Sometimes people’s voices weep like debris from buildings falling apart in my head- with their cherry blossom ache. Sometimes they mutter like walls closing in around me- reminding me of how heavy my tongue sits in my mouth. Sometimes they cry like chalk on a black board or scream like floodlights- and I feel like a child again, with my scattered thoughts and bad posture. Sometimes they roar like the cries of bigger children at the public swimming pool- rocking me back and forth with their waves because my legs are not yet long enough to keep my head above the water.
Sometimes I feel like I am underwater. I am at the public swimming pool near my parents’ house, and I have just slipped off the ledge in the deep end. My legs are kicking out comically as I try to breathe air that seems out of reach. I thrash around like a child, with chlorine in my nose and in my ears, and that constant stinging in my eyes. It is this sick performance wrapped up in cellophane. Everyone can see me struggle, and they know that I did it to myself. They know that I stood too close to the edge. They know that I am unable to pull myself out and too foolish to tread water carefully. They know that I am not a very strong swimmer.
Sometimes I worry I learned the wrong way to swim. I feel I may have created the wrong mental pathways. I seared some wounds closed rather than letting them heal and now I keep picking at the scabs to remind myself that I bleed red like a miracle all over my body. It stings when I am in the shower from where I pick at my scalp. Some of my piercings leave blood stains on my pillow because I keep fidgeting with them. When I am sad, I walk until my body aches. My forehead is covered in scars from when I had chicken pox as a child, and I like to think that they make me a moon- shining, distant, and covered in craters- but I laugh too loud to be a celestial body. The dirt clings too sweetly to my skin, like a child with dirty feet and chipped teeth- filling each moment with sound and fury.
There were moments when I scared myself- when I pushed things too far and I felt things begin to crack. One does not expect the cracks to stick around though. One does not expect them to add up. I no longer feel as robust as I once did- when everything was immediate, and it was all dumb luck.
Why did I not learn how to swim better?
Sometimes I feel a little lost at sea. My feet drag without ever quite reaching the ground. My bones ache and my mind is foggy but I cannot seem to stand still. Each atom in my body seems to be simultaneously fighting and searching for something. They seem to be looking for better atoms. On these days, I wake up in the morning with a weight in my stomach and I go for a walk. I walk so I can sleep better that night. I walk because I want things to change. I want to see a familiar face. I want the day to be worth it. Some days, though, I just see this old man masturbating in his parked car on the main road. NJ M6 30 GP.
I once read that you have to break apart before you can be rebuilt stronger. I am afraid to break though, because what if my pieces never quite come back together and I just do not stop breaking?
Maybe I can learn to be a sailor- keep a packet of fisherman’s friends on me always and learn to smoke cheaper cigarettes. I could write love poems about the ocean and store them in seashells. If life is an ocean, then all love stories must be caught in those small, hollow spaces. I wonder if one day someone will hold seashells to their ear just to hear our voices.
Some days I miss your ripples.
Sometimes the days seem to stretch out around me as far as the eye can see and I feel every sigh and yawn in my knees. The air seems to press down on my skin and my body loses heat. My mind is too tired to talk to me.
Sometimes I feel these waves crashing around me. The dark bites and, no matter how hard I try, I cannot get warm. Everything is a snarl or a whimper. I scream in my head, and I flinch when it gets too loud.
Sometimes I worry that I will never properly learn how to swim.
Although sometimes the sunset bleeds gold into the horizon. Sometimes the water is warm and gentle. Sometimes you feel less heavy, and your feet remember how to hold you. Sometimes things are easy, and you can finally stand still. Sometimes the rocking of the waves teaches you how to dance.
Sometimes your ripples touch other ripples – if only for a second – and things change.
And then they change again.