I asked her what she felt most guilty about, and she said: “I can’t say it, because it will make me cry. And I don’t like people to see me cry.” I told her that was fine and changed the subject, but after a few minutes she typed it out on her phone, and handed it to me:
"When I was eleven years old, I got in a fight with my twin brother and told him that he was going to die before me because he had a brain tumor."
"Is he still alive?" I asked.
- The Hunger Games: “Go to sleep,” he says softly. His hand brushes the loose strands of my hair off my forehead. Unlike the staged kisses and caresses so far, this gesture seems natural and comforting. I don’t want him to stop and he doesn’t. He’s still stroking my hair when I fall asleep.
- Mockingjay: “There’s still time. You should sleep.” Unresisting, he lies back down, but just stares at the needle on one of the dials as it twitches from side to side. Slowly, as I would with a wounded animal, my hand stretches out and brushes a wave of hair from his forehead. He freezes at my touch, but doesn’t recoil. So I continue to gently smooth back his hair. It’s the first time I have voluntarily touched him since the last arena.
I take myself out to dinner and do not look at my phone once. I do not call a friend up and ask them to join me. I listen attentively to the conversation in my head. I walk with myself to the library. Read novels, magazines, dusty collections of poetry. Browse zines online and buy a stack of ones that catch my interest. I close my eyes in bed and put my hands in-between my thighs. Know when to go faster, when to slow down, when to speed it up. I moan without shame. I make myself coffee, sip it languorously on my balcony, let my bare shoulders be warmed by the sun and ignore my neighbor’s sideways looks. I put on lipstick on the days I am not leaving the house. Walk around confidently, wearing only underwear and carelessness. Shake my limbs to the busting beat of a song and do not worry about my arms going one way and my legs another. I bite down hard on “monogamy.” Swish it around in my mouth, run my tongue over its bumps and curves, and then spit it out. I bleed on scraps of paper. Let my thoughts out. Listen to them more intently than any person could. I see all parts of me and do not blush. I do not look away. I do not try to run. I stare deeper. Force myself to keep eye contact. Accept all that is inside of me. Make my apologies. I bend my hands in forgiveness. I rise, dripping in the blood of past and future guilt and say, it is okay. All of you. All of me. It is okay.
In A Committed Relationship With Myself | Lora Mathis
At a Corn fest (because Indiana) and my kids are playing in this playground made of corn kernels and I’m thinking about how there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on earth.