Laura Chandra 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow

Laura Chandra 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow



this is a short story it's a magical realism piece that bro this week and I'm hoping to expand now you're dead I keep a book the journal that lives always against my skin tied tightly under my shirt like a baby against her mother it's leather is worn over the years into a dark smoothness that is a shimmer in the winter and hot stickiness against my side in the heat of the summer loose pages bound and stacked sit in chronological order on the bookshelves of my cottage bookshelves that are slowly crowding out the life of the space the stacks are my history the memories I've acquired and digested and spit back out shutting them onto the pages like a second skin she didn't know me not really and I shouldn't let her but I couldn't help myself her skin was soft her fingers enclosing my wrists her breath against my neck what do you want she asked me I wanted her I'd always wanted her but I couldn't speak she was strong physically as she pressed into me she had always been that way sure what she wanted addy she said tell me her dark hair fell from behind her ear and tickled my face she pulled it back and clipped it releasing my wrists though she knew it disappointed me to have her do both of those things I want to stay I said it was dangerous that idea I knew I couldn't but I wanted to pretend I could you can she said because she knew that I always did what she wanted I couldn't say no to her and so I stayed until I couldn't any longer those memories of her of us had been written on the pages of my journal when I left I read it sometimes the only memory I ever go back to and it speaks to me like a stranger I don't remember her not like the pages do I don't remember loving her I don't remember loving anyone if I ever did I only remember walking away because those are the memories I don't write down the ones that keep the spitting rain and damp coolness of the air had emptied the streets and I was alone on the patio of the church standing along the railing look of the shifting see I didn't invite her with words or body language to approach me and there was plenty of space to stand separately she stood close enough for me to hear the steadiness of her breathing my journal had been open but I had been nothing since taking you know and so it was filled only with the dark splatters of raindrops when was coming off the ocean and her hair blue along my neck but she didn't move away now we were at her apartment the white sheet was half over her legs sliding down her waist and she was popped up on an elbow looking at me she reached over and ran her finger along my arm like she was familiar with my body and I suppose she was after the last hours later she walked me out and they let her hold my hand her fingers clinging to me with a hint of desperation at the road I allowed them to slip away and kept walking without turning to say goodbye if you gave me a chance I would take it the wind was strong through the trees around us and I might not have heard her clearly but for the strength of her voice I didn't turn to ask her what she meant Addie she spoke again stay i paused both confused and not confused at all because she shouldn't know my name I wanted to do what she asked but I was already at the threshold the dark space I'd created and I wasn't willing to turn back I stepped through shedding memories as I did when I reached the other side it was us if her words had never been spoken I am a snake traveling through this world shedding myself on two pages they do not contain future dreams or hopes but a history of failed optimism an entire world is out there a world of people unable to do what I can being forced to relive their most painful moments over and over I feel bad for them because I'm constantly being renewed able to begin again and again making myself into what I want to be I carry no baggage no attachments and it's wonderful [Applause]

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