dollhouse love

 

One more time, we got this.

Even without glasses, because eyesight is overrated and headphones help me more. And because I left them on the floor, fumbling in the forty degree dark, crawling to the fireplace with my keyboard and blanket. And I left them in a gazebo at midnight when I was a little more awkward and making out in cars, and there was no ocean where we lived so I tried instead to drown myself in love. This kid in a band held my hand back down those small town blocks, and helped me find what I needed so I could see the streets again.

Twelve summers later, he inked up those fingers for me, and held mine across half the country. We crossed all our t’s and dotted our i’s and had it all mapped out to get entirely lost in the magic that happens when you strip down a life to nothing more than two glowing souls, tangled together and unattached to the tangible.

There should be a warning label though, where my mouth is. Trying to build me a life from broken things takes so much work, and being forced to first break down all my fucked up walls is so entirely unfair. All the roads caught on fire in the rear view, and eventually I told him I broke the microwave because the mediocre broke me and maybe he shouldn’t have married me. But just to prove all his patience he plugged it back in the wall, and laughed at me, I suppose for thinking I am so tough. He taught me you can’t jump off bridges that have already been burnt and then kept the keys safely in his pocket while I kicked and cried like a child until I fell asleep.

Just a kid and his radio, he helped me to find what I needed so I could hear the music again.

Now when we wake up, golden light and warm lips give us the pines on the wall in a shadow, like the projectors that made desks romantic in the dark. Temporary but beautiful nonetheless, until the tasks of the day takeover and our tender hearts are told time and time again that there is so much to do and be done, but no one taught us how and they all forgot the why. So we spin in circles up the stairs and down them again, sending grocery lists in texts where love letters should spill and signing school papers until the sun has set and smoke fills the sky and his fingers find my hair. The string lights come undone and all the children sleep and when they wake up, so do I.

Sometimes, it will be this way. Like a dollhouse in your palm, you can see the whole picture. Watch me paint my eyes and put myself together, watch me twirl around the deck and have tea in pretty dresses and mostly empty rooms. Sometimes the electricity is on in all the halls and closets, and life is so transparent and weightless, like the mountain air that pours in where the walls are cut in half. And I want you to see how happiness works, so I put on a sweater instead of closing the shutters.

And you can watch me take it off, too. Blushing suits my pretty porcelain face.

Sometimes, you may choose to be my witness, and take from what you see all that you need to remember how hearts keep beating.

And when your arms are tired from carrying all that you do, and you just need a lullaby, find me. Tucked away in my imaginary attic, just a small amber square in the middle of the dark blue morning. You can see tiny splinters and too many tacky gel pens and a notebook with blue lines on the paper and the name Parker, scribbled in between the messy math problems. Mostly, you can seek comfort in the lyrics, and the effortless way they tug at all the corners, in cursive or bold or helvetica black.

Sometimes, everything else is dark. The only thing you will find is a torn page, or a fuckton of them crumpled in the cobwebs, catching the tiny plastic curtains on fire and choking the life out of the thoughts in my lace bonnet head.

But some of us have learned to keep ourselves warm in the most unconventional ways.

 

grey to green

 

You would think I tried to erase myself.

But we’ll come back to that. I am supposed to tell you about the blog, and we have to chat about the weather first. Because really, there have only been two days of storms. Most of the time, the air just feels ready to rain, like it could burst and spill at any moment.

I understood immediately, though, the way the northwestern sky swallows you. The meteorologists here have come up with a million different ways to say cloudy, and still none of them can capture the way you feel. In the middle of the afternoon on a desaturated day, it seems quite possible that things have always been this way, and there were never mountains, and sunflowers have always been grey, and the clock and everyone who watches it may just stand still forever in a dizzy, misty haze until the end of time.

But the pines offer reassurance, with their optimistic branches taller and stronger than us, that time is something we fucking made up. And there was a yesterday as sure as there will be a tomorrow, only labeled in our minds and not counted by the savage black crows who wake me up every morning and watch me, from the trees beyond the deck, sipping my hipster spice coffee that was on sale today but won’t be next week because we sketched the seasons into a calendar and wrote a bunch of rules that crows don’t give a fuck about. They make me nervous. Their cries echo so eerily across the field, carrying down the firs and hills and bouncing off my spine. The children found one dead while they were playing in the field behind the house, and now the three year old keeps saying ‘die’ over and over. I don’t trust them to swoop down for my eyes like sparkly green marbles, leaving me blind and bleeding. Which is irrational, yes, but keeps me suspicious nonetheless.

So these are the things I think in the morning, and also how I am jealous of the gardeners. To be honest, it might not even be a garden. I can only see silhouettes, of a man and a woman, backlit by the sunrise, and sometimes in colorful clothes if they had Saturday off and decided to spend it outside. Tiny dots, way up high where the hills meet the clouds, weaving in and out of things green and growing wild around them. I am jealous of their commitment to the mediocre, and I imagine they do not have chaos in their cells like the air and the crows and me. But maybe they do, and they plant their thoughts in the earth and trust them to bloom and trust them to never catch fire.

It has to be different this time though. Nothing is as fucked up as you think it is. Sometimes playful hearts become mischievous in restless souls, and they play tricks, like the light that splashes through the branches and across your gorgeous face. I get a glimpse of that flame inside, only for a moment. Ready, desperate even. What if I burst and spill? What if I put my thoughts here? Can I trust you?

The pursuit of perfection is a disease, and I need a cure as much as I crave sleep, or saltwater in the pitch black places where my lungs should be. Curtains drawn until we heal, I bid my time and tell myself it is all temporary. The leaves will fall and October will come, and then it will go, and we will still be breathing, picturesque and timely autumn nonsense or not. We are not supposed to be capable of ceasing to exist, for when we feel burnt out, our star cells shine brighter in the hearts of those who can carry us. But you have to trust the sun to rise, and the moon when she sings you to sleep, and that shit will make sense again one day soon and you will be okay and you are exactly where you need to be. And where we all need you to be.

So it will be a mess, yes, but sometimes we can find the most spectacular things in the most unexpected syllables, like the sweet release of all the uncomfortably worked up rain clouds, if only they have permission to fall from your nibbled on lips. And you can rest easy under the tapping of the tin roof, and turn that music up until you can hear it again, for I have learned a thing or two about the importance of saying please.

And thank you.

Thank you for understanding that I can only offer what I am, so if we’re gonna do this, it will have to be enough. Ready, set, spill, and the rest is just a delicate dance around some unspoken rules.