Portrait of Jean Delville (1867-1953), Symbolist painter, author, and poet, seated with his painting Orpheus in the Underworld.
“There exists somewhere, around us, without or within us, in the depths of the unseen world, spheres where are formed the eternal images reflected in our intellects, and which the artist or poet filch from Mystery by the magic …power of their imagination, that mysterious divine faculty which must be known in order to be in tune with the harmony of the World.”
you’re sitting in between two boys and you love both of them. the one on the left was the first to leave his fingerprints on your aorta. he has hair the color of south carolina sand and eyes that make you think about how it must feel to drown, how it must be one of the worst possible ways to die. the one on the right was the second there. he’s the love seat at your dad’s house, comfortable and familiar. he has hands that look like they could carry the couch by themselves with you sitting on top of it. you’d like to see him try.
you’re sitting in between two boys and you love both of them. you’re listening to a lesson on fiscal policy but the only money supply you care about is the price you’re paying by being the window separating the boy on the left from the boy on the right. you wish you were somewhere else, on a plane headed to the Atlantic or digging in the ground. you want to know what was buried underneath their feet, before you arrived. you’re scared to find out so you work without tools, so it’ll last longer. do you really want to know what’s waiting for you?
you’re sitting in between two boys and you love both of them. here’s the joke; you don’t actually love either of them. you love the attention they adorn you with. you love the way the boy on the left remembers what books you’ve been meaning to read and you love the way the boy on the right gives you nicknames. you love until your fingers bleed, until it’s a silent car at 4am just trying to get home safely. the boy on the right said he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to you. he lied. he happened to you. so did the boy on the left.
you’re sitting in between two boys and you love both of them. they look through you, the glass window in a burning room. panic buttons don’t work if everything’s already up in flames. worrying is useless when you’ve let two things happen to you and neither of them care if buildings are burning if they’re empty buildings.
you’re sitting in between two boys and you love both of them. the one on the left has his feet on your chair and his hands are around your neck. that was a lie. a half-truth. his hands may not be around your neck but that doesn’t stop you from choking. the one on the right is blind to this lack of oxygen you’re experiencing. you would blame it on the bystander effect if anybody else had been watching. but they weren’t.
you’re sitting in between two boys and you love both of them. the one on the left has lips that have graced the bodies of enough girls to raise an army. you know you’ll never join the battalion but you armor up anyways. the one on the right, you’re unsure of. you think he’s like you, but there’s no way to ask. three people in the dark fumbling for a light switch that may or may not exist, depending on the day of the week. somebody is wearing armor. who is wearing the armor?
you’re sitting in between two boys and you love both of them. you hate how much timing plays a role in living. you know that if you met the boy on the left in five years it would be so different. you wouldn’t feel like progress was impossible and maybe he would even ask you to watch quentin tarantino movies with him. if you met the boy on the right in five years you would click instantly. you would think about him often, playing love songs in your car until you were almost sick of them. but it’s not five years in the future. it’s now. and the timing is bad. and neither of them are yours because of it.
you’re sitting in between two boys and neither of them love you. and that is the circle around your windpipe; the beginning and the end of it all.