I fell in love with a boy in this small town. I didn’t believe in love at first sight before him- but I can still tell you the first time I looked in his eyes. It felt like some monumental moment had happened, something that would change the course of history.

Today I said goodbye to him, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

I got to meet his dog and play on his piano and listen to him play. I got to look out on the hills and valleys with him and the wind tossed my hair. We ate ice cream and listened to our music. We hugged. We said goodbye.

I don’t know if he was sober enough to remember holding me while we watched Eighth Grade, but he held my hand the entire time. And kept his arm around my shoulder.

I remember showing up after his shift with his favorite coffee. Stargazing underneath the posters outside the theatre, by his bike. It was chilly. We went to the grocery store together. He blew vape into my face in the dark parking lot; I could spend every day with him and not get bored.

And the time I wrote him that letter I wasn’t sure I’d give him- I stuffed it behind the cover of “All The Light We Cannot See”, the book I was reading at the time. He pulled it from my hands and I took it as a sign from Fate herself, and told him to open the cover. The letter I had written him, his name on the outside and all, fell into his hands.

The time he came to my apartment and we nearly had sex, but he stopped it from happening. That was good, things would have been too complicated between us.

If all this means nothing, then I’ve been played.

It’s time to let go of the pipe dream that was Leonardo – accept that I will be living far from him. I love him. I might always love him.

But I have to grow now.




The things I feel around you, I can’t describe. I could have been stressing about the world ending, but suddenly when I’m with you none of that matters. The moment we are sharing is the only thing that exists and it is beyond beautiful. It is beauty. It is the embodiment of perfection.

I hope I always remember the way you smelled when my head was on your shoulder tonight. I hope I always remember how right it felt for you to be holding my hand. I hope I always remember melting into your shoulder as you run your fingers through my hair. Your laughter made me laugh. Your happiness is my happiness.

And yet the time we have left has already been bought and sold like an animal headed to the slaughter house. It’s death is eminent. The rendezvous we had today is only a taste of the happiness I could have felt everyday.

What is most torturous is knowing how unlikely it is that I will feel this way again with someone else. And you only desired it when you knew how the days were numbered and stacked against your favor.

It will be a loss for you, to not have a girl at work who is insane for you. Not the way that I was.

The way I feel for you doesn’t happen often. What most people call love, that’s just a cheap imitation of my feelings for you.

Every second I spend in this town without you, I remember the agony you placed on me by standing me up.

Which is proof enough that whatever you feel for me, however fond you feel toward me, it won’t ever compare to the reality of you in my mind.

After the movie was over and done with, and you were in the restroom, I heard people talking about how annoying “the guy laughing in the back” was – and all it did was make my heart glow because I knew that guy. I knew him, and I had been the one laughing with him. There was pride in it, and I smiled to myself as they walked by.

That annoying laugh, I got to hear for a year at work. I got to roll my eyes at it. I got to smile to myself when I heard it reverberate through the halls of Galaxy.

I got to roll my eyes at the voice singing and take let it take my breath away. Not because it was abnormally beautiful, but because I was absolutely head over heels with that guy. That loud, selfish, unobservant guy.

Our time is up, and the argument could be made that nothing ever became of us, but to me- this was the greatest love story of all time, with a heart wrenching and gut twisting ending.

Maybe I’ll write a book about you one day, Leo. You better be prepared.



My life is on the verge of starting a new chapter – but it’s honestly more dramatic than that. I know what new chapters feel like, this is like the beginning of a second book. I know myself better than ever, about to move out alone for the first time. No more Riley to hold my hand through life – I’ll be alone. In San Francisco. No partner, no family, nothing.

I’ve got an apartment, roommates, a new job, enrolled in a university. I have no idea what life is going to be like, but I’m hopeful. Before yesterday I was just a ball of stress, I didn’t think my family supported my decision, but I got a card from my Grandma. It had a check for $1,000 and it was a game changer. I deposited it directly into my savings and that shit is not going to be touched. It’s my emergency fund. I had saved more than that, but it was gone within a week after I had to pay rent for two places, deposits.

I was terrified of moving, and then this happened. It was dramatic enough to make me, a staunch atheist, wonder if a higher power existed. I had no money, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to buy groceries and had been eating free popcorn and chips from work. For a week.

Overnight I had my savings back, that I had been working on for a year, saving every penny I could. I’m going to continue doing that, but this is such a boost.

I’m ready to get out of this damn town, I’m ready to fucking fly. Get away from my goddamn demons. All the dumb guys I’ve seen or loved or whatever, I swear I won’t even think about them once I’m gone. I don’t have the headspace for that bullshit anymore.

It’s about survival, thriving in school and at work, molding myself into a person I am proud to be. I’ll get there, I swear to fucking god I will.

I’m ready to prove to everyone who has told me that I can’t, or who gave disapproving looks when mentioned my plans after high school.

Even if I’m living off an EBT card, even if I have to get a student loan and work forty hours a week while in school full-time, I’m going to do it.



I care. Probably too much. He’s not even in my life anymore and I question how genuinely he cared about me. It’s always in the back of my head that he might have just kept me around for someone to fill his time with and sleep with cause technically that’s all we were. Maybe I’m incapable of having something casual and no strings attached. That’s what it was supposed to be.

I’m too emotionally involved. He doesn’t care.

I just need to move on..

but I don’t want to let go of how I feel.

Nothing is worse than caring about someone more than they care about you- but I feel like that sums up how my feelings for people generally play out.

That cavernous ache in my chest is back. I’m alone. I’ll probably always end up alone. The only thing worse than being alone is feeling like you finally found someone and then they just stop being around. Or they never cared about you in the first place.

Reminding myself why I’m not alright, why I haven’t succeeded, why I’m fucked up. Wondering how much of it is a choice. Could I have changed any of this? Is it just my destiny to be a loner?

I guess it’s just who I am. Awkward, dysfunctional, toxic, and in the end, alone.



No matter where you go in life, there will be somebody somewhere who is looking to entice a reaction out of you. Everybody and their mother has an opinion on the way that you conduct your life – and it’s the human condition to be negative unless we are actively working against it. So one can draw the conclusion that most will have a negative opinion of you.

The peanut gallery in your life is probably telling you everything you’re doing wrong – I know mine is. It’s good to glean little bits and pieces of it, so that you don’t lose touch with reality. However too much of it, and you might as well have downed a bottle of arsenic. It’s best to not confront these people, however tempting it might be, because keeping your mouth shut preserves your integrity. I don’t keep my mouth shut often, therefore I have little integrity left.

How am I supposed to keep my mouth shut when my integrity is being threatened? When I have put my life into my work ethic and people begin to criticize it? After I have spent a year planning my life, and the first step I take my family tells me is a bad decision? I have been trying to make the right choices – I am saving money, I am independent, I am going to college, and yet the devil is in the details because I “picked the wrong city” and they tell me they don’t support me, when that is all that I have asked of them.

I haven’t asked for money when I had to eat cold beans out of a can with a make-shift foil spoon. Or when I lived in a fucking shed. When I was walking ten miles a day because I had no car.

Or now, when I have zero dollars in my bank account and cannot afford groceries.

You can talk all that you want about my bad attitude and my resting bitch face, you can complain all that you want about me- if you do it to my face. Right now, left and right, I am hearing about people who talk about me behind my back. I’m hearing from people who feel free to text me about what a terrible person I am and all of the intricate things that they believe are wrong with me- all from behind a screen.

Say it to my face. Look me in the eye and tell me what you think is wrong with me.

Because I bet you’ll see the human inside of me. I bet that you won’t be able to choke those words out, because once you see my face and my eyes and my demeanor, you’ll realize I am more than your opinion of me. I am a complex human, I am more than what you have seen, and there is not a single person on this planet who knows every side of me.

So, Grammie, you don’t think I can survive on my own in San Francisco? That’s alright, I don’t think I can either. However, this isn’t your life. These are not your decisions to make. And I have decided that I am willing to take a little chance and see if I can. It wouldn’t be hard, it wouldn’t be rewarding, it wouldn’t be worth it if everybody could do it.

So you think I have a resting bitch face? You are right, I do. However, Allison, you would too if you had to walk twenty minutes in one-hundred degree heat to get to work, where you have to tolerate and be nice to people who pass judgement on you for doing your job as their supervisor and asking them to do the easiest job they will ever have.

So, Jarred and Haddie – you guys think I pick on you. You’re absolutely right. I do pick on you, but before you running and telling on me, I only pick on you because you are lazy as shit and have the worst work ethics I have ever seen in people. It’s my problem that I let it affect me, but you are never going to escape the fact that you have been handed everything in life and therefore will never understand the value of sweating, or a dollar for that matter.

So Leo, and Nate, and Joe, and literally anyone who has ever gossiped about me and then tried to act like my friend. You are so replaceable in my life. Have a little backbone or substance or whatever you want to call it. Why be so flimsy in your opinion? Like I mentioned above, tell me to my fucking face what you think about me. Even if you don’t, I’m going to find out what you said. People talk, as you obviously know, and what you said will get twisted into the ugliest version possible, and eventually make it to my ears. I know what you guys say about me, and I think you are all mother fucking pussies for not saying what you think to me.

People say I am argumentative. That I’ve got rough edges and a rough personality, and I’m too honest. They say that I am irrational and have some sort of chip on my shoulder. People have called me entitled and lazy and a million other things that prove to me that they have no clue who I am. If any of them had bothered to get to know who I actually am, they would realize I am one of the softest and most giving people they had ever known. They would see that I don’t have the option to be lazy. They would understand that the supposed resting bitch face that I’ve got isn’t always there.

But no one tries to know me, and the story ends there.

It’s no one’s job to try to understand me, but I think it’s hypocritical to expect anything less than the superficial unless you put energy into me.



Cavernous aching. Sickening emptiness. Lost something of great importance – again. I don’t want to have any more crushes when I move, I don’t want to sleep with anybody.

A lot of me believes no one has or will ever care about me. Reaching out to people leaves my emotional energy depleted, I become depressed, nothing seems worth trying for. Tristan mentioned that he doesn’t think he’s exceptionally kind, which makes me think that he treats everyone the way he treats me. Which is great, but I wanted to mean something to him. I want to mean something to everyone, and I don’t.

Don’t we all want to be a little special? It’s this rough realization when you finally come to the conclusion that you might even be worse than normal or regular or whatever- you might be undesirable.

I might have cared about Tristan more than he cared about me. That cavernous aching is back.

I am still as alone as I was on that first night after we left my dad as I laid on that chilly, creaking leather lounge in my grandparents game room. I couldn’t sleep. Street lamps were shining directly into my eyes, and it was the first night of the rest of my life. I was alone. I knew I would not feel safe again. I felt that sickening emptiness.

I would twist and turn, loud stretching leather kept me up, dusty blanket made my nose run.

I was miserable. I am miserable.

Nothing has really changed inside me.



When I had Tristan around, I was just as single as I am now. But he made it okay, he made it somehow acceptable to be alone. I wasn’t really alone, anytime I had the place to myself, he came over. Which is shockingly obvious now, riley is at her boy-toy’s house, my land lord has a girl over, and I’m the only one living here who isn’t with someone tonight. And it hurts. Not even just because I’m lonely, but also because I let myself get attached to him, to the way he made me feel. I got comfortable, he was always around when I wanted him to be. Now I’m in this dark room, giggling from the other side of the wall is creeping in. I’m alone. I’m just as alone as I was before, which makes it worse. He gave me this nice facade that I could get comfortable and relax, that he would be there. It’s over and I don’t know why I’m still talking to him because I know we won’t see each other again and it fucking hurts. I didn’t want to lose that comfort. I didn’t want to lose him. I was going to anyway when I moved, but this came out of nowhere. It was hard enough when he was in the accident and I thought he was hurt, but now I’ve actually lost him. But what did I really lose? Is it that comfort that I miss? The fact that someone would hold me if I asked them to? Because I have lost all of that and it’s very real, but I also miss having him around because he could actually manage to make me laugh. He could make me relax. I hadn’t relaxed in fucking years. I let my guard down and I got hurt.

After the way I had been treated by Leo, being stood up anytime I bothered to try and make plans, to have someone go above and beyond when it came to treating me right was more than enough. He fucking held my hand all night when I was drunk and high off my ass and having some bad reactions to some shit, he was there trying to take care of me. You know, I have had pneumonia and my fucking family didn’t treat me that well. He was laying on the floor, holding my hand while I was on the sofa. It couldn’t have been comfortable. It was an act of kindness that inflicted mild discomfort on him for a long period of time. He could have just let go after ten minutes and I would have been sad but I wouldn’t have held it against him. Instead this guy held my hand for hours while I was sick from all the shit I had, while on the floor. He wasn’t even fucked up. He was just being nice. Not to mention the one date we actually went on, I feel bad for giving him shit about not knowing how to tip on a card now – and I should have been more grateful, but at the time I figured he was just gonna try to get in my pants and dip like every other goddamn guy out there. He paid for dinner, kissed me, and held my hand. Am I just really easy to impress after the shit I’ve been exposed to? I think he is amazing. He’s kind, forgiving, funny, giving, and not to mention how cute he is?? I just wish I would have known what a good guy he was before. I figured he just wanted to use me.



How did it come to this? I always knew things would end, but I figured it would feel like a lifetime before they actually did. But here I stand. Graduation has come and gone, I only have three weeks before I move, and you’re leaving soon. A little too soon. Cut off before I could honestly explain how I feel. You’ve been so much more to me than just someone I slept with occasionally – I care about you. The way you smell triggers happy neurotransmitters to be fired in my brain – the way you laugh and touch me makes my heart glow. But it’s over. It’s all over and a little too soon. I care about you more than I thought I would. I care about you more than I care about most people. I trust you. You can make me relax and smile, and like, no one can do that. You held my hand all night, and you’ll never understand how much that made me feel. You’ve reminded me that I’m not a callous and angry person, you’ve reminded me that I can care about people. You have seriously impacted my life, and I would be different today if you weren’t in it. I could be my honest self around you, and so few people have genuinely seen her. I want you to know that you meant more to me than someone I slept with, and I’m going to miss the simplicity of turning a movie on and cuddling with you. I’m going to miss being ridiculous with you and allowing myself to relax. I’m going to really miss you when you move.



Everyone I talk to tells me exactly why they don’t like me. I am constantly being told why I am not a good person and then I look at girls like her and I can understand why no one would ever want me. I’m just not a good person. It’s moments like these that I have to really fight not finally killing myself, that I remind myself how many times I didn’t give in to the temptation. But is life worth living if you hate yourself and people around you hate you too?

The sad truth is that no one was around when I would throw away my belongings because I was planning on killing myself and didn’t want other people to have to go through the emotional distress of getting rid of the dead girl’s things. No one was around when I wrote the drafts of my suicide notes. No one was talking to me when I had a knife to my throat, or pills in my hand, or when I tried to drown myself. Nobody ever bothers to genuinely ask how I am. I’m not okay. I haven’t been okay. But I consistently hear from people saying that I’m a waste of their time, that they know why they broke up with me, that I am the worst person they know. It seems like everyone has the time to tell me what’s wrong with me, but no one has the time to care about me.

I feel like that’s a problem of mine. I get constant badgering of why I’m not good, yet no one has ever bothered to love me. Not my parents or my siblings or even my friends. I’m fucking alone. It’s a miracle I’m alive today and nobody realizes how close I have come to dying. Not even just dying. How close I’ve come to killing myself. I feel like I don’t have a place in the world. I feel unwanted.

I don’t need anyone to love me, I’ve proven that just by living, but it would be nice if they did me the decency of not actively trying to upset me.

Let me binge drink in the shower alone. Let me do my fucking job. Let me be the vindictive and self destructive person I am in peace. Let me be alone. I might never be happy, I’ll never be carefree and good, and you’ll never love me.

I know you’ll never love me. I can hardly find it in me to love myself.

Bare Bulbs


She pulled some old foil from a paper bag filled with trash. The paper bag had been serving as a trash can in her home – by Home, she was living in a glorified garden shed with a single, bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. She slept on a naked mattress that may have been mistakenly placed there at some point – no framework, no sheets, nothing to give intention. Beetles often would crawl through baseboards, up her walls, and greet her face to face in bed. Foil in hand, she fashioned it into a makeshift spoon – her family back home kept calling to see if they needed anything. She always said no. Ashamed to admit that her single can of beans would be opened with a pocket knife and consumed cold with a spoon made from the old seal of a long forgotten tub of yogurt. Underneath a bare light bulb, in a garden shed, on top of a hill, in a city that reeked of placidity.

His face contorted by anger, screaming something about how ungrateful they were. She hit pause on the moment, collecting herself. Just how many times had she found herself in this place; A man, a mother’s lover, threatening her safety with harsh words and violence? How many more times would she let it happen? Unpause. He grabs a cup and throws it against the kitchen wall in her direction, it was a gift from her grandma. The answer was “no more”. A sister was having convulsions in the corner, nothing had ever filled her with so much rage. No one should treat them like this. Trembling, sobbing, her older sister being enclosed with a hug. No more. No more. He had run from the scene, perhaps to cleanse himself of the murder he had just committed, yet he still yelled. You better fucking leave or I’ll make you regret it. / A threat. / The last threat. / Fucking try me, little bitch. / No response. / Coward. / Her sister’s eyes were glossed over, all but black. A voidness she had never encountered before. Running upstairs, she grabbed the first duffel bag she saw and stuffed it with clothing – she would never come back. She wasn’t sure where she was going, but she would not stay here.