Sunday, 24 May 2015

High hopes

I guess I expected more. I guess I waited for something out of this world, a lightning bolt to shoot through me and knock me off my feet, dance through the rain that licked our lips, the thunder that echoed through our bodies, quickened the rhythm of our hearts. And in that, I guess I asked for disappointment to blur my vision, to slow the beating of my heart until I had to press a finger to my wrist to check if there was even still a pulse. I don’t think I would have minded if there wasn’t.

Because that’s what I do – I let my hopes fly high, let them soar, wishing that they’ll stroke the moon and land somewhere amongst the stars. So that when they fall, they tumble, rocket down and crash to the ground like the pile of bricks I’ve been trying to build over and over and over again. But I guess some things just aren’t meant to stand.

I thought we would be the two that made it. I thought we would let the flames lick our toes but never rise higher than the ankles. I thought we would let the ocean waves kiss our lips but our heads would always stay above water. We would float. Or, so I thought. I thought that our hands were magnets and you seemed to pull me closer and closer until the day we both became positive, or maybe it was negative, and we just didn’t attract anymore. Our hearts beat, but not for each other, not like they used to.

We were the ones that burnt in the fire, let the tug of the tide pull us further and further away until it felt like we were on opposite sides of the universe and nothing would ever be strong enough to push us back together again. Not you. Not me.

And my hopes hovered above us, taunting, teasing. We never got there, not to the moon or the stars. Not even close. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015


When I asked my little sister what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered with: “pretty.”

What an ugly word.

A seven year old with the entire world at her fingertips, her life an unexplored forest, every tree ready for her to climb. There’s room for dreams bigger than the moon she watches every night, brighter than the stars that dance in her ocean blue eyes when sleep won’t steal her away.

But she wants to be pretty.

I watch her clumsy little fingers flick through the pages of the magazines and her eyes widen at the images of girls that look like dolls, with legs as thin as breadsticks she now refuses to eat and skin clearer than the mirror through which she spends so much time glaring at herself. And every time she blinks, my heart pauses because I hope that when she next opens her eyes, she’ll see her own beauty. But instead, I catch her tugging at the ends of her hair in a hope it’ll grow longer, colouring strands with yellow highlighter because blondes beat brunettes, according to the magazines.

As I do, I want to scream loud enough to silence the voices that echo through her mind, those that tell her that being pretty is all there is and the rest doesn’t matter unless your eyelashes have enough volume. Because I think she thinks that pretty is synonymous with being worthy because, after all, that’s what I used to think. The tears start to stain my cheeks at the mere thought that the same dark doubts could cloud her head as they did mine.

And when the day comes that she asks me if I think she’s pretty, I’ll swallow the sorrow and I’ll tell her that the word pretty will never contain everything that she is, or everything that she will be. Because she is more than two sorry syllables and six empty letters. I’ll remind her that she is full. Full of life, full of love, full of everything that it means to be a young girl born into a world that doesn’t make any sense and yet there she is, trying to make sense of it all. Because she is pretty determined that way. I’ll tell her she will always be pretty creative, pretty intelligent, pretty fearless. But she will never be merely pretty.

Monday, 11 May 2015


They tell you to love yourself and then set you free in a world where you meet people that steal – thieves, robbers, boys in black who smell musky and know all the right words to make you collapse into their arms until you forget the girl you’re looking at in the mirror. And what happened to her.

Learning to love you was one thing. That happened in days – one look and I melted into the chocolate pool of your eyes. But learning to love who I was –something else entirely. A battle I’d been fighting for as long as my fragmented mind would let me.

And that love that I had saved up for myself – I held it out to you and you snatched it away from me. You emptied it out into the ocean; let the tide drag it away until I couldn’t reach it anymore, not even with the tips of my fingers, those that you used to kiss with your lying lips. I’ll love you forever. And no matter how much I begged, the waves never came back quite the same after that day. You left me empty. Hollow inside, like the glass vases I used to fill with roses you bought me. The roses were gone and the vase broke and my skin was as transparent as the splinters of glass I watched slip and slide across the floor through the bitter blur of my tears.  You threw rocks at me until my heart was stained with bruises. That wall of self-confidence that I had been building up for so long crumbled, crashed to the ground. And I was suffocated under the bricks, gasping for help, but you couldn’t hear me. At least that’s what I like to tell myself because that way I can at least pretend that you care.

Because sometimes I can still hear the echo of your laughter, because I guess it must be kind of funny, mustn’t it? How something that takes an eternity to collect can be stolen away in a single second. I don’t know if it was your mistake for taking it or mine for letting you but, either way; the love that I had saved for myself is gone. And I can’t get it back.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Cookie dough

I sat on your porch one Thursday afternoon with my legs crossed, hair braided and nose kissed with freckles. My stomach whirled with butterflies. You came outside with one of those smirks, as if the world were at tip of your fingers and you had everything to smile about. And in that moment, we did. Our hands found each other, fingers intertwining as we walked to the ice cream stand across town. I told you to guess my favourite flavour. You stuck your tongue out to the side and furrowed your eyebrows together in a way that made me melt. “Cookie dough,” the words slipped from your lips. I nodded and giggled like one of those girls in the movies that falls in love too hard and too fast. Because that’s what I’d become. And when evening came and my fingertips froze, you kissed them with your cherry lips. You traced hearts on my arms with your index finger, the same finger you used to point up at the stars. “They shine for you,” you said.

Two years later, I stood on your porch with greasy hair and pale skin, fingernails bitten down to the bone. I held a box full of old t-shirts and records that once seemed to mean so much. I waited for you to come down with mine and, as we traded, our hands brushed against each other but the spark was gone, just like the one that would flicker through your eyes at the mere sight of me. Vanished. You asked me what I’d been up to in the same voice you used to tell me you loved me. “Remembering,” I said. And with that, I turned around and walked away to never see you again. And the stars continued to burn bright and I cried myself to sleep because they weren’t shining for me, but for the next hopeless romantic. The girl who falls in love too hard and too fast and will not be strong enough to pick up the shattered pieces of herself when she realises that that very same love that used to move mountains, fades just like anything else.