I remember living sometimes, when it’s spring and the ground is stirring. I remember people—their footsteps hard against the packed earth. I remember mornings of flower blossoms and seeing girls out in their summer clothes, just slightly too soon. This is life: a fleeting progression from youth to age, just slightly too soon. It’s all we have. And yet, and yet…
It’s not that I wish for more. I abhor the slow track. Spring is the dying time in my mind. It is the heartbreaking loneliness. It is the bitterness of retreat. But that’s not true: what I’m picturing is protracted winter, instead. Like the winters when my parents left me. The ones that meandered into April and then May.
I remember after my father died. One day I was doing something as prosaic as taking out the recycling, but when I stepped into the spring night I saw the twisted dance of trees against a perforated sky. And I just wanted to be kissed there, if for nothing else than to prove that I had survived the winter when it was so damn hard to. When not even my father had. I wanted to be kissed more in that moment than I ever will again, maybe. Out in the dark by the road with my face tilted up to the sky. If someone could just confirm to me that I was alive, and still standing on this dizzying planet hurtling through space, could they do it with a kiss? Didn’t I deserve one, just for being alive?
I want, I want. I want so much sometimes. There is an animal inside me and it yearns to lie in the sun. It bleats to sleep curled with its kin. It wants so much that it scares me. I feel rootless, bottomless, flying into space atom by atom.
Now I’m a different girl than the one who stood on that street. Every particle of my body has been replaced in the intervening years. And being kissed isn’t enough anymore, if it ever was. I want to be laid down in the grass and made raw. I want to know that it’s possible to be known and understood by someone who isn’t obligated to love me, who would choose to learn the horrors living so complacently in my chest.
It’s spring. The ground is stirring.