I tried posting it here, but it wouldn't let me so I published it elsewhere: https://theprose.com/post/319501/bad-luck
I met him for coffee at the library. He looked like a mess. "Are you okay?" I sat down next to him. This was supposed to be a date.
"It's Friday the 13th," was all he said.
I tilted my head. "Oh? That's nice."
He gave me a strange look.
"What, are you superstitious or something?" I laughed. He was usually so sensible. Pragmatic. I liked that he made sense because sometimes I didn't.
"Every Friday the 13th, something terrible happens to me," he said. I didn't believe him. "Did I tell you I lost my virginity on Friday the 13th."
"Oh?" I asked, smiling. I liked that we talked more about sex these days. Before, there hadn't been much said about it.
"First and last time I ever broke a condom," he said.
I laughed. And blushed a little. I imagined him with a condom. I wondered when I'd get to see him roll one on. I wanted to have sex with him. This wasn't usually something I felt for others. But I wanted him. It was a surprise. I wondered if he wanted me too. He must've, I reasoned, in some way for him to be here with me. Even if he looked like a mess, I looked pretty great.
"It's so bad," he told me. Then he told me some more horror stories about Friday the 13th. It always came and smacked him in the face when it did. I thought it was funny. "I never have sex on Friday the 13th," he told me. This made me a little disappointed. I wasn't sure if I wanted to lose my virginity tonight, but I at least wanted a kiss. "I didn't even shave because I knew I'd knick myself in the face." I wanted to feel that stubble on my face regardless. Even in sweatpants, I thought he would be nice.
"I never thought you'd be this superstitious."
"I'm surprised you're not."
I smiled. He was right. I'm usually unreasonable. I hated closing my closet door in fear of someone being in it everytime. I was scared to go in the elevator alone or with a stranger. Sometimes I wanted to scream if I saw my reflection move to fast. "Actually," I told him, "Friday the 13ths are great days for me. Full of possibility." He didn't believe me. I told him all the lucky things that had happened to me today. I ran into three of my friends at lunch, all at random. I was finished my last final. I got a paycheck from my work unexpectedly. Someone complimented me on my new pants. I got up the nerve to ask him out again today and he'd said yes. "I think my luck will even out your bad luck." I knocked shoulders with him.
"I doubt it," he told me.
"Shall we go to mine?" I asked. We both skipped on coffee. I decided I'd get some tea back in my dorm. I didn't have a roommate so it was exciting to bring someone back to mine.
I still couldn't believe we were doing this. This was only the second time we were meeting like this. He'd just gotten out of a break up. I was trying to give him a wide berth. I'd had a crush on him for the past year, but only recently got the courage to tell him in the wildest way possible. (That's a story for another day.) I'd never really dated anyone before so I had no idea what I was doing. I liked our little cuddle dates that we'd been on. We laid in my bed, watched movies, and talked. It felt good being close to someone. It sucked that it was the end of the semester. I wasn't sure how we'd talk over the break, but I hoped we would. I wanted him in a way that had never happened to me before. None of this had ever happened to me before.
We watched a movie. I turned the lights off. We laid down on my pillows. He was against the wall this time. I didn't know how to make a move, so all I did was lay my head near his and hoped that was good enough. We watched another movie after that. Then we showed each other funny clips from the internet. We were laughing. Then I was hungry. I played a song for him, danced horribly as I got dressed, and tried to make him laugh. He shook his head, but I thought I might've seen a smile.
We stepped outside into the night. It was foggy. It was warm despite it being December and the lights from the buildings made the fog look like portals to the ether. I smiled. I loved the slight spookiness. This is what Friday the 13th should've been, a little fun. I wasn't scared at all. Maybe it was because I wasn't alone. He held an umbrella even though it wasn't raining anymore. We were more quiet outside. Something had changed.
At the diner, there wasn't much food offered. I got myself some pizza and fries, but even that was gross. We sat down at a big table even though it was just the two of us. Our conversation grew stilted, darker.
"It's like I feel nothing," he said at one point.
I knew he was going through a break-up. I was trying to stay bright. I didn't want him to be sad, but I knew he needed to feel these things. I thought finals were getting to him. He said he just needed a good cry and things would be better, but he hadn't been able to cry yet. I offered to punch him. He shook his head. There was quiet between us. I didn't know what to do so I ate my pizza. Ever since this thing had started, I didn't know what I could ask him and what I couldn't. I didn't want to be pushy. This left me quiet. The pizza was gross. He pulled out his phone. I ate my fries and tried not to stare at the other people in the diner. I drank my water. I glanced at my phone and put it away for a moment. He had the lead in the conversation.
"What do you want?"
I furrowed my brows. "What? What do you mean by that?"
"Like, what do you want?"
I thought he might've been asking about what I wanted from him. I blushed and couldn't look him right in the eyes. "Well, I wanna make out with you." There was a list of things I wanted from him. I wrote it a couple of nights ago when I was giddy and couldn't sleep and needed to put what I felt into words. The first thing was making out. I wanted to kiss him. I wanted him to put his hands on my cheeks, bring me close, and kiss me. I wanted to touch the back of his head, pull him closer. I wanted his hands on my hips. I wanted to know what it was like to kiss him.
He shook his head. "I meant, not about me. Like, out of a relationship."
"Oh." I blinked. My voice turned shaky. "Well...I want to be held." Because I did. I wanted to feel him hold me as we'd watched movies, to actually cuddle me. "And, well, I want...this is gonna sound weird, continuance." I didn't want to say committment because that was a word that might've scared him at this time. But I wanted commitment. "I want to know that they like me, that they're gonna want to be near me in some way." I wanted intimacy. I also wanted him. More than anything. But that would be too scary. For the both of us. We both knew I had the stronger emotions than him right now. "What do you want?" I asked.
"I don't think I can hope to want anything anymore," he told me. That worried me. He really must've been going through it. I was worried about him. I could feel us slipping into dangerous territory.
"You're allowed to want."
"This is really bad timing," he told me. I blinked. "Why did you wait a year?"
"You wanted me to tell you while you were with your girlfriend?" I raised a brow. "There was no way I was going to do that."
"I wasn't going to be a homewrecker," I said. "I couldn't tell if you liked me or not. I still can't sometimes."
"Shouldn't have waited."
"I don't mind waiting."
"You shouldn't wait for anyone," he told me. That made it sound like all I did was wait for him. I hadn't. I'd done other things during that time. I told him this. There'd been others. Or I'd at least tried. Besides,
"There are some people worth waiting for."
"Don't." He shook his head. He rubbed his eyes. My cards were on the table. "Don't wait for me."
"I know you need some time. If this thing isn't something you want, then you can tell me. Don't tell me tonight," I wanted one last night, "but I'd like to know, eventually, if this isn't a thing."
"I'm telling you tonight." He looked me in the eye. I wish he hadn't. I felt my cheeks burn. Embarrased. I swallowed. "Don't wait for me. You shouldn't wait."
I cleared my throat. "Okay." I couldn't fight him. My worst fears were true then. He hadn't really liked me. Maybe it was just bad timing. That was my heart, always the piner, telling me maybe he'd changed his mind. It felt like the universe had slid into place though. Something had been severed. I took a breath. Act normal. "Shall we go then?"
We left the diner. I walked ahead and didn't look back the same way I usually did. I wasn't going to cry. Not right now. Maybe after he'd left. We walked out into the foggy night. Things were different. It felt like we'd returned to how we were two weeks ago as just friends. It felt like this wasn't finished. He talked about taking a shower and heading out to a bar. I talked about going to see my friends and watch movies. It felt wrong. It felt fake. When we said goodbye I wanted to hug him but knew I couldn't. When he left, I was alone. I wondered if I'd ever see him again. I knew I still wanted him. He did not want me.
Now that you've told me,
I hope you see red in these words.
Why have that moment,
why lay in my bed,
why do any of it?
In a month, I'll forget my cinched heart.
In a month, in a year, in a decade, in a life,
will you read these words and see red?
Don't tell me, but I want to know.
Did you really want me to go?
We Are Not the Same and that’s Okay
It took way too long for me to start liking myself. I'm a queer fat lady with mental issues and an overactive imagination. But there are plenty of things to like:
My calves, strong and firm after all those years running and climbing stairs.
My writing, overflowing with words and worlds.
My eyes, the ring of orange nestled within the blue.
My laugh, always changing, always mine.
My hips, the smooth expanse of skin and warmth.
My compliments, otherworldly, always given.
My neck, soft and delicate, meeting my jaw in a gentle kiss.
My looks, the butch and femme and otherness blending together in a series of ecclectic taste.
My stomache, large, spilling over my jeans--this was the hardest one to love, but I love her for how soft she is.
My mind, always something else to say, to write, to fear, to dream, to laugh, to do.
But most of all, I love my heart.
My heart does things that make me smile.
My heart falls in love with strangers on the subway and pines after friends.
My heart holds on even when I know she shouldn't.
My heart burns and sizzles at the touch of another.
My heart brings me joy and causes me pain.
My heart is so big and full and loves so much.
But more than that, more than all of that,
My heart is my heart, mine alone.
And that's what makes me pretty great: that I am me and you are you.
Yellow crinkles under feet,
the stems of leaves,
damp from the recent rain,
but you walk down your asphalt
driveway to get the mail.
The limbs of gray trees,
empty of their leaves,
whistle to the wind,
but you sway your hips,
a shimmer of red cloth.
The mailbox clinks open,
pulling out crisp envelopes,
twisted from journey,
but you turn back around
to slip up the hill.
A whisper smooths its way
from the glide of your feet
to the crunch of tree petals,
the orange burn curling,
but you just slither on,
the click of blue scales,
shifting under your dress.
And There Is More to Be Gotten
They get somethings.
They get when you love
him or her, and some of them,
they get when you love both,
but when you love "all,"
as the prefix reminds you,
they do not get.
They do not get,
when I say there is more
than he or she,
and they do not get,
that what is or is not
found between your legs
has no weight in the ease
at which I can love you.
And if they do get that,
they do not get that sometimes,
I cannot be with you
unless I am in love with you.
They do not get
the absence of lust
or my lack of it, unless,
you have poured into my heart.
They do not get that I
am not straight,
but that I am
that I am
that sexuality is full of wars
of terminology and outcasts,
because to them,
I do not exist.
They do not get
to get me,
not with their eyes,
not with their words,
not with their bodies,
because if they did,
they would see
that all I had to give,
before they did not get me,
My voices titters out seven times
Asking you the same silly question
Your eyes glaze over, sight just past my mouth
Not hearing a single word
I cannot scream.
There is something sad
in not being able to pierce the silence,
to puncture the deafenance.
The ending of a song.
I destroy my bedroom, wrenching books,
Punching my pillows and kicking the bed
The pauses in between are too loud
There is a moment just after the stillness
When a high whine rings in my ear,
Like a stereo shortening out,
It reminds me that we are all faced with
Sudden bouts of eerie
Six rabid beeps drumming in my ear,
and yes, I mean rabid, with the
drums pounding against my skull,
I lurch up from the bed, awake
Beep-be-beep, beep-be-beep, bee--
I do not handle the silence well
I am a storm, I know
silence is never as it seems,
it eases right before I hit
They say that silence is comforting
Whoever said that clearly does not know
Of the fear
It felt like a snake coiling inside of my gut. A large, slimy snake that ate away at your stomach and pressed down on your spine as it napped. Then, when you least expected it, the snake would move, inching around, hissing, and in its path, you could feel the snake skin shedding, crinkling, and leaving you empty as it moved towards your throat before settling back into your heavy stomach.
The earth creaked with every step she took forward, ridges ripping across the forest floor like withering veins. Her arms rose, feeling the rush of wind blow out, parting leaves and swirling around his face. She moved faster, heart quicker, the energy spooling around them like a hurricane, as she ran towards him, her brows furrowing and lips turning into a pout. He leaned down to the ground, his red hair blown across his face, his knees aching as he cupped his hands before his leg. With three steps, she was closer, closer, and jumping, leaping as he pushed her foot up, the momentum making her soar, and then she was flying.
He watched her as the sky swelled and welcomed her to its clouds. She felt the heat wrap around her like her mother used to and she opened up her arms. The tug of gravity pulled at her and then she was falling, falling, falling. But in that moment before she dipped back down and before the magic roiling beneath her skin dimmed in her fingertips, she let out a laugh. She remembered, in that moment, what it felt like to be free.
The Evening Before Mrs. Shuttlebee Died
The slap of wood thundered outside the kitchen as it poured, lightening crackling in the night. The trees moaned as they brushed up against each other, roiling to the wind, their limbs shivering. She watched the rain pour and raised her cup to her lips, the warmth spooling in her palms and warming her chest once she took a sip. Joseph was at the stove, flipping the grilled cheese, the glide of the pan grating her ears.
"Did you get it?" he asked.
She took another sip and looked at the taut stretch of his shoulders before answering. "Yes."