December, you devastate me yet again.
Each glossy morning is met startled awake by a spine aching from the weight of yearning for something to curl against.
There are dreams I wake from that leave me already spent for the day.
The lucid kind in which I get to live out the fantasies wandering the innermost corridors of my mind are my favorite kind. Some dawns, I wake up feverish, my hair stuck to the back of my neck, from having been ravaged by the type of lover one can only ever meet in the imagination. Their hands, a film left on the edges of my dream, coagulating like blood; I finish myself off before going back to sleep.
In others, I conjure up my own stories and fairytales, lives in which I live a simple life, a happy life, where I write all day and tend to my garden during breaks, sometimes finishing off a joint for creative purposes before heading back to my laptop inside. In the evenings, I pour a glass of wine in the kitchen and play one of my favorite records while getting dinner started for the person on their way home to me.
Sometimes, it’s just me—alone, but happy—walking around Paris, carrying bags full of books I purchased at Shakespeare & Co. and looking for an outdoor table at a cafe to sit down with a notebook. My favorite dreams are those in which I stare out to the Amalfi coast at sunset, I am wearing a red dress before the dozing off of the sun always.
But December, with you arrives the cold, and with it the quiet, the still, and with it the thoughts that turn dreams into a kind of horror.
Sometimes they’re reels of things I never wanted to live again. Weary I wake from having to swallow my burglarized virginity and store it back in that dark, dusty, web-filled corner on the shelf my hands never reach for, my fingers grazing the names of other thieves. It stands stacked right next to the penchant for violent men it spawned, their heavy hands, violets bloomed on my ribs and on the fleshy part of my arms. There, also sit the times I couldn’t differentiate love from pain; how much could I take, what would it take for me to finally leave? Covered in even thicker film, is my inability to forgive myself, but we won’t talk about that, there are quieter spirits roaming around making themselves known.
I tune them out with the bird who has made a home of the tree right outside my window. I’m not sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was a mockingbird calling out for a mate. Around 10 each day, I drink my second cup of coffee and listen to it with an envy resembling rage. This bird with a tiny fluttering heart, with a body so fragile, so defenseless, feels like my nemesis. How dare he sing like that, when I can’t even tell you about my hauntings?
My mother tells me she’s afraid of me, and not because she finds me threatening, but because she feels like she does not know me at all. I am always biting my tongue from having to keep from telling her that she isn’t special in the sense that no one really does. (December, allow me to share with you in the lowest of whispers how sometimes I can still feel the monster’s hip bones digging into me on the precipice of where it all went so wrong.) I wonder what my friends and other people see when they look at me. I’m just the conjured image of all I choose to show and choose to hide. If I peeled it all back, could they still look at me? Is it still love when the person you love is someone you don’t know at all?
Humanity has the audacity to synonymize itself with compassion, lamenting the wreckage of things—take the Cathedral of Notre Dame—as if skin and clothes weren’t hiding all the ruin that could exist inside a human body.
There are things that come visit to make themselves a home for sleeping season, like the barren trees in winter turned to mausoleum, their skittish shadows coming to life, there are ghosts everywhere pressing themselves into my bones.
December, I love you.
December, you’re so goddamn beautiful.
December, you’re my favorite month.
December, nothing hurts quite like you.
You devastate me into a paralyzing stupor.
Sometimes, when I’ve got writer’s block, I go on drives into the city. I park and walk around the tree-lined streets in the museum district, their branches reaching for each other across walkways and lanes. Never do I fail to think about how even plants long for connection; to wonder if they can feel undone by something as simple as touch. The thought devastates that I am more alone than a fucking oak.
When I’m feeling especially masochistic, I drive by the apartment where he’d spread my body, right there, on the living room carpet, kiss and lick me all over, finger fuck me, until my pleas to feel him inside of me turned to screams. I can still see the lick of his top lip when he’d watch me crawl on all fours to his feet and order me to look up at him.
His touch was wildly intoxicating. Back then, I would have committed (and did) all number of sins to feel that mouth, that grip, that whip of his belt. More than that, I was addicted to the way he made me unashamed of, not just my body, but of who I was and what metaphorical weight I carried. No amount of words in either of the languages I’m fluent in could ever suffice for the high of feeling so seen by another human being.
Maybe all it was were my branches reaching, less lonely in the canopy, even if all we had was what little sunlight escaped through the stolen moments.
It could have been love, and for the sake of all sorts of creative and artistic endeavors, I will call it that. We both claimed it, calling it beautiful, but my mascara stained pillowcase each time he left me to sleep alone to go home to her liked to remind me it was anything but. Even when I chose to tune its preaching out, there was no silencing the humming, the buzzing of wasps circling the hive hanging on the eave outside: You’re nobody.
I cruise by, Arctic Monkeys playing, and wonder about who may live up there, now. I imagine a woman with a heart softer than mine. The light in the kitchen is turned on. Is she cooking for somebody? The wet tendrils of her hair soaking the front of her robe, her legs smooth, freshly shaved for him. Every inch of her body lathered in lotion. A record playing. Her outfit on stand by. Did she try it on and change her mind three times? I hope when he rings the doorbell there is a bottle of her favorite wine in his right hand, I hope he’s romantic and has another left handful of flowers. I hope he grabs her firmly, parts his lips, and kisses her in a fashion wholly catered to her. For her sake, I hope it’s organic. I hope it’s real. Whoever lives in my apartment, now, deserves better than what I got.
I remember the night some part of me decided that for the rest of my life he would be who I thought of when I was in bed with someone else. For years, he was. But December, I fell in love again last year with someone who was even better than us at keeping secrets. December, I shared things about myself he never deserved to know, all because he taught me what a gentleman looked like, and fuck knows I have trouble recognizing them on my own. I asked him to love me, begged him to kill me, all because I wanted to know what it was like to be ruined by tenderness for once. And I was. The words he said to me, the songs he played for me, his voice, the way my name sounded coming out of his mouth, spooled through me like thread for months after he left me for someone else.
December, can you keep a secret? The truth is I don’t know if I’ve ever actually been in love with anyone, or just infatuated with being devastated.
For all my declarations of insecurity and self-loathing, I am comfortable alone, I much prefer it that way. Some would say this echoes of acceptance.
I’d rather the casual lover, the easy lover, the ‘call me when you want to fuck again’ kind of friend. My heart couldn’t bear another false god. I am afraid I can’t open myself up again.
But December, sometimes I lose myself in sick fantasies in which someone sees me and accepts me, and not just the me I choose to put on display, but the me with the fucked up heart I keep bringing back from the dead. The me that holds both the razor blade and the defibrillator. Someone who looks at me and thinks, she’s a goddamn miracle. Someone not so easily scared away. Someone who understands the hauntings I can’t tell you about here, as much as my nostalgia for fountains in Mexico. Someone as in love with my eyes, as with the demons that glow in the night on this left hip of mine. Someone not afraid to look me in the eye and ask me what wanting to die feels like. Someone who hears my response and still thinks of me as beautiful.
December, for all my fear, I still feel like there’s an endless ocean inside of me of love to give.
December, you make me forget that love is not for me.
The fact that I’m sitting here writing about it makes me feel like there’s a snowstorm over my head following me around, and December, it barely even freezes in this part of Texas.
December, you remind me my whole existence is an act of suffocation.
You bring it all out.
December, I’ve never felt so alone.
How can it be that you breathe such sorrow into me and at the same time make me believe that any day now the heavens may open up for me?