Bangs just looks out the window for a beat, watching the water spatter against the pane, before looking at me with mischief in her eyes. I can practically see the cogs shifting in her brain as an idea comes into play.
“Dance with me, Oliver?”
“There’s not exactly much room in here,” I say, glancing around at my sparse dining room. Daphne’s formal table takes up the majority of the floor space. I choose to ignore the fact that Bangs Logan just asked me, Mava Oliver, to dance. Presumably with her. Although granted, we could be doing some sort of weird line-dance, like a macarena type thing. Only Bangs would make me macarena in my own dining room.
“Exactly.” Bangs stands up and comes around to my side of the table, extending her tiny hand. She’s so bird-like, lithe in her movements as she practically flies across the room, me in tow. For a moment,...
I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as hard as the day the boy I’m in love with told me he was moving. I guess it was sort of a laugh-in-the-face-of-trauma fight-or-flight response, but either way: it’s inappropriate, standing here on Ely’s porch, giggling as he tells me that he is going to Minnesota to live with his mom.
“Paula?” He asks quietly, peering up at me, which is when it becomes evident that I’m not doing a very good job of impersonating a sane person anymore.
“Yeah,” I say, not sure how to explain myself.
“Are you okay?” That’s just like Ely, to be the one moving across the country and still asking me if I’m okay.
Why am I laughing? I don’t know. I guess because this all seems like one big joke. Like all of a sudden, the host of some overrated game show will jump out of the hydrangea bush and scream, You’ve been pranked!He’ll...
I am a paper girl. Composed of crude lines and harsh angles, my details fill in as he etches his inspiration, his graphite flowing against the paper pad. My face emerges out of the blurry lines: a distinctly sharp nose with absent nostrils, two sockets with no gleaming irises, no mouth at all save for a straight sketched line between my nose and the dimple in my chin. He pushes his glasses to rest further up the sharp bridge on his nose, where a small valley indicates the frequency of this working habit. His wispy, prematurely receding hair tucks behind his knobby ears and he reaches a new level of concentration, newfound gritty determination setting his jaw. He tries. I have to give him that. He tries to fill in my pupils with a motley brown and blends it too little, then too much. Using a crooked pinky, he smudges his hard work out of existence and leaves me just...
I’ve always believed in love. I guess you could call me a hopeless romantic. Devin says it’s simultaneously one of my best and worst traits, and she’s not wrong. I have a special kind of faith reserved for cinematic love, a certain dedication to every kind of meet-cute. You might be imagining your stereotypical happy white suburban middle-class family as my upbringing, given my general outlook on life. That part of my life has been marked off as a big, fat maybe-but-instead. If my dad hadn’t lost his promotion, maybe he wouldn’t have gone to the bar down the street from our old house. If the bar hadn’t been promoting their Tuesday night special, maybe he wouldn’t have gotten so drunk. If my mom was working that night, maybe she wouldn’t have gone with him.
If my dad hadn’t driven off the road when I was seven, maybe I would still have parents.
But instead, I have Alisha and David....
It’s strange, with no El or Oscar. Not on the balcony. On Bangs’s crappy little awning-less porch, we sit hunched up on the pavement.
“Question,” Bangs says. “Love. Yes or no?”
“Yes or no?” I repeat incredulously. How is love a yes-or-no question?
“Yes or no. Do you believe in love?”
I look at her. “Of course I believe in love.” The words come out soft, but still strong. Weighted, somehow. “Don’t you?”
Bangs breathes out through her mouth, a soft sigh echoing in the wind. Tonight is perfect, weather-wise; composed all of swift strokes of breeze but not chilly enough for a sweater. The sky is clear and starless. Really, I know that the stars are still there, behind a thin layer of cloud and dreams, but I like to believe that tonight the stars have blinked out just for me and Bangs. “Not the fairytale kind,” Bangs says finally. “I don’t think so.”...
There’s a Japanese form of art, called Kintsugi. The idea is to put broken shards of pottery back together using a type of gold, the point being to create something even more beautiful in the face of flaws and adversity. It’s always seemed to me like one of those things that is a nice idea in concept, but reeks mostly of lies in reality. Like going to parties, or coffee without sugar. I can’t speak for pottery, but Kintsugi doesn’t work on people. Trust me. I’ve tried.
I don’t know when my best friend stopped telling me things. I guess you can’t really put an exact date on these things. People fade, Mallory,my mother would tell me. But I think Kiara stopped confiding in me roughly some time between January and February of last year. I’d like to say it was Sam’s fault, but I didn’t really do anything to help myself, and Kiara didn’t, either. I guess...
love for show:
rings with stones as big as craters
broadcast vows, template promises
love for tell:
whispered promises in the night
only stars as witness
no one to eavesdrop but the moon
and her ever-watching sister
i wonder when i stopped being my own name and started being mrs. your's
i don't remember the first time
you introduce me as your wife instead of by my name
(we don't belong to each other, we belong with each other)
you come home from work
and i check the meatloaf.
i wonder when we became what we vowed we would never become
but what do vows really mean anyway
in the grand scheme of things?
you open the fridge.
find beer for you, white wine for me.
(i've always preferred red)
we sit at the table
how are you?
good, how are you?
no point in fishing any deeper.
it took me five years of therapy to learn that it's not...
is the most hated word in the english language
by me, at least.
there is nothing special about you
you are forgettable
you are the loose change in the cupholder
you are the prematurely released balloon
the child’s hands reaching for you
as you float to the birds
but they are quickly distracted
by a shiny new toy.
you can copy drawings, but you aren’t creative,
you can carry a tune but not sing,
you can write but not pen,
you can try but you’ll never be seen
but you are.
you are seen.
you are seen by the eyes you take for granted,
the gaze that casts a glow so familiar on your shoulders
you don’t know where you would be without it.
you are heard.
you are heard by the ears
so accustomed to your complaints and bad jokes
that you have become their normalcy.
their background noise.
will you ever be more than background...
They were a gift from her great-aunt, the one who held a firm belief in solid, practical gifts. Dismissing fads and trends, mechanical engines and dollies, she was the infamous downer at Christmas parties. Polite smiles and appropriate niceties were drilled into the children of the family from a young age, and over time, the young ones learned to expect a nice pair of long johns or a new feather duster in place of any of the items on their long, hopeful lists. The girl was not like the others. She was genuine, a rare trait in children, as they are really only partially developed at such a young age. For each “useful’” trinket bestowed upon her, she tried her best to find a special purpose and home in her bedroom. Even after her shelves filled up with clutter, and her mother promised it was alright to donate some old gifts, the girl made sure she treasured each and every...