PLOT NUMBER TWO
UNDERGRADUATE LITERARY JOURNAL


I ONLY LOVED YOU WHEN I WAS A FEVER


Ariadne Wolf
Mills College

You only ever had her when you were a fever.

     And I was only ever looking for a way out.

     Freeze the frame, and leave me inside of it. Keep me there, in a moment locked forever in the amber of sunlight breaking through Oregon Fall, the air sharp—ripe with the expectation of family holidays in which I will be banned from participation.
     Fall comes too soon. [We always fall too soon. Always.]

     There was no excuse. She was five years [a lifetime] younger than me, happy, carefree.
[She was dying.]

     Should I have let her go?

     Is there someone else who understands loneliness—the discrepancy between one’s expectations of family, and of romantic love, and the reality of fallen leaves, of warm hearths and warm hearts that never open for me? I have fallen in love at least once a year for the last decade. Each lover has disappointed me, become another failed attempt to claim the familial bliss I was not born into. Each has failed in their duty to permanently distract me from what my father did to me, what the other men did to me.

You only ever had her when you were a fever

     I was a fever. I had no context and no way out. She was a fantasy come to life, a way to be beautiful and desirable (to men) and still masculine enough to survive.

     Brown hair, brown eyes. Boring. No mouth to speak of. Eyes always narrowed, always searching. Hands in pockets of fashionable jeans over ankle boots. Too much emphasis on being thin and wearing chic clothing for someone who also refused to shave her body parts.

     [I want to hate her.] There is this moment, stretched like a bridge between two futures, two different lifetimes, where she might have filled the empty space inside of me. I hover above the ground and merge with this half-life, just long enough to touch her face with my uncertainties. With my desperation.

     It is good to be insecure in front of someone. It is better to be frightened in front of someone who is also frightened. Although, in different ways. I am frightened my past will become my future, while she is frightened of the responsibility I wish her to invest in:; the family she does not want and I crave.

     She was the mirror of where I wanted to be going, once upon a time; before I realised what had been done to me. [If they don’t give you the language you will never know the extent of the damage. If you fall in the forest you will remain there, forever, stuck in a wildness everyone else will call insanity and envy you for.]

     You tell her everything, via Facebook. This is a habit with you, this spill-all false expression of apology. What you are apologising for is casting someone in a role she has made clear she does not want. You want someone to see you; you want someone to see themselves, reflected in you. You want to believe love is worth more than just seeing a new side to yourself, because how lonely would that be?

     There has to be something beyond Business. Capitalism rules the day, rules you, rules everything you have ever done except her, and can that please mean something? Can you please be a good person, even though you remain your parents’ daughter because of the nice things they can buy you?

     Can I please be good enough to love? Can I be good to those I love?

     [Well, can you?]