6 of 365: Macaron

Life allows us small luxuries when our clothes start to hang off our bodies, tired and ragged after the frustration of not being good enough long enough. At times, the luxury appears in the form of a petite french pastry, or of a friend’s laugh, warming up our insides like sunshine. The experience is ephemeral, but it isn’t about the brevity of something good–instead it’s of savoring the stage.

Keep your hands out of your pockets and pull the clouds away from the sun. Let the light make love to your skin. Let its warmth remind you of the reason you breathe.

Do you need a reason to not enjoy the good things?

5 of 365: Star

There’s stardust on the edges of your eyes, sharp and glittering like ceremonial knives.

“Try not to miss,” I say, and the next thing I knew, the nebulae in your eyes darken, the starlight dances across your arm and fingers as you pull and release your bow and arrow.

You smirk at your accuracy, my mouth falls open at how precise you are; I think I might have fallen.

4 of 365: Ethnic

My skin is a cryptic shade of pale gold dug up from the center of the universe, and my hair bounces, big and blonde with dark roots growing out.

I stand 165 cm off the ground, full pink lips and strange dark eyes, long limbs and a thin stature.

My delicate hands and thin wrists paint a frail image, but my thighs are thunderous and biceps thick.

In the middle of winter, my skin has been categorized based on the lack of sunlight pouring over my body. “Armanian, Arabic, Chinese, Palestinian, Puerto Rican, White.”

Then there’s the summer, my skin darkens, and I hear–“Eurasian, Filipino, Greek, Indian, Mexican, Native American, Spanish.”

I’m neither of those, of course. I’m Dominican.

Dominican Republic is 50 shades of Black, Brown, and White. We are an entire spectrum of colors, of mixed races ever since the eradication of natives in the years after 1492, when Christopher Columbus decided to father a motherland.

My history is mixed and non-existent, written over and over, revised with streaks of white out veiled over truth. Our statues are carved out of marble to desaturate our darker leaders.

Our types of people are even worse.

Stereotypes are inescapable. My cousin sneers at my clipped, bright hair, my skinny arms and legs, how weird the color of my skin is.

“You talk White and you look Asian.”

Question marks bounce all over my face, so then I ask, “How am I supposed to talk? How am I supposed to look?”

He shrugs, standing a good 10 cm above my head. He’s been trying to build muscle, and it shows. All I see is an obnoxious attempt to live up to standards that don’t make sense.

“Just shut up,” is all he says before leaving.

I lick my lips and just scroll through my phone, thinking of the ignorance, wondering and swimming in annoyance when faced with it.

People can’t justify their micro aggressions with sound answers. I breathe.

I’m me, I’m me, I’m me. I don’t need to prove my pride. I don’t measure my self-worth.

I’m me, I’m me, I’m me.

3 of 365: Summersault

I haven’t done one since I was eight. I remember, because when I was nine my mother placed me in an after-school program called Little Shepard. The program arranged a number of trips. That summer we visited a gymnasium where I tried to perform a summersault for the first time in a while. I felt a strain in my neck, and stopped out of fear.

A boy whose sleeves spilled onto the mat offered to help, but I jumped up and politely refused.

“One more time!”

It’s eleven years later. I’ve been pushing myself for a while, pushing my feet against the mat, watching the drops of sweat that slide down my jaw, but my breath isn’t heavy with my new stamina. My shoulder aches after constantly hitting the ground sideways, but it doesn’t stop me. I want to do this.

“Come on!” I boom. My mother gives me a wary look before approaching.

“This is the last time,” she says.

I’ve been afraid of doing this since I was nine, fearing the strain in my neck. The fear solidified over the years, worse due to the extent of my experiences. My neck manages my paralysis and nightmares; it manages how high I hold up my head, how I breathe with or without someone’s hands wrapped around them. My neck collects clusters of stress. No one can kiss the anxiety away, but I don’t need them to.

I can handle it.

“Okay.” I inhale sharply and throw myself back. She helps with a push.

I roll, I crouch, I’m on my feet. My grin seems to blind her.

“I knew that time you’d be able to do it,” she praises, and walks off.

2 of 365: Stomach

He wakes with his belly facing up. He holds a pillow over his eyes, lazily swipes at the streak of dry spit at the edge of his mouth. He peeks from underneath the pillow, stomach dropping at the sight he only thought he dreamt about. He strangles a yelp, moves so fast to hide that he feels the strain on the inside of his thighs, the soreness around his arms and shoulders. He moans into the pillow. There’s a storm in his belly.

“Are you okay?”

He flinches at the voice, the deep sound of it soft and wary. He swears he’s in a shipwreck, he could die here, but his stomach flips when the voice calls out to him again, and he swears in death he could be happy.

He mumbles something.

“…uh. What?”

“I said come back here.” He pauses, peeks out and pouts. “Please.”

The voice doesn’t call out to him, but a hand wraps around his bare stomach, pulling into a warm chest. A leg swings over his own and he pushes back, his lips stretching into a smile at the small moan he hears. He finds the hand around his stomach and locks their fingers together. The storm in his stomach seems to settle.  He relaxes to the warm breath in his hair.

“You hungry?”

“Is that a real question?”

“I was just asking.”

“Uh, I could use something to eat.”

“…Your breath stinks.”

“Asshole.”

1 of 365: Dance

You reach for the dips of her curves but an alarm rings in your mind, shrieking of the new year’s incunabula, warning you these moments define all the rest. Your fingers instead dash into her sides, digging in, spider-legs running up and down baby pink cashmere, feeling along her ribs and pushing against the force of her jump because she wasn’t expecting this. Her laughter is a scarf; it infinitely wraps around your neck and stays there. You familiarize yourself with its warmth because this is as far as you go. You pull back, hold your hands up in surrender because there is a line you don’t cross. Her giggles come in short breaths. She pushes you, playfully, before messing up her own hair, the locks cascading around her face, hugging her neck.

She places a hand on your stomach, and you feel the beginnings of a slow burn at the pit of it. You hide the arousal with a confused look.

Dance is a carnal aphrodisiac, had always angered spectators with its intimacy and movement. But the dance between two people who must measure the distance at which they stand draws half-lidded gazes and gaping mouths. Your feet think it best to add more distance, because the more you look at her, the more you don’t know what to do about the hair on her lip, or the soft skin of her jaw.

Familiarity is daunting. Closeness worse. She is bold and you are not.

Your clock croaks, reminds you that everything is set, timed–everything croaks. You smile and say nothing. You think it’s better to just leave it there. Leave it there like words unsaid. Her fingers will place the strand, someone will stroke her cheek, and this dance will end soon.

Nightcrawler–An Analysis on the Writing of a Charming Sociopath

I saw Nightcrawler the night prior, and as I watched Jake Gyllenhaal pour water over his plant, my mind found itself caught in a seemingly never-ending war–is our villainous, obviously sociopathic, protagonist likable or sympathetic? Or is he, in some weird, uncomfortable way, a relatable character?  Continue reading