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Lauren R May 2018
I feel the heat of your shoulder bleeding into mine. We are laying in the grass. No- we are laying in my bed. No- your bed. The TV is on. You fell asleep in my lap playing video games. I'm wearing red lipstick. Moments earlier, I arched my back like a kitten and took a picture of us sprawled over one another. You weren't looking. My lipstick is red. My shirt is red. My skirt has flowers. Your hair is bleached on the top. I peel the blankets from us and now it's grown out, curving over your forehead in a w. You're wearing all these pukka shell and wooden necklaces. I don't know what gave you the idea. It doesn't match. I love you. I love you so much I giggle just tracing the curve of your nose. We watch YouTube videos slowed down and laugh until we fall asleep, your hip bones pressed into the small of my back. I open my eyes and we're back in 2015. We're eating pizza, but not too much, because your stomach problems are just beginning. You accidentally say you love me back when we part at sunset. The gazebo is in the background. It's always in the background. I walk away and find myself back at your door. You struggle with the key for a moment. We just got off the bus. You couldn't drive yet. I saw your dog, pet her on the top of her head, nose turned away from her rotting teeth. Your bird sings when we walk away and we laugh at how he hates us. I stop laughing and he's dead. Your mom threw him away. You were more heartbroken than you told your friends while you laughed in the library. I shut the door behind me and you're shaking your head no a year later, me asking if we can talk, last weeks tears prickling my mind.  You say you'll think about it. You don't. I do.
This doesn't bother me anymore, so why does it?
Lauren R Apr 2018
(The day I met you, I relented: “Friend, do what you are here to do.”)

I flicked the gas card between my fingers. We had $50 to do whatever we wanted, maybe even take that aquarium trip up to Boston we had talked about so much. Your birthday was a month ago, you were then 17. This was the second birthday of yours we shared together and before you left- not before I told you to drive carefully, my love, and before you forgot all the leftover cake at my house- you kissed my cheek. I laughed into the naked air over my bed- Judas. You are my Judas. The Bible never taught me anything.

I don't think you know what anger can do to a person. You see, I haven't cried about you once. Not once, in one year. I have laid in the same spot where we first kissed, and I have not imagined your clumsy lips over mine.  I realized then you could love something more than yourself- as yourself. The heat from your shoulder never bled out of my body. But, I do not imagine much more.

And maybe I'll be here, standing in the spot where we looked to the stars, a spot whose coordinates will never be written in history books, a spot with numbers I have no reason to remember but I will, and I will be screaming, where are you? Where did you go? Where did I go?

But I know exactly where you are. I will know you are lying asleep in your too-neat bedroom, the one blanket you had before me pressed over you like origami. I will know you are not thinking of me, and definitely not dreaming of me because you do not dream.

And I will know that when we were 15, we dreamed about 18. You could finally drive to who knows where, the window of your car down, music as loud as the law allows, the soft Cali sunlight sainting you. But now, my Judas, you are a birthday and a lifetime away, and where you are now and forever is wherever I left you when we last held hands.

(Today: “I will not kiss Thee as did Judas; but as the thief, I will confess Thee: Lord, remember me in Thy kingdom.”)
“The gospels of Matthew (26:47–50) and Mark (14:43–45) both use the Greek verb καταφιλέω (kataphileó), which means to "kiss, caress; distinct from φιλεῖν (philein); especially of an amorous kiss"
Lauren R Apr 2018
I dream of you often.

At the start, it was always me yelling. I’d run up to you, teary-eyed, (not for the first time) and asked if you knew how you’d hurt me. Your face would be blank, your lips slightly parted.  I felt like a rabid dog, muzzled by the scraps left of my humanity, but ready to lunge off to administer rough justice. My teeth gnashed and chipped when caught by each other. I felt my hands twist into fists, my eyes the hollow barrels of a sawed-off shotgun.

Sometimes you’d come to me, haloed by the morning light in my bedroom. Sometimes you’d apologize, or just be there. Things would seem fine. The hint of tension in my chest was nearly imperceptible in the face of the the rapture I felt, the face of you. I’d trace your knuckles, staring down at the half moons of your nails, cut to the quick. I cannot remember your expression, but I remember your warm breath. I’d wake up and say I didn’t like it, as I try to drift off and dream again.

Lately it’s me chasing you, never quite close enough. I see you right there, right in front of me, looking just as you had when I left. But the truth?

You are one thousand suns away, in a corner of the universe darker than the centers of your eyes.
My 100th open letter to you
Lauren R Feb 2018
Snow falls onto the frozen lakes of your glasses. I can't see your breath through the cloud of mine anymore. You're silent, but I can still feel your voice in my fingertips. Your hands verse worry into the folds of your jacket, clutched like a lifeline.

Words don’t come to us, we are two people, breathing out our lives into a world so vacant, honeyed and infinite- we will perpetually feel that we are a few years and a universe away from not alone.

And I’ll recall nothing of the tragedy that beats infinitely behind the bones of your chest- our chests- so fallible, yet drumming its knuckles on its living casket, so fervently, you’d think it knew nothing of sadness or longing or death. I feel that to be true sometimes. I am now only traumatized by soft kisses on my cheekbones, and the sound of laughter inside parked cars.

And even here, now, no words will come to me. You are so close that the heat of your body melts the frost tingling along my forearms. I guess, if I’m guilty of anything, it’s thinking I can move the world, even just an inch closer, just so our elbows touch. Then, I know you’d flush with the terror of importance, knowing that your end is many more ends.

So I keep my distance as we lay with the cold to our backs, faces to the empty-not-empty sky, and let the snow cover our mistakes, dissipating our frail bodies into a million tiny oblivions.
This is a few months old. It's a prelude to "The 5 People I Have Met in the Middle".
Lauren R Feb 2018
I. He Will Refuse To Find a Way Up
A fifth hole in the wall this week opens and I crawl inside it while your knuckles are still freshly bleeding. I will find myself grasping at straws to justify your rage. You reflect it back onto me, an uneasy mirror that makes me want to tear open my own cathartic hands and find what made me so angry so long ago. I shake my head. I have loved you. I have helped you grow. I have been the soil you have stretched roots in and the fields of lavender you have scorched. I let myself let you go before I crawl into another drywall void.

II. She Will Not Be What You Remember
I can hear the echo of my voice reverberate where I thought your heart was. Your soft hair that ran through my fingers smells like burning hair. Oh, these things cannot be taken back, I know, I know. I will watch you turn to sand in the hourglass on my nightstand, next to rose petals, bottle caps, and other sentimentally valued found objects. You will trickle to the bottom grain by grain and be unstuck. It will mean nothing. I will watch it as time passes and try to break it no more.

III. You Will Have to Let him Go
We did it, like I promised: we laid with the cold to our backs, faces to the empty-not-empty sky, and let the snow cover our mistakes, dissipating our frail bodies into a million tiny oblivions. You fell apart, your ashes blown across several states, thousands of miles. I caught your dust between my teeth and when I flicked it off my tongue, it spelled poems and threats and manifestos in languages I could never understand. You're dragged by your heels into the hospital, cursing my name as my heart breaks. I'm sorry, my baby, my little brother, I'm sorry to the child I tried to raise like my own. Schizophrenia is a hard word to learn in every language, and understand in yours. I did not want to lose you. But sometimes, you weigh your sins, and the heaviest of all is the one that's easiest to utter into the world.

IV: How It Will Go
I've wanted to talk to you for a while.
> I know.
> So?
So, I can't tell if I've missed you or not.
> ...
What I mean is, how do we know this is right?
> It is. We're no good for each other.
We're new people, well- maybe not new, but much different. I don't know if me now will like you now, but me now is longing for you then.
> You're not making any sense.
I know. I just want to say I'm sorry. I don't even know how to begin to say it.
> Sure.
I am.
> Alright.
Some part of me still loves you. She is biting her tongue because she doesn't want your name to roll oh so comfortably off of it ever again.
> Stop.
I'm sorry. I don't want to make this complicated again. I don't know why I'm doing this. I'm stupid I'm-
> Just shut up, okay?

That night, I will claw into my throat and release the shrieks of grief snowpacked in it. I will congratulate myself on allowing the sun to set on the most golden thing I've ever been given the chance to hold.

My lungs will still take in air and send it back into the sky for you to return to me. It won't be the same. It won't be comforting. It'll sting and needle at my soft insides, sending all the words you ever spoke to me into my blood in tangles until it clogs my veins and makes its way to my brain. I will be left with half my face permanently lopsided, stuck in a frown, while trying to remember what did it in the first place.

V: Ideally, as if In a Dream*
The sun is dripping down your hair. It steams in golden runnels down your forehead and it casts a halo in your eyes, sainting you.
I am blessing all the uneaten meals, broken skin, and chewed up fingernails. I will bless how I raised hell and then settled it back into the dirt so I could bring down heaven for you and I, and it's warm, bright caress. The sweet, sticky clouds- they smell like marshmallow and clean laundry and kisses on the forehead.
I will be able again to think of your thin hands as being prom-queen-gown-silk swaddling blue jay bones: fragile and masculine and hollow and splintered all in one. I will run my fingers over your knuckles- as soft and as familiar as my baby blankets.
You will breathe in deeply, and I will too, just for the sake of doing it together.
I will say, "I've been waiting for this."
And you will say, "For what?"
And I will say, "this," just looking around.
This isn't one of my best, but it's an exorcism.
Lauren R Oct 2017
The fragile space between each rib, with skin draped over it like a table cloth.
The fragile space between scars, between your eyes, between our hearts when you're in my arms. The fragile space between almost and never.
Why is it that so much in life is fragile?
I will look at each face I pass and memorize the number of freckles on the right cheek, the left.
I will throw my graduation cap in the air, and my first born child will be in my arms when I look down. My best friend married, another dead.
I will see my college essay turn into dissertation into report on fifth ****** this week, downtown D.C. Yup, it's serial.
I will leap into the arms of my childhood friend, into the arms of my mother, into the grave-
and it'll all seem so very fragile, as delicate and as beautiful as a bird's wing.
Uh I wanna work for the FBI. About to graduate high school
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