i feel an 8-track in my throat,
64 bits in my esophagus
because i held hands with a cardboard boy, looked into his eyes and wanted to close their curtains
i hear the yeh-yip-, the ya-yap of her soprano voice, and i know what it takes to make those tones, how your throat stings by the end of it like you’ve been crying,
and sometimes it bothers me that you still read what i write, and sometimes it bothers me that no other person on this earth seems real except for you,
and it still bothers me that “you” are the pronoun i’ve written about, that you’ve read about,
from my writing and you know it’s you, but when i stare at “you,” and when i hear about your new nickname,
i only see this three letter word, and my vocal chords can’t create the sounds needed to
to tell you how i really feel about it,
and you probably feel flattered by all of this. i’m going to stop using that pronoun now. from now on don’t think i’m talking about you because i’m not.
i’m talking about me towards you. something that doesn’t make sense.
i wonder how jordin can drive to wendy’s in a manual while finding this song. i wonder how i’m still fucking alive in her car as she changes gears just in time to avoid hitting the back of another person’s white nissan. we giggle. we are sexy. we are fun. it is sunny and glamorous and look at my hands outstretched! look at my arms. i am the lux lisbon of greeley colorado, licking the juice from my apple off in a way that i swear is not supposed to make people fall in love with me.
i am young and i have just realized that god loves me. that i don’t need to be afraid. i can fly! what do i do with his grace? i throw up deuces and leave the building when i know i should be helping farnie out with paperwork.
(she asks me to do things with such hesitancy- as if i am not suppose to do the things she tells me- she is such a good person. we avoid talking about me or about her. and it’s fine that way. i enjoy being there).
if god loves me, i am going to spend my tithe money on potato skin chips. they taste good. but they are not filling. this is sure to mean something bigger.
i leave partially to meet gavin. i leave partially because i am honestly just a little shit sometimes with no rhyme or reason for the “mistakes” i make. anyways,
we are driving, and she puts on that song. it starts to yip-yap. i feel it everywhere. hey, i love this! what’s this called?
-it’s by purity ring. have you seen the girl from purity ring? she’s so… beautiful. i don’t think she’s real-
-what’s it called? as i text faith, and drew, and whoever else just NEEDS to know that this is the best song ever,
-”it’s called fineshrine. ‘come a little closer, let fold. cut open my sternum, and pull
my little ribs around you,’” she sings to the song, pulling on her sweater and digging her hips into the seat.
i can’t decide on whether or not this is a very sick and twisted psychotic song, sang by a psychotic girl about her psychotic life trying to describe love or sex or something, but dude. wow. this beat. her voice. she means it. and i love that she means it. can i have a love like that? open palmed, and things are blurred? muffled? wait. i already had that. we were underwater, it was so blurred. should i breathe air again? don’t think about it.
gavin walks in. you know what’s ironic? i have bad skin today. i didn’t on all the other days i wore makeup. i shouldn’t be freaking out about if i look good or not. hey. i look great. and better yet, i wasn’t made to look any certain way anyways! woop woop. go being a feminist or something? no. i’m not that self-righteous. just lazy.
lord, i am sorry that i am here. i know this is wrong.
because apologies mean nothing if you don’t act on them.
he walks in. is he cute? why do i care? i’m dating someone right now. am i? why am i dating someone?
he’s not that cute. yet he is. he’s got a weird face; apparently he talks a lot. he likes all the bands hannah and will like. we exchange band names back and forth as i sit in the drivers’ seat and jordin fends for her right to sit next to him.
i’m not okay with that. my mind gets tired just connecting the two worlds in my head.
-The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die?
-yes! The Front Bottoms?!
we’re finishing each other’s sentences, and jordin is annoyed. i am excited, but it makes me feel empty.
i keep gazing out of his car windows, and i’m not sure if it’s to make me look deep, or if i’m actually just feeling really under pressure. it’s a mix of both, and i am anxious because of it. i’m not okay with who i am in this moment.
it saddens me that i am trying to impress him with my angsty bullshit indie folk music knowledge and trying to speak wisely without speaking about god. i played that game for 3 years, and i will not play it anymore, thank-you-very-much. it was all meaningless.
“gavin, do you know hannah?” he does. but he’s been hanging out with will more often-
nope. nope. this ends here. now i’m truly pissed off. why does everyone know everyone here?!?!
real question: why does everyone need to know him?! REAL QUESTION: WHY DO I FEEL LIKE HE IS A ROADBLOCK?
why do i keep letting myself see life this way? god, i need you.
i am rubber cement. i shouldn’t have ditched. it serves me right to feel this way. that’s what i tell myself, as i swallow devon’s words when he tells a funny story about a drunken will.
“i’m going to decide to not be affected by this in any way.” “but no really though. why is everyone such a fucking loser around here? god, he’s such a fucking loser. god, i’m such a fucking loser!”
i have been foolish. eat your mistake, annalee. eat your pride. humble your lisbon self. do what you need to to make this right.
here i am, god.
what have i been doing?
and where are you?
it feels like i’ve been driving for 3 days straight without paying attention to the road.
my palms are empty, father. so am i. why do i keep doing this?
you know how my body used to react when i wanted to drown, way back in 9th grade? how it would lift me up out of the water against my will, and i would run my fingers through my hair and down my torso, comforting myself as i cried?
(my hands have always been so good to me, father. they didn’t choose to hurt me.)
well i think it’s doing that again. my body, i mean. how come i can’t feel love anymore? love that remembers the stitching in his beanie, the creases in his palms? god, he was so warm. remember when he cried and his mouth crinkled and he told me it was hard for him too? it brings tears to my eyes.
my body won’t allow me. it just. won’t. allow me. not to feel that way. not to feel that way about anyone else. not yet; i’m not sure on if it’s “not ever.” i don’t want to think about that.
i should be grateful. i am. and i’ve kissed one mouth and held six hands and been wooed by three-four-five guys and been driven around in one-three-nine? different cars, operated by reckless teenage boys since march.
i’ve gone to lakes! and movies! and dances! and they’ve all told me that they loved me. whispered it, actually. as if it were the real thing. they mustered up the courage to mean it.
and i think i meant it when i said it back. but no i didn’t. i stared at them like painted images and stuttered those words out. too slowly for them to believe it. it was all very sad.
i followed the formula, god! no sex, no lies, no drugs, no atheists!
but here i am. alone again. and apathetic at the fact that he’ll cry in tomorrow’s blanket. i’m a horrible person.
and that’s the thing: i’m not crying in a corner every day.
because this is not about will. this is not to flatter him. he is not the muse. this is about us. and this is not me living in the past. this is me dealing with a present that i have not caught up with.
i’m not grieving. because i know that if i engraved his name on my palms and mouth and mind, how much more you engrave my name on yours! if we lived that love, how much more you have to love me with!
i told you to guard my heart. how was i to know how tall the walls should be? and how can i even fathom living in the balance of grace and fear again, papa? how can i say no?
everything i know of love is vested in a vague pronoun. that is just as fucked up as me.
i have chosen to be at peace. i have chosen to seek god. i have chosen to forgive, forgive, forgive, but none of that makes this go away.
and i’ve told myself “no more dating!” but you know how… petty that sounds. as if i could date with my whole heart! as if i could date, period- no one is worth anything now.
i could be wearing pant suits. and
writing essays on actual problems. and meeting with the president
to discuss foster care reform. i could be single, hiking mountains and smiling for instagram. and telling girls that “he shouldn’t treat you like that if he touches you like that!” but we all know that that’s only partial truth.
to hell with what i could be doing. i’m here.
where to next, father? you have my ways in mind.
1) yes, sam wanted to sit by me in art. i was neither deaf nor blind nor oblivious, but i was uncomfortable.
2) yes, durango wants to take me to homecoming. but i can’t do that to him. and i’m dreading telling him why.
3) yes, jonathan and i were a fluke. because all of them are cardboard, remember? their affections are, anyways.
4) no, taylor, i wasn’t pretending to be asleep to get their attention, and i am sorry for acting like a retard in front of you when they sit at our table.
5) yes, makayla, i understand your hurt. and yes, it is difficult to carry on. don’t wonder about how i/we do it; sometimes i don’t carry on.
Lord, you’re the first name I’ve capitolized. and I need to know what you think:
give me what I (need):
you know it all.
i’m listening. show me, papa.
i’m tired of 8-tracks.