are there heartstrings connected
to the wings you got slapped on your back? - belly
the first time i fell was for a boy with a guitar. he'd answer a simple question like 'what did you do today?' in the most perfect of honest ways with 'not much...wrote a new verse.' there was always the light friction of his fingertips fiddling with guitar strings, the background wallpaper for our phone conversations. we'd exchange stories...our firsts of adolescence, memorable scoldings, favorite this and that, worlds and perspectives that existed before each to the other...underscored with punchlines in a game of narrative wit. neither of us admitting that the silent pauses are smiling ones. he knew how to make me laugh and blush from across town over the phone, but couldn't look his blue eyes into mine when i darted a gaze his way. the way boys who don't wear cologne have a certain innocence, his neck was a simple fragrance of body heat and clean white t-shirt. his music was his home, the only place i couldn't reach him...though i could guestimate the chances he was dreaming about me, he checked into his own realm when he was singing. but he was humble about his passions, was always praising mine (though he knew i was crazy), and listened every time i said i'd found beauty in yet another humble place, like strawberry jam. one summer night we stood on my driveway, when, in between laughing and crickets and each other's breathing, he asked if he could kiss me. then, i only saw him a handful of times.
after breaking my first heart, my friend dubbed me 'search and destroy.' i felt that was a bit extreme of her. a boy from south carolina had perfect skin and long eyelashes that swept outwards from dark eyes. he'd tell stories of he and his friends back in his slice of white bread, america, weekends by the water on wakeboards. i'd never made friends with a southerner before, nor made anyone laugh that much before. our first night walking down the street together, i almost got hit by a car because in furrowing my brows and trying to decipher what he was saying through his accent, i forgot to look both ways. (he was asking if i'd seen 'meet joe black' but it sounded like 'eatcho blake'). on fairly uneventful evenings we'd pick up a six pack and listen to music, then he'd let me have a go on his glistening turntables and i'd give up. one night he brought me flowers, and the next night i let him down gently.
i believed being honest with my heart was fair, until months later when a complete stranger turned to me in the elevator and said, 'oh, you're the one who broke x's heart...' and i realised that hearts are not fair and square. they're beyond our control, unexplainable. they step on the toes of others, bump them from behind or laugh with chance as they land like liquid bird sh*t in your hair. they take leaps of faith while the mind is unaware, sometimes falling into pits of illusions and what-ifs. or like heavy boots in the rain, unconsciously weigh down while impressing on weaker, invisible ones stuck in the mud.
don't you wish we could choose our hearts? but wait, then there would be no drama to be had on fantastic shows like the o.c...