I have a canvas in my study, waiting in part for payday and more paint, but because what I want is overwhelming and I am merely me.
Of course I miss the ocean. The obvious images, the salt, waves so tall the sky is gone, ropes singing in the wind. Images people tell me so often I forget what is mine. The cloying humidity of body odour and bananas and bread down below. Fingers stiff and swollen, wet socks into wet shoes, lukewarm porridge at sunrise. Shoulder against shoulder, hands in other people’s pockets to clutch the single shared microwaved heat-pack.
I joined this site when I was 15, a girl, and naïve. I read a lot more e e cummings in those days. I really thought I’d grow up and eat the world.
If the sun never comes up, you find a way to live without it.
The first boy I ever kissed, I don’t think I want to. I thought, this would make a good story. And it doesn’t. I wanted to have something all of my own, which it wasn’t. And later, with different boys, and girls, I just didn’t want to upset anyone. A car on a dark street after a party, and before I drove him home, he asked if he could kiss me – and all of the first kisses I regret were in a car, or on a bus – and I said yes but I didn’t want to kiss him. His mouth was wet, and too big. He is dead now. All my coworkers are decades older than me and one of them, after attending a funeral, commented that I don’t understand because my friends aren’t old enough to die.
Which. I suppose I am still naïve. But I’m not so naïve, not anymore.
Sometimes I think I became a boy simply to escape the self I used to be. I tried dying. I tried leaving the country, I tried changing my name, but I still was. Still am.
When you want to change your name and do legal steroids and have cosmetic surgery you have to ask a lot of people for permission and what you learn is the story they want to be told and so what you do is you lie. You retell yourself so many times until you believe it and they give you want you want and you spend years afterwards trying to reconfigure your childhood.
At some point I zipped my mouth shut and I don’t know how to talk anymore.