Original fiction written by Katherine T. I don't own any of the pictures. I do write all the words. These stories are protected under a Creative Commons license. Feel free to reblog, but please do not use them otherwise without my permission. I'm also killvia-plath.tumblr.com
A Love Letter to a Boy with a Cold in Utah
Goddamn you for the way you held my hipbones.
All I wanted for years, literal years, was to feel the wind off of Lake Michigan blowing through my hair. But now I just want your skinny arms and king bed and your DVR full of serial killer shows.
I want so badly to get in my father’s car and drive down to you, speeding through the s-turns like I haven’t got a care in the world. I want to let myself in through the laundry room, see your jeans roiling in the dryer and come in through the kitchen. I want floorboards creaking under my feet when I slip through the living room and sneak into bed with you.
And goddamn you for being so perfect every night I spent with you. For whispering about the car crash, for playing me your favorite songs, for tickling me when you got frustrated, for that last goodbye.
And goddamn you for long Sunday afternoons and Italian food and the way you bit my lips hard the first time. Goddamn you for soccer games and Christmas and calling me in the middle of the night and especially the way your fingers curled in mine, holding my hand while you kissed me. Goddamn, the way you kissed me.
I would let you get me sick. If, like you said, I hadn’t left. I would have let you hold my hipbones the exact way you always did.
There is a certain holiness with which men have learned to hold my hipbones, either like rosaries or handguns. Something to cling to in foxholes and sinking ships. But you’ve always been different, you let your veins tangle up with mine and ripped them away, again and again. And I’ve killed for less, fucking killed. But I got so used to the way you reopened my scabs, and I became so fond of bleeding out.
What was I thinking, to crave a boy I miss ten seconds after he’s pulled air from my lungs and run? But at least I know I’ll never love cigarettes at the same time as you. You are cancer enough, you make me spit out my own mortality in sharp bloody gasps when my lungs come loose.
I carved articles of sedition into your spine, I called from the bathroom floor at four o’clock in the morning, I begged for five more minutes and turn them into fifteen.
And goddamn you for not missing me until I left. And goddamn me for leaving. I burned every bridge I’ve ever crossed to come to you, and then I ran.
But I can’t get over the way you held my hipbones like they were exactly what they are: only tissue, only skin.
Twenty Four Thoughts I Had Within Twenty Four Hours of Seeing You Again
(for carino, for everything)
I should have know a thing like this would happen.
I’ve spent months trying to believe you never existed, you never put your fingers on my spine, never pulled me closer in your sleep. I’ve spent months trying to keep the sweetness from your name, to choke on the taste dreams about you left in my mouth. I’ve spent months ignoring the fact that you still have a hold on my favorite necklace, my book of fairy tales, and a part of me I don’t admit exists.
You’re shorter than I remember and goddamn am I glad I wore heels today
Will there always be something about you, something in the way your voice almost cracks when you speak, something in the way your dark hair always looks like you just ran a nervous hand through it, something in the brown eyes you always wished were blue, something in the way I can still see my fingerprints on you?
I don’t know anymore whether I want the Empire State Building or to throw myself off it.
Do you remember the time we baked chocolate cake in my empty apartment at two in the morning, licking at each other’s fingers and giggling like a pair of teenagers?
Do you remember the night you fucked me under endless constellations and breathed into my hair that you’d never love anyone the way you loved me, and promised for the fifth time to leave your girlfriend for me? And then you stopped calling and moved in with her a week later?
I wonder how you two are doing, if you make her happy.
I would burn down this entire fucking city to draw you out of her apartment. I would burn down this entire gorgeous city to keep you warm. I would burn down this entire pointless planet just to be certain you died in the flames.
Once, you told me that you’d never been able to fall asleep with anyone the way you slept next to me and, at the time, I was fucking a boy with night terrors, a boy who forced me from him in his sleep, whose body didn’t know mine next to his in the darkest hours of the nights we spent together. But I told you I slept soundly and alone.
I was almost clear of you. I had almost scorched every bit of earth between you and I. I had almost laid waste to every street we ever walked down. I had almost racked every mirror in every house in which we’d ever caught our own reflections and smiled. And now I’m caught with a handful of salt and a thousand reasons to see you again.
No one has ever felt this way, no one has ever known what to call the way you make breathing feel like a goddamn accomplishment. There aren’t words for this, but this is the reason language was invented. I could write pages trying to explain the way oceans of red wine and forests of cigarettes and an army of men couldn’t change the way my lungs are rendered useless every time I see you.
Everyone has felt this way; we didn’t invent heartbreak.
I should have turned and run the second you slipped your fingers between mine. I should have left you walking in the snow alone. I should have locked all my doors when you came knocking. I should have run into traffic when you walked me home that February morning. I should have drowned myself in the Atlantic Ocean when I left you. I should have known your name could only mean trouble when you first said it aloud.
I should have bared my teeth at you like the carnivore I was when you loved me and whispered, “Wanna get out of here?”
I bet you’d still beg me to bite your earlobes. I bet you’d still love me on my knees. I bet you’re thinking about it right now, thinking about the things I could do to you in a dark alley. I bet I could make you explain away my fingernail marks in your back. I bet I’d draw blood.
Every goddamn song is about you and I’m sick to death of all of them.
Why won’t you let me make you into a memory, a statue to visit in a museum of failed attempts at love or something close to it? Why can’t I just put you on a shelf, why can’t I trap you between the pages of everything I’ve written about you? Why do you do this to me?
I wanted so badly for us to be each other’s happiness, to fix something beautiful and broken beyond repair. I wanted so badly to be an island, a life raft. I wanted so badly to make myself a lighthouse. But what can you do when all you’ve been is waterlogged pages and dark corners?
I should have known not to fall in love with a hurricane, but what’s done is done.
There isn’t a thing about you left to love. You tore every sun-soaked memory from me. You kept me captive with loose knots I wasn’t brave enough to test. You are still spitting battery acid down my throat, turning me monster, rewriting basic history. I don’t want a thing to do with you.
You looked like a mess and a half, but all I wondered was if I could take better care of you, like I used to.
I’d thought that by tucking away your letters and wrapping myself in the arms of better men, I’d teach my body a way to forget you. I thought that by cutting my hair short and shedding every single cell you’ve ever touched, I become someone who didn’t know you. But I must have been born with you in my veins because I can still feel you coursing under my skin
How to Fall Out of Love With Your Hometown
Do not call him. Call your friends and family instead, pretending to be a telemarketer. Read from a script. Do not call him. Do not say his name aloud. Do not look at pictures of him with her. Do not ask your mutual friends how he is. And drink up, love, drink up.
Wake up sick. Wake up hung over on the floor of your studio apartment. Wake up alone and shaking and stumble to your open window. Do not stare too long at the skyline.
Belong to no one. Belong to everyone. Bite your tongue. Bite his ear; that’s his favorite. Just like that, love, just like that.
Wake up sick. Wake up hung over on the floor of your studio apartment. Wake up alone and shaking and stumble to your open window. Stare too long at the skyline. Point your moral compass south. Rip the magnets from both poles. Buy a plane ticket.
Do not call him from the hotel in Paris that you read about when you were eight. Read Nabokov and eat bonbons on the French Riviera with a man whose name you never knew, or else forgot. Take pictures. Keep the slides in a box in the garage, next to the ones of your parents in Spain. Remember the story of how they met. Remember how she smiled when she told you how he wished for her at the Trevi Fountain and proposed three days later. Remember how much they loved you?
Do not marry the racecar driver from Majorca when he asks.
Do not call him upon your return from Paris. Admit yourself to the south ward of a mental institution in Baltimore or Ann Arbor. Rest, baby, sleep. Let them bleed him out of you with leaches and fevers and pills and electroshock therapy. Read Sylvia Plath (her poetry, not The Bell Jar). Carve the words, “Out of the ash/I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air” into the wall of your room. Do not buy a box of hair dye. Do not dye your hair red.
Pretend that you are cured. Fuck an orderly in the closet the night before your release. Speak in tongues. Speak with your tongue pushed against your stark white teeth.
Do not call him from a truck stop in South Texas. Slip across the border and into the horror of a cartel drug war. Buy a pair of cowboy boots and a bottle of mescal. Kiss a criminal or two. Pretend to get addicted. Read Cormac McCarthy by candlelight in someone else’s bedand a white nightgown. Learn to ride a horse bareback. Bend your legs like this, cariña, and squeeze when want to go faster.
Pretend to fall in love. Pretend you still can. Speak softly in Spanish. Do not think of all the times you whispered secrets he couldn’t understand into his ear because he liked it; it reminded him of being seventeen and drunk in Puerto Rico, when his father called him a man.
Do not call him when you come home. Call this home. Change the sheets on the bed in your parents’ house that was once yours. Remember not to overload the washer because, if you do, it will leak. Find your old journal from middle school and laugh until you cry. Offer to do the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving. Do not buy the beauty magazine next to the checkout counter. Do not buy the chocolates next to the checkout counter. Drink the entire bottle of gin ten minutes after you leave the checkout counter. Excuse yourself halfway through your brother-in-law’s monologue about practicing medicine in Peruvian jungles. Throw up everything you’ve eaten. Do not look at yourself in the mirror. Do not look yourself in the eye. Don’t forget to serve vanilla ice cream with the pie, honey, because that’s how your father likes it.
Don’t let on, sweetheart.
Do not call him when the weather turns. Make plans to leave. When the snow starts, stay. Read maps obsessively, planning your next escape. Let the people you used to know see your face, pale and shockingly beautiful, in the street. Let them talk because, darling, in this town, talk is the only thing cheaper than you.
Set fire to the city. Try to draw him out of her apartment building. Despair when nothing works. Fall to the ground and beg for answers from that empty sky.
Do not call him the second you land in a new city with everything you own packed in three suitcases. Ignore your older brother when he asks if you’ll ever be happy in one place for too long. Ignore your voicemails and letters from your old friends. Sign a twelve-month lease. Learn to speak Arabic from a pretty-eyed girl in a hijab at a community center. Read the Koran and the King James Bible simultaneously. Smile at a baptism of a baby you don’t know in the old cathedral on the south side of town. Make a promise to God that you’ll start going to Mass more often. Follow through. Take night classes. Get a job in a law library and make friends with the public defendants. Buy yourself a new typewriter and start new stories. Forget to call your father on his birthday. Tell everyone that this is your natural hair color. Dream of running into him on the street years after you’ve forgotten how to do anything but love him.
Do not call him. Fall in love with someone else. Do not tell him about the racecar driver from Majorca. Kiss him, baby, and don’t you stop until the sky cracks open and swallows you whole.
What To Do When Your Boyfriend’s Asshole Best Friend Says, “Hey, Never Trust Anything That Bleeds For Seven Days And Doesn’t Die,
OR The Only Poem I’ll Ever Write About Periods.
Don’t excuse him because he’s had
at least three lite beers
and is sweating through his black button down
that his mom or exgirlfriend
probably bought him.
Don’t excuse him because he’s been turned down
by the last six girls he went on dates with
after meeting them on tinder
with a picture that’s seven years old
Don’t excuse him because
he’s usually such a nice guy
because you don’t want to be a bitch
because you don’t want to cause a scene
because when you were seventeen
your sister told you
no one likes an angry feminist
Let me explain something to you.
Every goddamn motherfucking month since I was eleven,
a part of me
tore itself to shreds
ripped itself apart inside me
and then remade itself.
So yes, I bleed for seven days
and I don’t die
You know what else can do that?
Things of legend.
Fuck, I can even
So I say, never trust anything that can’t
bleed for seven days and not die.
You know what that makes it?
So let’s see, hon,
What you’re made of.
If you can bleed for seven days
and not die.
Rip out his jugular with your teeth.
And when he bleeds for seven seconds
spit on his corpse and say,
I thought not.
Katherine Tucker (determined-in-slc)
Countdown OR How To Wish A Boy You’re Fucking Happy Birthday OR Make A Wish, Blow Me
It’s seven minutes til your birthday and I’m almost certain you don’t love me anymore.
I mean, if you ever did.
Someone once told me that everything you need comes to you in time, but what if it all comes at the wrong time? What if I came to you at the worst possible moment? Maybe I was supposed to fall in love with you that first night, maybe I should have slept beside you on a beer-soaked couch and saved myself the heartache that came hours after I first kissed you on top of a rickety dryer in someone else’s laundry room. Maybe I was three years too late. Or, god, I could still be falling in love too early. Give it another three.
It’s five minutes til your birthday and it was so much easier when I didn’t even know your middle name.
And for so long, I didn’t even think of you as someone who grew, whose heart had rings like aspen trees with marks for drought and initials carved and scared over in its trunk. For so long, you were a name on a half-forgotten list, you were the taste of everclear and bad decisions, you were a notch in my bedpost.
It’s three minutes til your birthday and I won’t say a word to you ever again if I can help it.
God damn, how did I think I could sleep next to you without humming to myself the next morning, lips tasting like pride and you? And why did I let you bite marks into my skin, thinking you couldn’t mark up my life. I should have left you in that crumbling house, I should have left you in that quiet restaurant, I should have left you in that fucking shed, I should have kissed you until I starved.
It’s one minute til your birthday and I should have told this you drunk on the first of the year:
There were Sunday mornings when we stayed in bed all day long, sunlight slowly leaking through the slats in your blinds, nursing twin hangovers, fucking like we had all the time in the world, kissing under clean sheets, and when I moved you held me closer.
Maybe you loved me then. Maybe I loved you, too.
Eleven Ways I’ve Almost Told You
When I leave your apartment with the smell of you in my hair, I feel like all of my teeth have come loose from my skull for the first time in years.
Soon, I will lay miles between us, lengths measurable in barbed wire and trenches of attrition. I will make myself an odyssey, I could make you a goddamned legend.
I did not anticipate you.
Put my name in history books, let them burn effigies of me on the street corner, I don’t give a damn. Wreck me, make me fallen. Cut my heart out and bury it in your backyard, hold me to this city.
I want to call you unprecedented, but I could have been speaking your name in my sleep for months, whispering it to the emptiness next to me. I could have been walking towards you, running alongside you for years, parallel lines since last our paths collided. I could have been charting you in the stars all summer, every night I stared up and longed for something I couldn’t give a name. You could have been written in my bloodline; this could be just the middle of a very long story.
You kiss me as if it’s fate and I won’t stop from convincing myself it is.
I don’t want to cling to you; I want to burn this city to the ground. But I have spent so many nights in beds where I felt like an invasive species, trying to force myself into the cracks in the floorboards and coming up rootless. But I have spent so many hours with men whose trajectories were so carefully planned, I could have recited them. I don’t want hope; I want desolation. I don’t want to call the way the light slants into your bedroom home.
I did not pray for this.
If we’re all made of the same matter, if nothing ever is entirely erased, then you are made of part of me and I am made of part of you and we have been part of each other since the beginning of time. But this isn’t half as beautiful as it sounds because we are made of the same stuff as war criminals and Mount Everest and the last girl you kissed before me.
I could have slurred it drunk to you on the first hours of the new year; I could have pressed it into your skin on lazy Sunday mornings; I could have spat it into your mouth that first night; I could have buried it, told myself I never felt it. I can’t do this.
When I leave your apartment, I often forget how to navigate the city streets, rushing out into traffic, perfectly careless. You could have made me invincible. You never know.
He told me he would never let anything bad happen to me, and I took that more as a curse than a blessing. I wanted scraped knees and broken bones. I wanted lost luggage and cab drivers who took the long way. I wanted missed flights, missed connections, hours spent waiting for something that never came or, when it did, was so dissatisfying, I’d wish I could send it back like a bad dish at a restaurant. I wanted unruly nephews who needed to be taught not to set curtains on fire.
I wanted to fight with him, to see if he was made of more than skin and bone. I wanted to sink my teeth into his flesh, to hear whispers in my wake at work when I wore my scratch marks like battle scars. I wanted dark strangers to send me drinks in crowded bars.I wanted to bleed from my forehead like I had when I was seventeen at a punk show and someone’s fist slammed accidentally into me; it felt as good as drinking champagne. I wanted to walk home alone on summer nights with no one to worry after my safety, cigarette clenched between my teeth, bared like fangs.
I wanted to fall in love with a man who made me forget the steps in every dance, stumble through conversation, fuck like it was a competition, and cry on the bathroom floor at four in the morning. I wanted love that tasted like first blood, that felt like a hard-won struggle for a mile or two of coastline, that rang like rebellion in my ears when I tried to sleep.
So I left him. After all, you can’t keep a hurricane in a cage.
Because You Are 22 and Afraid Of The Dark
Because you are 22 and you have been living on coffee and cigarettes for three months, go home from the bar with the boy who took two weeks to call back.
Let him put his arm around you in front of his roommates while he pours his six and sixteenth drinks. Give him your hand when he wants to drag you away, sticky eyes following from the living room. Pretend you couldn’t care less. Forget to pretend when his skin hits yours. Let him mark you up. He was taught to kiss by carnivores and he will bite bruises into you. Wear these marks like battle scars, like love. Bite back.
Because you are 22 and you sometimes feel hollow in the places underneath your skin, fill your bathtub to the brim with Epsom salt and boiling water.
Pretend this will purify you. Pretend not to care about your water bill when you find yourself doing the same thing four weeks in a row, always on too-bright Sundays when the weight of your decisions needs to be pulled from your hair. Scream when the salt enters your tiny scars. Laugh when the water burns your scalp. Sit for hours by the window with your hair drying over the radiator. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Because you are 22 and selfish, fall for someone exactly like you.
Hell, fall for three in quick succession—one because he reminds you of the first, the next because you feel like you don’t know any better. Make sure to find someone who makes you feel like your teeth are coming loose, someone who only plays winner-take-all. Someone who bets against you.
Hate that he plays at heartless. Hate that you never know what he’s thinking. Let your friends call it karma for all the ways you’ve treated kinder men. Promise you’ll be contrite if he only admits to liking you for something other than what you can make your mouth do. Come when he calls. Wake up early. Leave without saying goodbye.