thoughts from a wooden desk

My back hurts, sitting at this wooden desk going stir crazy and waiting for a text that will probably never come (it did). The boy in front of me is wearing a cool shirt with old English and French words written all over it in tiny font and I want to ask him what book or play they come from (I didn’t). I have four papers due in a week and a half timespan and to say that I’m stressed is an understatement – I am completely overwhelmed. He doesn’t want me to meet his parents and trust me, I don’t either. Where is this thing headed, anyway? I want to ask him for a shirt but not if it’s ending; the smell would just make me sad in the summer heat, lying in someone else’s bed. Do I want that? No. But how long someone chooses to love you will never be your decision. I’ve passed the point of avoiding pain – whenever this ends, it will hurt, and that’s terrifying. I hurt too much last year to go through it again, my heart still bruised from the beating it took, which is part of why I wasn’t sure whether I even wanted this. But life isn’t fair, is it? After all, I’ve loved and been loved, but I still haven’t learned how to gracefully bear the cost. I should pay more attention in class, but this is what’s on my mind and I’ve never been good at listening anyway. I’m not an artist, yet I keep trying to paint with my words. The jungles of Vietnam are whispering to me from across two oceans and continents, asking me if I’m ready.

I am.

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crossroads

Say hello, then say farewell to the places you know
We are all mortals, aren’t we? Any moment this could go
Cry, cry, cry, even though that won’t change a thing
But you should know, you should hear, that I have loved
I have loved the good times here, and I will miss our good times
– Frank Ocean, “Strawberry Swing”

Sturdy boots, all worn leather and thick soles, treading on a bed of pine needles, feeling the crunch of them beneath my feet as I step between the whispering fir trees and soft rays of sunlight flickering through the filter of old branches that have towered above for centuries, bearing witness to the thousands of footsteps that have walked this path before me. It’s a summer full of possibilities and it’s nice to have options, but I can’t help thinking that I might be making a mistake in letting him go. What good could possibly come from three months of distant attachment; what good could come from throwing it all away? I’m at a crossroads in the woods, the trees twisting away to the right and left to reveal the two of them standing before me, all godlike and glistening, and they’re asking me to choose. I don’t want my heart broken again, don’t know the best way to keep a spark, only a budding ember born this spring, alive in a season so full of life and love and glorious sunshine – perhaps it’ll be a different sort of adventure. He wants to have his cake and eat it too, all yellow insides smothered in chocolate frosting, licking icing off his fingers as I eye the crumbs lining his mouth. I shouldn’t settle for mere crumbs, but what if they lead me down a trail to something more, if only I’m patient enough to follow them? Two paths, but he has to pick one – and so do I.

Which road is the one less traveled?

nostalgia ultra

Spaceships are lifting off of a dying world
And millions are left behind while the sky burns
There wasn’t room for you and I, only you, goodbye, goodbye
– Frank Ocean, “Strawberry Swing”

I’m angry. Angry about Barcelona, the blackness that crept in and cloaked memories I shouldn’t even want to have, about the blood the next morning and that it was my first time. I’m angry about the power structure, with close-minded people and our limited perspective and why can’t we be for our own interests and for others’ at the same time? And I’m angry with my chapter, with all the stupid rules and money-grabbing and not caring about our well-being whilst hiding behind a veil of “sisterhood” and “love in our bond.” Let’s call a spade a spade and realize it’s a business in which we are treated like children and have very little say. Fuck that shit.

I remembered a late-night vignette from last summer this morning (or early afternoon, rather, as I slept for twelve hours last night and got an incredibly late start to my day). Standing in a bathroom on the top floor, the smell of dirty dishes wafting in from the kitchen, me leaning against the stall door and him against the sink, towering over me and asking to see my tattoos. Blue sadness creeping in, but it’s been months since I moved on and I have someone else now. I read a book in the fall that talked about how millennials have trouble settling down with one person because we’re wired to constantly search for something, someone, better. The whole package. But are options, the potential to have someone else, worth giving up something good in the here and now? It was him in the moment, but in the aftermath it was a built up idea in my head and my heart of someone who was beautiful inside and out, someone who would never hurt me. That wasn’t fair to either of us, but who ever said feelings were fair? Love is pain and I don’t want to get hurt again, but I think it’s too late for that; we’re already in too deep and he can make all the promises he wants but that doesn’t mean he’ll keep them. A person’s word is their currency and time will tell how much his is worth.