Her versus Me

Poetry

Her face against yours in that picture

made the volcano inside of me erupt.

The emotions spewing from my body

felt like acid reflux; unwanted and abrupt.

Confrontation was not what you wanted

but my gloves were ready for the ring.

Preparing to fight until you insisted

that we were the exact same thing.

My head dropped to my chest

because I honestly could not see

why you had turned something like this

into a battle; her versus me.

You consoled me and did not blame me

for feeling the way that I did.

I waited days to give you another chance

like I was some dumb little kid.

I made your bed when you showered

and I saw her name light up your phone.

We never discussed what this was

but how should I have known?

Screaming at the top of my lungs

each time I drove over to your place.

But soon my heart would melt

the second I saw your charming face.

Just tell me why you are friends with her

even though she is miles away.

Yet I am the one knocking on your door

begging like a stray dog who wants to stay.

Maybe this was all my fault

I am still not exactly sure.

But now I know your secrets

were something I could not endure.

Months have gone by without seeing you

but it has honestly felt like years.

I tend to think she is still in your life

and it brings me to my knees in tears.

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It Was Not a Kiss

Essay

I did not want it, but I expected it. When the night was over he towered over my small frame and began talking about if, and when, I wanted to hang out again. We stood next to our cars in his best friend’s driveway when he gave me a hug that lasted for-ever. He must have felt comfortable because he set his chin on top of my head, but it was late and I was ready to go home so I let go of his slim waist. He went in for another hug after I had let go, but this time he was the one to pull back first. Then there was the long awkward stare before the inevitable kiss. But it was not a kiss.

With you it was different. I had such a great time that I did not want to leave, but I knew I had to or else I would have easily spent the night. When you walked me out to my car I wanted to wrap my arms around your sturdy shoulders and talk about the next time we would meet again. I did not expect a kiss even though I secretly wanted one. And when you went for it I turned into some giddy thirteen-year-old girl. A silly little girl who was jumping up and down on the inside, but also doubting her kissing skills because she was blindsided. Now that is a kiss.

I knew you before I knew him. I had known your lips for about two months, but nowadays that means practically nothing. So I went on a date with him on the weekend you went home to see your brother graduate high school. I felt no remorse because you had done something similar, if not worse, a few weeks prior. But I found out about your date and you would never find out about mine. You would never find out about mine because I did not care about him the way I cared about you. I would not see or talk to him again, and I would not be caught in a picture with him on social media. There was nothing wrong with the date, we actually had a night filled with adventure and laughter. But he was not you.

He was not you because he did not make me quiver. He was not you because I did not call my best friend immediately after our first date. He was not you because he did not pick up on my sarcasm and shoot it straight back at me. I did not think of you once that night until he kissed me. It was in that moment I realized I only wanted to be kissing you. And I kissed him back just because I knew you had been with her. I was hoping this night could help me figure some things out, but his kiss could not compete with our first kiss. Our lips were companions and he had the lips of a stranger.

It was not until a few months later, on the last night I saw you, that you felt like someone I did not know. The guy I went to see that night was quiet and closed off. I did not even want to sleep in your bed so I stayed on the couch until it felt too awkward not to sleep with you. The next morning you gave me a quick peck goodbye in your sleep. And as I pushed myself off of your chest you gave me another air kiss as if the first kiss was some kind of joke. That kiss is the last memory I have of you and me together, and the worst part is; it was not a kiss.

 

Words are Hard

Essay

My whole body froze the moment I saw you through the windshield of my car. We had just ended a phone conversation where I was instructed to wait on you to come find me in the crowded parking lot. Before we met in person, the only interaction we had was through texts and short phone conversations like this one. It wasn’t until I locked eyes with you, without the security of my phone in my hands, that I realized I was in big trouble. I watched your tall, dark, and dangerous frame strut its way across the parking lot towards my car as I slowly began to thaw out. Your bad boy demeanor still had me fixated, and I could no longer hold in the cuss words that began spewing out of my mouth.

That first date still haunts me. What we had that night was extremely natural and comfortable. When I met you I felt an instant connection. It seemed as if I was with someone I had known forever. I couldn’t explain that rare feeling to anyone, not even myself. And that’s why it has taken me this long to write it all down, because words are hard. So I decided to put this so-called thing into stages.

I guess we can call the first stage flirty and naive. I’ll make the month of April simple. We met, we hung out several times, and then I found out about someone else in your life. Things got messy. I didn’t want to freak out when I found out about her, I just wanted to know what this interaction meant for us. I came over, we talked about it some, but nothing was resolved. That was one of the only times we communicated about what was going on. I knew we weren’t anything official, but when you told me that I was in the same category as her it hit me to the core. And when you wouldn’t answer my main question about the circumstance we found ourselves in, I knew I had to leave without another word. I’m afraid to admit that neither of us could muster up the guts to say what we really wanted to say at that night, because words are hard.

The second stage was when I became foolish and careless. Also known as: whatever happened after the month of April. It was plain and simple we were hooking up though. I knew it, you knew it, and it was discussed… but not really. When we were together everything felt typical. You were drunk, we were both tired of work, and I was more than willing to come over to try and make things better. I didn’t care though because I knew I could always be myself around you. I felt at ease in this familiar routine. But at one point we weren’t on the same page during that summer. You were working your ass off and I was traveling across the United States trying not to think about my job. But I know that didn’t keep you from talking to her and it didn’t keep me from talking to other guys. I would try to contact you when I was back home for a bit, but there were times I didn’t get a reply. I thought this meant you had moved on, in a literal sense. You had to leave and move to the next project for work. No reply was fine, at that time, because continuing something that would eventually have to end wouldn’t make much sense. But I learned in July that you were still here and we saw each other again after my travels. That time together was short but when our hookups turned into you sharing personal information about work or your family I’d wonder… why? Are you just trying to make conversation before getting me into bed? Or are you truly sharing this information because you felt comfortable doing so? Either way I didn’t get it. Your behavior suggested that you wanted something legitimate, but at one point you told me you didn’t want that. That’s when this whole thing became confusing and difficult for me. But I guess I understand now why we didn’t talk about it, because words are hard.

That final stage was when I turned into someone hopeful and observant. Time had passed and it had been awhile since our last interaction. July was over and my school year was about to begin when I found out something awful had just happened to you. I wanted to make sure you were fine, so when we met up again I pretended like you hadn’t ignored me for the remainder of July. You told me about the surgery and I found out about the next place you were excited to move to. This time around it seemed as if everything would get better. This incident brought out a new side of you that I had never seen before. Your injury was a difficult subject to talk about but you weren’t afraid to tell me. Just like you weren’t afraid to tell me about your new home you would be moving to in October. A place I had considered home for twenty years. I wondered if your incident brought us back together again for this reason. A reason I couldn’t yet explain. We spent the next two months learning more about the other person through dinner dates and honest conversations. I like to think that we evolve as people, and I knew during this time that you weren’t the same guy I had met back in April. Just like I wasn’t the same naive, flirty, careless, and foolish girl. But there are certain parts of us that we can never change. You seemed afraid of goodbyes and I couldn’t find the courage to tell you how I really felt during each of these stages. I thought I knew you better this time around, but I guess I was wrong. You left me in October without a simple goodbye and then moved ten minutes away from where I grew up… because words are hard?

I never wanted to tell you any of this because I always thought it was bad timing. I never wanted to tell you any of this because I always thought that you wouldn’t be here for long, so why bother. I never wanted to tell you any of this because I always thought we were just having fun, no strings attached. I never wanted to tell you any of this because communication is my weakness. I never wanted to tell you any of this because at one point I thought we would be fine. But now I have run out of excuses of why I never wanted to tell you any of this. So here it is. I guess words really aren’t that hard.

Toothpaste, Ketchup, and Yellow Trucks

Poetry

I have a list that goes on for miles

I made it the other day.

I wrote down all the things that remind me of you

stuff I should probably throw away.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I have to bid adieu.

But I really want to tear it up

and pretend like this is all untrue.

It begins with the orange toothpaste,

something I used anytime

I was over at your place.

I recall the mint flavor on your tongue,

but now that usual sweet taste

has left me bitter and stung.

Next is the bottle of ketchup I see,

sitting there in my fridge

obviously taunting me.

The brand is your last name

written in caps and bold.

I wish I could let it just sit there

but my heart has switched cold.

The final item I can not throw away,

it is impossible to do so because

I see it almost every day.

Yellow trucks constantly roaming around,

and the second I see one

my walls begin to crumble down.

It might not be the yellow truck that you drive,

but I still look and I swerve

and I barely survive.

The Last Night

Poetry

Last night I did not know you.

Last night you were not my friend.

Last night I felt like all we had worked towards had officially come to an end.

Last night you did not touch me.

Last night we barely spoke.

Last night I could sense my heart starting to break before it had actually broke.

That would be the last night I would sleep in your bed.

The last night I would lie there with you and a million thoughts hanging above my head.

But you are not worried about me because I always wake up like everything is alright.

Even though I knew all along that this would be the last night.

Boys and Dolls

Poetry

Don’t judge boys who play with dolls

maybe they’re just confused.

They feel a sense of temptation

which is something most boys can’t refuse.

Some boys hide their dolls from plain sight

so that others don’t know what they’re doing.

It may seem like a fun time for them

but dolls can be easily ruined.

When they brush her hair back and pull it

they feel like they’re in control.

And when they bend her knees and twist her head

they must remember she has a soul.

But please don’t judge boys who play with dolls

maybe they’re just lonely.

We all wish to find someone

who can be our one and only.

The Coffee Table

Essay

After knowing you for only a month I considered your brown leather couch a close friend of mine. It had become my safety blanket in your small studio apartment full of memorabilia from all the places you had experienced. Every time I came over to see you I felt a sense of uneasiness until I saw your couch. I know it sounds crazy, but it had this enchanting ability to draw me into your place and relax the butterflies soaring around in my stomach. When I found my spot on it I would sink deep into the cushions and hide from you, until you found me and captured me with your alluring presence. At the time, nothing made me feel more comfortable then when I was lying down on the couch wrapped in your sturdy arms. But unfortunately this isn’t about your couch; this is about your coffee table.

Your coffee table sat gracefully in front of your brown leather couch with its vintage gold legs curled up to hold a rectangular glass top. The glass held our beer and blueberries on the night you randomly told me I could have this piece of furniture. It shocked me that you wanted to give something of yours over to a girl you had only know for a few weeks. But that surprise feeling quickly faded when you told me about your new coffee table, sitting alone in the corner by your front door just waiting to be stained. You were trying to make your place feel more like a home, and you thought this wood coffee table you had just built would do the trick. I did not understand why you needed something new. I thought the fragile demeanor of the coffee table that you already had complimented the masculinity of your couch; they were the perfect fit. But you did not ask for my opinion, and I could tell you were excited about staining your new coffee table.

On our first date we ate deep dish pizza, veggies, and red wine at your place. That was the night you served me our first, and only, dinner on the coffee table that I would come to admire. We shared a night filled with background music from your Spotify playlist and plenty of banter as we began to eagerly learn about one another. Both of us had lived in at least six states so far, which led us to looking at maps on your iPad. You zoomed in to show me the road you grew up on in Michigan, and I tried to test your knowledge on big cities in Louisiana. Our bodies were close as we both bent over the coffee table to look at a bright screen in pure excitement. Nobody had shared this commonality of moving with me before, which made liking you that much easier.

After awhile I would notice the bridge designs you kept in a binder on the table. You made sure to scan over these designs almost every night before another long day of work. I would sit back and watch in awe as you looked over drawings of a bridge as if it were an absolute mystery. You wore a serious face and concentrated on each point, while silently talking to yourself, until you looked back at me with a goofy grin. Instead of being awkward, you made it a joke and pretended like I was a buddy of yours at work who knew exactly what you were talking about. Work became a serious topic for both of us, but we knew there were times when we just had to let it go and make a joke out of it. However seeing your blood shot eyes every night and your lack of presence indicated to me that you were extremely stressed. Saying this to myself was the easy part, but I secretly knew that sometimes you would drown yourself in alcohol to make the pressure of everything fade away. When talk about our jobs would get overbearing for either of us, we quickly learned how to make the other person less tense. You would feed me fruit and tell me crazy stories, and I would watch you drink and try my best to create diversions.

I once suggested that we play a game of cards on top of the table. Speed was the name of the game and we laughed so hard as we tried to remember the rules from our youth. I ended up winning two out of the three games but seeing you smile and have a good time was the real win in my book. Though I will never forget the fun game you had planned for us during one of the last evenings I would come over. I walked in towards the couch and saw two cacti, two ceramic holders, and one small bag of dirt sitting on the glass top of the table. You were giddy and ready to get started without any prior planting experience, so I felt the need to help out. I kind of knew what I was doing but we ended up making a bit of a mess anyways. After we finished moving the cacti into their new homes, you swept the dirt off the glass and began to think of names out loud for your new “roommates”. I sank back into the cushions where I watched your strong back lean from the couch to the coffee table, as you continued to clean and look back at me with your sweet smile.

Deep into the cushions is where I knew you would always find me. And when you did, you would crash into me and find every possible way to make me melt into your arms. I remember the way you looked into me with your hazel eyes on our first date where we sat close and talked about work, friends, food, and everything in between. I could not stop you from moving into my personal space that night and the rest of the nights to come. The Spotify playlist was there to set the mood and keep me coming back for more music that would eventually remind me of you. Everything felt natural when we were together on the couch listening to your favorite songs. We would tease each other and canoodle as we searched for something to watch on Netflix each night. And some nights just lying there and watching you clean or do laundry was enough for me.

But there were some moments on the couch that made me begin to wonder. Like the night you were scrolling through your phone trying to find a text from your brother. You stopped mid-scroll and showed me a picture of myself that you had sent him. You had told your best friend about me and my sister, who was also my best friend, knew nothing about you. The only reaction I could muster was a soft grin and an awkward eyebrow curl. You always caught me off guard and reacting to situations in the best manner is not my strong suit. Kind of like the time you whispered baby in my ear when you wanted me to move positions on the couch so you could get up and use the bathroom. I moved because I thought you were just sleep talking but you got up, kissed my cheek, and gave me a wink as you walked into the bathroom. You left me there sitting up and unable to move like some silly statue. But the couch took care of me while you were gone and every single soaring butterfly in my stomach soon became calm. When you came back I was able to let you in as you wrapped me up in the safety of your arms once again. 

You took me into your whole body on that couch, and I had never felt more protected by someone outside of my immediate family. You were so gentle when you stroked my hand and then held it as you used your other hand to caress my ribcage. I knew your work schedule kept you from getting adequate sleep, so I let you embrace me as I watched Netflix and you snored loudly in my ear. I honestly did not mind the snoring in the least bit because. I remember thinking it was cute that you could feel comfortable falling asleep holding someone you barely knew, and then breathing loudly in their ears. But I also thought it was cute when you would not let go of me some nights. You held on to me tightly and grunted so I could not get up and leave. You would not let me get up and leave that stupid brown leather couch. So that is when I began to stay. We stayed on the couch until it was time for bed. But this is not about the bed, it’s about the coffee table and sometimes it’s about the couch.

The last time I came to your place I did not touch your couch or my coffee table. I could not even look in their general direction as I perched myself on your kitchen wall. There was no kiss hello, and we both pretended like the reason I came over was to get my sweater that I stupidly left next to your bed the last time I stayed. You wanted to talk like everything was normal, but it was apparent that I could not do that. The tension between us became unbearable as you slowly poured yourself a glass of whiskey. I had the recent pictures of you and her burning in my mind just like the whiskey that was currently burning down your throat.

We began talking about things that I never wanted to talk about with you, which made me wonder if I was in a nightmare I would soon wake up from. But when I didn’t wake I was naive enough to think that this could possibly be our first real fight. That was until I realized I needed to ask the question that was going to burn us instantly. And when you stood there with no response and a blank stare, I became irate and stormed out of your place with no words other than a harsh goodbye. As I was rushing to the door I saw the new coffee table still sitting in the corner and I wanted to kick it so badly. But I stopped myself, and I took one last glance of the coffee table and vacant couch just sitting there without us. I hate that this is the last memory I have of these pieces of furniture. There are times when I wonder if all you think about is what happened on the couch, because I am constantly thinking of that damn coffee table and if I will ever get a chance to get it from you.