My Dad gets high off of conversation. It used to be pills, one two three they’d slide down his gullet cold from the refrigerator. He hopes one day that he can kick them all. Chemicals. But the pharmaceutical companies have made money off of him since I was 4 years old so he might be jailed in their Vicadin prison forever. Let’s hope not.
My Dad is not afraid to walk up to strangers and just speak. Questions, answers different languages he doesn’t care he is so handsome and he smiles and is truly inquisitive and I’ve seen the hardest people melt in my Dad’s ocean eyes as he asks about where they’re from or if they have kids or do they have a job they like?
My Dad used to send me into spinning panic attacks in dressing rooms in our hometown mall but my sister and I have moved and now he has a breakfast spot and he is a health food enthusiast, we buy apple cider vinegar at an organic market and he hopes he can kick smoking. I hope he can too.
My Dad brings me a body numbing peace and for the first time in my life I miss him when he’s not around. He talks a thousand miles a minute and would give me anything, and if I was a kid I would have been so greedy, but now all I want is his time. We eat in specialty restaurants and he wants to move wherever I want to move and he gets dizzy when I read the signs in museums. He asks me questions that kids would ask and before I would have been embarrassed but now I just answer them one by one.
My Dad asks me about Spanish class and makes up his own words. He wants to know what I’m doing this summer, he wants to know what I’m doing after work he wants to know all about my life because I’m his pride and joy and when we’re apart he is curious and proud of how I don’t smoke or drink or do any of the things he wish he didn’t do as a kid. I sometimes have the opportunity to drink and I say no, because I think my Dad would be so disappointed. He has a life to live through me and this used to make me so sad but now it makes me excited that I can travel and do good in the world and my Dad will get high off that. High off the love for others.
My Dad gets high off conversations. It used to be pills, but now it’s other souls. And he asks questions that shoot off his lips like machine gun bullets and they pierce into the individualist society of our culture and my Dad becomes one with new moms and old men and hipsters smoking cigarettes with cameras hanging around their neck.
I’m in love with my Dad. I want to grow up to get high just like him.
Then God said, “Write in a book all the words I’ve spoken to you for the days are coming when I’ll restore riches to my people.”
Let this be my good morning motivation to write.
I hear his voice quiet and rushed
from the weight of his backpack
and the nervousness of walking me home.
He has all the things I would want if I was who I used to be
the girl who sleeps insides my skin and wakes up to his sense of humor.
And when she laughs too loud at his jokes
I do the same because
we share the same mouthpiece.
And before I know it she’s fighting with my conscience
projecting images of him and I
all caught in each other’s necks and cheeks
and she flirts
“just do it.”
but my conscience turns the light on and I say no.
So when we walk away from each other
I buzz from her goosebumps and my relief
that thought it would have tasted like winter and chocolate
we didn’t kiss.
I will never be her bending back, her curving spine
I will never be the river of veins that slide down her mountain hips
Thin and Jagged.
My bones are not shaped like her bones
Nor my lips shaped half moons like her lips.
She may smell like ocean but it is the spray of her life
from the crack in between her teeth
I do not have that.
I will never be her thrown back laugh
I will never be her sharp fingers.
I am only my own skin my own life my own breathing
My own being
I am my own poem.
A rushing river.
A coursing sea.
Everyone that I know is twenty two and I wonder if that will be a significant year for me like it seems to be for everyone else. I’ve been thinking so much about the time he sat me down in youth group and how stupid I was for dating people all through high school that I feel an odd attachment to him even though he’s not here and let’s be honest, I don’t know him. Pray that I’m not being ridiculous. Run my nails gently across my forearm and realize how dry my skin is. Shake off all the empty thoughts and remind myself to be mindful, present.
Listen to my roommate’s phone conversation as she gushes about the flowers on our doorstep that made me feel even more single. Turn on music. Listen to Josh Garrel’s Love & War album for the thirtieth time. Realize I’m surrounded by technology that doesn’t blink.
Think about my logic exam. Think about the boy that sits next to me in my logic class. Run my tongue across his name and realize it’s the same name as a childhood friend. The same childhood friend who went to church with me. Went to church with the guy who tried to sit me down in high school. Remember that I should stop thinking that I’m not “girlfriend material”. Think about how much I want to send a letter but how bad of an idea it really is. Realize it would need international postage. Think about how many times I’ve refused to touch others because I want to feel his arms. Remember the time I sent him a letter on his birthday when we were kids.
Realize I shouldn’t post this to the internet. Decide to do it anyway because… Well, I don’t know.
Look at my childhood blog and realize he had a blog too. Laugh at how dumb we were at thirteen. Realize how many things have changed in seven years. Realize that my blogging habits haven’t changed at all.
I am not the heroine of my own novels. I am a girl made entirely of sugar, dissolved by the tongues of boys who speak so eloquently that I am nothing but a sweet wet puddle on the floor.
I am not the girl in the car that curses and races and kicks up the dust of old feelings. I am someone attached to the old furniture of memories. Too sentimental to forget, the room full of his thought settles with a grayness that I often revisit, often too nervous to sit on the love seat. Often too attached to let things go.
I am nothing more than an adventurer, tracing the veins of cities rather than the palms of a love interest.
And that’s the first time I’ve been kissed
Since the sun took my hand in the train station
And I pulled him in close, begging the summer to stay.
I am a good girl. I am a good girl. I am a good girl.
Repeat it like an incantation so I am forced into shaking off this skin. I have no idea who I am anymore and when I’m with you I’m a little less numb because you’re a little more dangerous. A rush of adrenaline. A hypodermic needle in the crease of my elbow, the cold kiss of the metal as it fills my vein and adds to the current: you are the drugs I don’t need but want to take.
I am a good girl. I am a good girl. I am a good girl.