then & now
I want to shed my skin because I don’t know where you touched me and I don’t want to have to blow a fair warning whistle every time I become intimate; waiting in fear for when I will be gasping for air, staring into tonight’s widening eyes staring into me. I want to proceed into the idiocy of falling in love naturally and without terrified ties that my panic will petrify whatever could have blossomed into a bleeding dissolve. I want to not worry about having a conversation, what has become, in my mind, the conversation. I want to trust newcomers in a whole new sense...and I do, but my faith in humanity may be distorted as it has been restored from witnessing sincere smiles and survival despite eons of terror and tyranny.
I’m still wrapped in tainted skin and, so, I’m mad and vexed and seething that you get to get away with it, that you may seriously think you’ve done nothing wrong and caused no harm, that you’ll most likely live a better life than others more kind and misfortunate, that you struck again, not once, not twice, but three more times, and again with no consequence.
I want to go back in time and report you and deal with the stipulations and accusations and trials so that the three other girls you pulled the same stunt with aren’t haunted and hateful. I want you to see me when my body shakes in riddles and I can’t figure out a damn thing to get myself to stop. I want you to see my psych notes and my weed bill and my relationships to understand the fucking security breach you imploded in me. I want you to hear the doubt filled questions after I confess what happened – why what you did is at least one of the reasons I am like I am. I want you to feel the physical weight to walk around with that fat. I want your parents and grandparents and your friends and cousins and your teachers and future girlfriends and all those you hold dear and those who hold you dear, to know what a foul disgusting horrible pig you are. That you’re a liar. A louse. A phony. You are pathetic and lacking. You are a coward.
You spooked me into falling for a cruel joke of what is supposed to be and how to achieve your any dreams and desires. You took from me the greatest resource any human has, and mutated connection into paranoia and fear and hatred and a pounding window and heartburn every time I kiss someone. - For years, and still, in angles and darkness, between twitches and lips, I feel my lungs strangle my heart until it turns to stone and falls into my belly and I can’t breathe and I can’t get away. I’ve raced to cold showers, determined to scrub panic to suds and watch it swirl down the drain, and left sweethearts lost and alone in wrestled sheets. But, they’d find me, and rub my back, and want to hold me and tell me everything was okay and mean it; but that only made me push them further away. I’d hate them. I’d hate them all so god damn much just for loving me. – After all, how could they? I was damaged, taken, laid back and wiggled around in like a dilapidated disgusting dead wet fish. And even after pulling on torn fishnets, I still didn’t report the fucking bastard out of fear of eternal revival of the flashing memory to a monetarily committed jury via my mangled and mutilated forced confession – and the piece of shit went on to rape three more girls; whom all I can hope for, are doing better than I was.
I’d like folks and dream of kissing them then and now, but once it came down to unbuckling I’d suffocate. Their once beautiful, pure features would muddle into a savage silhouette grinding into me, taking what it wanted and forgetting about the person inside. I’d imagine them above me, crushing me forever, loving me, hating me, whatever – with no escape and no time to count to ten. I ruined a lot this way. It almost became an obsession, expecting, anticipating. I’m to blame too in that way, in some way, since I couldn’t or wouldn’t get out of my own head. I’d start to believe all their sweet-talking and clever jokes were all just devices to get into me. And they were...they just may have been more than that too...but you pick up what you put down and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t putting down gold.
Then I hit shrapnel corroded deep dark mineral rotting bottom. I hit so low I didn’t even want to die because I was afraid of coming back to life again. I wanted to disappear, to be nowhere; and have no skin and no thoughts, and just a smile that could fly around kissing crying foreheads and carrying them out of whatever they were in. I wanted to splatter like road kill across the pavement and become sand in an anthill. I wanted to pluck my limbs and give them away to someone, anyone, since I found everyone more useful than I – – I hid away like a monster, protected by hard working curtains, tussling between quilts and haunted wood. I wore hats and sunglasses and smoke and stench and leather and slumped and assessed your entire intention and broke you down in two. I hated you all. I hated you all because you had nothing to say. I’d read you your story and you’d detonate in awe like I’d shared my wonderful magic trick.
But, really I’m just a jerk pulling stunts because I like to know I’m ahead of you - that I was right in the judgments I placed on you and because I enjoy watching you splintering to pin those mucky truths away. My little magic trick will get me in trouble if I forget to pretend that most people aren’t self-loathing, hateful, jealous, petrified individuals and that the only reason I can walk around with a smile on is because I know what a shitbag I am and I know I’m doing what I can to be a less of one.
And so, still, after everything, I seem to have my bedside banter down and have since regrown, like a gawd damn phoenix. Yet, when I feel the fire speeding down the rope, I wonder if I’m only impressive because they’re not, and then wonder further as to why doubt is so easy to find?
Last night, I kissed a girl, a southern Baptist bell, all night long; in the clurb, in the bathroom, at the bar, on the street, in a bus stop, in the taxi home, in this shy boy’s room and on his balcony, between smoke and theories, and goodbye, outside her taxi to take her home.
I don’t know why I didn’t invite her to stay over, but after my pixie vamoosed, I kissed that shy boy in my best friend’s hallway in my skivvies he’d found me changing into. Confessions and kisses and tickles ensued and he asked me if I’d like to sleep in a real bed instead of a couch and so, holding his hand, I followed him back to his bedroom and into his sheets.
Lying there, pressing, he got so nervous, he couldn’t get out of his own head. I told him it was okay, and really did mean it, but I could see the shame shake his head still. I curled up on him and kissed his chest and his cheeks and his freckles. “Are you always this sweet?” he asked. “Sometimes,” I lied. I kissed him again, he looked at me and smiled, with that look that’s like, ‘Oh shit! I could love you, keep cool, keep cool, keep cool.’ And, I felt my skin slip into his a little bit more and “Actually, no, not really, I don’t think I am usually this sweet” tumbled out with another kiss. And, again he smiled that smile and I felt our skin sneak deeper and felt him warm from the thought that someone might love him just a little bit.
It took a while to get there - here. To become absent-minded and fearless and intimate and trusting. But, I didn’t think of you once, of any of it. Not with him, this kind, shy boy. I didn’t think of you once, not even while he and I were touching. I wasn’t afraid and, actually, all I could think about was slithering my skin and bones into his and staying there forever. Because now, with this sweet, darling boy, I can’t feel you at all and I love my skin and it’s warm and tanned and glowing and so god damn soft and he’s running his strong fingers across me and pressing into the muscles in my belly as to tickle me. And when I laugh and crunch up, he catches my legs with his and holds me up and stares at me like he really is happy I’m there and that’s all he’s thinking of. I stare at his freckles and wonder about loving him and can’t help but squeezing him because you’re finally gone and it’s just he and I here in the dark with the fan blowing, kissing secrets.