I woke up today, brushed my teeth and sewed my heart onto my sleeve.

You told me you liked it there best.

I haven’t told you that it hurts when the wind and your callous words scratch at it because beauty is pain, right?

Sometimes, I think that love is pain too, but you haven’t broken the skin yet so I must only kind of love you.

Like how you say I am kind of right some of the time and kind of wrong most of it.

This morning you told me that I am the definition of ordinary, never falling into extremes but muting myself out in subtle grays and wide eyes.

You said I’m not ugly but certainly not beautiful, not stupid but certainly not smart and not wrong for you but nowhere near right.

I believed you.

You drew my outline in chalk on the street today.

You bit your lip when you were done and said it wasn’t your masterpiece, but you were saving that for when you had enough experience to know what you were doing.

I didn’t tell you that I think art is best when you’re lost and looking for an answer, not sitting on your heels and dangling the solution over everyone’s nose.

I think humble art is beautiful in the way of virgin hearts and flowers in thorny bushes.

But I didn’t tell you because I knew you wouldn’t understand, I just knelt down and traced the shape of my hand.

I wondered if you were waiting to love until you had enough practice to know what you were doing.

I think I’d rather have a clumsy love than a rehearsed one, but that’s probably only because I’m tripping all the time.

We had lunch at a café this afternoon while you scheduled your next five years.

You drew in your college years and your job and your making-money while I tried to pencil in my name along the lines that separate the days.

You didn’t notice because you were too busy planning how many hours you’d need to work until you would have time to be happy, how much money you’d need to have until you could afford to laugh.

I was just silent as I touched your hand lightly and traced the veins that crawled up your arms to rest in the crook of your elbow.

I had to wonder if your blueblood was as cold as your words and if I swam in your veins if I would ice over like I do when you stare me in the eye.

You’re too busy to do that often but I still shiver when I think about it.

My stitches fell loose today when I was walking home, and my heart slipped off my sleeve.

It sounded like a song when it cracked against the pavement, the kind of music that makes you cry without knowing why.

When I bent down to grab it, I noticed it had landed in the middle of my chalk outline, right along the curves you’d drawn for my fingers. It looked beautiful there, nestled in my chalk-grip and I smiled for the first time since my lips had frozen against yours.

I realized one-for-two wasn’t fair and that if you were going to put your heart in a maze and use me as the lab mouse.

I wasn’t going to wrap a bow around mine and put it at your feet.

So I dusted off my scratched heart, slipped it in my jean pocket and took the toe of my shoe to erase the murder-blue outline.

It didn’t seem right for it to be there when I felt inexplicably alive.

That’s when I realized I’m not bleeding so I must kind of not be in love.

And your heart isn’t beating so you must kind of not be in life.



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