Learn My ABCs

A is for arson. Inhale the fumes and breathe out the fire within her. All it takes is one spark in the right direction to set the world ablaze.

B is for box. Her personal hideaway. She moulded her world as she saw fit, closed herself off from the rest. No one knocked, anyway.

C is for contradiction. That’s what she is. Walking, talking contradiction. Sweet tooth, bitter pill. Hot and cold like a fever that was never going away. Black leather on brown skin. Soft skin over a deadened centre. Always at odds with herself. She is the eye of the storm, one with the chaos that surrounds her. There are layers to her that she didn’t want peeled back. She is not who you think she is.

D is for difficult. If her life was a video game, she would be the big bad. The final boss, the queen of mean. Good luck beating her to the prize.

E is for experience. You can’t expect things to always come easy for you, her mother told her. You’ll have to take the road less travelled, learn things the hard way. Sometimes that was the most effective way to learn. Do your best and God will do the rest. And though she didn’t personally believe in a God, she took her mother’s word for it. Baby birds eventually leave their nests and build their own, after all, but God knows what would happen between that.

F is for friendship. Oh, the relationships she forged—some hurricane sturdy, others so flimsy a house of cards would have held on for much longer. She was grateful for them all.

G is for gravity. Get your head out of the clouds, she thought to herself, and take a long, cold, hard look at the facts. If she ever once let herself drift away, there will be no turning back. There was nothing poetic about it, just reality.

H is for hubris. There’s a thin line between self-preservation and self-centeredness. She gets what she wants and she will not take shit from anyone. There will be no more taking her down. She will not be stopped. Not anymore, ever again.

I is for infatuation. She knew she was in too deep when she saw him in almost everything. A phantom glance, double take, at a passer by on the street, followed by the sigh of relief when she realized that it was someone else. The M&Ms she popped in her mouth—red, blue, red, blue, red, brown, blue. She convinced herself she was only imagining things. Then, looking in the mirror, she wondered why her lips had taken on a subtle shade of gray.

J is for jack of all trades. She wanted to experience everything, and so could never settle for just one. Jack of all trades, master of none, so they say. But she’d retaliate, better than a master of one.

K is for killjoy. She hated being one, but she couldn’t help it. Jealousy is a disease, a product of insecurity. In hindsight, there are better ways to deal with this, but since when has she ever thought things through properly?

L is for language. Small talk. Philosophical musings over drug-laced fumes. Conversations coaxing to a stop, only to begin again. Every day is another poem to write, another story to tell.

M is for mystery. Because those who are heartless once cared too much. What goes on in that pretty litter mind?

N is for nitckpicking. She was always one for the big picture, but sometimes little details gets in her way, and the questions who, what, why became a unbroken loop in her head just as she tucked herself to bed.

O is for the otherworldly. She meant to say other side of the world, sixteen hours away and six hours ahead, but call her egotistical, otherworldly fits her like a glove.

P is for people watching. The official word for it was sonder: the feeling of realizing that everyone—strangers on the street, your best friend sitting next to you, arms grazing, the bus driver, the retail salesperson working the 9 to 5—lead lives as complex as one’s own. NPCs, but with a legitimate life story instead of inane, repetitive dialogue. A strong part of her would like to walk up to them and strike up a conversation, give them a hug, anything goes. Did you know that the brain collects faces for dream fuel? They stay with her even if they don’t remember.

Q is for quality time. Lying back on the hammock, the sweet summer breeze against her face. Life is what happens when you have other plans, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be allowed to stop once in a while to enjoy the view.

R is for running. Out of words, out of time, out of lines. If she stayed in this room any longer, she will drive herself insane.

S is for secrets. There will always be something that she will keep for herself, something the world will never know. No light will be shed upon it. It was like living a double life.

T is for trivia. The little chinks in a personality, the million facets of someone, anyone, was music to her ears. Run-on sentences. Double texting to the tenth power.

U is for umbrella. Ever useful and practical, this little thing. Protects you from the downpour so that she doesn’t miss out on the world. Bit of a bitch when it flips inside out, but everything has their limits. Nothing is that perfect. And she thought to herself, this is so much better than a box.

V is for venom. The words she speaks, thoughtless, careless. She wondered why people stuck around for so long.

W is for work in progress. If she could some herself up and the rest of her life into three words, it would be that. That was the beauty of being human. You are never quite done becoming it.

X is for . . ? Strange how a single letter can be reused to define so many things. Kisses, buried treasure, porn. The world knows no bounds.

Y is for yesterday. She will be so much more than who she was yesterday. Butterflies don’t leave their cocoons only to be sealed away in a glass case, frozen and admired, and neither will she.

And Z is for the zillion things she’s been through. A zillion lies, a zillion smiles, a zillion tears, a zillion miles. And she couldn’t wait for a zillion more.

(Art by dadouX)

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