Purple Rain

Open the window please, I feel sick
We swerve smoothly between the yellow lines.
He hits 80 and it’s a small neighborhood.
Calm indigo night envelops me in a cradle that does not comfort

Snapping a photo of my best friend contorting her mouth into a goofy grimace
My tense smile hides a tired, deep ache—or does it?
No one seems to notice.
My heart pumps wildly and I pray the useless water in my eyes will dry up and take the soreness of this year along with it.
Purple syrup oozing from a plate of pancakes threatens my clean white jeans

I sit at a booth in the diner with her, my best friend.
Study the faces of the other patrons and wonder about their sweetest and saddest memories.
I’ve always been drawn to things I don’t understand.
I am supposed to enjoy this, but there is a cold hand pressing down on my chest
and as I laugh it stops me from laughing too loudly or breathing too freely.

Truly I am just eager to fill this trench inside me.
Its construction began without my consent.
Right around the time I noticed that girl in my high school French class

Intoxicating mosaic eyes
Fluid confidence,
A silver nose ring to top it off

A girl who made my stomach plummet
Because I knew it meant one thing and that one thing was the wrong thing

Ma I’m confused
My back is hunched slightly and my spine is curving down matching my eyes that
are lowered to the ground
The wicker chair holding my frame creaks as I shift uncomfortably
This is the same body I have inhabited for over 17 years
Why am I no longer home.

How are you feeling today?
I respond to her well-intentioned folded hands as I tell her I feel the same
And the same…
And the same

How was the session today?
I answer as I stare, unfocused, at my mother’s brown curls
I feel bad.
Still bad
Not good

The words roll out like glass marbles, gathered up easily. Stored in the musty drawer—second from the bottom.

Suddenly I have secrets
And not the fun kind

If I got through calculus
Then surely I can solve this

But silence is a sickly, slithering creature
Biting me in all the spots that are tender

So I speak
And my best friend knows
Her mouth melts into a smile of reassurance.
The trench doesn’t fill up but some grass grows instead
And then some gerbera daisies

Look forward
Gripping the sides of the door I brace myself
Gritting my teeth,
Tenuous hope

Okay guys, drop me home

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