The Lonely Ones

The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton

Book: The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kelsey Sutton
A Closed Door
    It’s not over.
    All my feelings
    rush up inside me,
    a thick, burning river.
    A hand holds my hair
    and I see there’s a mess on the carpet.
    â€œBathroom,” I manage.
    â€œShe’s going to hurl again!” someone shrieks.
    They step back
    as if I’m a bomb
    about to explode.
    Someone helps me
    up the stairs.
    I throw open the first door I find,
    stumble into the darkness,
    turn on the light.
    Instead of a toilet
    I see the boy from New Orleans
    pressed up against the wall
    and the lips of Mary Mosley.
    She steps back,
    annoyed at the interruption,
    their mouths pink
    from stolen kisses.
    Matthew stares at me,
    his hair ruffled and adorable.
    Suddenly I need to throw up
    for a completely different reason.
    I turn and run.
    â€œFain, wait!” he says.
    There’s an angry exclamation from Mary,
    the sound of Matthew’s pursuit.
    I rush past Anna,
    realize she’s the one
    who held my hair
    and helped me up the stairs.
    I move too fast
    to stop or speak.
    Even without a destination
    or escape plan,
    only one thought,
    steady as a drum,
    beats through me:
    I wonder how anyone
    ever thought the
    world was flat;
    I feel it spin beneath me
    as I totter off balance.
    Stumble into the kitchen,
    reach for the doorknob
    that leads to the backyard.
    A hand catches hold of my arm,
    stops me.
    â€œFain, wait!” Matthew says again.
    I slowly turn to face him,
    a joke with my puke-covered shirt
    and throbbing heart.
    â€œSorry you had to see that . . . Mary gets intense sometimes . . .”
    he weaves together
    an explanation.
    I am a parrot or a canyon,
    only capable of echoes.
    Something in my face
    must make Matthew realize.
    â€œYou thought . . .”
    His words stop short,
    too hard for him to say,
    harder still for me to hear.
    He swallows,
    eyes dimming
    before they dart away.
    â€œWe’re friends, Fain,” he says.
    But no.
    He is not my friend.
    My friends arrive with the stars.
    I walk away,
    and for the first time
    I don’t turn around
    when he calls my name.

    I wake on the grass,
    my skin made of ice,
    everything else numb.
    I have a vague memory
    of holding a phone in my hand.
    Now something is happening all around,
    voices and shadows arguing.
    Tyler is here,
    his words sharper
    than all the knives in Mom’s cupboard.
    Arms wrap around me
    help me
    guide me.
    I tell the blurry faces
    how much I wish I had their arms
    before all this.
    They put me in the car,
    whisper soothingly,
    bring me home.
    They tuck me into bed,
    put a bowl by my head,
    say they’ll see me in the morning,
    retreat until only one shadow is left.
    A distant part of me
    recognizes my sister,
    as though I’m standing on an opposite shore
    peering through the fog.
    â€œWhat happened?” she whispers,
    draping a blanket over me.
    â€œYou can tell me the truth,” she says.
    But the truth
    has been trapped inside me
    so long
    that to let it out
    would be like vomiting again.
    So instead I say,
    â€œI hate how loud you snore.”
    Dana blinks in surprise,
    and before she can respond
    I turn over,
    succumb to the dark.

The Morning After
    The sun is my enemy.
    I focus on the pain
    in my head
    so that nothing else
    can make its way in.
    No memories of yesterday,
    no thoughts of today,
    no worries of tomorrow.
    I sense that I am not alone,
    roll onto my side.
    Dana gazes at me
    from across the room,
    without a trace of
    disappointment or judgment
    in her eyes.
    She looks at me differently,
    as if she’s really seeing me
    for the first time.
    After a minute she says, “I’ll get some nasal strips.”
    It’s so unexpected,
    it takes me a while to respond.
    â€œThat would be good,” I finally say.
    Without another word,
    Dana gets up
    and shuts the curtains
    to block out the morning light.

The Hole
    There is a hole
    in my chest
    where my heart

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