Little Black Dress

The room buzzes and I feel the sweat that has stuck itself to my face. I carry my black stilettos lazily in my right hand, my left hand draped comfortably in your arm, as it’s been there a million times before, as we sway our way out into the cool night air.

It’s rare that we get the night to ourselves, but a wedding with no kids allowed was just the blessing we needed.

I stare at you, smiles brilliant on both of our faces. It feels like we’re back on our honeymoon, finally feeling comfortable in a fitted black dress again. My heart stutters thinking back to your reaction when you first saw I was wearing this dress tonight. You knew exactly where the night was headed as soon as I put it on. And I gotta say, you weren’t wrong.

It feels like we’re kids again. Giggling all the way home, hands finding each other in the dark backseat of a taxi, unbothered by the presence of a stranger that we will never see again. I knew you wouldn’t be able to keep your hands off me tonight. I feel that coy smile break across my face as you lean in for another kiss.

It crosses my mind that we don’t make out sitting up anymore. It’s typically the short foreplay before trying to fit in another quickie. But tonight it goes on forever, trying to behave ourselves enough for the taxi driver’s sake. At least he can’t see your hands snaking their way up my long legs.

The lights flash outside the cab in the moments between our kissing, and all I can focus on is where your hands go, how handsome you look in your clothes, and how sexy that playful smile is.

We finally reach our hotel, and I’m still carrying my heels as your fish for our room key, eagerly awaiting the invitation that is our giant king-sized bed in a city miles away from all of our responsibilities.

As soon as you get the door open it’s game over. Our hands are free to explore each other anywhere they want, and it’s at that realization when we start undressing each other while still trying to keep our lips together. Why don’t we do this more often? I wonder. I refuse to let an actual answer provoke any anxieties. Not tonight. Not after all the liquor we’ve had. Not after putting this dress on.

Sometimes the best times are when all I think about is you. What feels good for you. I make sure I do everything you like, and it’s not long before you’re moaning and losing your breath at the same time. The best aphrodisiac? Feeling sexy for you. As I move, I glance at the little black dress in a rumpled puddle on the floor and grin. Your breath is short and you’re making that noise you always make, and I know that soon your world will be as black as my dress in just a few motions. All because of that old faithful little black dress. Thanks again, old friend, I think with a smile.

***

Fiction inspired by Dierks Bentley’s song Black and perhaps a fantasy with my wonderful boyfriend.

And I Can’t Help

Your arms around me,
security, not a cage.
With your sleepy sigh at my back, I smile.
I know you will wake as soon as I touch my phone.
And you will pull me closer to you,
hot skin warming my everything.

*   *   *

Our mornings and nights we spend wrapped around each other, and our days we spend roaming your city. There are a million places you want to show me, and I can hear the disappointment in your voice every time I say that I’ve been there before with my sister. You want to be my first for everything, to show me why I should love your town as much as I love my own.

The thing is, I don’t always love new surroundings. I love familiarity. So being in this town that boarders both new and familiar, with my hand firmly in yours, or your arm draped around me, it makes me love the place more than I ever did.

You cater to my every need with a playful smile and a happy heart. We hop from place to place, just enjoying each other’s company. The playful flick of my toes against your shin, your goofy grin as you hold my hand in yours on the bar top, the sweet cheek kisses as we make harmless jokes at each other’s expense. It’s the same scene at every bar, champagne bubbles caressing my lips as we remain mentally wrapped up in nothing and no one but each other.

Your love and support astounds me. You haven’t said it yet, but I can feel it. I wiped a lash off your cheek and told you to make a wish, and you looked at me before you blew it away. I asked what you wished for, and you refused to tell me. “I want this one to come true,” you smiled. And I smiled back, my eyes falling to the floor as I blushed. I feel it.

And your support… you’ve never even thought of knocking me down. And every time I say something about myself, you correct me in a loving way. You have no idea how I haven’t been snatched up by someone else before you, why others would pass on such a soul. That’s how I know it’s right. From playing video games in your messy apartment on a Friday night, to teeing it up at a driving range for the first time, you have never laughed at me for trying new things. You have always been on my side. I want you on my team forever.

At the end of the day, after we’ve made a simple dinner, had a few beers, and watched an episode of our favorite show, I’m in your bed again, head on your chest, falling asleep as you stroke my head. And with each sleepy twitch and each deep breath, I realize I’m falling more than just asleep.

First Dates and Second Weddings

It took all of my focus to keep my hands from shaking every time I took a sip from my glass. I sat there, cross-legged, waiting for your arrival.

Nervous shakes grew into playful banter and genuine laughter. I glanced at you and was overcome with this urge to kiss you right then and there, but I knew if I did we wouldn’t even make it out of your apartment.

So I waited. And in the morning I woke up in your arms, to the soft, melodic sound of your breathing, fast asleep. And I smiled.

* * *

The shakes came back as I stood in a wine red dress in a room full of strangers, sipping my cocktail as fast as I could. You disappeared in this sea of strangers, but I found I wasn’t drowning just yet.

A fake proposal and real tears around the room, the buzz finally started to hit me. With your knee touching mine, you made sure I was having fun and I made sure you knew I was, that you would be too, as you grabbed your napkin.

And I grabbed your hand and led you to the dance floor, where I could see in your eyes that you were entirely too nervous about how you would look.

As the night drew on and the collection of stirring straws grew larger and larger, I could see the light in your eyes. You felt comfortable finally, in your own skin as I tugged at your tie, the smile on your face as wide as your heart. You pulled me into a slow dance, prince and princess at our own private ball, your lips sugar against my ear.

Up in arms and hand in hand, the wind toyed with our hair the whole ride home, the fresh air cool against my skin. Your head against the seat, your cool blue eyes finding me when it wasn’t, your sweet words floated in the breeze.

We trudged up to our room, lying against each other as I started to drift off, feeling at home in this foreign room, in this strange town, with nothing and no one but you. Once again, I awoke with your arms around me, a love song in my head, and your sigh at my back. Your soft murmurs became a new song that I love to sing as you traced my back with your fingertips.

***

This time you had the shakes as we drove through the rolling green hills I call home. It was your turn to sink or swim in a sea of strangers. You floated.

Your blue eyes sunk into me, butterflies zooming through my belly, and you smiled when I hadn’t made a joke.

“I’m just happy.”

Me too.

 

 

Clustered Tulips

It’s late night dance parties in your studio,

Early morning kisses in your attic,

Getting locked outside in your clothes,

Talking to your mom as if I were here every morning.

Every little bit makes it harder to let go.

*   *   *

You found out she got married this weekend. In a little black dress at the county courthouse, with the brightest smile you hadn’t seen in years. My heart broke for you as I felt your last thread of hope peeling away. It was so subtle, with the impact of a guillotine. What could you do about it? She is not yours. You’re not sure she ever was, but maybe that’s what kept you on your toes.

So what did we do? We got drunk. I was excited to see my friends, some unusual faces in the crowd. I think you were torn between distraction and numbing. I got you to dance, but that’s the best I could do.

We slumped up the stairs, falling back to our puzzle piece rhythm. And my own misery couldn’t hold it in any longer. I asked you about it. I asked if you were okay.

In those moments, I feel like your friend. One that just wants you to be happy, to be okay. That one that’s empathetic because she’s been hurting too, one that shares your pain because it’s all she knows how to do, how to comfort, how to react. You talked, your voice plain, and I asked more, careful questions. In those moments we know each other. In those moments you find solace of your loneliness with my head on your chest and your arms around me. You find a love that you don’t know how to hang on to, and you’re too tired to try. I am too.

Like probably every other girl that’s tried, I want to fix you. I want to love all your broken pieces back together. Save you from your past, from your loyalty, your first love. And like every other girl that’s tried, I can’t.

*   *   *

I had a really great time visiting home this weekend. Work was hectic and annoying but we made it through as usual. Any motivation for free alcohol right?

I live for the nights that I can connect with people. As someone who has been introverted (and extremely shy) her entire life, relating to people and connecting to people through conversation is very inspiring and fulfilling to me. Some of them were my coworkers, and some my own family members.

I woke up to his kisses Friday morning, somehow made it through the entire day on four hours of sleep.

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Saturday I was well rested (he was gone), so I hiked by myself through Harper’s Ferry. Though the inclines were incredibly steep, especially with a 10lb weight in my backpack to help condition, it was probably my most rewarding hike. I had time for myself, to do and think about what I wanted, not worry about keeping up a conversation (I probably wouldn’t have been able to anyway). The view was spectacular as I watched birds swirl high above me, heard the train rustle below, the river to my right. It was incredibly peaceful, and it made me excited for my trip. It was also the first time my legs had been so sore in a while, and it made me feel so alive, that I was heading in the right direction, that the plateau was over.

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I spent the afternoon sanding a breadbox, of all things. At first it was stressful and annoying, time-consuming. But as usual once I slowed down I really actually enjoyed it. Working with my hands outside. Nothing but me and my thoughts. The more solitude I have, the more I realize I like myself. I’m not a perfect person, but I make myself happy, and I appreciate my own thoughts in a strange, cyclical way. img_0129.png

That night I went out with Kristen, Rosie, and Heather. Kyle owed me some drinks so he gave me a good amount of patron for free (love it). I didn’t get to spend as much time with Heather as I wanted, but I got to spend some time with Rosie that I think she needed. I don’t think she has a great outlet, and she deals with a lot of shit in her life. She’s such a sweet person that just wants love, and she definitely deserves it. She doesn’t get enough from some of the places she should… lots of heart to hearts. Like I said, I love connecting with people.

Sunday was a day with the family. Lauren’s absence was noticeable, and I don’t think I filled the space to its entirety, but I think it was good enough.

Something that I recently admitted to my mom is that I think the Main Cup is the only place in which I have felt truly celebrated, and that was kind of a tough thought to accept. I have always had an immense love for my family, and like I said I’ve always grown up kind of in someone’s shadow without it really bothering me. I don’t need to be center of attention all the time, I just like appreciation.

I shared with mom that I’ve always been in the shadow of my sister, through no one’s fault. I’ve just always been quiet and reserved and she has fit in better with the extroverted side of the family. Most of the time when Lauren’s missing from family events, the first question I get is “where’s your sister?” like I’m not good enough to entertain them in the same way.

I don’t want to paint a woe-is-me story about my life, because I have been blessed in so many ways. I’m just saying it’s not always fun to grow up in someone’s shadow.

But Main Cup has been different for me. I’m a different person. I’m more confident because I’ve learned that people like me for me, that they give me a chance because they want to, not because they know my sister. That they aren’t comparing me to her, let down when I’m not as outgoing. It’s given me a sense of self. Of finding who I am with fewer influences.

I love my sister. But I’m happy to be discovering who I am on my own. Why I love me. Why others do too.

Love

 

 

Bloody Bags and Muddy Shoes

You are the gentle thumb sweeping across the back of my hand.

You are clutching my fingers in your hand, the reassuring squeeze.

The goosebumps of a warm rain on a cold night.

You are emanating love.

* * *

It was a strange and beautiful weekend. I learned you didn’t think too much of yourself, that you really were scared because of what girls had done to you in the past. My hurt hurt. You need to know what I think of you, drunk and sober. The kindest I had ever met. The most beautiful soul to experience. I want to love your pieces back together.

You must have hit your head pretty hard because you told me you love me.

I was running around, wishing for clones as I searched for your dog, searched for a bag of ice, searched Google about head injuries. 

I borrowed your clothes, a simple “this is what I want” smile crossing your face. Like you’d found peace you didn’t know I could give you. Like everything was as it should be, with a bandage on your bleeding skull and a beautiful girl in your baggy clothes.

Cleaning your wound, purging my own. I didn’t sleep a wink, and I’m glad you woke up. Though you should’ve let me take you to the ER. 

You were appreciative the next day. You called me your little nurse, and I couldn’t help but smile.

You wore a horrible suit for a themed party and you loved it, exclaiming “I’m getting married in this!” Tina turned to me and said “don’t marry him if he wears that.” I blushed because she thought it would happen, like she knew his love for me. 

Appreciative, apologetic kisses tickled me all the way home. I slept.

Chirping Birds and Sunday Mornings

My eyes are heavy with sleep and dried mascara. This morning I woke up to your snores, shoved off to the side of the bed, shoulder to shoulder with you, fighting your dog for space on the bed.

I was groggy, as is usually the case when I stay at your house, but a small smile twitched to life on my lips. I closed my eyes again and rolled over, lulled back to sleep until the sun breathed life into the room, slipping over us like an added blanket. You rolled over to me – not far, since I had a tiny portion of the bed, and you held me close, falling back to sleep yourself with me as your security blanket. Your ease melted into your breaths, my mind too aware of your consciousness to drift off itself.

You shifted, I followed, I moved, you held on to me, an endless swaddling of each others’ comfort, magnetic skin melded together.

As we began to wake, we murmured to each other, gently warming up our voices. Murmurs turned into kisses, eyes closed, finding a forehead, a neck, a cheek, a shoulder. Skin was salty and plentiful, our clothes on the floor like forgotten present wrappings. And I nuzzled into you and you smiled, your eyes shining brighter than I had seen in months, since the night your drunk eyes ogled me in your clothes. And you kissed my forehead in appreciation.

As the morning drew on, our murmurs grew louder and the sheets became more rustled, limbs twining and tangling together with kisses, tickles, and loud smacks. Eyes alight, smiles bright, and laughter so lighthearted we might as well have been flying.

You’d climb on top of me, bearing your weight on me in calm, like a massage against my skin. I’d try to get out of bed and you’d pull me back down, back to you. And when I conceded, which didn’t take much more convincing than your manhandling, we were pressed against each other, belly to belly, your hand gently grazing my back. I opened my eyes, found skin to kiss, and pulled back to look at you. You opened your stunning eyes, and I told you how distracting they were the night before (and always). You, who rarely accepts compliments without fighting them, smiled and stared because you didn’t know what to say. Your lips demonstrated all that you couldn’t say.

The morning’s tranquil energy turned fun and flirtatious, and I didn’t want to leave. I said I’d leave if you got up, and you promised you’d stay there forever, pulling me into a cheesy, be-proud-of-me-I-said-something-cute hug.

I rubbed your back, lulling you back into a sleepy daze, and memories of the year before spun through my head; I had been here before and I longed to be back there.

As I laid there with you, I thought to myself what a wonderful Sunday morning, and why can’t it always be like this.

 

 

Some Days You Think So Much That You Write So Little

I can’t get your smell off me today, just like I can’t get away from you. No matter how hard I try, you’re always there. Your cigarette smell hovers over me, a poltergeist. Or is it the soap? The scarcely familiar smell of your house that I sometimes miss when I’m not there? That rugged and homey scent, the one that wracks my brain for a better name than wood, peace, and sunshine. Normally when I leave, you don’t exist in my head – you just don’t fit together. But today you followed me.

And I didn’t know what to do.

 

Gale of Regret

I’m one of the last few people at the bar again, my head slack in one hand, the other gripping my whiskey. I’m so tired. I can feel the weight behind my eyes, heavy on my face. If only I had just gone home sooner.

I had never wanted to stay home. I ran as soon as I got the chance. And now I’m sprinting back, as if that will make up for my early departure.

I remember the days we yelled at each other. We weren’t a broken pair. I was young and he was harsh. He pushed me because he loved me. But I didn’t want his motivation. It wasn’t mine, it was his. And so I fled. I left him. I left them. It was enough to make me run away. I couldn’t stay there anymore, in that beat up, broken down old house. I had seen enough sunrises, wasted enough cloudy days in the fields. I needed to be somewhere new, somewhere they couldn’t find me. Somewhere they couldn’t force their motivation on me. I needed to find myself, my own motivation. And when I stopped running, I met the love of my life, even though she doesn’t know it.

I remember hearing the news on the TV, and it barely crossed my mind, what it could mean for me. For him. Until I got the call. My beautiful, strong mother. Alone.

My strong-willed father. Gone. Off to war. He’d already done his time.

I should have been there. I couldn’t even take his place. I can’t tell him what I have accomplished without him. Not without him, just without his pushing. He was always in mind. He became my motivation. The driving force behind what I thought I needed to do for myself.

And now he’s gone.

I loosen my fingers from the glass, slide off the stool. And I go. I keep running. Except this time, I’m coming home.

 

Fiction inspired by The Lumineers’ Gale Song.

Side note: It’s been so nice to get back into any sort of writing that isn’t academic. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the need to write, to tell the unwritten story of someone sitting inside my head.

I have grown a new appreciation for The Lumineers because so many of their songs inspire me to write scenes that appear in my head because of their ballads. Truly inspiring. Even if it’s nothing special or dripping with talent, I feel like I am liberating someone that has been pressing on my mind, desperate to get out. To be heard. To be understood. It feels good.

Thank you for allowing me to do what I love.

Autumn Rain

The sky is gray again. Maybe I could sleep all day. You’d think my hollow chest would allow me to float – somehow it’s drowning me in my own bedsheets. You’re with me wherever I go. On the leaves that trickle down on the wind. The click of heels on concrete, your red high heels you used to wear when you wanted to dress up and pretend we were rich. I can still feel you on my skin. Your warm cheek on my chest. Your bare stomach under my own. I curl into the blankets a little tighter, knowing I can’t let myself think of you anymore. But I’ve been trying to forget for months. Cigarette smoke drifts in through the window, and I feel my chest caving. I glance out the window at the waving red trees. The colors of fall inspired you. People walk by, their clothes drawn tight to them. There must be a storm coming. But a storm is already here.

Fiction inspired by The Lumineers’ Slow It Down.

Summer Vibration

The heater hums, the air is thick in my lungs, and I’m slightly sticky from the dried sweat and grease from a night at work. We’ve added new items to the menu, and it’s been a bit of a process.

I’ve come to realize I’m very much in love with this summer. There are plenty of situations that frustrate me, but there are more reasons for me to be jovial. I am young and still trying to figure myself out. I’m exploring, as I should be.

I’ve grown close to new people (tonight I spent an hour at the bar having a heart to heart with a coworkers boyfriend). I’ve simply fallen in love with the quiet nights spent on the restaurant patio.

Somewhere inside me I feel the need to move on. There are exciting things in my future, and I’m looking forward to where I am going while also trying to take in all I can while I’m still here. “So many lives you leave behind from the paths you don’t take.” (Probably not word for word, but it’s Atticus)

I’m also nervous for the future, all the paths I could choose, which will be the right one for me. I’ve always worried.

But for now I am in love. I’m in love with everything I have, I am. I can see how people get stuck here. But I will not be one of them.