when marnie ran

“She came into this world screaming, you know. The nurses said that they’d never heard one scream as loud as she had.”

Marnie leaned back in her seat. She felt the faux red leather supporting her body. It was past 2am, and she was beginning to grow wary. She looked around. She looked at the plant, standing solemnly by the windowsill. She looked at the stools at the bar, standing like soldiers at attention, one after the other. She looked at the florescent sign in the window. Open, it said. Florescent lighting never did her any good. Neither did dairy, though she had chosen to leave the cheese on her sandwich. The grumbling of her stomach told her that she’d made a mistake, but it was the last thing that she cared about.

“I’m glad that you called me,” Elias said, reaching out to take Marnie’s hand. He wore a denim jacket over his rumpled band tee shirt. It was worn through on the elbows, and Marnie noticed the new pins on his pockets. It had been a long time since she’d seen him, but she hadn’t known who else to call but him. A part of her still loved him, even though things could never have worked.

“I’m sorry for waking you.”

“Really, it’s no problem. I brought some of your things.” Even after all this time, Elias kept a spare key to Marnie’s apartment. She’d been such a danger to herself before he left that he needed to be sure that he could get to her if need be. He still loved her too, in a sense.

Marnie looked out the window and onto the street. Glistening with raindrops, the pavement shone under the streetlights as if it had been painted just so for her enjoyment. She loved the rain. She loved the smell it brought. She loved the constant rat-tat-tat on the skylight in her apartment. She loved the lonely charm of it all. She sighed, looking back at Elias.

“I got to look at her hands before they took her away. I’ve never seen something so wonderful in my life. She had these tiny fingernails – can you believe that? Fingernails. What was so remarkable, though, was the age. They were so wrinkled that I could’ve mistaken them for an old woman’s if I hadn’t seen them myself. I know you don’t believe in this stuff, and I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but I don’t think that this was her first time here. Maybe she just wasn’t ready to be back yet.”

“I believe you. I’m sure I would’ve felt the same way.” He squeezed her hand, wanting desperately to reassure her. He knew that he may never see her again, and this was the best he could do.

“They were going to name her Evangeline, after June’s grandmother. A few weeks ago, I’d knitted a sweater with the name on it. It’s still in my living room,” she paused to gaze once more out the window and sip at her water. “I just don’t understand how it’s possible to be here and then not be. She was here. I heard her from the other room, and just like that, she was gone.”

“Were you alone?”

“Jack was there, but he was too busy working to notice anything. Even when everyone started running. I swear, some people never stop to notice anything, even when they need to.” She was crying now, tears trickling down the left side of her face. She thought of June. June. June, who she had known her whole life, who had always wanted to be a mother. She was 19 when she had decided on the name, Evangeline, and 22 when the little girl began to grow. No, she hadn’t meant for it to be so early, but she decided she could love her just the same. Her father had built a crib out of oak, and her mother stitched blankets from old clothes. It wasn’t much, but it would be enough for Evangeline.

“I should be going soon,” Marnie said, tilting her head as she looked at Elias. “I’m sorry.”

“I’ll miss you.” He began pulling things from his satchel; a blue sweater that she always wore, an envelope full of money that she had been afraid to put in the bank, and a box that held the watch from her grandfather. He set the items on the table, one by one, and Marnie began to collect them.

“I love you, E. Thank you.”

She stood up, and began to walk towards the door, passing the stool-shaped soldiers at the bar and the lonely house plant. She turned around to look at Elias once more, with his square glasses, blonde curly hair, and striking blue eyes.

“It never ceases to amaze me that in a world of 7 billion people, not a single one can slow down, even for a second. I don’t want to be a human being if that’s what it means to be one.”

With that, she was gone. Elias sat comatose in the red faux leather booth. He remembered all of the reasons he had left. He remembered all of the reasons that he’d kept her key. All reasons led to him answering the phone in the middle of the night. She needed others, though she’d never admit it. Marnie loved hard and fast, but she never stayed long.

With a jolt, he remembered Emma, who could have woken in the night to an empty bed. He stood; he didn’t want to keep her waiting.

haikus for girls i’ve loved

Afternoons spent of dirty floors

stained carpets and rain on windshields

you pretended to cry

I pretended to love you

 

I was never told

you can’t make homes

out of people

 

You taught me

to climb barbed wire

without scratching my palms

 

You said you’d met god

at 3am

and he hated you

 

I could write novels

about each one

of your faces

 

How peculiar it is

to love nothing

and everything

all at once

 

How nice it is to be wanted

she thought

even at such a cost

 

 

 

restless/reality


I don’t think I can run from it anymore-the sadness is inevitable, natural, even, and nowadays the realization of my own life causes a certain restlessness within me that I can only chalk up to complete denial. I don’t want to be inside a human body, or any body for that matter. 

I can still feel the pulse in my veins, although it feels as if I have ten million hearts running around outside of my body, threatening to rupture at any moment. Sometimes they do, and I am reduced to utter nothingness. Sometimes I find myself lost between the should’s and the shouldn’t’s, the can’s and the can’t’s, and of this world, I expect nothing. 

I can’t help but feel the small rupture between my heart and yours- a distance that I can blame on no one but the two of us. I never expected anything of you, though I sometimes do wish you had stayed. I feel your presence with every step in this city, although I’ve never felt further from you. I would never wish ill upon you, I hope that you’re happy, even, yet I still can’t say I want you back. Most of my friends don’t even know what you look like so you’re all mine, and a terrible liar. And a sloppy kisser. And even a sore loser. 

Of you I expect nothing, but I do hope that you remember how it felt to love me. Remember that I loved you. 

But please, don’t expect anything of me. 

My darling, I have nothing left to give. 

i wrote this when you left

It’s rare nowadays to find beauty in such an industrialized world when smoke clouds the air and fills your lungs. But driving down a road in the middle of the night and listening to an unknown song can finally allow you to breathe and see the beauty in the darkness; the girl who yells profanity at her beloved but knows she will always return to him; the face that appears in the smoke. 

I have learned at last that happiness is not an obtainable entity, but rather a state of being, just as hell is not a location but something that you carry with you. 
I can feel my own hell start to pass through the wonderful ache in the soles of my feet as I feel strangers hands on my hips and waist and remember when the only hands on my body were those of softness and familiarity. I remember you. I remember you from a time when your hair was as dark as the night sky and you told me every day that I was beautiful until one day you stopped and told me that I was too much for you, too much. 

I remember the waves of hurt pulsing through my veins as I thought of my button-up shirts driving you away. I cut my hair the very next day because I couldn’t stand to be your version of me anymore. 

And I am not, I never was. And here, driving through the darkness and feeling the rivets in the road and the stars above me pulling me away, I know that she is there. 

I know that she believes I am. I am. I am. And I know that she will love the stars as much as I and that she will love my button-up shirts and the way I hold her hand. And I know, with complete certainty, that she is here. 

About that time that you met god at 3am outside a gas station:

He kinda hated you. 
Not that you’re particularly surprised, though you did think he might be a bit more sympathetic to your cause. To be fair, however, there are people dying in other parts of the world and you-

you can have anything you want,

although you’re still just as terrified that you will equate to nothing as always, regardless of the water running through the faucet and the roof over your head. 

Your pristine sheets seem to tell you nothing but of the ways in which your anxieties lie within them;

How dangerously they feed off of each other. 

I know you’re trying to remember a time before you questioned everything around you. I know that you’re wondering why you exist at all, and how in the world it’s possible to love nothing and everything all at once. 
To feel nothing and everything

all at once. 

Remember sitting in your childhood bedroom, illuminated by brilliant streaks of lightning. Remember the drawings you made when you had tried to capture the light within your notebooks. Remember how you couldn’t, and wonder if maybe that’s why you still see yourself as a little girl with brown hair, bangs cut above her eyebrows. Maybe that was the moment you started doubting yourself. 

When a little girl within a body that she cannot yet fill meets god in the middle of the night-

3am, to be exact, outside a gas station-

he might hate her and leave gut-wrenching words echoing within the deepest corners of her mind. 

she must learn to be okay with that. 

dear ex-lover,

I thought that you should know how often I think of you. The first snow is melting, and I can’t help but remember the snow on the ground the first time that you kissed me. The cold reminds me of you, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I still can’t say for certain whether my memories of you are shrouded in the warmth I once felt from you, or if I’ve yet to remove my rose-tinted glasses.

I fell in love with your handwriting before anything else. Then came your seafoam eyes. Then your hands, dancing along the fret board of your guitar. I still remember how it felt when you ran them through my hair, grazing the back of my neck. I fell in love with your lips, and I can’t tell you how many times since last June I’ve remembered how you tasted, and how heavy your heart was. I could tell so much from the way that your lips felt on mine.

I fell in love with you on the couch in my parent’s basement. I fell in love with you in the backseat of your car – I fell in love with you beneath the lights strung above our heads. I still can’t turn on those lights without feeling your ghost blow across my body.

I fell so deeply in love with your heart, but still – I can’t say that the earth shattered as our eyes locked. I can’t say that the earth recognizes our steps. And how lucky we were to have nothing expected of us.

I couldn’t count the amount of women I’ve tried to put in your place – you keep coming back to me like an old melody, floating up behind vodka sodas and new dance partners. And in the time that I’ve spent without you dancing in my presence, I can’t say that much has improved. I still lock myself in my room and paint for hours, but I no longer show you my paintings. I don’t call you when I can tell that you’ve had a bad day. I just let the feeling pass. Maybe someday, my heart won’t be so inexplicably drawn to yours.

I want you to know that I wish you nothing but happiness. You are one of the best people that I have ever had the honor of knowing – of loving. I hope that you find someone who can give you the things that I can’t, and love you in the ways that I never could.

With the purest of intentions and more love than I could ever express –

avh