Friday, September 29, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

I'm shipwrecked. You left me on the island alone. Your fear took over, and you stopped looking out. You turned your gaze inward and left it at that. So, I sit here. Stare at the sun. Thrash against the cold and try to warm myself with my own body. It never works. 

I will die frozen.

You chopped me down like an old pine. You turned my body into toothpicks, used me to test the chocolate cake when you took it out of the oven. You used my body to warm your home, and you wrote the story of destruction on my flesh.

I sat on the bench and watched the other kids play. Told myself they probably just didn't know my name, but it was more than that. They always looked so happy. 

I always felt so sad. 

I will fall before the finish line. My body will crumple. I will start decomposing before I hit the ground. People will come to see the spectacle. They won't be able to look away.

I will finally have my audience. 


  1. This is really sad, but really mysterious at the same time, so I can't quite decide what's happening. Is it a boy and he's isolated, and doesn't fit, and feels like a martyr, like he's so unhappy it's destroying him? Has a parent abandoned him? You can feel his pain. Ravaged.

    1. It's so beautifully dark, and it's giving me all the pain feels. This paragraph is killing me: "You chopped me down like an old pine. You turned my body into toothpicks, used me to test the chocolate cake when you took it out of the oven. You used my body to warm your home, and you wrote the story of destruction on my flesh."

  2. Dust

    We are one,
    but we are not everything.
    We are part, unwhole, redrawn,
    eclipsed by night.

    This is how we bear it,
    restride and untie, this walk
    back into soundless oblivion.
    Turn out the light.

    We can’t wear it.
    Disheveled, the weight drags.
    And dust-moted morning breathes
    an eternity away.

    1. I love the sounds and rhythms, and especially the last line. It echoes.

    2. I agree about that ending. Super beautiful and rich. I like the whole thing. It all leads up to that knockout punch. :) JD

  3. 3. She hadn’t said it in a scolding way, more of a curious one, but still, he was so afraid that he froze, staring at her face. He peed himself a little. But he didn’t notice that until later. “I… I… It’s for school. I’m in a play. I wanted to practice…”

    She tilted her head. “Do you want any help?”

    “I think… I—”

    “Shove over.” He moved like a reflex as she sat beside him and grabbed the package of remover wipes and snapped one out like she’d been doing this all her life. “You look like my little sister’s Raggedy Anne doll. Mind if we start again?”

    And this time she waited for him to answer. He’d hate the idea of someone erasing a sketch he’d made, but he obviously had no idea what he was doing, so he nodded, and she cleaned his face.

    He watched her as she worked. Her eyes had this great lost-focused look in them, and he wondered if that was what he looked like when he drew. Her hands were gentle but expert as she dabbed this here and that there, told him to open his eyes wide for one thing and close them for another.

    Not once did she ask him what play it was, which role he had, and even if this was his mother’s makeup. She couldn’t have helped not seeing the magazine page on the bed, because he didn’t get a chance to whisk it away.

    “There,” she said finally, with a smile, and handed him the mirror. “You’re gorgeous.”

    He stared. And stared and stared and stared. He wasn’t the man in the photo, but he looked really pretty. A little bit like his mom, maybe.

    “I always thought you’d make a beautiful girl,” Meghan said.

    But then the shame returned, and he felt like the heat from his face would melt all the layers of stuff she’d painted on him.

    “Don’t worry.” She frowned then smoothed a spot above his brow with a finger. “I won’t tell your parents.” Meghan lowered her voice as if her parents might hear the words hanging in the air when they returned. “My older brother does drag. I help him with his makeup sometimes.”

    He screwed up his nerve to ask a question. “Does he…is that what he does, like, for a job?” He gestured to the magazine page. “Like that?”

    Meghan looked at the picture more closely. “Well. That guy is like, famous. He makes a lot of money. My brother has fun with it, and does a lot of shows and makes a little bit of money, but he waits tables and stuff to pay the bills. Do you…think you might like to do something like that one day?”

    It had never really occurred to him before that it could be a thing to do instead of just a dare or a new art project. “I don’t…”

    “Well. You should definitely talk to your parents about it. My brother was super afraid to, cause my folks can be kind of judgey and yours seem a little…well, they’re real nice and all, but—anyway, when my brother told my mom and dad they were a little weirded out at first, but now they’re his biggest fans.”

    Bobby thought about that for a long time. He thought about that as he stared into the mirror. As she helped him take the makeup off and hide the “evidence,” and long into the night after his parents came home and Meghan went home and he sat up in bed staring at the picture of the man Bobby now knew was famous for dressing up like a woman.

    Maybe he did want to do that. Someday. But the next morning, as his father came into the kitchen and gave him a soft fist-tap to his only-recently-angling jaw and said, “You’re growing up too fast, my little man,” Bobby couldn’t imagine ever telling his parents.

  4. @Laurie Boris.
    Fabulous story. I hope he finds the courage to be himself.

  5. @JD Madera

    So much aloneness, sadness. A suicidal plea to be someone, not just some thing

  6. This one really touched me. I was not that kid, but I can totally feel that desperate longing to be the person you want to be. This is really well done, and thank goodness that people like Meghan exist in real life. JD


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