She doesn’t know why she can’t stop. Can’t stop inhaling, can’t stop worrying at the scraps of life. Her teeth are too sharp in her mouth.
She wonders how it is inside those damp, pink caves of other people. She’s sure it is softer there. At times, there have been kisses when her pointed tongue has darted inside.
Sometimes it seems like the time to catch her breath has been trimmed too short: a bad haircut. However, she is not, and has never been, the type to leave the barbers in tears. This girl swallows, promises herself life will grow out. But she is still waiting for the ends to soften.
In the mirrors of her dreams, feathered bangs dance on the first breeze of spring.
One night she finds a boy and takes his hand, pretending that perhaps his palm is a swatch of the finest silk which she can drape around her. She folds it gently and tucks it away into her pocket. She is terrified that maybe she will spill something and the red will blotch up like drunken wine on cheekbones.
Neither of them says a word. The walk home takes a long time without conversation to sharpen their skates. When they arrive at the door she feels sure she will need to explain, or ask, or invite. She opens her lips to do so, and he leans forward.
His face is softer than anything she has ever seen before. She has never kissed a blond boy. The wisps of his fringe tickle her nose.
When their lips meet, she is suddenly transported to Aberdeen, 1997. She is sitting with her best friend and they are listening to Placebo and drinking red wine, while her friend’s mother washes dishes in the other room. They are talking about bohemia and her friend giggles, and suddenly everything is soft and downy. Her kiss is like cherry blossom gusting on the breeze.
When they pull apart they are almost afraid to look one another in the eye.
This isn’t what she wants. She doesn’t know how to say no. His skin feels like pebbledash yet his lips chafe velvet. She knows she is melting, but she feels more like the churning innards of volcanoes than caramelised sugar. She tries to make her mind quiet.
When he comes, he howls inside her.
She doesn’t know why she can’t stop. She wishes she could be left alone by everyone; she wants to lock her skin away and promise it no more probing. Her soul feels like helium inside a leaking balloon.
He doesn’t call, and she feels like her heart is breaking.