Lauren. 23. On the fence about just about everything.
short story (…kind of) written my junior year of high school; short sections all based around the feeling that this song gives me.
If you have time to read it, please let me know what you think! I can’t express how much I’d appreciate any feedback.
A story called ‘Amazing.’
There once was a girl who wrote stories about writing stories about needing stories to feel. She asked me to tell hers, but I can’t- she uses all these words to hide the fact that she doesn’t have one of her own.
You asked me to write you a story, and I said I couldn’t. I only write about things that aren’t real. You didn’t believe me- you saw people you knew in my writing, and wanted to see yourself, too. Did you mean less to me? Was that it?
No. All of those things I wrote about were already over. I’d already let the people go, so they weren’t real to me anymore. I wasn’t ready for you to want words about what you’d meant to me, because I wasn’t done with that meaning.
You said that it didn’t have to be that way. You just wanted to see yourself, to read a story and know immediately that it was about you.
When I give this to you, do you want a real letter that you can hold? Or an email, so it’s easier, so I am less of an effort to discard?
When this is finished, I’ll let you see it. By then, you’ll already be gone.
This is the moment that you know
I can tell I have given up on you when your face is clear in my mind. My love is never clear. For as long as I loved you, I could only see your face when I was with you, a blur replacing your features whenever I tried to remember. This is why I worried so much when you were gone. This is why I kept that picture of us with me in my wallet: not to see you next to me, but just to be able to see you. The things I need to see the most are the ones I care about, and I can’t ever bring those things into focus.
You said, maybe it is God, or god, or myself, telling me to trust.
I say, maybe it is a reminder that I’m not allowed to need someone like that.
There once was a girl who cried love.
She used love every time she felt a tiny pang of loneliness. Numbness haunted her like beasts and empty shadows, and like a small child she was convinced her fears could not reach her when she was not alone.
The first time, she yelled the word, her voice cracking like her body had sensed a change in her. Then she watched, fascinated, as her emotions jumped to obey her call to attention. Her love stood and waited for what seemed like years to be claimed, but she was lying. It was not enough to be accepted, to be held by those who cared about her. The girl was selfish, and love eventually understood and faded into the background.
The second time, she sang it, drew it, wrote countless pages trying to capture it. She gave slips of paper to her family, her friends, to people she imagined herself to be loved by. She put all her love into art that was beautiful until it was revealed that she was still lying. She had never felt anything like what she wrote about, never appeared in her pictures or her songs. People who had praised and helped her were betrayed. Her art burned in the fireplace, lay crumpled in the trash. Her love tasted like ashes.
The third time, she cut it into her skin, thinking tangible meant real. But red is the color of impulse, not love, and the people who originally rushed to her side realized that she was using them, and not to make herself better. All of them turned- some later than others, but all still gone, eventually.
The fourth time the girl cried love, she meant it. But it was too late. She was walking home with her eyes down when she saw a shadow pass across hers, and she knew. She looked up but the person was already gone.
“Love” she whispered, awe in her eyes, but her voice was raw from misuse and caught in her throat.
“Love.” She tried again, and people standing close enough to hear her shook their heads. But the sun was still out and this was not a childish reaction, not a plea for attention, not an offering to fake beauty.
“Love.” She choked, her voice squeaking grotesquely. No one believed her, and how could she blame them? Their compassion had been thrown out like pitchforks and wolf traps when she hung insecurity by her window each night, like meat baiting the lonely, isolated wolf to come and devour her.
Love, she mouthed, silent in recognition, the movement of her lips useless. The shadow never halted, the person never even aware of her presence.
Real love, those closest to her said, would never so much as turn to look at her again.
She said, “You still don’t get it, do you?”
“This could be the end or this could be the beginning and it has nothing to do with you. This is all a cycle and you’ll think you mean something, but if you do it is only because you are where it ends. The greatest art is already there, the greatest meaning in expressing what people already knew. You could be the greatest thing to ever happen to me, but you would not matter if you came in the middle of my story. People won’t hear this; they only remember the endings.”
(Cold and pale and curled), your stomach looks even worse when you fold yourself that way, little girl. If you don’t want them to look why do you yell and point and shove your flaws in their faces? If you didn’t want an answer you wouldn’t keep asking.
The worst part about you is that you think that you are wrong about yourself. You expect to be saved. Even now. This is only a plea for someone to pull away everything that you are and reveal something beautiful that’s been trapped inside.
There is a reason you always tell people exactly how you see yourself.
The worst part about you is that you think that you are wrong.
The first girl to be born empty was the only one who was ever really loved for it. A lover came out of a crowd of others and saved her, picked her up and carried her away and filled her. Fairytales do exist, but only for those they are told about. People learn, adapt too quickly. Emptiness became a statement. Girls became jealous and being lost became the trend. You are nothing more than a baby’s doll, meaningless tears and plastic eyes, useless arms and unable to stand. And you wonder why you can’t compare, tiny voice box broken crying in a child’s voice for someone to need you like a lover.
“Make me see me help me find me make me see me make me help me find me make me make me make me…”
He said “Is everything you write about real?”
She said “No. But to those who will read this, neither are you. You are no different.”
He said “I want you to make me real. So they know.”
She said “I cannot make anything. I can only explain, or lie.”
He told her she was more amazing than he could ever be, and didn’t understand why she turned away. He whispered into her hair that he didn’t deserve her and wondered why his hands were suddenly empty. She tried not to reach for him, tried not to ask for anything when she said “I don’t want to have an image to live up to because I can’t. I don’t want you to tell me what I am except in relation to you. I don’t want to hear that I am loveable, just that you love me. I don’t want to be perfect if I’m still not what you want.”
His arms were strong enough to pull her close, and she wanted to be held too badly to fight him anyway.
“I just want you to see how amazing you are.”
She closed her eyes against the guilt and let herself love him, but she couldn’t hold him back if that was all he could say to her. “You say it so often; I don’t know which of us you are convincing. I want you to stay with me because you want to be with me; nothing else.”
Maybe she should tell them when everything is starting.
“You will think I mean something to you, but I won’t. I am a reflection.” Maybe she should tell them that they might respect her, envy her, pity her; they might think they love her but they never do, never will.
She lies on her bed, curled in a ball with the blankets down at her feet, and wishes the song could run down from her brain into her body, flow through her like blood through tiny vessels aching to be broken.
you are beautiful, but you don’t mean a thing to me.
She is unraveling again; she wants to dissolve into the music. She wants to be detached enough to be loved, if briefly. She will not cry. This song holds more meaning than she ever will.
With every ending, she lies to each of them about how many times this has happened.
She said “make me into something beautiful.”
She said “make something real.”
She said “why just one meaning?”
She said “what meaning?”
She said “find the pieces of me; I don’t know how to fit anymore.”
She said “find me in these stories, because I can’t get out.”
(She didn’t really say anything, because she had nothing to say, and no reason to pretend otherwise).