Tag Archives: creative writing

The Strangers in the Photographs

I have two photos sitting in front of me.

One is of a girl with bright red hair wearing a black tank top. She looks so young and happy, no makeup on her face, leaning against a man who she already knows every inch of, body and soul.

At least she believes she does. With youth comes naivety, and the golden dream of first love. She isn’t wrong though in knowing that what she feels will never fade. Never change.
Even she can tell when something reaches inside her, and shapes her soul, forever finding a place in the ink that runs through her veins.

In the second is a young lady, a bridesmaid in a bridal party. You cannot see the red in her hair. It is only glimpsed when her hair spills down around her shoulders, and the light catches the ends where it still has not quite faded…
Her hair isn’t down though. Curled up into a twist at the base of her neck, with only a few strands loose around her face, she is looking up at the groomsman her arm is linked with. Dark eyelashes go with cheeks brushed with blush. Roses are tucked into her hair. The smile on her face is careful, but true, her reaction to him measured in a way she once could not have imagined.
She is poised and beautiful.

And she is a stranger.

He is as well, that man who wears his suit with the ease of having grown up in one. Yet he is the first, and only one, to have made her look at someone like that since him. And she can forgive his strangeness for that.

They have one thing in common, that girl and that young lady. They have me.

But I feel like I have nothing in common with either of them.

That girl, not yet twenty but learning what it was like to experience something ageless? I can still feel her inside me. I want to stretch back into her, embrace her hope, fold myself into the warmth of her gaze.
But she does not fit me any longer, not since he left her out in the cold and the rain, and she shrank. Or maybe I grew, trying to swallow the darkness before it could swallow me. Before anyone could look at my smile and see it clenched between my teeth.

That young lady? She is too graceful for me. I could not hide my awkwardness in her curves. Nor my brokenness in the softness she carries. Where is the bluntness of youth in the tilt of her head? Where is the chaos of my mind in her self-contained presence? How could I ever pull the strands of who I am into the semblance of her? How could I ever look at him and find a friend, a lover, when he holds none of the raw passion, and hot, smooth skin, that that red-haired girl once found the world in?

I want to be neither, and I want to be both.

I want him back, want to feel my body entwined so naturally with someone else’s that I feel naked without him against me once more. And yet knowing he fitted himself with others, even though none fell so easily into him as I did, drives me from him.

And I want this man, this new man, who kisses me in the dark without warning, kisses me confidently, kisses me softly. Who I do not understand, who intrigues me and terrifies me. Who leaves my mind and body tingling in a way I have only ever felt once before… And yet I cannot imagine being addicted to his skin, or imagine our edges blurring together as we fall asleep. Where we are more comfortable hot and sweaty together than with any space between us.

I cannot go back to that girl. She is lost to me now, and I fear the man who lead her into the darkness is as well.

But this young lady… I do not know if I am capable of walking in her shoes yet. I’ve always wobbled in heels, only ever able to maintain balance for picture perfect moments.

And I’m not sure she is entirely what I wish to be, though there is much about her I admire.

But I know one thing.

I no longer want to see strangers in the photographs where I should be.

I want to see my smile, and have the muscles that made it twitch in recognition.

I want to be at home in my own skin.

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Letter to A Lover

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself.

That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

Neil Gaiman

 

 

I know things have been hard lately.

We’ve been clinging to dreams of the past, without remembering to dream in the now. Things have changed, life is busy, and our worlds feel like they are never crossing.

I know you, just as I, have been slowly feeling everything fading. A pace so calm that moment to moment, nothing at all has changed. And yet, once we had all, where now we are scrabbling to hold the pieces together.

I don’t know what will happen with us next, my lover, and I know you don’t either. I am scared, terrified, lonely, and hurting. And only when I am in your embrace, does it all seem like a nightmare that I can wake from.

But no matter what happens, there are a few things I want you always to remember. To hold true in your heart, and to keep joy alive in what we have had. Because though I don’t know how things will turn out, I do know these things; the reasons why I have loved you with a passion i cannot begin to hope to describe.

The first thing that drew me to love you, was the warmth around you, how comfortable I felt, all mixed with an intensity, a need to be near each other that we both felt. It was something I had never felt before, never thought I could feel.
I felt so safe around you. No awkwardness, no fear, only wonder. A disbelieving wonder.
The way you looked at me, the words you spoke… They called to me. And sometimes I think that I knew. That I knew from the moment you had caught my gaze in that little café, eyes so startling blue, lips curled into a small smile that seemed… Knowing. Amused. Curious.
I think I knew then. And I think you did too.

The second thing was how fast everything moved. The romance. The passion. The talking.
There were no games. You did not hide how you felt. You did not wait to text me, or to ask me out. You felt something, and you acted on it without hesitation. It was what I needed for you to do, and you did so naturally.
You loved me for who I was. You were intrigued by my writing, you saw what it meant to me. And we talked about everything. I was fascinated by you, this man who had somehow swept away all my overthinking, my concerns, my logic… You had broken the rules with ease.
There is a brightness around you my dearest that I have never seen around anyone else. A confidence that draws attention, a way you walk through life following no path but your own. Sincere, loving, passionate; you weren’t afraid to show me any of it. Time and again, the look in your eyes would cause everything to freeze around me, light me aflame. I could not get enough of you. I still can’t.

And then there was something that left me afraid, but in awe.
I had no walls with you.
You did not break through them; you did not melt them away. You had no need; with you they were just never there. Everything you were giving to me, the love, the time, the kindness, the burning. I gave it back to you, just as fiercely, as strongly, as willingly. We had trust, though I cannot know how. Not when the heart is involved. Surely, with something so precious each move should be measured, each step tested. But we tumbled, falling as fast as we could, embracing each terrifying, eye-opening moment. I felt so alive.

We had everything. The world was golden, and as time passed everything ripened. Depth came to our interactions, a connection that only made things more wonderful in a way I couldn’t believe. I collected moments, and held them close to my heart. They’re still there my love, and sometimes I wander through them, sparking all that was back into life.

Your hand over my heart, telling me you would always protect me, always love me.
The careful, solemn, thrumming moment when you gave me your necklace to wear, a touch of uncertainty in the moment that only made it more endearing.
The times we play fought in the lounge of my apartment, sunlight and breezes joining us, your skin so smooth against mine, the moment so good I wondered if it was real.
The way you looked at me that night, shaking your head a little in disbelief, a faint laughter in your voice as you said ‘You’re so in love with me,’ as if I couldn’t be, as if you didn’t deserve every inch of my heart, and more.
How occasionally you would say something that would take me by surprise that would hold so much intensity that I’d catch my breath. I couldn’t help myself; I would just forget to breathe.

I wish I could list them all, and maybe I will in time, in something that will be for my eyes only. Because not everything is for the world to see, and the tenderness in everything we have had, is something only we can really know.

I write this my lover, not to proclaim my feelings for you to the world, not to try and fix what is between us in some desperate attempt. No. My reasons for writing this are much simpler than that. I write it, because I want to celebrate all we had. All we gave to each other. Every single instance that happened.

Too often things turn dark, fear bringing hurt, and resentment, swirling together, driving it all further down till the brightness of what was is lost. But that is not the way it should be, even if the call will always be there, even if it’s easier to hide in blame, and regret, than stand up and embrace the good along with the bad.
But I will not run away from the pain, not treat it as something to be ashamed of or something to conceal from others every time it reminds me it is there. Instead, I will be glad of it. For it shows that what we had, what we have, truly is incredible. We have had what others have only dreamed of. What I never thought existed.

So celebrate with me, my dearest. Lift your chin up, and smile; smile that slightly self-assured smile that I have never been able to forget. Smile it, play our songs, and never regret. I don’t.

***

We have parted ways now, in a way I never imagined we would. Much of what we have had, has been shattered, and amongst the ruins I find myself trying to rebuild what was true even though I can no longer tell. I am blind, my darling. And I cannot tell if my heart points true.

Maybe I am foolish. Maybe I am too naïve, as you have so often told me in frustration and love. But I still believe in you, even as it tears me apart to do so, even as I cannot forgive or forget. I believe in that light inside of you. And maybe you have much healing to do, as I do too now. But I know you will find your way again, find ground that holds steady beneath your feet.

And with time, you will learn that you do not need to do this life on your own. Sometimes the most powerful way to show love is not to always be there for someone else. Sometimes, it is letting them be there for you, not hiding away that you are suffering. That you are lost.

I hope this reaches you. I hope you read this, and know that all our moments are still held, if not always visited. That I still feel the warmth and weight of your hand, over my heart.

And I hope that one day I will see you again.
Years from now maybe, in a café in some foreign land. And that we will catch each other’s gazes, and smile as if we’d never met.

As if it was all beginning again.


The Way it Should Have Ended

She found herself looking at him, heart so swollen with the moment that all the cracks in it that she had thought had vanished were visible once again. Silvered lines that ached with a sharpness that brought her close to tears.

He met her gaze, falling silent.

With a shake of her head she looked down at the bottle she held. She traced its glass rim.

Then with a deep breath she looked back at him again. As if hoping he would see in her eyes all that she felt. As if she wanted his gaze to take the burning from her skin, to ease the tremors that had begun, to take away that ache. That ever-burning ache.

“I still love you,” she said. Her heart thumped with the words.

“I never came close to stopping,” he replied.


The Saddest Thing of All

‘Do you remember what it was like to love him?’

Not really. Sometimes I find echoes of it in other people’s words, and there is a bittersweet moment of recognition. The ache is always strongest then.

I do remember thinking that being with him was like being in a dream though. One spun out of iron and gold. But I think I spent so long trying to forget him that I lost the way into those memories.’

‘Did you succeed?’

‘In forgetting him? No. Forgetting him would be like forgetting myself. He is woven inextricably into me now.’

‘If you could have done anything differently, what would it have been?’

‘I think everything played out the only way it could.
I always try and stay true to myself, and one of the benefits is that looking back I always know that I did what was right for me at the time.

Not necessarily the best thing. Or the smartest thing.

But what was right for me in that moment of time given all that I was feeling.

Maybe I could have voiced all the betrayal and anger and hurt I felt  more. Sometimes everything I left unsaid lies heavy on my chest.

It can be suffocating, knowing that he never truly saw the repercussions of his actions. I only ever let him see the surface of what his cheating did to me, and he should have seen it all.

But even that… Even that I don’t think I would really change.’

Why not?’

‘Because there are no quick fixes to healing. I may regret not saying anything now, but I think I would have regretted doing so more.

He would never have understood anyway.’

‘Would you say anything to him now, if you could?’

‘What can you say to someone you never knew?

No. I have nothing to say to him anymore. And I think that’s the saddest thing of all.’


To Live a Dream

I get to live my dreams.

Sometimes I think that I forget that.

I get to live my dreams, each time I string words together. Each time I slip into someone’s mind just so I can write a scene so true it almost feels like a memory.

I get to live my dreams each time I write, and it is always a dream of my choosing.

My world. My people. My adventure.

Why would I ever want to do anything else?


Shades of Clarity

This world has too many shades but I long for clarity.

Answers smudge and blur into one another, none standing alone. Emotions coil and swirl, so entwined I cannot know what I feel.

I can’t bear it any longer.

Tell me who to love, and I will love them. There never will be a love like mine again, and it will fade into legend.

Tell me what to feel, and I will burn up with it. I will ignite such a flare that all those that see me will feel the heat.

But do not give me shades. Do not give me choice. Pulled all ways by the brilliant colours of them, I will mix to grey. I will not love one, but try and love all.
Trying to feel everything at once, I will not feel at all.

Just give me clarity, and I will chase it till I can no longer even crawl. Till my coffin slams shut around me.

Give me clarity, and the world will not be able to stop me. And as I slip through its grasping fingers, it will breathe my name in awe.


Irreplaceable

From Him

‘Every moment I question whether one truly needs to be alone to find oneself.
I stand naked on the precipice of my mind, a cold and desolate place.
A longing fills my being, I miss her.
She brought a kindness to my life that I had never known. She brought reason and balance to a man that has had neither…
And as I pick up the pieces of my broken self, I hear her voice, I feel her touch.
There are moments where the suns warmth does naught but leave me wanting, waiting, hoping for a heat I now know not. A heat that was once mine, that may never caress my skin or envelop my being again.
In mind, body, and spirit, I wish I was with her.
I love her. I long for her….’

 

It has been so long since I’ve seen you. At least six months we decide, though our minds and bodies refuse to believe it. Refuse to believe that it has been twice that since we’ve had the familiarity that they keep trying to slip into.

‘Muscle memory, ´ you say, blue eyes soft. I cannot look at them. There is a tilt to your smile, a disbelief in your expression, which I cannot bear.

I never thought I’d see you look at me like that again.

We talk, held in the misty greyness that is dusk beneath the trees, till the sky is bruised into darkness. We talk about everything, share words that we thought would forever be caught in our lungs.

‘I’ve missed this.’ Your words hold two truths, the unspoken one that nothing has changed.

But I am as grey as this dusk, and as unreachable. I watch you with eyes that are heavy with sadness. Talk with words laced with an ache that has long since made my heart its home.

Nothing has changed, yet it has. And I don’t tell you that.

I don’t tell you that last night I broke it off with a man who loves me, even though all he has truly seen are the broken, jagged edges of what you have left behind.

I don’t tell you that I felt the most worthless I have ever felt when I pushed send on the message that brought us here. Or that I felt sick at how my heart thumped in my chest when you replied.

I don’t tell you that the only reason I am here is because I’ve become lost, with no light to guide me. Only your darkness holds familiarity.

And I don’t tell you that I know all too well that it has been a year since I’ve truly held someone. Or that that someone had your blue eyes, had your scar on his shoulder, and bore your chaotic, beautiful soul.

We talk about Alice in Wonderland quotes, and I do not tell you my favourite. We share so much, yet my chest still remembers the gun you pressed to it and the broken look in your eyes as you pulled the trigger. Somewhere, wrapped in the darkness that the bullet left behind, are still a few shreds of me that I cannot bear to let you see.

“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”

Because you still think my love was conditional, and I cannot blame you. You still do not see what you meant to me, and that is a good thing.

You saw the conflict I was caught in, between what my family wanted, what logic told me, and how my heart beat. But that was just a battle.

You had won the war when you’d told me you loved me, still half asleep.

When at your friend’s wedding you’d looked at me in such a way that I saw the future take form, brought to life by your expression.

When you’d laid your hand over my heart and promised to protect me, though neither of us knew then that it was your darkness that I would need saving from.

I had no conditions on my love. I was terrified, confused, and overwhelmed. But there were never any bounds on it.

If you’d learnt how to listen, and to ask, I would have spent my life jumping off cliffs with you. And then spent the evenings using all the adventures you’d gifted me to chase my own soul, to weave words onto paper.

That has always been our biggest rift though. Me, bearing too much empathy. You, naked without it. And all compromises sliding my way, with only a few finding themselves on your shoulders.

So I don’t tell you that my writing has lacked imagination since that bullet.
Every spare thread of it has been used, trying to find a way to write you back into my story. Because I cannot accept that your role in it was only ever fleeting. Or that mine in yours has already ended.

You are not a secondary character.

And I am sure as hell not to be replaced.