Where Will You Be When the World Ends?
A poem for you?
Well that's easy
Because i never want to stop talking to you
“What would you do? If the world ended tomorrow?”
She is lying next to Annie, so close that it makes her head spin.
“I have a feeling the world is just fine.”
Lyla dares herself, dares to run a finger over Annie’s jaw.
Annie lets her. Seems to relish in it.
“How could you possibly know that?”
Lyla laughs softly, she's running her fingers through Annie’s hair.
She's savoring the way her hair smooths through them.
“Well, I don't think I would mind so much, if the world ended, not anymore.”
Annie's hand is gripping Lyla’s waist.
Running mesmerizing circles that could make Lyla purr.
“And why is that?”
Annie says, but she knows the answer.
She knows that there is no place Lyla would rather be.
Knows that if the world ended tomorrow, well, at least they would die in each other's arms.
“If you know the answer, why ask the question?”
Lyla laughs with her words, entranced by the way Annie’s eyes burn.
“Maybe I want to hear you say it.”
In the enticing brown of Annie’s eyes, a challenge like no other sparkles.
“And what if saying it makes it real? What if saying it makes it all disappear?”
Annie grips Lyla closer to her, close enough that their heads touch, close enough that they can feel the others' breath.
“You couldn't make me disappear if you wanted to.”
Lyla laughs, and the shatters in her heart seem to melt.
She buries her face in Annie’s chest, breathes in the scent of her, lets herself feel every movement as Annie wraps her arms around Lyla.
“There is no place I'd rather be when the world ends. Nobody else I'd rather be with.”
Dear Alina, (An open letter from the girl who fucked everything up)
How does one know when they've fallen in love?
Is it my heart twisting when I think about you?
And i've always said that making you laugh fucks me up in the best way.
I would do anything to make you laugh and I know, I know that the world moves on, and maybe I should too, but you have me caught on this hook and I am unable, or maybe unwilling, to let myself get off of it, because it's you.
And I wish I could talk to you like i've wanted to for a while, flirt with you shamelessly, because i think it will always come back to you. Even when I think I've let you go, one message from you and I'm sent right back again. Thinking about you. Always thinking about you.
And i'm talking to nobody but myself, but i wonder if you read this if you would know. If you would know that it is all for you.
I fucked things up, blatantly and terribly, so badly that i hate even thinking about it. There is this pool of regret that makes me fall apart.
I wish you knew that, because I'm not sure if I've ever apologized for it. And maybe I will. Maybe I will come to you on my knees and beg for your forgiveness. I would book a ticket right now, it would be so easy, but I don't think I could bear the look on your face if you didn't adore me the way I adore you.
It's been years, years since i've seen you, years since we've spoken in person, and maybe all those messages don't count, maybe i'm making something up in my head. But I can't stop thinking about the way it would feel to hold you, to wrap my arms around you and hug you like there was nobody else in the world. You see everything in a way I could never imagine, and I would give anything to hear you talk about your world, because everything you say, your voice, makes me want to live. It makes me want to love, it makes me want to fly.
We used to talk about the clouds, how I saw everything in them and you saw nothing, and you once wrote a poem about it, and it was beautiful, god it was beautiful. But how did I not realize then? How did I read that and look at you and not realize that you were right there, loving me right in front of my fucking stupid, oblivious eyes? Because you had me then, not in the way you wanted--the same way I want you now--but you had me nonetheless, and maybe I will never let go. Even then, i don't think i would have let you go, because i think there is something about you, something that i couldn't fathom, couldn’t dream of, even in one of my stupid little stories.
And maybe I don't know you anymore, maybe your smile is a stranger to me now, your voice foreign to my ears. Maybe I'm making someone up in my head, and I don't know which would be worse, finding out that I am right, or finding out that I am wrong. But every word between us, every time you watched me fall apart, every time you put me back together again, it feels real. Maybe I am clinging too hard to that feeling, to the past.
I am thinking about how maybe I am just someone that you used to know, and the thought hurts me, especially when I know it could be true. And what if it is? What would I do then? Move on? Let you become someone that I used to know? That doesn't sit well with me, because I think the way your mind works is the best in the world, and I want to be a part of that, a part that means something to you.
I am gross and mangled and broken apart in so many ways, but sometimes I think you are too, and maybe our broken pieces would fit together, and we would be whole again, whole together.
You texted me while I was writing this. And I responded immediately. I'll always respond immediately if you are the one waiting for a response. I keep checking, but you haven't replied.
And I think about you, at your house, so far away from me, and I wonder if you would reply instantly like I do, but you haven't, and maybe that should tell enough.
We watched TV today, together, in a way, for like 5 hours, and I kept thinking about you, in your room, so far away from mine, and the idea that it was me, me, that you wanted to talk to, me, that you would spend all this time with from across the country. Well, it gave me hope, hope that you have the same feelings, hope that maybe one day, we could sit with each other on the same couch, hope that maybe you would hold me the same way I want to hold you.
I think about what it would be like to feel you against me, and i don't care about sex, because i want to lean my head against your shoulder and have you hold me in the dead of night and i want to rest my head against your chest and hear your heart beat out the best rhythm, because we are alive. Alive alive alive. And I want to be alive with you.
But you are so far away. So far away that it hurts my heart to think about it. In more ways than one, far away because I messed everything up, far away because i didn't see the obvious, far away because the distance separating us is monumental, and even in my head i question what is real between us, what is real and what is just my fucking imagination running wild with thoughts of you. What is real and what you actually feel for me. What is real and what I trick myself into believing because I crave your love so bad that I can't distinguish that from my own messed up thoughts.
And you were always smarter than me, smarter in the world, smarter in the way you navigated it, smarter in feelings, smarter in emotions. I don't think I could ever compete with that. You always disagree with me when I say this, you always say you are an imposter, a ghost in the shadows of everyone who you think is better than you. But god you're not, you're not an imposter, and sometimes I wish you could see yourself the same way I see you, a strong, resilient, beautiful person, someone who could take on the world and win by a landslide.
But I will never be enough for you, because you have this life that I will never be a part of, this world that I could never compete with, my damn failure of a life and look at you? With the people who surround you and their genius, with you and your genius, this world opening up in front of you that I can never measure up to. But none of them will be like you, not you, not the way you see the world, not the way you saw me. I don't think anyone will ever see me like you do. Like you did?
But I don't know and I don't care about any of the bad, because I want to see you, I want to hold your hand and cuddle on the couch and I want you to make me smile so much it's hard to kiss you even though I want to, so badly. I want to watch the way you fall asleep at night and the way you wake up in the morning. I want to listen to you rant and watch all our favorite shows together and I want you to annoy me in the most endearing way. I want to question reality and talk about the world and watch the stars and teach you to see things in the clouds. I want to show this to you and listen to what you would say. I want to laugh and make bad jokes and cry and fuck and have something that people are jealous of.
There are so many things I want and there are so many things I don't think I'll ever get.
And I keep thinking of things I want to add to this, all the things I want to tell you. This stupid letter was one page and then two and now three. I want to tell you all the things that have been simmering in the back of my head waiting for their opportunity to boil over. There are so many things, things I can't even think of, and I can't tell if it's that I can't remember them, or if it’s simply that I never want to stop talking to you.
The other night I couldn't sleep. I was thinking of you, because I'm always thinking of you, and I wanted to read that beautiful poem and I wanted to read my stupid words when I fucked everything up because I needed the punishment, I deserved it. But I couldn't get there, it wouldn't let me scroll up any further because there is so much of us. There is so much of me falling apart, so much of you pulling me back from the edge. So much of my stupid fucking rants and so much of you being the person I needed. And I wish there was something I could do to save you in the same way you saved me.
But you are braver than I am, maybe more than I will ever be, and when I think of sending this to you I get a pit in my stomach, because what if you don't feel the same? Because this is beyond too much. And we've been talking again for like a week but I feel all of these things already and it hurts to think of you so far away, so out of touch with me. And I know, I know it's my turn to be brave, I know that you plucked up the courage three years ago and I fucking ruined everything with my dumbass response and my stupid fucking circumstances. But I would say yes today. I would travel back to that naive idiot 19 year old and tell her to fall in love with you like she would've in the first place. I am sorry I am such a damn coward. A coward because I was so damn scared of feeling something, of letting myself be loved like you could've loved me.
And I think of you reading this and it scares the shit out of me, because I know it's too much, I know that everything about it is too much. I know you've been over me for a long time and I know that, for you, everything between us is done and over. Just friends. But you got so excited, when I said I would come to check on you, and that gave me hope too. But god, all these words are drowning me, and I don't know whether to swim in them or let myself drown in them, in you. But I'm thinking about the words anyway, thinking about running my fingers down your jaw, about running my hands through your hair. I'm thinking about holding your hand and kissing you on the cheek and forehead and lips and god does it make my heart beat faster. It makes me want to book a flight to you right now, fuck everything, I just want to see you, and maybe that will be enough.
So what else is there to do? I've spilled these things onto the page, everything that hurts and every hope and every desire. And I don't think you will ever see this, I don't think anyone will.
What else is there to do? Am I supposed to carry this around with me? Watch you take on the world, watch you fall in love with someone else? I don't know if i could handle that.
What else is there to do? Read my own words back to myself? Because I will. I will read this over and over and think about sending it to you, think about you reading it.
What else is there to do? Should I hold out hope that you would follow me into the dark like I would follow you? Because I would, I think.
What else is there to do? Watch my stupid fucking videos and live my stupid fucking life and pretend that everything is fine? Because I miss you, and I'm not sure if what I miss is you or the idea of you, but it doesn't really matter, does it? Because it's you, and I think I will always be missing you.
Because what else is there to do?
I just don't know.
It Would Only Take A Minute
It would only take one minute.
You are sitting alone. Alone at the lunch table like you always are. But she is so alive, fire and the bright lightning of a storm.
You could introduce yourself. It would only take a minute.
You could walk over.
A step for each second.
Would your feet stutter? Would your hands shake?
Would you trip over your own feet? Would someone bump into you?
Would you lose your nerve and scramble back, hoping nobody saw you?
You would tap her on the shoulder. You could make a funny joke about the lousy dining hall food, right?
Forty-nine, forty-eight, forty-seven.
She would laugh, god, you hope she would laugh.
Forty-six, forty-five, forty-four.
What would you say next? You would start to panic
Forty-three, forty-two, forty-one.
God, she is beautiful.
Dark hair and bronze skin, deep black eyes and a sharp jaw.
Thirty-nine, thirty-eight, thirty-seven.
But then she would ask you your name, and you would be surprised, because nobody has ever wanted to know before.
Thirty-six, thirty-five, thirty-four.
Luna, you would say, trying to project some confidence into your voice.
Thirty-three, thirty-two, thirty-one.
You would almost forget to ask her name, even though you already know it.
And what's your name? You'd say, almost too late.
Twenty-nine, twenty-eight, twenty-seven.
Ava, she would say.
Twenty-six, twenty-five, twenty-four.
And it is so beautiful, coming from her mouth.
Twenty-three, twenty-two, twenty-one.
What else is there to say?
Do you invite her to eat with you? Do you ask her out? Here and now?
Nineteen, eighteen, seventeen.
The thought makes you cower in your own head.
Sixteen, fifteen, fourteen.
But she makes sure you don't have to worry about that.
Thirteen, twelve, eleven.
Can I join you? She says, looking back at the table you abandoned.
Yes. You would say. Yes, of course.
It would only take one minute.
Orpheus and Eurydice
What would you give to be loved like she loves her?
The music surrounded her, it lived in her, desperate and heartbroken.
Ada sang of her love, she sang of every trial, every bad night, every good morning.
And before her eyes the demons of Hades bowed their heads with emotion.
Satan was seen shedding tears, Anubis sobbed into his hands. Hel herself hid her face in her chest.
And so the gods gave Ada a choice, they fashioned a cruel deal, a losing bet.
Escape the realms of Hell with Laurel behind you and you are free. Free to live out the life they had always wanted.
But if you look back, if your eyes stray to Laurel as you brave the path through the realms of the underworld, Laurel will be lost to you, lost to Hell and Hades and Mictlan and Niflheim and Duat. Lost to all the realms of Death itself.
Ada remembered the way it felt to watch the world fall out from under her, the way it felt to feel the light leave her life as Laurel grimaced in pain, as the venom coursed through her veins and took hold of her heart. They had to pull Ada away, had to drag her, kicking and screaming, from Laurel’s lifeless body.
But Ada wouldn't let that happen this time. Her gaze was steely, angry but determined. She would not look back. She would fulfill her end of the bargain.
What else was there to do? Ada agreed.
They traveled through the murky tunnels; she kept her head down, so as not to look behind her, even though every instinct told her to do so.
The gates of Hell seemed so far away. How was Ada supposed to make it all the way there? How was she supposed to ignore the pulsing thoughts that begged her to turn around, to look at Laurel’s face and run as fast as she could out of this wretched place?
The realms of death passed slowly, heads turned, demons marveled at them, sinners and tortured souls halted their screams. The unquenched fires burned a little lower, the crushing darkness felt a little less crushing, distracted in its shadows. The gnashing of teeth turned to grimacing and the world seemed to shift, a mirror image turned on its side.
Sisyphus halted his trek and the realm of Hades seemed to hold its breath. Cerberus stood unnaturally still, Tantalus abandoned his pursuits. The Furies watched with their leathery wings for signs of Ada’s weakness. Persephone observed, her head tilted in interest as the world shifted, the mirror turning on its side again.
The shores were littered with the dead, the walls seemed to slither and writhe, mist and shadows and relentless cold bore down on her as poison dripped from the walls. Ada held her head firm, putting one foot in front of the other, her heart calling for Laurel, a deep relentless ache. A dragon's footfalls echoed in her head, the blood of the guilty warm on its mouth. The rivers of the world seemed to flow through her fingers, the mirror twisting again, flitting through her hands like water.
An empty chasm opened up before her, the darkness thick and unrelenting; light is nonexistent here. The fleshless, the bones of the dead taunt her, they whisper of their trials, their challenges. The soul crushing mountains, the winds with knives for gusts. They whisper to Ada of their world, of their journey, the valley of snakes, the bloodthirsty beasts that crave the taste of the heart. But Ada would not give them her heart, it already belonged to Laurel. She forced her way out, forced herself not to look back, to check that Laurel stood behind her.
Ada stifled a sob, she was weak and broken and there was nothing to be done for it, nothing to stop the way she needed Laurel like she needed her own heartbeat.
There must be an end to this, there must be an end to this suffering and horror, but the mirror twisted again, it twisted again. And then there was burning, burning burning burning, as the lake of fire spread out in front of her, as the caverns burned with darkness, as the serpents hissed their warnings and the evil spirits whipped the world to dust. Ada watched as a scale weighed the hearts of the dead, as the sun god made his way through the realm of death, on his way to rising in the East. She watched the enemies of the sun wait for him, she saw the gates open for him, one by one.
And just as Ada thought she might fall apart, the mirror twisted again, it folded in on itself and it seemed as if the world was opening up in front of her. It was so close.
She looked back. She looked back she looked back she looked back.
Just to see the awe on Laurel’s face, just to see the way her eyes would be shining, to see the way her mouth would be blooming into a smile.
And it was, for one stunning moment, Ada glimpsed Laurel again, like the shining sun, like the way it feels to find your way home.
And then Laurel disappeared into the dark, snatched away by the realms of death, by the cruel hand of the gods.
So, what would you give to be loved like she loves her?