This slow fire

I wait for this urgency to become just that — urgent
But see, it sprawls like a desert, and other continental things
It follows me like a strand of pearls, step by sauntering step
I am crushed by the desert’s expectations

These changes, in their haste to find cover,
Lovingly, painstakingly claw glittering passages inside me
Like my left hand clumsily partnering with a knife, or a pen
A light shifting from red to green, urging me secretly — to go

This is not inertia, no; I have already acted, yes
But this trail of fire I’ve left burning in my wake
Progresses so languorously, its heat warming, not hurting
This time around, I ask myself — where is last year’s inferno?

Daily Post daily prompt: Urgent


“Quirks”: a laundry list of my flaws

To any future potential boyfriends out there, here is an ad hoc guide to some of my everyday quirks (or flaws, depending on who you ask), to refer to. It’s not by any means exhaustive, and it’s in no particular order:

  • If I wear mismatched socks, the more “feminine”-looking one has to go on my left foot — because at weddings, the bride traditionally stands on the left.
  • I’m scared of the dark. At night, a light in at least one room has to be on before I can go into an unlit room and turn that one on.
  • I get a little too entertaining when I’m drunk.
  • I have a hideous sense of direction and rely entirely too much on Google Maps. I would be useless if we were ever lost in the woods or something.
  • To add on to this, I have never gone camping and have an utter lack of survival skills. I mean, I can probably climb trees pretty well since I do yoga, so I could probably escape a bear. But that’s probably all I could do at this point.
  • I Instagram. So sue me.
  • I am terribly absentminded — I actually have looked in the fridge for my keys, and wouldn’t have been surprised if I found them there. But I am proud to say I have not yet found them in there.
  • And because I’m terribly absentminded, I will constantly rhetorically ask where my shit is, and be pleasantly surprised that you know the answer.
  • Emotionally, I am like one of those windsocks you see at the airport — my emotions will blow in the same direction as the person I’m talking to. I come home exhausted from a “normal” workday just by listening to others.
  • I don’t want a tattoo because I’m a badass — I want a tattoo because I want to feel original, even though it’s no longer original to have one these days.
  • I will not remember the date of our first kiss, what year we traveled to what city, what I was thinking when I made that decision, what I said last month, hell, even what I said last week… but I will remember how you looked when you first kissed me, your childhood stories, your mom’s birthday, your secrets, your favorite songs, how you made me feel, and the first time you cried in front of me.
  • Sometimes, I feel an urgent need to clean everything in sight and reorganize shit.
  • I make random noises all the time — in the shower, or when I remember something embarrassing that I did a few years ago, or during volleyball, or dropping something on the floor, or getting into bed… you’ll get so annoyed by it.
  • I cry very quickly. I once cried over a crab on the beach that was almost eaten by birds. I cry at movies. I cry when we’ve been arguing too long. I cry when people confide painful things to me.
  • I don’t let my hair go down the shower drain. I stick them on the wall and throw them away after my shower. Maybe that’s disgusting, but that’s what I do.
  • Speaking of disgusting, I take 2 hours to clean and cut my fingernails and toenails, because I’m buffing and scraping that dead shit away… 3 hours, sometimes… if I’m painting my toenails.
  • You’ll probably notice that I complain about my closest friends — but please know that even though I’m sick of them, I actually can’t live without them.
  • Please don’t ask me to go running if you have done a marathon, done cross-country, or something equally impressing, stamina-wise. It will only be embarrassing for you and I if I jog at my asthmatic old lady pace. If you ask me to do yoga for 2 hours though, no problem, I’m your girl.
  • I fail at baking. And sometimes I fail at cooking.
  • I will let people walk all over me — so please, I need your help recognizing when people in my life are taking advantage of me. That includes you.
  • I’m socially awkward, and acutely aware of it. That’ll stop me from hanging out with people or trying new things. So please make me hang out with people or try new things.
  • When I am happy, I sing all the time — and eat.
  • I will have at least 3 flavors of ice cream in the freezer at any given point in time.
  • If I didn’t write it down, it either didn’t happen OR will not happen. Grocery lists, errands, favorite songs, gift ideas for people — you name it, I have a list for it.
  • I’m not as innocent as I look.
  • I’m so not good with money. So not good. You’ll be so frustrated that I don’t set aside enough for my savings, or that I have to get my monthly dose of Popeye’s, or that I have to get a new pair of boots for this year’s fall season, or that I got another parking ticket.
  • I’m a people-pleaser, to my detriment.
  • Before we watch a movie or show, I have to absolutely look that shit up on Rotten Tomatoes. If it’s below 63%, I’m either not watching it or already having negative preconceptions while watching it.

I hope this is helpful. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A gentle rain

Dear Kevin,

We slow-danced in the kitchen today, with tears running down our cheeks. We listened to my playlist — it’s one of my sadder ones, the one for breaking up and other associated emotions. We listened to each song, moving from one spot in the kitchen to the next… You sitting on a stool, me standing in front of you, looking into each other’s eyes… Or me rinsing the spinach in the sink, you coming up behind me, lightly grazing my hair.

We’ve done this routine every year for the last three years — this song-and-dance of sorrow and slow goodbyes. First, I start looking for an apartment. Then, I tell you I’m leaving. Then, you spend the next few days breaking out in tears asking me to stay. It’s not really a fight, with screaming and high decibels. It’s really more like a gentle rain, pouring down from our eyes endlessly for days, rinsing all the badness away. After the storm has passed, you acquiesce sadly, telling me I can take the new bag of rice with me, or something just as innocuous.

I still love you so much. But I know you’re not good for me. I think, one day, you’ll realize how much I’ve taught you to open your heart and let yourself be vulnerable. I can’t be held back from achieving my true potential anymore, when I have this overwhelming capacity to love and empathize and understand. It can’t be limited to one person — it can’t be limited to just you, like you want.

I’m doing something new this year. Every time I say something harsh, like “I’m not in love with you anymore,” or “you’re suffocating me,” I rub my hand firmly over your heart, hoping to massage its pain away. The first time I did it, you said, “That doesn’t help, because you’re the one causing it.” But I think it helps you recognize that this pain, though immediately tangible, will one day wear away, just like any physical hurt. You’ll take me with you wherever you go, and it will be reciprocated by me, for an entire lifetime. It reminds me of the great Fiona Apple’s song, “Love Ridden”:

No, not “baby” anymore — if I need you
I’ll just use your simple name
Only kisses on the cheek from now on
And in a little while, we’ll only have to wave