spilledinkprose

A Dinner Date with Depression

Is after dessert the proper time to tell somebody that you occasionally want to hang yourself in your closet? What about before the appetizer? Is that the proper time to tell somebody about the time you tried to asphyxiate yourself? I’m never just on a date with a boy; depression is always there too, lurking in the background, contemplating ordering something I can’t afford. I’ve never been able to decide what the proper time is for me to tell somebody that I have depression. Should I write up a contract right before they become my boyfriend? Dear –insert name here- please sign on the dotted line if you acknowledge that your potential girlfriend has depression and that you’re OK with it. Please initial here if you won’t mind that she has days where she doesn’t want to get out of bed, or even be alive at all. Print your name in the box if you won’t leave me, alone, crying, so frightened, on a day where I’m not sure if I can be with my own mind, but none of that’s fair, is it? I don’t know when the right time is, or if there’s ever a right time. Maybe I should just never tell anybody I fall in love with. This boy I dated once told me, “You seem like the last person who could ever be depressed.” I could take that approach. Never say anything, marry, have children, and then one day if they find me dead in the bathtub they could write about how happy I was in my obituary. What is the right time? Is there ever a right time? I hope if there is one I find it, and I hope whoever it is will love me anyway.

Prodigal

For better or worse, the soul knows nothing lasts forever: life, love, everything you can think of. Every relationship is a contract that has a set of conditions and warranty end dates. Memory is a reminder that there are things we can never get back. Consequently, shields are created, defense mechanisms materialize, and truths and lies blend into a brew that becomes as unassuming and deadly as quick sand.

We put distance between us and everyone else because we’re hurting and we never want to hurt as much. We begin to believe that loneliness is the ultimate fate to which we are headed, that anything we’ve ever done to negate it had only contributed to its immensity. Loneliness becomes larger than life itself and we learn nothing is ever worth the risk.

But if nothing lasts forever, then perhaps loneliness has its own due date. After all, we can always flip the hourglass to start another cycle. Everything that sets is bound to rise again. Every hour is a journey. Every day is an unknown territory we have no choice but trek. Every hurt is a path to the sweetness of healing.

Everyone leaves. Nevertheless, we find ourselves tracing those little steps that will bring us back to what we know is true: that people change, but love doesn’t; that people go away but friendship lasts; that expectations lead to bitterness but also to what unconditional really means; that people aren’t perfect, but aren’t imperfect all the same.

There is no optimism or pessimism. There are no half-empties and half-fulls. There is only that empty glass that can be filled with anything: water, blood, wine. And all the other possibilities in between.

The Truth About Writers

Sometimes I get fed up when people never cease to refer to writers as boring, lonely people who sit for hours writing stories and lazy love letters.

Writers do way better than that.

Writers are adventurous people. They dare to write amazing stories no one has ever lived. They sit for hours in front of coffee tables that overlook beautiful landscapes sitting on busy streets like paintings you put on the floor for you cannot reach the hook on the wall, but still admired anyway. Sights like those are where they conjure up the will to create stories from the tip of their pens. They drink countless cups of coffee, as if it fuels their body, like ink that fills up a whole pen.

Writers are impulsive. For as a certain wonderful thought comes to mind, their hearts would jump like a child at first sight of lollipops and candies. Their bodies would be filled with adrenaline steadily pulsing through their veins. They would linger frantically inside old cabinets, eagerly searching for sheets of paper– even with folds and creases –where they can write down the wonderful idea that popped into their mind before it dissipates slowly like dew on a daffodil’s petal when the sun is beating down on it.

Writers are artists. For they find beauty in everything– even the tangled mess of sheets in an unmade bed, when you sleep on it for countless times but never dare fix the mess. They find beauty in abandoned houses– thatched roofs, broken windows, and water-mapped floors –like the ones you see being haunted in horror films.

Writers are overthinkers. They restlessly toss and turn in bed during the dead of night, impatiently listening to the hoot of owls that echo through the far-off woods. They replay situations in their heads, pondering on whether they said the right things in a conversation; whether they managed to make a good impression on the person who caught their eyes; and whether of all the paths yet to be taken, they chose the right one.

Writers are creative people. They paint their own technicolor worlds on yellowing sheets of paper using ink. They could sit down for hours admiring a beautiful landscape and would afterwards create ones of their own– ones that were far more picturesque than any they have ever laid eyes on.

Also, writers keep a lot of courage within them. They get hurt and come across sorrows but still manage to hold themselves steady, ready to face the cruel world equipped only with parchment, quills, and their fragile hearts. The society throws rocks at them yet fight back only with their words.

Sometimes I want to run away,to escape the nature of the world that labels writers lonely people. I am tired of hearing them say we could only write the lives we did not live.

Then I realized that maybe I only want to escape the truth, for I fear that it may bind me down and limit my freedom. Maybe I am only too afraid to face the loneliness that resides within the depths of my heart, the one which I know will only slowly tear me apart. Maybe the world is right after all.

Writers can only write the beautiful stories they failed to live.

Writers are lonely people.

Love is a cheap motel

I remember when someone once asked me how I could be so warm yet so cold. It had to do with the fact that I had just told a man I love you but please leave me, hope and then death. People have this twisted way of romance that can only be boxed into Hollywood’s version, everything else be dammed. Not to mention the fact that we are fed idiotic terms of in which to fall in love with as if love could be so easily defined by one person.

“It is easy; I give myself away everything without barriers. So they can see me and I can see them. I taste them even if it just for one second I know what love is. The adrenaline that fuels your stomach and the permanent blush that never goes away. The fast heart beat and the sweaty palms I give onto it without pause.” I told her.

“But you leave them at some point. Stop talking to them …stop everything.” She told me unsure.

“Love is a lot like sex and then it is not. Sometimes, well most of the times, love to me is like a cheap motel. It has a lot of rooms none really quality and at some point you become pretty sure that the maid is stealing from you but don’t say anything because I mean who is really going to work here at that rate. Point being the cheap motel makes you feel comfortable and you see no reason to leave. Other times, rare times, you get accepted to those really fancy hotels, with service and everything. You feel as if you’re important, the high gets to you and before you know it you forget you ever set foot in the cheap motel. Until one day they throw you out saying you are not good enough and you are forced back to your old dwellings. You get pushed enough times that you realize it is better to stay in the cheap motel because frankly you can only be beaten so many times before you murder the footman at the other one.”  She just watched me as I finished my declaration.

She kept chewing her bottom lip as she mulled over her thoughts until finally she spoke.

“I rather get thrown out of the ritzy hotel many times because at some point someone worth my time will take me to a home and not just some hotels. I would finally have one room and no more to choose from. If you say you are cold because you are afraid of being thrown, then you are not living.” She said passionately.

I just stared at her. She was young she hadn’t had enough blows to the head to understand. Besides youth has this idealized version of love that seeps from love songs and those really cliché movies.

“You’ll understand that life ain’t a cliché and the cold is the only thing that will love you.”

She gave me this broken look as if the truth that was being hit against her shoulders was my fault. I just smiled cruelly at her.

“Cliches are the only thing that saves us when we are down. If you live like a cynic you will die like one. I rather die with a heart at my sleeve than a life wasted on what ifs!” She screamed at me.

She walked away and I could do was laugh. There really are two kind of people in this world.

Everything she writes is so beautiful that it bounces between the hollowness in my lungs like the distant ring of melancholy, like bruised air sacs yearning beneath the flesh. I don’t know how she can turn her garbage disposal contents into rubies, how her eyes kiss the night so fully when she knows she’s really just looking at the clang of a metal door in the darkness. There are so many secrets beneath her floorboards that I will never know, that will never offer themselves to me in the curve of her spine or the way her hand lingers when she touches her face to pull away a strand of onyx hair. I still know nothing of intimacy, of car crashes or lipstick-stained napkins or fucking. There is still so much that I have left to clench my teeth in the face of, to resist fleeing from like dandelions seeds in spring. I am still glass, but she is cracked alabaster, split amethyst. I want to hold her in my arms like she is the adhesive that sticks the Earth together enough to keep us all from cracking. I want her in my lungs.

Do you?

“Do you still love me?” I asked you over the roaring applause.

You were famous now like the alien Elvis, I bet you already forgot about me. The girl that use to be depressed and drowning in her silence. Each time we would talk I would turn on the radio because hearing our pauses in between reminded me that we weren’t perfect for each other, we weren’t meant for each other. I remember picking at my scars as if they were made out of playdough and how you just looked at me with sad eyes because I wasn’t the saint you wanted. I don’t remember much but I remember you were obsessed with salvation and redemption. You never found them in me or in my fractures, you wanted to but you never did.

We stayed out in the cold and finally silence surrounded us. You took the time to talk to me about what I felt and how I could be saved if I gave myself to you. I laughed and it hurt because I saw the way you cringed when I spoke against your lies. You were not my prophet nor did you know anything about who I worshipped. My knees were bruised, my hands were scarred and my face was clean. You thought you could make me fall in love with simple sounds. Erode your way into my spine and find my pocket memories for you to keep.

I remember crying after you left in anger. I was nothing more but a willow tree without branches, a human without water. I never understood why you were so keen on saving me when you couldn’t even save yourself. We were kids playing with drugs; we thought we were old enough to understand the complexity of what it meant to be in love.

“Do you still love me?” I repeated as I stood over your grave 40 years later.

Stella

It took a quiet type of boy made of patience and bones to love her. I knew her before she sold her body to every man who walked beneath the moon. I knew her before she moved out of our apartment and began sleeping on fire escapes to be closer to the stars. She was an actress, but aren’t all women in some form or another? I am cruel, she always told me so, but it is a part of the human condition to be cruel in some form or another. It was snowing the day she left me; there were dying Christmas lights hanging halfheartedly in the apartment window. Stella was never about practicality, and even though I pleaded with her to stay until summer she left all the same.

I heard whispers of Stella’s name on the lips of my colleagues, the ones who could afford her anyway. Once I made the mistake of saying I had been her lover, her only lover, only months ago. They’d laughed; I was an embarrassment even for a prostitute. I’d play a morbid sort of game over the next few months where I’d read the obituaries and wait to see Stella’s name. Stella didn’t die, she saved every penny she made from the star drunk men of 54th street and moved into an old planetarium. She had a fluffy gray cat, and a husband who looked more like a coat rack than a man, and I forgot all the constellations I ever knew but never could forget the curves of her body. 

Love

You are a study in contradiction with only a heart to pay. 
Looking at photographs is a trip to hell because of you. 
Memory is an enemy. 
Your biggest legacy is tragedy. Your biggest immortality is letting go. 
You’ve taught me the darkest tints of emotion. 
A word that is equivalent to torment is “unrequited”. 
A word that is equivalent to nonexistent is “unconditional”. 

I wonder how many songs have been sung in your honor. How much poetry has been written specifically for you. And novels, too. Ah, the libraries you must’ve filled. How many letters have been sent across the world in your name? Throughout history? Time? I wonder how many of those words depicted you in a good light, and how many of those words were forged to soil your name. Which manner of portrayal prevailed over the other? 

Sometimes I think the only way to control you is to go insane. An hour feels like an eternity. Distance is harder to swallow than a rock. When you are not sweet, you’re a dick. Getting to know you is a waste of soul. You hurt worse than mutilation. 

They were wrong to have given Cupid the arrows. They should have given him the scythe. You reap, that’s all you ever do. 

My biggest regret is that time in my teens when I was dying to find you. Would you know why they always push me away? Would you know why I never push them back? 

I wonder who understands you more. The couple who has been married 20 years, or the couple who got divorced 2 years in? Whenever you’re around, I feel either of two things. To hum along with the birds, or to break their fragile necks. 

They say Misery is your twin sister and that the two of you have the same temperaments. Is Obsession in any way related to you, too? Most murderers use you as a reason. Arguably, the best romantics in history killed the people they loved. No other force can drive someone to such heinous acts. 

Luckily, my faculties are still intact. I think everyone should realize that you’re not everything. For a long list of deeds that can be traced back to your name, everyone should know that you’re not the only worthy thing.

Not the only emotion that’s good for the body. 
Certainly not the only thing that’s good for the soul.

I Didn't Used to Be So Destructive

I guess this is the only way to get through to you, since all we’ll ever be are the things you’ll never want, and my words hurt you because your actions hurt me. Cutting deep into my skin, I feel thoughts you still have about him, and I’m bleeding out fast. I’m sick. You have the cure that you can’t bring yourself to administer. My hand shakes and my heart thumps in an audible rhythm that is timed perfectly with yours, and yet we still don’t exist together. I haven’t known you as well as I once did, back when your legs shook for the first time or the first time I fell asleep next to you. I’m not sure if I’ll ever know that you again. You’re changing everyday and I’m a tumor, cancerous, disgusting, other people can see it. I’m sitting in the waiting room, waiting to be removed from your side because I can’t leave it myself.

I didn’t used to be so destructive.

No matter what I do, you’ll never trust me. No matter what I do, you’ll never believe what I say. No matter how hard I try to shake these feelings, I can’t help that they exist and they aren’t going anywhere.

I don’t think you’ll ever know what it’s like to love someone like you because I don’t think you’ll ever learn how to love you.

–Forrest Lane (4estabon)

You Were Wrong.

I travelled far to see you and you ignored me. I loved you too much to walk away so I stayed. That was a mistake. You didn’t deserve the attention but you got it anyway. You tried to play it cool in front of your parents to avoid interrogation. I wouldn’t play along. You got angry. Somehow I got the blame. I drove home the next day, crushed. I thought myself into nausea. I was trying to figure out what I did wrong. It took me this long to realise it was you. You were wrong.

Winter Came Early This Year

A letter to my younger self, never mind actually, I’ve heard that the time traveling postal service sucks. A visit to my younger self, she needs it. First, let me hold you, and kiss your forehead. You need to learn that touch does not always equal pain, it’s going to take many years before you learn that, but I think out of everything I’m about to tell you this will help the most. Do you think we’re beautiful? Don’t answer that. It’s a question you’re going to spend the rest of our life up until this point trying to figure out. Please, even if you don’t always feel whole, don’t carve the word, “fat,” into your thigh on a desperate night when you’re alone in the bathtub. You will regret it.

This thought does not horrify you because at this point you’ve already bludgeoned our head with a hairbrush, tried to asphyxiate us, and pinched our own skin until we’ve been bruised. Don’t hurt us darling, there are already enough people doing that. In regards to the man who gave you a swollen cheek and shattered trust, you will become angry instead of scared one day and things will change, not necessarily for the better, but at least the physical pain will stop. I’m not going to tell you about our future love life, because you’re going to make mistakes whether I tell you or not, that’s life, but I will tell you not to focus on one boy so much. He’s still going to be one of your best friends, but he does not love you in that way, and that’s OK.

Trust me, there will be others. Do not leave the boy who gave you his jacket. You will regret that decision until this point, after this point, I am not sure. I may be from the future, but I am not from all of it. When you feel scared, touch something around you, reestablish your surroundings. This is a coping mechanism, you won’t learn about those for years to come. Stay strong, you’ll survive, trust me.

I want to hold you like midnight does to lovers. I want to hold your bones around mine, to let your heart melt mine. I want to be burnt by you, please burn me so I am no longer sick of the mind. Let them be loved, let them be loved. I have loved them, I have loved them. I have loved her and he, they should be loved by a soul who is not a shell. Let them be loved by someone who is not a shell that whistles with each wind change. I am sorry, I am sorry, please let them know. I cannot bare it if they do not know.
—  Laura Elizabeth Ross
My (Incredibly) Bleak Outlook on Parenting.

I imagine its easy to feel alone as an only child, you might long for a sibling or two and think its a beautiful thing to have a big family. As someone who actually has a big family, I have never experienced it like that.

When you’re part of a large family, there’s little peace. It’s easy to go insane. It’s like living in a city. The sheer noise created by my little brothers is incredible. I’m forced to take refuge in my headphones. I block out the noise in an attempt to stay mentally stable. Every now and then a particularly loud scream will penetrate and bring me back to reality.

It’s difficult to maintain a desire to have children when this is my experience. You can’t constantly run from the chaos when you’re a parent. It doesn’t sound like an attractive life choice. My personal experiences tell me that parenting is like a drawn out war between parent and child. When their toddlers, its like Vietnam - A constant battle that wreaks havoc on your psyche. When they become teenagers, its more akin to World War I. Full on trench warfare - Long stalemates punctuated by short, intense battles. Once they leave for college, its the Cold War. You fight via proxy. It always seems like something drastic is going to happen, but it never does.

This says more about me than it does about having children. I’m insane because I just compared parenting to war. Am I insane? How many parents have you seen that don’t look miserable? A lot of them have a look in their eyes like they’re fading in and out of reality. Just conscious enough to be alert, but just tuned out enough to dull the senses.

I don’t know what I want from life. I’m already miserable enough and having children would probably accentuate it.

Poetry Is Bullshit

“But you write such good poetry,” she said to me. “I can’t write poetry, I’m just not good at it. I’m not natural, like you are.”

I smiled, partly out of pride and slightly embarrassed happiness, partly out of irony.

“How do you think I write poetry, best?” I asked her. “What makes it ‘special’ when I do it?”

“I dunno,” she replied. “You just seem to get it, you use words beautifully and make deep connections.”

“Thanks,” I began, still smiling, “but no.”

“No what?”

“That’s not it. Well, not always. Er…not usually.”

“I’m confused.”

I sighed. “Want to know the secret to writing poetry?” I asked.

“Sure.”

“Bullshit.”

“Bullshit?”

Bullshit.”

“No way,” she breathed. “Everything you write is too beautiful to be bullshit.”

“Well, thank you,” I chuckled, “but you flatter me. Granted,” I qualified, “I didn’t say the writing is crap. I said the process is bullshit.”

“I don’t get it. I don’t see how that can be true.”

“Here—let’s make a poem, right here, right now, together.”

“But I can’t.”

“No,” I said, giving her a raised eyebrow. “You can. That’s my point. Watch.”

I paused momentarily to think of how to structure the lesson.

“Okay,” I began. “Think of something that could be symbolic of something, even if it’s a cliché.”

She considered for a moment. “The ocean,” she replied.

“Okay, perfect. Now what does the ocean do?”

“What?”

“You know, what actions are associated with the ocean?”

“…Crashing waves?”

I nodded eagerly. “Yes, perfect. But in ‘good’ poetry, you’d never tell it straightforward. You want to make it sound innovative and potentially meaningful?” I asked. “Reverse the action. Turn the image on its head.”

“How?”

“Instead of a loud verb like ‘crash,’ use an opposite like ‘whisper.’ So ‘The ocean whispers to me.’ There’s your first line of a fucking brilliant poem.”

I gestured excitedly and she laughed at my enthusiasm.

“Okay, now what you slacker?” she teased.

“Now for some poetic devices. Let’s sprinkle some alliteration in there.”

“Enlighten me, oh brilliant one.”

I pushed her good-naturedly at the quip and she shoved me back, playfully.

“The trick to alliteration is to not overuse it. I don’t mean to use it sparingly, but literally to not overuse it. Let it be subtle. One of the most jarring and obvious attempts at being creative I see in writing to seem poetic is to abuse alliteration,” I said. “People string together as many words as they can in a row that start with the same letter, thinking it sounds poetic. But it doesn’t—it’s just shitty.”

“Mhmm.”

“So to effectively use alliteration, try to get two words alliterated at a time, three at the most. You can have multiple alliterations in the same line, just create a break between the phrases—especially if you use the same letter.”

“Example, please,” she urged.

The ocean whispers to me,/ mellifluous melodies releasing me/ from mortal manacles that tether me to reality.

She stared at me.

“Oh, and a lot of popular poetry deals with escape and existential shit. Want to sound poetic? Be introspective, but trying to break free. People eat that shit up.”

“You fucker.”

I laughed. “See? But there’s more.”

“Go on then.”

“Now we need a metaphor,” I explained. “Something to indicate a symbol that can either recur or otherwise be referenced again or tied to the meaning of the poem at the end.”

“Let’s use birds,” she requested.

I smiled.

The ocean whispers to me,/ mellifluous melodies releasing me/ from mortal manacles that tether me to reality./ Feathers litter the sand,/ the only evidence of dreams/ that managed to escape earth/ where my feet are moored.

“Holy shit,” she breathed.

“Does this not sound like something I’d write? And it’s getting pretty existential.”

“This sounds exactly like something you’d write.”

“But doesn’t is sound good?”

“Yes.”

“It’s bullshit. We just made this up together, no inspiration.”

“So…” she began hesitantly. “So, does that mean all the stuff you’ve said was ‘inspired by this or that’ was a lie?”

“No, no no no,” I stuttered. “Not in the slightest. Everything I’ve written with a claim for inspiration was legitimately inspired, usually by you. My point was that good-sounding poetry doesn’t need inspiration. It can be forced out. It shouldn’t sound mechanical or bored, but that you can just sort of make yourself write and it’ll form itself.”

“Really?”

“Well, yeah,” I muttered. “The evidence is right in front of you. We just wrote the first stanza to your next kickass poem.”

She laughed at me and rolled her eyes. “You fraud.”

“Oh, stop it. You know you’re not surprised. But in all honesty,” I added, “I usually come to find a true point by the end of the poem. The process inspires me to say something legitimate, even if it starts off as essentially nothing.”

“God, you must feel so good about yourself, tricking everyone into thinking you have talent,” she said sarcastically.

“Hey—if a reader finds meaning in the poem, then it’s significant. Even if I don’t have a clear message to give, the reader will find one, and appreciate it, and think it’s beautiful and profound. That’s what truly good poetry is: it makes meaning out of anything, and it can mean most anything to anyone.”

She smiled and shook her head. “God, you’re so full of shit,” she replied before kissing me.

Journal Entry: After a Friday Night Nap

I’ve only ever been in love once. I think about it now and it’s become some strange, surreal blur. Being in love was like a disease that you got to take vicadin for. I would talk to him all the time and yearn for him every second he was away. I couldn’t sleep sometimes. I was horny always with no exceptions and he was gone most of the time so it was just him teasing me. Gnawing at my needs. 

I clung to every word he said until my fingertips bled. I scribbled most of them into my journal (which I later tore out and am now unable to remember for the most part… I guess I wish I didn’t).

I fell into his smile. I caught myself staring at him when he spoke. I cringed every time he stepped away from me towards someone else. I could bathe in his cologne. Easily. In fact I made sure he left traces of it on my pillows and sheets so that when he was gone I could lay there and breathe in. 

The last time I saw him he sprayed my teddy bear with his cologne so I wouldn’t miss him as much this time. I would hold it as we skyped… pretending. 

Everything was agony. There would never be enough time and even as we kissed it seemed like there was too much distance between us. No matter how hard I pulled his hair or grabbed his waist he was too far. 

I guess a part of me always knew he would leave me. He even warned me about it in a way about a month before he broke my heart. I guess I just couldn’t really believe him. My world was too glorious when he was inside it. 

I wrote the best poetry when I was with him. I don’t even write poetry that often… mostly prose. But fuck. When I was with him I wrote ballads and verses about every inch of his body. 

I remember the phone call that changed everything. My first broken heart. 16 and sobbing. It was the first time I was so upset that I tangibly felt pain around me. I cried uncontrollably for hours. I screamed and moaned how could he do this to me between shuddering breaths. 

And when I went to sleep that night I took a knife and opened the wounds further. I slept with the teddy bear. It still smelled like him. I imagined we were falling asleep together again on his bed. 2 weeks seemed like such a long time ago. I buried my face in that teddy bear and took deep, long inhales. It seemed fake to me now somehow. Pretend. Almost as if I had made it all up. 

I was numb for such a long time. Sometimes something would remind me of him in class. Like when we read Emerson in Literature and I had to excuse myself to go cry in the washroom. Little hopeless sobs. I didn’t even bother wearing mascara all those weeks. I knew It would be coming off. 

For a month I drank as I had never drank before. And I lost my virginity to spite him. He would never get that privilege (it made more sense after 5 shots of vodka than it does now)

I was hungover a lot. I felt like I didn’t really feel anything. I went on a date here and there. It wasn’t the same. It was like everyone else’s saliva didn’t taste right. I almost couldn’t swallow it down. 

I saw him only once since he dropped me off at the bus station last May. It was July. A warm summer night, 12 am. I was with a good friend buying donuts to eat on the swing sets by her house. There he was by the cash register. I just looked at him for a moment and he looked back. Only jars of marinara sauce separated me from the most painful memory I have had the displeasure to experience. He just kept standing there looking. I remember saying “well fuck” audibly. I remember grabbing my friends and saying, “just take me I don’t want to see him. hurry”. I remember her paying for our donuts and consoling me and then walking me outside and around a corner just in case he followed us. 

He didn’t. 

So after four months of being alone after a lighting bolt four month relationship….. I forgot. I deleted his phone number. I threw out the pages of my diary with his name all over it. I deleted him off Facebook even. I deleted his friends too. 

I haven’t cried about a boy since. 

Big Sky Country

Montana lived in Utah. The other children ridiculed her endlessly for this, shouting things like, “Why don’t you go back to where you came from,” and, “You’re in the wrong state Montana! This is Utah!” Montana found these jokes to be in poor taste, so she never laughed at them. There was nothing poetic about Montana’s name. Her birth mother had named each of her children after the state she’d had them in. She’d been able to gather from the adoption records that she had a sister named Louisiana, and a brother named Ohio. Montana’s adoptive family adored her, and her childhood was laughably normal. Her adoptive father was a gun enthusiast, and Montana could shoot before she could walk.

By the age of 17 Montana was shooting holes in car tires, windows, and hearts. She was as lovely as her aim was deadly. Montana preferred the material world around her shot to pieces, to her a window was twice as effective with bullet holes in it, but she would never shoot at something with a heartbeat. Hunting was abhorrent to her. In the summer of her 18th year she fell in love, or as close to love as an 18 year old girl from Utah can get, with a boy named Cole. They frequently ate sorbet at the diner downtown, and sometimes when nobody was looking he’d hold her hand. It was an August afternoon while walking through the field back to Montana’s home they spotted a lone doe grazing by a tree. “Watch this.” Cole whispered. He reached into his backpack and removed his hunting rifle. Before Montana could scream there was a gunshot, and the doe dropped. Cole turned to her beaming with pride as Montana’s eyes narrowed on his heart. Her fingers instinctively reached for a trigger to pull, but found only air, and her own flesh. “This big sky country is blue and wild, and I wonder, did it break your heart in the end?"