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Rated: 13+ · Poetry · Experience · #2318235
A year's review.
What does it mean to write like a journalist? I assume it’s the opposite of what I do as a creative writer. To write “truth” and to write the “facts” and to make it nothing human or true at all.

Well, then, let it be fact that I find myself with a broken back on a prayer rug on the floor. To describe this year in the simplest terms is to say it was tiring. It was exhausting. It tore the muscle and flesh off my bones with visceral ruthlessness and maximum efficiency. I let the passing months disrobe me, peel the skin off my shoulders, day after day after day and watched as someone new emerged from under the mess. Metamorphosis final and completely unrecognizable, I turned to face the world with only a quarter of the excitement I once had for it.

January felt like a new beginning. Like all New Year’s Eves, I pulled the new hour towards my body like a man starved. With midnight would come something new. Seconds to minutes to years. Dreams would come true and, perhaps, a change would erupt, something other than hospitals and dirty cities and sepsis.

February felt like heartache. It was the morning of the 6th, a Monday, I remember. I sat and listened to twelve family members suffocate underneath cobblestone and concrete, 3,000 miles and a lifetime away from my homeland.

Operations and amputations. It was only nine days into the month when I watched my mother’s cousin be lifted from the rubble. Her husband and children died and I thought, briefly, of how we could possibly tell her that if she ever woke up. My family called and I shut the phone and put it on my counter.

March felt like a frenzy. In March, I fell in love. I fell in love and I stuffed the feeling’s mouth with cotton to keep it quiet. I hid beneath my pillows to chase away dreams of soft skin and softer whispers. I analyzed my reflection and felt disgusted by the passion and the desire and willed my heart to slow down, to take a breath. I admired from afar and promised myself to not make a sound, to not dare say anything at all. In March I fell in love, and in March I promised to never do anything about it, ever.

April felt like breaking. It felt like the stitch you get in your stomach when you’re too bloated. April felt like not being able to go any further. The days passed and the assignments piled on my desk like leaflets on a tearaway calendar. April felt like resigning to the worst-case scenario because there was no better option. I turned a new age and shrugged it off—it was just another day. April was monotonous and overwhelming, tinged with the faint scent of sunflowers.

May felt like inhaling for the first time after being underwater for hours. That loud, overwhelming, deep inhale that teeters a little too closely between plentiful and painful. A kiss of life, they call it. The kiss that dispels the water in your lungs. But when they kissed me it was akin to poetry, instead. A lyrical caress, a rival to Sappho herself and they didn’t even say a word when they leaned in to kiss me again that next morning. I smiled genuinely for the first time in months. Their name echoed through my head every day of every month after, and it is the single sweetest melody I have ever sung.

June felt like an adventure. I found myself in the center of a field of rolling tulips and breathed. June felt like new beginnings, and I let every bit of it sink and soak into my skin, imprint onto my body.

July felt like love and flying. Literally—I took eight flights and went to two weddings as a bridesmaid. And in my friend’s car, stuck between feeling overwhelmed with the love and overwhelmed with the secrecy, I swallowed every attempt at coming out.

“We’ve all changed,” she said.

“Not like this,” I told her.

“You can say that about anyone,” she shrugged, and put the car in reverse. I looked out the window and at our best friend in her bridal gown and shook my head. How silly to think that I could do this now.

August felt like falling into rhythm. I landed in New York at 6:30PM on the 8th and didn’t look back, at least not at first. I settled into their bed and let their warmth overtake me. I let the summer take us wherever it willed, from rainy-day karaoke bars to warm nights with our skin sticking to each other as we sat and smoked on the library steps.

September felt like something. It felt like something I cannot tell, but it felt like something horrible was on the cusp, balancing on the horizon. I walked everywhere on edge. September felt like something, and it felt like something awful.

October felt like an earthquake. It felt like the rug being torn from under my feet again. The joy of traveling internationally for the first time in years held no torch to the fire that Israel ignited in Gaza. We went home somber. We hid. We saw the doxxing trucks and watched as incompetence bred confidence on a college campus I’d once made the mistake to trust. I dressed in all black every day of the month in mourning. I did not think about anything else but the death of empathy, and watched as another child lost a limb a stone’s throw away from my birth town.

November felt like nothing at all. I can barely remember it. I cannot remember anything.

December felt like choking. It felt like rushing against a clock you know you will never beat. It felt like heart palpitations. It felt like not being able to breathe again. But December brought with it the feeling of renewal that every impending New Year’s Eve does; and with it I found myself pulling again, a midnight hour, towards my own body. I do not learn for I am a foolish woman, but I will pull this year just like I did the last. I must believe something will change and that it will be better.

So, I pull. My arms burn and it becomes a great effort that leaves me weak. But this time when I pull, something pulls back.

“What a way to start the New Year,” you say.

I smile. It’s small. It’s almost nothing at all. But it’s there, and so are you.

What a way indeed.
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