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everything; something; nothing

You are seven and you hear your parents talk about abortions. You find a condom in the top drawer of their dressing table and you realize that everything the boys whispered about on the back desks was real. You realize that you were silly enough to not believe.

You are twelve and your best friend tells you about how she “gave head” to a man she met on the internet. You barely even know what this means, but you think about the twelve years you’ve lived in this skin and how not one boy has touched it. You try not to judge her. She tries not to judge you. There’s a friction between your opinions that wears and tears away what you both used to be.

You are nineteen and there’s a stack of books on your bed, clothes cluttered everywhere. You still don’t know how to get a waiter’s attention at a restaurant. You still don’t know how to maintain eye contact with the man at the cash register. You can barely remember to eat. You find yourself in your bed, every Friday night, and then walking like a ghost at school, attempting to be invisible. You don’t care about who kissed who or what happened that night at that girl’s house. You try to, sometimes, but all the fun seems so superficial. You’ve never smoked weed, but you always feel like you’re a little off, like an alien wearing a body suit. You can’t understand why the library is always so empty. It scares you. There are so many people around, in real life, in books, in TVs, and you’re still so alone. Some days, you stuff yourself with every morsel you see and you’re still so empty, hollow, void. You curse your mother for not handing down her stiff spine. You curse your father for not being there, to teach you how to not be awkward around strangers, and even more so around friends.

You are twenty-two and your life is still unclear. You have a girlfriend and she never stops talking about all the “fun” she’s had. You don’t even know if you like girls or not yet. She kisses you like she will never see you again. You still don’t find the safety in that. Some days, you just want her to hold you when you sleep, but she’s always too busy. Your life is nothing, nothing, nothing. She’s so beautiful, you know you’re meant to think she’s so damn beautiful, but you look at her doing the dishes or playing with the cat, and you still feel nothing, nothing, nothing. 

You can’t remember how old you are any more. You don’t let numbers bind you to characteristics that you’ve never learned to adorn. You have a daughter, and she asks you to tell her memoirs of your history. You remember that time when you were seven and you felt silly because you couldn’t get yourself to believe in sex. Instead, you tell her about how the first day you went to school, you forgot what language to speak in. Then, you think of the time when you were twelve and so “untouched” that it hurt. Instead, you tell her about the Karate course you were in and how you quit because you didn’t like it. She smiles and says, “I’m never going to do anything I don’t like either.” When she asks you about your teenage years, you think of the time when you were nineteen and felt like you had no feet. You go down to the kitchen and bring back two oranges, laugh, and tell her, “I used to eat like 50 of these a day!” You don’t tell her about the girlfriend; you tell her about the white and black patchy cat that never stopped clawing at the couch in your living room, and once almost bit your ear off. She laughs, and falls asleep, and for once, so do you. 

Posted 1 year ago with 119 notes
Tags: prose  
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    i. You are seven and you hear your parents talk about abortions. You find a condom in the top drawer of their dressing...
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