Chess

Once I finish my turn, I look across the table.

“By the way. You’ve caught on, haven’t you? You know.”

Only a moment before a wordless smirk stretches across his face. He makes his move.

“I didn’t want you to know,” I explain. My eyes dart back to the board. “I only saw the first… glimmer of recognition in your eyes today.”

“That’s because today I stopped hiding that I knew.” He gestures to the board, urging me to counter.

“Since the beginning of March,” I say, advancing my pawn and answering the question he didn’t ask. Silence. His knight clacks an L across the board.

I wait. Still nothing. “Is that it?”

He shrugs.

This next part didn’t happen.

I advance a knight of my own. His black lacquer gleams, carved eyes narrowing as he readies his offense.

“Do you know why I didn’t tell you?”

He would shrug, feigning nonchalance. He would guard his king, bolstered behind rooks and bishops, tower walls and holy dignity.

“Because he’s so close to you. For the second time in a row, I choose someone close to you but not you. And you say you’re over it and that you don’t care but the first time you said that even half-convincingly was a week ago, when it’s been almost half a year since the first time I didn’t choose you. And three months since you chose someone else and I became the one with no one to hold onto.” As the words trickle past my lips, rolling down my chin and dripping onto the board, my knight rushes forward, charging his sterling white opponent. Their swords clash, ringing malice and steel. “Because you hold grudges, even though you’re the one with a happy, loving girlfriend now and swarms of friends buzzing around you like–” The black knight stabs at the air and nicks his enemy’s horse. Blood splatters the battlefield. Enraged, the white knight strikes back and runs my champion through. He slumps lifeless onto the hilt of his opponent’s sword. The victor shoves the corpse away, wordless. Clack, as his body hits the board. I sigh.

“…like moths at a flame. And I’m just another moth.”

But this didn’t happen. We stayed quiet. We finished the game. I don’t remember who won. I only remember that when the boy I chose walked through the door with a smile for both of us, I smiled back, and he did not.

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“Why are you smiling?”

Because the toddler I passed on the street was punching the air in perfect time to the A$AP Mob in my headphones.

Because I realized parking garages would be the perfect caves for car-hoarding dragons.

Because the cashier at Starbucks gave me two donuts for the price of one since the first one crumbled while she was heating it up, even though I wouldn’t have minded just eating the crumbly one.

Because I had friends to watch over me while I was napping, and when I woke up they’d brought me tea.

Because those two are so perfect for each other.

Because Tyler is hilarious!

I’m high as fuck, dude.

 

I dunno.

It’s a beautiful day! Why aren’t you?

Comfort

I’ve never said I love you and meant it, not like you’re supposed to. I say it to friends who I do love, seriously, and then it’s as easy of breathing. The words slide together and slip in and out of sentences and lace every word, God, I love my friends. But I’ve never been in love. And then, in that context, even saying the word is hard. Alone, bare, dense as dark matter. Love.

I love? I can’t. I can’t even imagine it. My hands are clenching around my phone, vice grip, fingers slow and fumbling. A text with the word or the connotation of love is a death wish. I can’t love, I don’t know what that is.

I think of people I may have loved and just not known it at the time and my stomach tightens like handcuffs around a criminal wrist, around the notion of love, and my hands fumble further and pull to a stop.

I want to vomit. My vision is getting hazy. Invisible tears yank my Adam’s apple ragged in my throat, telling. I put on makeup today to impress a nonexistent lover, to seek what can’t be sought and what I may not even want! The idea of love terrifies me in the great and terrible way the shadows on the wall terrified the cromagnon in “Allegory of the Cave”. The shadows are my world and I do not know the truth of them and cannot see beyond them, if I walk into the sun will I let my eyes adjust to the light or reject it and run back to the dark? 

Being cold is all I’ve known. It’s comfortable by now.

My eyelids dip and my consciousness fades as I sink back into the black and let the nothing caress me like no man has. I am a stained glass woman in purple and blue, all light that passes through me comes out shades darker, never pure. I will shatter with one thrown stone. 

It’s comfortable by now.

Murmuration

I do not stand in an oubliette. A blank white oubliette with barely enough room to move, each of its four walls a breath away from my skin, so tall the sky seems a million miles away. I do not hear whispers pour from the trapdoor in the ceiling and reverberate against those four white walls again and again like flies bouncing and circling around a bug-zapper. I do not shut my eyes against the whispers as if I can shut my ears along with them and I do not scream, begging for release as the murmurs breed and multiply and funnel into my head, wicked laughter dripping from every half-heard word.

I do not do these things. I am in a classroom. I have performed a scene for my teacher and classmates. The room is deathly quiet. I do not hear them whispering.

Yet.

via Daily Prompt: Murmuration

A Week and A Day

There are seven bruises on my body and one inside of it. Two pale circles on my right forearm, one by the wrist and one halfway to the elbow. A fist-sized, wonky shadow of purple and puke green on my left thigh, it connects a bit to a fresh pink welt closer to my knee so I only count them as one. Mirroring it, a dark blotch on the right thigh. A tiny purple divot above my right hip. My entire right calf along the tibia, red and brown and tender to the touch. A near-invisible bite on my left breast.

And my entire fucking uterus. Goddamn it, I am in so much pain.

Every movement that comes from my core – rolling out of bed, flexing my stomach, standing straight – sends dull, thudding pain into my sides, pubis and lower ribs. I just want to lie in the fetal position and weep. Why do I do this to myself? I look like I got in a bum fight and feel like I’ve taken a jackhammer to the cunt. I remember his fist in my hair, his hand around my throat, the rhythmic beat of his bony hips into mine and I want to puke. I let him do this to me in some small hope it will bring me as much joy as it does him. But every time, still, consistently, I feel nothing. Not until twelve hours later when sleep and regret bring me into the pain.

It’s not abuse, not in any sense of the word. If I asked him to stop he would. I can see it now, the face I know so well, a dejected nonchalance, “Okay.” Averting eye contact for a second, wonky half-smile, scolded puppy penitence. He wouldn’t do it again without asking first (which, predictably, would be fifteen minutes later).

It’s more self-harm than anything else. Slap me, toss me around, yank me wherever you want, asshole. I don’t love you. I just hate myself. I hate this body that juts and rolls and angles my form, that can’t orgasm no matter how hard it fucking tries, that bruises so easily but can’t throw the punch. Faster, harder, change positions, try something, anything, get me there, where is there?? Fuck! Fucking goddamn it, I just want to see the light.

It’s easier than slitting wrists, that’s for sure.

 

Main Course

Chew me up and spit me out, fuckboy, my bones are made of diamonds and my heart pumps acid green

Watch your teeth splinter like toothpicks, lips quiver and shake, melt, dissolve

Scream, fuckboy, scream! 

You have power over me? YOU have power over ME? My fingertips are eagle feathers and I fly above your bullshit, I’ll do a fucking barrel roll, that’s two ways I’ll be flipping you the bird.

I’ll admit, you had me for a second there, you owned me for a second there, for a second there I let you. But we are Hera and Zeus; I am a bad bitch and you think with your dick, and the only universe in which I let you temper my holy flame is pure mythology, baby!

So eat me. Fucking eat me, if you can. If you can stomach my talons and fangs and if you can bear to rip the leathery skin from my thighs, eat me. I’m ten pounds of righteous fury in a one pound bag and I taste fucking terrific.