Tag Archives: Friendship

This Is How We Say I Love You

By Cat Taylor

Not-quite-yet hungover,
sprawled on couches,
beanbags,
beds,
pronounced like “drink some water,”
and “we’ll go to Waffle House in the morning.”
We’ve never stopped wearing our hearts on our sleeves
still sewing them back on
where our parents would have stuffed them in a drawer somewhere
When someone uses the wrong pronouns –
on purpose
That someone doesn’t get invited anymore
and that’s how they know we love them

This is how we say I love you
All-the-way hungover
Speaking it so quietly
it just might be a prayer
I can never remember how they like their coffee –
but I ask them every time
Knowing we’re all just
lonely lighthouses on abandoned islands
showing weary travelers the way home
offering cigarettes and sweet tea

This is how we say I love you
All verbal hand grenades over a game of Monopoly,
near brawls over subs vs dubs
I love you
Spoken so often
that sometimes it comes out as
laughter turned quiet because it’s starting to hurt

This is how we weather the storm
Love baked into every casserole
(we’ve got vegan options, too)
Barefaced and laid bare
no need to hide here
No “positive vibes only” drivel
Bring your bad vibes
Your frightened and trembling vibes
We’ll love you through those, too

If I haven’t told you today,
I love you
We’ll go to Waffle House in the morning

waffle house.” by shil is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0?

Soup

By Maddie Fay

maybe it’s the way i was raised
or maybe it’s my cancer rising
but i only ever feed myself well when i am feeding someone else.
i mean,
my love language is soup.
which is why my whole house smells like curry, garlic, and ginger,
why over the course of a couple of days i spent twelve of the hours i had meant to spend sleeping
pressing blocks of tofu,
individually sauteing seven different types of vegetables in fresh herbs and aromatics,
and really testing the capacity of my roommate’s food processor.

I don’t remember when I first started believing that everything that feels good is either dangerous or morally wrong, or, most likely, both, but I imagine it started with the church.

I don’t remember when I first started believing that love looked less like a fairytale and more like my best friend falling asleep in my sweater with her head on my shoulder, so close I could smell my shampoo in her hair, but I imagine it started with her.

I once spent six months eating cold unseasoned green beans out of a can for almost every meal because suffering for suffering’s sake feels righteous when you believe that you deserve it. I once spent ten years pretending not to be a dyke for essentially the same reason.

And lord, am I ever. A dyke, I mean. A big, masculine dyke,
Like,
I have always been more king Kong than Fay wray.
Like,
I have always been taught to be afraid of what my hands can do.
I remember big fat dykes depicted as monstrous,
Only able to destroy,
And I wonder if that’s why there are so many of us who make things.

i keep a knife in my pocket most of the time because i have been backed into enough corners to be cautious,
but mostly,
i use it for fixing things and cutting fruit.
danger is contagious and i do what i can to stop it from making me dangerous,
I do not want to be a frightened and frightening thing.
but one time a woman i really liked tried to wake me from a nightmare,
and with ghosts still circling my head
Before I was awake or aware,
i punched her in the face.
When I opened my eyes, there was fear in hers and blood pouring from her nose and no amount of apologizing could unbreak what I had broken.
she kissed me and told me she still trusted me and it made me remember all the bloody noses that i had once forgiven with similar ease.
So i told her i was thinking of moving to oregon and that work was getting busy and that i would wash and return her tupperware before she left in case it was a while before i could see her again.
i hugged her at her car
and she held me for too long
like she didn’t even notice all the sharp things where my skin was meant to be.
i spent the next six months
bleeding venom and avoiding handshakes.

And I don’t mean to say that I am violent,
Because I am not,
I do not yell
Or degrade
Or intimidate,
I never sleep punched anyone else before or since,
I would never hit a friend or a lover while awake. I only wear spikes to make people think before they touch me, I am all flight or freeze. But violence is not the only way to hurt someone you love. Shutting down or running away can break a heart too and blood all looks the same when it’s drying on your hands no matter where it comes from. So now I try to protect the people I love from everything dangerous, including getting too close to me.

i keep a knife in my pocket most of the time,
but on days when my body remembers in the present tense,
i take a knife from the kitchen block instead.
i cut up limes and sweet potatoes,
drown out the sirens in my head
with bubbling water and simmering oil.

i’m still learning what love looks like,
and i am so tired of breaking,
and maybe this is why every time i see someone beautiful i fantasize about building them a house,
maybe this is why i make soup.

i am only easy to love
on the days when love is not a life raft.
i have never been afraid of fire
but i am frozen earth
full of ancient seeds,
already there are new green things pushing up through cracks in me
and i worry that if the ground were to thaw,
softer things might take root,
and i am afraid that anything delicate might not survive in me.

It’s not that I am wholly unable to love recklessly,
I run whole body into the ocean every time i see her,
emerge breathless and invisible and singing praises to nobody at all but the stars.
The last time I wanted to die, I took an overnight bus to the ocean. I held my breath and dipped my whole body beneath the surface of the sea,
tried to practice drowning but instead,
by mistake,
fell in love all over again with the waves and the moon and the stars,
All the beautiful things too big and too powerful for me to hurt accidentally.
I am a soft foolish thing,
All alive and longing.
I have loved fully
What I always knew I could not hold,
My tiny heart so full of moon and sea
And every mountain
That every place is now both a home
And not.

I am not as afraid as I used to be,
I have done a lot of therapy,
And maybe one day I will sleep next to somebody breakable without feeling guilty.
And I think maybe one day,
I will trust myself enough to love the softest things that love me in the fearless way I love the ocean.
And I don’t know when that day will be,
Or whether you will stick around long enough to find out,
but i do know that i want you always to be warm and full of good things,
so in the meantime,
If you want it,
I made you some soup.

hang out with me

By Maddie Fay

“hang out with me.”
a text i send a lot,
a little demanding,
but always sincere.
it means
“i like your company”
or “i miss the way
your nose crinkles when you laugh,”
or “there’s this new thing
i want to try,
and i want to try it with you.”

my heart stretches years
and states and oceans,
and i try to keep the people i love
as close as i can.
because their brains are magic,
because i like their insight,
because so many of us are
lost boys whose only real family
is each other.
because waking up
to another friend’s picture
on a facebook memorial post
becomes an avalanche of every
phone call i should have made.

“hang out with me”
always means “i want to see you,”
but sometimes it also means
“i don’t like the way
your new boyfriend talks to you”
or “none of us have seen you
around lately”
or “you’ve stopped eating again,
and what kind of friend would i be
if i just pretended not to notice?”

and we don’t have to talk
about anything you don’t want to,
just get in my car,
i’ll pack us both lunches,
and we can drive to the mountains.
i’ll remind you of the reasons
you are good,
the ways you have touched my life,
and why i’m glad to have you in it.
we’ll make really exciting plans
so tomorrow can stop
looking at you and licking its teeth.

i won’t pretend my love
can save you,
but some things
you can’t do on your own,
and i will help you find help.
some days you are
the brightest thing about this world
and it would never be the same
for losing you so soon.
if everyone who hurts like you
dies from it,
there will be no one left
standing at the other side,
reaching out an arm
for those who come next,
and the world will be left
to the people who inherited bridges.

i like your company,
and i would miss the way
your nose crinkles when you laugh,
and there are still so many
new things you have not yet tried.
so come over,
or call me; i’ll come get you.
you can play with my dogs,
we can count the stars.
i can lock up my knives,
you can sleep in my room,
just hang out with me
a little bit longer.