The Shakes

We are survivors, yes. But our hands Shake and we are irrevocably damaged.

We learned to read body language a long time ago. It’s helpful in certain situations, but a lot of times we see annoyance and anger where there is none. It scares us. Makes us timid. Makes us walk around on tiptoes.

People get so mad at us for being weak. Have a backbone. Stand up for yourself. As if it’s that simple. As if we haven’t been fighting our whole lives. We say okay instead of arguing or asking questions because we know better.

We’ll either apologize too much or not at all. Some say sorry faster than their names. Others can’t bring themselves to say those words without thinking back to times when they were told they couldn’t apologize for being a failure.

Sometimes we’ll put duct tape on our fingertips and rip over and over and over again. We’re trying to remove the fingerprint from our skin. Like that will change our identity and miraculously our history will be changed as well. Pumice stone might work better but we know better than to leave marks where other people can see.

Sometimes our friends will want to wrestle. Some of us will fight back laughing until it lasts one second longer than it should. Than our chests will heave and we’ll feel trapped enough to fight back like we need to get away. Like we can’t stand being touched for one more second. Others won’t even try. They’ve perfected the move of throwing their hands up to protect their face.

If you yell at us sometimes we’ll feel brave. Sometimes we’ll yell back. But no matter what our minds swoosh us quickly from where we’re at and back in time. We’ve time travelled in front of you. If you weren’t standing there we’d beat an open palm against our temple to jump back to the present. We know it doesn’t work, but we keep doing it anyway.

The few people that we have told about the demons that used to live in our house and now live in our heads have told us that there is light at the end of the Tunnel. Things get better. Don’t give up.

We would have given up a long time ago if that was an option. We keep moving forward with our fists shaking at our sides. In movies and books it’s endearing. In real life we hold our wrists so that it stops.

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The Bookstore That Will Touch Your Soul

Everyone goes into a bookstore that changes their perception of the world.

You will step through the doorway to see the bored looking salesclerk at the desk. You’ll want to say something to her, but you won’t. If you come in on a good day she’ll greet you with a raised eyebrow. Most likely she will continue reading whatever book she is immersed in. When you try to catch a glimpse of what she’s reading she’ll look completely unimpressed.

At first you may browse through the new releases, but then you’ll catch a glimpse of the second room. You’ll only be able to see bookshelves full to the ceiling. When you step through the doorway the yellowed pages will brush your sleeves and you’ll feel as though you’ve left something in the other world behind. You have stepped into another world.

If there is someone with you, you will fall in love with them. The fluorescent, yellowed lights will sends shadows dancing along their face. You will be able to count their eyelashes on their soft cheekbones. It will require self control to not brush your fingertips along their jawline.

Everything is dark. The bookshelves are made out of a dark wood that you can’t identify. All the lights are dim so you find yourself squinting to look forward. Soon you’ll realize that the bookshelves have absolutely no rhyme or reason to them. You’ll get lost. But you’ll be getting lost amongst other worlds so you’ll feel a peace settle into your bones.

There will be a dusty smell permeating the room. It isn’t normal dust though. This dust has settled in this realm from hundreds of other worlds so it smells like fairy dust.

At one point a jet black cat will dart out in front of you. You’ll coo and move to pet him, but just like the salesclerk he will ignore you. This cat has grown up amongst these shelves and has seen more bookstore lovers than you will in a lifetime. He knows how weave his way between the shelves until he disappears into a hidden alcove that you can never reach.

You will run your hand over the spines of classical books that are embossed with golden letters. They have a layer of dust on them. No one really knows what they’re about and they’re too expensive to buy anyway.

You’ll buy three books. One, you’ll actually read. The second is aesthetically pleasing and will look beautiful on your bookshelf. As for the third, it is the one you saw the salesclerk reading and you buy it hoping to strike a conversation with her even though you don’t think it’s interesting at all.

When you checkout she’ll be pleasant, but not pleasant enough to say anything. You’ll think about asking for a job application. You may even go as far as to pull your resume up on your phone. She won’t ask and you won’t tell her.

After you step out of the bookstore it will be like be like leaving a piece of yourself behind. The world may feel duller, but also full of potential. You might come back to get lost, but more likely than not you’ll only reminisce back to it. You’ll never want to break the illusion you created so you’ll stay away.

Calendars

You used to love sharing a calendar with me. Lining our plans up with each other so we could spend more and more time together. Cancelling on other people’s plans so we could have just one more day together. Now I find you glaring at the offensive boxes. Lining through “date night” with a permanent marker. Exing out our times together with this black sharpie I grew to hate. It didn’t matter how many times I threw it away. You’d always find a new one to cross me out with. You used to love sharing a calendar with me. Now you don’t even love me.

High School Graduation

At my high school graduation you put high heels on. You curled your hair and did your makeup like you used to do.

You charmed everyone in your vicinity like I knew you could. All my friends loved you.

They wondered why they hadn’t seen you before. Not at any of my basketball games or any parent-teacher conferences.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them about the bottle of tequila in your purse.