It’s my story too

Joe. The first man I have touched who isn’t you. The thrill of it will not leave me tonight, laying here with my hands resting under my belly. I will allow myself the thoughts that have crested in, I will let them wash over me, because it is just hormones, and I’m lonely, and he looks enough like you for this to be okay.

I have not desired sex since you died. And yet I have been saturated in it all the same. Your affair, it permeates my life, it settles over my sleep, and flares throughout the day. I have re-read Maggie Valentine’s emails a hundred times these past few weeks, it is like I have my hands on one of those illicit novels we used to pass around in high school. Except this time I’m in it somehow, it’s my story too, even when I only appear in the shadows.

I am jealous of you, Ben. I am angry and jealous of your second life, this other life you lived so fully without me. Did it feel like that, the first time? Did your finger pulse when you first touched her? The way mine turned to an electric current tonight? Did you back away like I did, but continue to feel it, just the same? That inexplicable, intriguing something. The realisation that there is so much more happening under the skin than we are ever aware of. Do we all come to this awareness, eventually? Are we all just waiting our turn to betray each other? Have we betrayed ourselves first, by settling for one kind of feeling, when there are so many other worlds waiting to open up inside us?

Fuck. I don’t want to understand this. I don’t want to see how easy it could be.

How long before you pursued it, this something? Did you fight it, or did you lie in bed next to me, and roll the memory between your fingers, did you play it out across your skin the way I am now? I have my hand between my legs, it is the first time I have done this in years. The sin of it sits tight in my chest and throat, yet the heat feels like some kind of preparation. My fingers move in the slowest of circles, and I close my eyes against their pattern, and the heat. Is that what happened, Ben? Did you solidify the experience by coming against an image of her face, did this imprint on your brain so that one little spark turned into an explosion, and there you were, burning away at its centre? I can see Joe’s face now as the waves begin; I have my hand on his lip, and it isn’t you as my orgasm is wrenched out of me. I do not even bother to stifle the guttural cry that comes with the release. My body has betrayed me for the first time in my life, and I feel a kind of triumphant terror as my eyes re-adjust to the dark.

It is just the hormones. I am flush with pregnancy hormones. It is nothing else, and it is not some kind of understanding. I do not understand what you did, Ben. I do not forgive what you did. We are not the same.

~ Anna, LOVED


For my last post of the summer, I flicked to a random page of my first manuscript. A little game to see what I might have forgotten. But oh, I remember writing this 😉



They are my stories

These are not suitcases. They are my stories. I carry them with me, yes, and at times – at 2ams and altitudes – my shoulders slump with their heft. The weight of past mistakes and all of the leaving. I spin the world backward, these times. Searching with my finger across the whirring, blurring globe for home. Are you nostalgic? she asked me once, and I said yes, as I understand it. I think writers, necessarily retrieve. I meant to say that memory matters. The past matters. But those words belong to another, so I left the thought behind.

I do – at times – have to turn myself around.

But these are not suitcases. I do not come with burdens, see. I arrive lush with autobiography. Stories spilling, swimming. I had a farm in Africa. I stood trembling at the door. There was a moment, just before. I sobbed and smiled. Here. And here. And here. I thought-. He was-. She was-. They were-. I was-. He sang in my ear. I shouldn’t have. I did. I came twice as he-. I saw the most-. I travelled to-. It made me feel. This is the … happiest I’ve ever been. Yes! I remember everything.

I remember every thing. I carry it all, swinging, dancing. Hands out, even to my sorrows. I never wanted a calm waters life. Though I waded through his once or twice. Just to see what it is to be light. And I found it heavier than I’d ever imagined, to carry no one thing at all.

Here, let me open for you now. These are not suitcases. They are my stories …


(Remember: Don’t believe a word I say. Just the way I say it)

♥ HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear readers! Here’s to all the stories in 2018 … ♥







The exact equation

You know what else is funny? How the ache is so strong, you think it will never go away, that something set so deep couldn’t possibly fade. Then later comes along. At some point – later you no longer feel what you used to feel.  And when you think about what you came through, you can’t remember just when that ache went away. It didn’t feel gradual; it certainly didn’t get easier one specific day or time. Two months in, you were just as likely to be sobbing on a Friday night as you were when your heart was first split open. Still. At some point it wasn’t there anymore. At some unidentifiable moment, it all slid off you. You were no longer sad. It … he .. was gone. What was the formula? What was the exact equation of distance and time to take you where he wasn’t?

I need to know this. Because I’ve carried this bright, new sadness across the ocean with me. I’ve put the distance between us, once again. So how long before time meets that distance? When? How long before I stop feeling like there are strings playing under my skin, a mournful dirge that pulls me down?

Back when it ended, I listened to that music on repeat, it was my constant refrain.

Am I really back there now?

~ El, What We Have Left

tinkering …

Beautiful stories

I used to try so hard to find the right words to reach you, Mack. Always searching out the perfect metaphor. So many love letters typed out, all of the things I couldn’t say directly. My mouth used to fill up with everything unspoken, sometimes there were so many words crowding my tongue that the only way not to choke was to spit them out, to siphon them through my fingers, and down through the computer keys toward you.

What did you do with all of those midnight emails I sent you? Did you print them out, did you return to them when you came close to forgetting? Did you ever slide my confessions between the pages of your favourite book, keeping my words with other words, too? Did you ever do that, Mack – to keep me close to you?

M, your Valentine.

My sign-off, always. When I wrote out all of the things I couldn’t say. When I tried to resurrect streets and temples for you. Trying so hard to make it all rise up around you after you went back to that other world. Words as breadcrumbs, leading you back to the bars and parks, and hotel rooms that were our altars. Those places of worship and exaltation, covered in cigarette burns and red velvet, and so much better in the dark.

The myth of us, Mack. I laid it out for you as if it were historical fact.

You said once – You write beautiful stories, Maggie.

History is written by the victors, I replied, too softly for you to hear.

~ Maggie Valentine , Loved


… and then comes the hangover …

Of sticks and stones

The other woman, too many birthdays, opportunities closing one after the other around me. I have to admit that none of these would have been enough to keep me away. The desire to be good would not have won out – I would have come back to that twice next month. Eventually. In the end, we were always going to survive a metaphor.

It was only ever going to be reality. In the end.

The last time I ever saw you – turns out, I lied to us both. This is what I have learned since then, what I now know better: the body has been much maligned by the idea that words are more honest than a beating heart. My body always knew better.  Every confession it ever made, those trembling revelations in your arms – that was the most honest I’ve ever been.

Ignore my words, Mack. I was afraid of sticks and stones back then. But I once wrote the truth across your skin, and I need to believe you can feel it now. I need to believe that even when we re-write the story, our bodies remember. That leap of faith made when hands reach across the widest of chasms.

And how sometimes, Mack, we nearly make it.

We can dress up in someone else’s clothes, we can recite lines fashioned from other mouths, and decorate our promises with beads and silk, but these offerings only last until the candles burn down. Love is what the body remembers.


(Oh, how I loved you)


Now the words are memories too. Embellished, redacted, turned about. Which is more real? Knowing what to say, or how to say it? Was the story better then, or now? All I know is it never really ends … #Loved