauma with death and
a freckle on the bottom lip, front and center
something out of a springsteen song
my hometown is like one in the movies
it's the kind of place my classmates always shit talked
but i know they'll miss it once they're gone
it's the kind of place that even i miss
but it's the kind of place that is incredibly difficult to go back to
when i drive past my childhood home
i wish i could see visions of my old cat snuggling with me by the fire
or a brief image of my ex boyfriend talking with me on our back porch
i would give anything to even watch my mother scream at me for not practicing my piano one more time
but instead i see several moments during our last summer in the house
i see myself crumbling on the floor and clutching at my guts
wishing i hadn't smoked so much
or sitting in my bed late at night with greasy hair
wondering why he never listened all the times i said no
no matter how many layers of paint they cover my bedroom in
there will always be pink and orange and purple hidden down deep
and all my favorite songs written and kept away
in a time when i was still a child
the older i get
it used to be the older i get, the sadder i get
i'm not sure if i've hit absolute rock bottom
or if i've just gotten to a point where sadness is pointless
a point where i realize that trauma doesn't make me more special than all the others
a poem for dar
i wish i could be half as talented as dar williams
she makes characters i know well
i had that same babysitter
named margaret coe
she was sort of a hippie
long brown hair that she cut all off because it got too tangled one day
she couldn’t tell her left from her right
her mind was always other places
when she went to college i cried
i still cry sometimes thinking about her
i wanted to be her
she made drawings for me and my little brother
and cut them out and let us use them as toys
i remembered her even when i was older
and i couldn’t remember anything anymore
i have always remembered margaret
when i want to make the choices of mark rothko
but haven’t yet created anything worthy of being kept in a museum
when i hold my bottle of pills
so often it becomes comforting
maybe it’s because i haven’t met yoko ono yet
or seen a sunrise that broke me more than killing my own baby
right now i am
a personal essay
right now i am sixteen years old, four years older than i was when phillip died.
i cried a lot when he died. that's one of the few things i remember. my old therapist, jane, said that i just blocked that time out of my mind. but i remember that i cried a lot, and i remember at his visitation when a piece of gum slipped out of my mouth when talking to a stranger who probably never even met phillip. i remember the way his face looked and if you looked close enough, you could see the hole in the side of his head. i remember seeing my aunt emily's face for the first time after she found out that her oldest son was dead. lastly, i remember each holiday following his death, my family thanked their god less and less during prayer.
i didn't cry because i missed phillip- we were never close- but i did love him, and i cried because for the first time in my life, i realized there was a sadness violent enough to kill.
now, i understand that feeling all too well. his younger brother, andrew, turned nineteen in february. as he blew out his birthday candles, it hit me now that andrew was older than phillip ever got to be. i have moments often in which i feel so close to him because i, too, have deeply wanted to die. it's the only thing we will ever have in common. he believed in the god my family prays to and went to college on a baseball scholarship. i am a communist. if the only thing we ever get to share is a killer sadness, i don't really mind. i'm getting used to living with it.
odd for an aquarius man
i knew i would grow up faster than the others in my class when i met james
i was in the fourth grade
he had red hair like fire
and blue eyes like ice
they canceled each other out
he grew up to not have much of a personality
he works at food lion now
he had so much potential
that's one thing all of my exes have in common
he graduated highschool early
he was smart
he was passionate
i remember when he got angry
he would punch the wall
it wasn't a good habit
but it showed he had emotions
odd for an aquarius man
to calm myself?
nothing you do really matters
capitalism has misfortuned you
you get to do any fucking thing you want in the world