I just wanted to say something about how my mouth is full of cotton. How I came from two sad people, two concrete hearts, how they made four shy children and I was the only one with dark hair. How we let that quiet song play itself to sleep while we were waiting in the parking lot. How there is something between us but I can’t place it and it scares me so I talk about my shitty cellphone instead. How three glasses of red wine makes me feel romantic and I kiss differently and always leave my clothes in the hallway. How I was waiting forever at that red light and the sky was half bruised in the early morning and I envied its ability to eat away at its own dark corners. How I am 21 and brave but I’m actually still 16 and shaking scared watching my father’s house burn down. How I woke up just wanting to go home.
My hometown was heavy and light, with oranges and greens in the summer and pale blues and greys in winter. I always could taste roses just in the back of my throat and my feet dirty or not yet dry from a day at the lake or a night looking at the stars. The weather would settle deep into our bones and bury itself into our chests, the birds hatching in our lungs as the sun came up in the spring, taking our voices with it out of our throats. I took it for granted until the year before I left, falling in love with the soft rhythm of my feet on the asphalt or the times my parents and I would see a fox slinking through the woods in our backyard. Things change, as does life and love, but the things in those fields do not ever die.
Sometimes my mind forces everything that has ever scared me into my eyes all at once, and sometimes I am scared they will boil over. Occasionally, my eyes well up, moist, unable to process everything tucked underneath my lids and eyelashes. I can picture a car crash so perfectly once everything goes black or my mother’s foot is suddenly on the break, remembering my ears overwhelmed with sound before it quickly settles into nothing but a quiet hiss of the smoke released from the airbag entering my lungs, all grey and white and so very stuck. And I can picture the blood welled up in his throat after they shot my best friend in an empty parking lot one humid night in August, choking and red and so very stuck in my mind as my hero and brother. There are demons that sneak into my body through my mouth sometimes, crawling into my brain and heart through the small trails that keep my layers a solid thing, all dark and twisted and so very stuck on my tongue and behind my eyes, in my fingertips and toes.
Sometimes I forget that my wings have already begun to grow in, laced with the smell of my hometown right after a rain and the taste of spiked lemonade that I shared with some of my best friends for a week so very far away from where we are now. My wings are tougher than my demons, I know, but they are not yet fully intact, unlike the small, dark creatures threatening to ruin me. And every day is a different battle to try and win, choking back your blood, fighting the urge to hold the armrest in the car, blinking my eyes toward the sun. I have a tired body at such a young age, but my heart knows a wanderlust and sense of hope no demon can replace. And every day is a victory.
I have no intention of putting any more brothers in a casket with cold bones and red blood and eyes as dead as the ground
I wish that we could have known that the demon that haunts you was different than mine lurking in alleyways with guns instead of ghosts in hallways and
I have no intention of burying my brothers so I insist that the next time a man in the shadows tells you to “get the fuck on the ground” with every intention of taking you from me I suggest that you do what he says and get the fuck on the ground because
There are some people that grow up to take beauty away from this world and the people around them but I think you’re one of few that keeps the beauty intact so please don’t make me lose any more brothers by bullets