Storybook

I haven’t learnt much

never had a brain for retaining

everything fades soon enough

but I know two things:

everything crumbles if you look at it for too long

and we were never meant for here,

these intertwined hands were never meant for anything more than desperate clutching.

We were not designed for gentleness

not us

either dead or storybook villains

confused and angry,

or lost and helpless.

I will say they’re not entirely wrong,

I have spent half of this life aching for more

aching for comfort

unsure where I am supposed to fit into this world

when none of the holes seem to fit me,

none made for this body that yearns more for the girl who ignores her than the boy who won’t stop speaking.

So I only grant myself the privilege of looking at you when you are looking away

afraid of what you might see if you look back

afraid I might crumble if your eyes linger too long on the pores in my skin

that’s what these queer bodies are built for;

love and tragedy,

the gentle silencing of falling in love just long enough to get comfortable before one of you is tugged away.

We are more beautiful falling apart than we are falling together.

But still,

I am sorry to god

and to all of the writers who need me dead for their art,

but when she asks if I can stay, all I can respond with is ‘yes please’,

and when she looks at me

I hesitate

but I always look back.

I always look back.

 

Words by Isabelle Richardson

Illustration by Sascha Tan

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