Did I scare you away yesterday? I’m sorry. It’s hard to know what to say to someone so angry-sad. I think it’s good practice though — writing what you’re scared to write. Your heart should be pounding, whenever you press Publish. Isn’t that what they say?
There’s something else that people in this field like to say, I think. About bad writing preceding good writing. I like it — it’s helping me not worry so much, about whatever I verbally vomited yesterday. So what if it didn’t come out exactly the way I’d planned? So what if it only got a few likes? If I feel a little self-conscious about it now, that’s okay. Some people can’t tell where it hurts.
Of course, a better writer might have been brave enough to shine the light a little differently. More sideways — so she could have exposed two cowards, not just one.
Sometimes I read something someone wrote and feel certain I’d start to howl, if I were to open my mouth. That’s the way I want to write, too. I want to write that way, and not-delete. Don’t delete. That takes courage. (That’s what I think.)
But we can resume our regular schedule, if you’d like. We can talk about molten chocolate cake — I feel like we always get off to a good start, when we do that.
I’m getting back into a routine. Exercise, eat, shower, write, pack. Conjure up imaginary friends. If I were any other unemployed twenty something, I’d probably be at the beach. Taking pictures of a seriously saturated shore, through my hard-earned thigh gap. Hashtag #funemployment. But the beach is rather hot. I like it better in here, where it’s nice and cool.
I like it here, even though it’s a thirty-minute drive from the Maine house. No longer my house. I like it here, where the girls don’t look so different from me. I like it here, where there’s a boy I might think looks kind of nice, if I were in that kind of mode. I’m not, but I like his shoe selection — yesterday’s and today’s. I also like his taste in cookies. I would have chosen the salted caramel, too. Perhaps I should.
It couldn’t hurt to wonder about him, could it? I wonder if he shared a pillow last night — if he whispered in someone’s ear this morning. Did he take a second to scrawl something onto a sticky note? And did he stick it up on the fridge, where he knew she’d see? I used to write sweet sticky notes to someone, too.
I wonder if he loves her, and if she knows. The sticky note girl. Maybe she doesn’t need the words — maybe she needs something else. Maybe she needs someone to love the skin tag on her shin, the scar on her right wrist. The knobbiness of her knees, the bloat of her belly. The parentheses of her hips.
Maybe she needs someone to love her lashes — short and sparse. Maybe she needs someone to run his hands through her hair. Ignore the clumps that fall out. Maybe she needs someone to brush his lips over the birthmark on her forehead. Faint, but fire engine red.
Maybe she needs someone to flip the mirror facedown, and take her outside. Show her the way.
Maybe she needs to someone to make her a sandwich. One that won’t win any awards, but won’t get stuck in her throat. Promise.
Maybe she needs to eat something like that — every day, for a month. And then maybe she’ll be ready for more. Or, you know, maybe not. Maybe it’ll still be too soon.
Maybe what she really needs, right now, is to be left alone. Like this. Maybe she needs to keep packing her own picnics, for now. And keep asking questions. And keep trying to answer them — by herself. Because, honestly: who wants to ask ending up asking what life tasted like?