I drink milk every day because my doctor says I need it to grow. Kind of like I need this calcium rush in order to make my bones stronger so I stop cracking them so easily. Preventing them from ever reverting to the weak, knobbly knees of last summer when a boy I had a crush on. Had a crush on, crushed me. Like a pulp. Into grains. Like a spoon grinding up soggy cereal swimming at the bottom of a bowl. I wake up in the middle of the night, remembering I didn’t drink 3 glasses today, and run to the refrigerator in my socks and chug it straight from the gallon, barbaric and yearning like a schoolgirl hitching her skirt up too high, and picture the white flowing through my veins. Softening me. Rounding me out. Giving me curves. I get a brain freeze instead and pray I’ll stop crying over spills and that I can sleep with this cold lurching in my stomach.
Maybe one day my hair will stop being so limp in the heat, but I don’t think that kind of thing can be anticipated, so I just have to wait. Girls like me live in the back of an un-air-conditioned convenience store, ratty sweatpants, tight tank tops, and crawl out with week-old receipts bursting from their pockets. Like glued ribcage kind of girls, like elastic hair tie, red marks around the wrist kind of girls. The cashier doesn’t mind when I snag a magazine from the rack and browse through it without paying because no matter how hard I try, I end up looking pre-pubescent anyway. And they let things slide. For a girl like me, at least. I’m saying, lopsided bun, wide eyes, a mouthful of crooked teeth, stars pulling them into their places, I was always too scared to get braces. The cover has some headline about how to enlarge your breasts naturally, which I think might be useful, and another about how to communicate effectively with others without saying hurtful things, which makes me laugh. I flip to the back to check my horoscope and eat that prophetic, adolescent shit catered to the teenage soul up like Eucharist laid under the tongue. Swallow down a spoonful of March’s: “Prepare to face some stress this month, but that’s okay! You’ll be able to get through it and find time to relax.” I want to rip out the page and shove it into my bra, like keeping these soft, meaningless words close to my chest will make them seep into my heart and change me. Stop making me think so much, fill my brain up with Arizona tea and static instead. But I’m cheap, and I shove the magazine back. I think my chest will stay flat forever.
I seek healing. Mending. I’m fingernails deep, sitting in the back of a subway at 3 a.m., pressing crescent moons into the leather seat, trying to dig up salvation. You can’t find that here, you can’t find that in the cracks between the tiles, you can’t find comfort in the ground up cigarette butt stamped into the floor. I’m wishing against this fogged up glass I could say anything, anything that would make sense for once, so someone could help me. Like please, my mind is bending in backwards, like please, I don’t think this underdeveloped chest can take any more of this resentment or it’s going to explode through my ribcage, out of my flesh, like please, I don’t want to hurt anymore. And it’s not my fault that I launch myself around like I’m in some sick little competition, pretending I don’t care, like I’m having the time of my life. Of course I’m not, of course I’m not, I don’t think having your hands shake and your brain go fuzzy whenever you think a little too much is fun, something to be documented for the world to see. I guess I’m different from other people that way, I’d rather people think I’m having a good time than actually have one without anyone knowing. I wish I knew how to sew, so I could stitch up my fibrillating heart, no matter how sloppy and crooked, but the needle jabs my finger as the subway lurches left, and I bleed, I bleed, I bleed.
My mom told me not to walk naked in front of the altar. Disrespectful, she called it, and even though I agree, sometimes I test my divinity and emerge from the bathroom, the steam from the shower wafting off smoke like the incense in its pot. Young god, skin tinted green from fake gold. Young god, empty stomach, fruit scooped out of its rind, leaving me seedless. This hatred has roots, and I don’t know whether I want to dig out my insides with my hands or fill myself up until I’m close to bursting. I let people think the scratches on my knees are from a night of alcohol and a boy tugging my hair. Of course, it’s that and not child worship on a scratchy rug, not begging for forgiveness, not praying for glamour and glory, not hoping for. Of course it’s not hoping for something better.
— this pain lasts in every location