It’s nighttime, around early March

The room is grey and messy. Clothes on the floor. Unorganised desk. Untidy drawers. Unemptied bins. The bed is small and unmade. The curtains are partly drawn back and there’s a small amount of condensation on the window pane. It smells slightly damp. And of a warm, wet shower room. You can smell weed and cigarette smoke. There’s a very faint smell of grease from the kitchen down the corridor.

You can just about hear gaggles of freshers stumbling past outside, on their way to D-bar, for fresh-faced frivolities. There’s the distant, rhythmic thudding of a house party from a few floors above Occasionally, the big outside door bangs shut and there are footsteps up the stairs. 

You anticipate a cup of tea. 

Then, his phone vibrates.

The screen lights up with a peculiar message. 

sad girl chronicles pt. 1

It seems all I do these days is write about how sad I am. So I may as well chronicle it for your entertainment.

We’d promised each other a lot of things over the years.
That we’d never leave.
That we’d always support each other.
That we’d always love each other.
That we’d always be adventure buddies.

I didn’t realise that these promises were conditional.
Conditional on my mental health remaining stable.
Conditional on me not becoming unwell.
Conditional on me not deviating from the adventurous, confident girl you fell in love with.

Well, I’m sorry I changed.
I’m sorry my mental health deteriorated.

But my promises were never conditional.
I loved you unconditionally.
And I still do.

Can anyone really ever promise anyone anything anyway?
Does it all amount to empty words and broken hearts in the end?
It seems that way.

I guess I’m just in disbelief that you can say “forever” one night, and the next morning break my heart. Forever.

Maybe some “forevers” do count.
But none of the ones I counted on.

dancing pt. 2

They all say they’ll dance with you in the beginning.
We’ll move the furniture in the living room
and I’ll teach you,
I’ll say.

It’s all about tension,
between us two,
held in our arms.
Away and towards.
Stretch and contract.
That’s all dancing really is,
I’ll say,
The musicality of a connection between any two souls.
It’s art.

And they oblige at first.
But they never make good on their empty words.

Promises of holding each other close,
as the music slows.
Promises of a lively jive,
or a passionate salsa.
Promises of
3 and a half minutes of
of heart racing
of flirtatious chasing
of chests barely touching
of electrifying
bachata.

When the whole room falls away around you both.
And all there is, is you two.
And the rhythm guiding your movements,
And the air in between your bodies,
And everything else fades to black,
And,
And,

They bottle it.
Say they’ll do it another day. Another time. They’re not in the mood. Or they’re too tired.

Okay, I’ll say.

I metaphorically put the furniture back to its original place,
turn the music off,
and the TV on.

the night we met

I wrote this several months back. Back when we were still together.

Take me back to the night we met.

We met a long time before that night.
But that night, I felt, was the first time
we properly saw each other.
Up until then, we’d kept it largely
platonic, sometimes suggestive, but
never too far. Nothing that would get you
into trouble.

But that night was different.
We both caught each other off-guard.
We didn’t have a screen, or snapchat filter,
or school email, or professional duties to hide
behind.

We were unfiltered.
Apparently you’d seen me first.
But I saw you when I came downstairs, you
were at the bar.
It was instinctive.
I went straight over to you without
hesitation and we hugged. Which I think
caught us both off-guard.

We were both wearing plaid shirts, and
we both made a comment that we had
coordinated outfits.
Then your friends came over and made the
same comment.

It was easy.
I was magnetically drawn to you, and it
was so clear and obvious.

I wish I could’ve stayed talking to you at
the bar all evening. But I had friends to
get back to, and so did you.

But we bumped into each other again that
night at the Wetherspoons. My eyes kept
trying to find you all evening.

You were like an island in the middle of
a shipwreck. I felt I was constantly
swimming against the tide, fighting to
keep my head above water.

But with you, I could breathe easy. It was
effortless.

So, I’m sorry that it hasn’t stayed that
way. You told me tonight that you miss
me. I’m right here, but I’m not. I’m not the
same anymore. For the first 6 month of us
being together, I didn’t think about my
past once. I was so happy. So content.

So, I thank you for that.

But slowly, it crept back in.
And I’m furious that something that
happened so long ago, is tearing apart
something so wonderful. It makes me
hate myself, for not being able to deal
with it and move on.

I wish none of it had ever happened.
But I can’t change that now.
No amount of wishing will ever undo.
What he did.
What I didn’t do.
What neither of us did.
And everything inbetween.

I had all and then most of you, some, and now none of you. Take me back to the night we met.”
– Lord Huron

I never thought I’d write those words about you.

splendid suspension

This piece of writing just came out of me quite angrily (there’s a theme occurring here). I’m not sure it makes much sense, but it helped to get it out of my head. So I guess it does makes sense, in a way. TW: self harm

I feel rotten inside.
I am over it but I am not.
I’m holding myself together but it’s an illusion.

There is a black mould growing around my heart and my lungs.
There is barbed wire inside my skull.
And bare electricity lines running through the veins in my hands and arms.

I feel I have no control.
In a desperate bid to distract myself from the gnawing, twisting feeling inside
my hands reach for anything.
Anything hard.
Anything sharp. Frantic.
Anything quickly.

To anaesthetise my head.
To focus on a pain more tangible.

Is it even a pain?
Or is it a chronic sickness?
Something that you learn to live with
like the ringing in your ears after a loud firework
or a landmine.

That’s what it feels like.
It feels like I stepped on a landmine.
I blew into a thousand pieces.
And then, miraculously, before 5am, I had stitched myself back together again.
I did such a good job, nobody could even see the scars
where I had been torn, limb from limb
heart pulverised like ripe fruit
skull shattered.
Nobody suspected a thing.

Maybe I was just so glad I didn’t die from the explosion, that I failed to notice the warning signs.
My stitches were pulling apart at the seams.
Bits of shrapnel I’d not noticed.
One in my shoulder, so I’d walk hunched and stooped.
One in my eye, so I’d never quite trust my own judgement again.
One in the back of my head, so that I always felt as though you were lingering right behind me.

Another in my heart. That one I leave there. I don’t try to dislodge it. Nor do I let anyone else close enough to try.

I feel like second-hand goods.
Used, broken, less valuable.
Dirty. Unclean.

But I can feel my seams splitting now.
And this darkness oozing out.
Covering my clothes and hair with thick black tar.

Everyone can see.
They give me a wide berth.
Don’t want to get any of it on them.

I’m trying to stitch it back up, I really am, but I’m running out of thread and I’ve been sewn up so many times before that there isn’t any material left without a puncture wound already.

My hands are slipping and I can’t even see my needle and thread through tear-filled eyes. I tried.
Like a mouse on a wheel, I am not making any progress any more. I’m tired.

I’m just holding the fabric now.
The fabric of what was,
what could have been,
and what never should have been.

Sewing was futile. I can feel myself, covered in that viscous, black tar.
Tarnished.

Landmines only explode when you take your foot off them. I wish I would’ve paused.
Splendid suspension. For just a fraction of a second more.

i hope

Wishing for other people to be miserable won’t make me any happier.
But I’m nothing if not a trier.

I hope every time you look up and see a beautiful cloudy sky, or you watch a sunset, or you see a contrail streak across the blue – I hope you see me. There by your side, with my weather book, quickly looking up the classifications to check if I was right. Kissing you if I was. Kissing you anyway if I wasn’t.

I hope you can’t hear Taylor Swift without seeing me dance around our living room in your shirt and my underwear. I hope you see my face when you see hers. I hope you can never erase that image from your mind. I hope you have to skip the song or change the radio channel.

I hope going to the beach on stormy days brings back memories of Lyme Regis. I hope you taste Cornish Rattler and remember the night we skipped along the beach singing Coldplay to the stars. Amaretto burning on our tongues.

I hope every pair of blue eyes you gaze into pale in comparison to the ocean deep, golden-flecked, vast expanse of mine.

I hope you can’t see a pair of cowboy boots without thinking of the summers I spent never taking mine off. Summer dresses, skinny jeans, tight little skirts, nothing at all, always paired with my cowboy boots. I hope you remember the look of horror on my face as I hurled them across the room at you. One by one.

I hope you can’t go on a long run without remembering every run we had together. In the rain, side by side, stride for stride. Matching each other’s pace.

I hope you can’t watch i-robot, because it reminds you that it was playing in the background the night we both had sex for the first time. I hope you can’t unsee my i heart NY t-shirt, and the sight of my face as we came at the same time as each other.

I hope you do. Because I can’t unsee you too.

For me,
it’s plaid shirts and skinny jeans. Paolo Nutini songs and Dr Who references. The All-American Rejects and Adele. I still remember the gait of your walk, the flop of your boyband hair, the freckles on your shoulders constellations to me. Everything Everything’s first album. Then their second. The smell of your cologne.

It hurts, because I can’t unsee or undo any of it.
It’s on repeat in my head.
Like a broken cassette.
But the music is familiar,
and I’m not ready to stop listening just yet.

interlude / interruption

i watch teen romance
because i mourn the loss of an adolescence
i didn’t have
whilst i was busying trying to prove something
to somebody
i didn’t need
somebody who wasn’t good enough for me
even before i saw the contents of his laptop
is it possible to miss something you never had?
an idea of what might’ve been, but never quite was?
i miss awkwardly catching someone’s hand
and misplaced, mistimed kisses
hearts beating fast
first touches
drinking too much and making poor decisions
easy, naive heartache
clean breaks
with soft landings
not blood boiling, fists balled, skin crawling, retching fear.

there was a brief period at sixteen
an interlude
from mental illness
from the bird-cage where i was
hostage to compulsion
for too long

an interlude
where
for the blink of an eye
i was okay
i laughed, drank, flirted, played the sixteen year old
and as i climbed atop my pedestal
finally taking centre stage for the young protagonist i’d dreamt of whilst my brain had been wrapped in wires,
i fell
into your arms
and into the fire.

for a while i thought you’d saved me
oh knight in shining converse
but you’d done nothing more
than interrupt me
from saving myself

a 7 year interlude
of something i never deserved.