Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Jess Sidelinger Aug 2021
I wasn’t good at being alone
with the thoughts of my inability to be cherished
without his callused hands drawing out shapes on my bare back at two in the morning
after I knocked on his apartment door in tears for the third time this week.
I wasn’t good at fighting off the level of darkness that took over after the sun sunk down
below the top of the trees across the field from our favorite walking trail or when the cool breeze was flooding into the room from the crack in the window
that happened the night we drank too much ***** last July.
I wasn’t good at remembering
to double check and make sure the front door was locked
because you were always the one to turn off the lights and walk up those creaking stairs after me
while I waited curled up in your tshirt
anticipating the warmth your body would bring me.
I wasn’t good at being patient
while I waited for you to get home from going out
after telling me all about it but not inviting me to come along
because I didn’t fit in to your world.
I wasn’t good at speaking my mind
because last time I did I ended up wearing long sleeves when we went to the rope swing too afraid to take it off and expose the sensitive, colored skin underneath.
I wasn’t good at sleeping by myself
because the summer heat clung to my bedroom
and I couldn’t use the blankets to protect me from the monsters
I convinced myself would get me in my sleep
if I didn’t have the cotton fabric protecting me.
I wasn’t good at knowing when to take a hint
that I would never be more than a screenshot in your life
nothing more than a moment in time.
I should have known,
but then again, I guess I’m just now admitting
I was never any good at being alone.
Jess Sidelinger Oct 2020
It’s not supposed to be this way.
the confusion between us
leading me to words I’m afraid you’ll say.
You’re asleep on the couch but further
away then you were the night I drove us home from your favorite bar
two towns over from where you grew up.
Your head isn’t on my lap
with my fingers in your hair, humming a gentle melody
like your best friend played on his guitar the night we all sat in a circle in your mother’s living room.
It’s not supposed to be this way
counting down the hours only to then
actually regret the day.
Your arms holding a little higher on my waist,
our bodies not contouring into each other like they did
the summer we climbed that bridge and looked out
making the promise to never lose the feelings we had right then.
Your hand isn’t in mine
gently stroking your thumb across the top of my finger
like you did that warm September evening five years ago.
It’s not supposed to be this way,
questioning my decisions and thinking
I let you make the wrong choice last May.
As I sit here in silence with a tear starting to fall down my face,
I realize I’ve never been the one to not know what to say,
but all I can help but think is that I know
things weren’t supposed to end this way.
Jess Sidelinger Aug 2020
I told my mom that I quit smoking on that rainy Tuesday afternoon after the hurricane hit
because every store seemed to be out of that little white carton with red on the top.
I told my sister I stopped during senior year
because I was drowning in papers and would rather drink away my sorrows with beer.
I told my grandpa I didn’t need any money for cigarettes because I quit after grandma died last July;
I made a promise to her I’d find more natural highs.
I told my neighbor he didn’t have to worry about the butts in the drive way any more
because I swore to you I’d keep all my secrets hidden behind closed doors.
I told my nephew I quit because someone wouldn’t buy my old couch because it smelled too much like smoke
I thought they were kidding, but it wasn’t like one of your silly jokes.
I told that old school teacher I ran into outside the super market that I didn’t need a light
because I quit smoking in an attempt to lead a healthier life without living in fright.
I’m not saying I lied when I told everyone in this small town I quit,
but the truth is I’m craving more than just one last measly little hit.
Sitting alone in the room we once shared, I take one last inhale, letting the nicotine fill my lungs before throwing the **** to the floor,
I can’t stand the smoke, but the faint smell is as close as I can get to you anymore.
Jess Sidelinger Jan 2020
Summer’s coming to an end and even though the sun set hours ago,
there’s still a warmth in the air.
The room is almost dark
only illuminated with a candle and the sparse passing of cars outside the window of that little house.
The smell of caramel vanilla followed her as she walked from the kitchen
where she poured her third glass of wine.
She wasnt drunk
but the world was spinning a little faster than it normally did.
She knew what she was doing
she was fully aware
her eyes met his
and all he could do was stare.

Her body looked soft
like the blanket they lied on in the park
on the Fourth of July when they watched the fireworks bursting with color above their heads.
Tonight wasn’t like that though. There wasn’t any colors
or loud noises.
She was moving like a tiger
stalking its prey
waiting for the perfect moment to go in for the ****.

Three glasses turned into four as she made the trip down the stairs.
Her hips swayed as she walked
leaving a mystery of what was to come.
She stood there in the bedroom
looking out the window onto the dewy lawn
her skin glowed with elegance
but her curves screamed of ecstasy.
The neighbors across the street turned on their porch light
and the window lit up
creating a silhouette of the woman in front of him.
Her curly hair almost touched her waist as she arched her back and ran her fingers across the top of her hair.
She was beautiful,
and full of everything he never knew he wanted.
Jess Sidelinger May 2019
Looking up, the sky isn’t as blue
as that day three years ago when we drove around
screaming Thomas Rhett songs
at the top of our lungs as we drove down the roads
speeding a little too fast on the curves that were a little too sharp.
The spot in the field  across from the lake where we spent our summers swinging from the rope
is overgrown with the purple and yellow flowers
you used to surprise me with after long days at work.
The pictures your nephew drew me are still hanging on the wall
but the colors are fading and the sun that used to be a vibrant yellow
is now a pale color that’s almost unrecognizable.
You take my hand in yours, but it doesn’t feel like it used to;
your fingers don’t fit effortlessly in between mine, your touch isn’t warm like that night
you stayed up with me until the sun rose
because I couldn’t handle being alone.
Your eyes are unclear, no longer showing the same love
you’re doing things I told you I wouldn’t condone.
Your parents still send cards and letters
with their love and well wishes
on birthdays and holidays because you can’t stand to tell them about what happened that rainy Thursday night almost a year ago.
I don’t recognize the people in the picture frames that line the rooms, decorating the house we dreamed of having together
up on that hill looking out to the sea shore.
They’re not us and we’re not them
because those people don’t exist any more.
Jess Sidelinger Apr 2019
It’s more complicated than just forgetting,
the last time I saw you in that shirt
you had one hand on the steering wheel
and the other on my thigh as we drove down the dirt roads of our small home town
having a destination in mind but not caring when we got there.
It’s not as easy
as singing along to that old rock and roll song your parents played on repeat that weekend we spent with them
in that log cabin in the mountains
where we ate foil packs and slept out underneath the stars every night.
I’m way past remembering who left last because it’s more complicated than counting the butterflies as they fly past
that bush in the front yard
of your grandparents’ house where we spent what seemed like every day
that summer we couldn’t get enough of each  other.
I can’t seem to forget the time you let me give you a haircut
after I had drank an entire bottle of wine
on an empty stomach because I refused to eat the dinner you made
out of fear I’d get fat and you wouldn’t love me anymore.
Now I realize, it didn’t matter if I ate that second cookie,
if I searched the sky for constellations with you,
or dreamed of living in the city because it doesn’t matter. You didn’t love me and I can’t go back

to arguing over whether we wanted  Spongebob or StarWars mac and cheese.
I cant go back to thinking the blankets on your bed will protect me from the monsters in the closet.
Your arms were both a comfort and a weapon as you pulled me closer
grabbing my waist as sweet apologies flooded from your lips as the rain fell around us
coating me in memories and regret.
I wanted to forget tonight and every night
with you.
The pitter patter of rain drops hitting the pavement provided background noise as your hands danced across my body.
The thunder cracked and I realized no amount of blankets could protect me from the monsters in the closet
because they were inside us.
searching for one another.
“Forgive me” you whispered kissing my hand like you did that first night we spent alone

in your room. You said you were sorry
but your green eyes couldn’t be more unapologetic.
The thing is this time I couldn’t just forget.
It wasn’t that easy
because you were more complicated than that.
Jess Sidelinger Aug 2018
The sun’s sinking slowly from view in the window behind your head
as we lie on the couch pretending
like their isn’t an elephant in the room.
Your eyes are anxious and heavy but there’s a smile in your voice
as you throw the ball down the hall
again and again laughing as your dog chases after it. Something wasn’t right,
I could see the scar on your chin
from across the room but I pretended that I didn’t see it
or the little indents on your nose
from your glasses you wore until three that afternoon.
You throw the ball my way expecting the result to be different
than throwing it down the hall, but
that’s insanity.
Doing the same thing over and over
but expecting a different result.
I look at you,
my mind flooding with the thought of you bringing out something different in me.
You start mumbling again as the ball bounces off the walls and I try to pretend
that I don’t like who I am when I’m with you. But I can’t; I’m addicted.
Addicted to the cure
that allows me to love myself in the real world rather than just in a land of make believe.
Getting up and walking across the room
ignoring the babbling coming from your lips,
I sit down beside you
watching our shadows now created by the rising moon outside that same window.
Your eyes are full of life and everything I've never known.
You open your mouth to say something, but laying my head on your shoulder, I whisper
“Just shut up and let me pretend it'll be us in the end”
Next page