“Maybe I’m just not cut out for this life thing,” she murmurs. The verdant of her eyes goes glassy, rivulets poised to spill over her pasty cheeks. The majority of her, from the coil of her untamed curls to the bluish tint trapped beneath her toenails, broadcasts desperation. 

She’s trapped inside her torture chamber of a body, this is nothing new. Somehow though, the drip, drip, dripping of the kitchen faucet, escape of sunlight falling from the sky, seem to pantomime the urgency radiating from her. We’ve got to save her. I have to save her, trumpets at me. 

“I can’t keep doing this,” she hiccups tears, converging at her chin. Her demands to the universe, god, the hazy sun, anything to make it better, to decrease the calamity knifing her nerves, gain momentum. I sit inches away, rooted by my own inadequacies to soothe her. Spindly arms wrapped around torso, she folds her knees beneath herself and begins to rock back and forth. The parallel motion swings like a pendulum, a metronome counting down to some abysmal crash. 

A Kiss of Maybe

Erin Parochka
He kissed me not unlike a sloth moving among the treetops. With mild indifference, his mouth greeted and bid farewell to mine as if to say maybe you, maybe somebody else. The casual possibility possessed him, juxtaposing the gripping fervor I infused into my everything. Dichotomy ran through me with petulant precision; I was either engrossed entirely with the task before me or blind to its existence. 

So I kissed him back like I wrote my thesis, like I calibrated my words to children; with pensive integrity and unrelenting commitment. With every sentimental embrace. I was symbolically etching “yes! yes! yes!” across a chalkboard tentatively suggesting “maybe…”

Not impossible to imagine, then, given our mismatched tempos, that I was not the only name scrawled lazily in impermanence across his mind. Surprising though, was the malignant cruelty with which he yanked me like a plug from the wall of now, tomorrow or ever again. 

When my own body was poised to pull the electricity to my pulse, he changed his casual ambiguity to “NO!” He had hummed along to my tune of love, but when death, my demise loomed ever closer, his absence sang “No!” with haunting clarity. Asking someone to come to you as you prepare to die somehow blatantly misses the point.

That woman hellbent to pay homage to her proclamations but privy to mediocre, static respect, did in fact perish. The person amenable to taking whatever “love” a man could be troubled to pass out like charity is gone. In her place, breathes a woman who is eager to accept (and give) love, nothing more nor nothing less. 

If Only You Knew

“If only you saw how it really is. I wish there was some sort of a magic X-ray machine I could hold over my body to show the truth. The truth that my body is slowly killing itself

You are supposed to be your own hero. You are the one person that you could always trust to go to bat for yourself. The one person that would always have your back. What happens when that one person is fighting itself? Yourself. 
I wish you could see the real me. You see the ‘beautiful, strong, inspiring, admirable girl.’ 

If only you knew how desperately I wanted you to see the truth. See how badly I need you. See how badly I need your support. I’m desperate for it yet I will never tell you. 

Little do you know, I cry myself to sleep every night. I can’t remember a night I didn’t. I can’t remember a night I didn’t wake up in tears because the pain is so unbearable. But I’ll never let you see that. I’ll keep being the, ‘beautiful, strong, inspiring, admirable girl’ because even if you saw the real me, you’d forget about her tomorrow. Because my illness isn’t always visible my suffering and cries become null and void. 

‘If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies. How very different our ideals of beauty would be.'”

One Breath at A Time

With Chronic Lyme, everything can change on a dime. Plans- cancelled, life-halted… Heck, I’ve had a great week. Productive, for the most part. Productive for me. I shouldn’t complain because it has been so much worse. I’m sitting here, under my heating blankie just taking one breath at a time. One. Slow. Breath. At a time. I’m just sitting here trying to stop the crushing pain in my chest and the unrelenting shakes throughout my body. Please no seizures today, please? I just hope the kids can’t tell how bad I am.

Treat Me Like A ‘Real’ Patient

“I’m sick of my heart being attacked by this disease and trying to balance and figure out all these medications; what will work and what doesn’t work. I don’t care if I’m poor the rest of my life, I don’t care if I have any materialistic things anymore…. I just want my health back and to be treated properly as a real patient.”

The Hunted

Survival demands a degree of self-involvement unlike other preening. The warning dialogue transfixes its audience of one with unyielding ferocity. Personality and warbling sing song of mind are snapped like feeble saplings. Stay. Alive. The voice of body bleats, admonishing me against joyful sustenance. Another sunrise. Another moon. The broken body takes no victory in years passed, pulse intact. Because the threat stalks on. Here. Now. I exist to be hunted.