no pushups, no touchups, no cover-ups, no makeup, no nothing, bare, naked, vulnerable, undressed in the most intimate way, the flesh stripped of its other flesh, the one that conceals and deceives, and underneath it, my darkness that destroys your beautiful myth of the bare, naked soul that is visible through the bare, naked skin
She had been everything I hadn’t been: generous, outgoing and glamorous but also reckless, irresponsible and sarcastic. Her tragedies had given her a streak of vulnerability, quite visible in the brittleness of her slowly decaying beauty. I resorted to writing; she numbed her heartaches with parties and dangerous men. As foes, we fought a lot—even more as friends. Whenever I scorned her for hooking up with a brooding stranger or walking home alone at night, she would laugh in my face, first mocking me, embarrassing me, telling me I didn’t know how to have fun, and then begging me for forgiveness, crying, apologizing, saying she hadn’t meant it that way. In retrospect, I am not quite sure whether I liked her all that much. I guess it was that adventurous, elusive side of her that drew me in. Even now, so many years after her untimely death, I still wonder whether she had ever realized that being with her was the closest I had ever been to falling in love with a girl.
the police officer told us, the parking lot
is no place for dancing, and so we danced
the melody he didn’t hear
all these engines, roaring to life in the dark
You are a writer at heart, and I—I am the book that you never wanted to write. Well, I’ve got ink running through my veins as well, and when I spilled it, it wrote your name and oh!—your name was spelled like poetry! You’ve carved your words into me too deeply. And so I set fire to my diaries and shred all your photographs, killing the life in me that is art, or the art in me that is life.
The snow continued to fall, incessantly, cloaking the city in ice. “This is the coldest day you’ll ever have,” my mother said softly. Her cool, ungloved fingers were tightly wrapped around my wrist as we walked with cautious steps, trying not to slip, behind my father. His flaming red coat first reminded me of the old lighthouse that guarded our quiet shores, and then of the tale of Snow White, whose mother had spilled her own blood on the snow outside her window when she, startled by the chirp of a bird, had pricked herself while doing her needlework. “This is the coldest day you’ll ever have,” my mother repeated. Quite surprised, I looked up to study my mother’s face which looked frozen and stern under her woolen bonnet. Specks of snow were clutching to the dark curls that had escaped her hat, making her look, I thought, quite enchanting. A winter queen. “There have been colder days, Mom, ” I sighed. Last winter, we nearly starved for it had been so cold that the harvest in our province had failed. My baby brother had also fallen victim to that same cruel winter, dying of pneumonia when he was four months old. For a second I wondered, bewildered, how my mother could be so forgetful, but then she said: “That was the coldest day I ever had,” and I looked up again, and saw tears clinging to her snowy lashes. She had not forgotten. And suddenly it seemed to me that the snow in her hair no longer made her look queenly, but old and cold like the city.