1. We met in the waiting room of our therapist’s office. He told me that orchids symbolize death and stuck one behind my ear. I kissed him too hard and my mother asked me why the scent of liquor was hanging off all my clothes. 8 months later I left white oleanders on his grave. They’re poisonous. I think we were too.
2. He drove too fast and I played music too loud and kissed him while he drove. We were our own accident waiting to happen. We almost drowned one night when we fell into a lake in the middle of winter. When we fell in love. He left me a note telling me that being with me was like being alone. I deleted his number but kept it written down in the back of my old social studies notebook from middle school. I have called him 8 times since then.
3. God, I would’ve fucking died for him. In a few ways, I did.
4. He fucked someone else because he hated the way my scars would split open and bleed all over my clothes. I took a lot of pictures of him. They’re still in my attic. I tried to burn them once but my hair caught fire instead.
5. I never knew his middle name. He spoke in poetry and choked down cigarettes and never answered my calls. I held his hand too tightly. He would climb in my window and fall asleep next to me. I think he had nightmares most nights. My mother found out he was staying over and kicked him out. Everything stopped smelling like him. I hate it.
6. We tried to run away but we were only 16 and we weren’t allowed to buy train tickets so we took a bus but I got sick halfway and threw up my parent’s worried voicemails. He took me to some shitty motel and let me sleep while he went out to buy drugs. We went home and never saw each other again.
7. He would touch my best friend’s thigh under the table when we all went out. I pretended not to notice. He pretended to love me.
8. We wrote each other love letters and he cut my hair to my shoulders. He tasted like coffee with two packets of sugar because that’s all he drank. He was still tired all the time. I wish I could’ve woken him up. My hair is down to my waist now. I can’t remember the sound of his voice.
9. I’m not sure if I ever even loved him. I think I might’ve been so in love with him. He lived next door. Our mothers hated each other. When he was 6 he pulled the flowers out of the garden in our backyard. When we turned 17 he followed me home from school and kissed me. He would wipe away my tears when I cried. And then a new girl showed up at school and he started taking a different route home. He pulled all the flowers out of my fucking garden.
Wait for someone who tells strangers about you.
I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.