Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

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If I don’t think about it too much, I can feel my life begin to change. I can feel the little shifts, the moments in which I have begun to exist. I see myself in characters of the films I watch and the novels I read. For once they are not the people that I long to be, but reflect bits of the person that I am becoming. It is spring now. I am in the mood to write a poem. 

The days are tepid. I read on the sofa until my legs cramp from sitting like a pretzel. I go for runs with my mother along the river. I take strolls around the block and look for dog walkers. Nobody seems to be outside these days. There are only the birds and me. 

I pick fights with my father and the next morning we pretend that nothing happened. I play piano, those listless, little tunes from a book my former teacher gave me as a child. I remember little about her; her short black hair ended in a slant at her chin, a row of bangs cut across her forehead. She had the air of a 1960s movie star, someone like Anna Karina. Someone French. Of course, I didn’t know about women like Anna Karina back then, so I would have simply described her as strange and beautiful. 

I buy a pack of lace thongs online. When I wake up each day, I nervously check the delivery email the website sent me. It becomes my morning ritual. Glance out the window. Check on the world outside my bedroom. Open phone. Check on the arrival date of the thongs. The date does not change. I keep checking because maybe one day it will. I’ve never owned anything like that before, and there are precisely zero reasons why I should own them at this point in time. 

I dream of a boy I wish would love me. Perhaps we should call him Nico. In the dream, Nico has a girlfriend whom he cares for very deeply. I wake up and want to cry. I’ve never spoken to Nico. I don’t believe he knows who I am. And yet when I think of him, I know without a doubt that I would do anything he asked me to do. There is something about his body that makes my body feel entirely indebted to him, entirely intoxicated and absorbed by him. I don’t know what that thing is. I sit with my desire. It expands in my belly. The softness of my skin there, the kindness of my curve, breathes with my longing for him. Maybe that is why I buy the thongs. 

The time jumps forward on a Saturday night, and yet I wake earlier than usual. I am a human contradiction. It is 6:24 on a Sunday and my hometown is asleep. I crawl from my bed that only has one pillow because I do not live here anymore and I watch the purple sky, sliced by the trunks and branches of white oak trees that have grown alongside me. I let myself cling to the belief of a beautiful life. Splintered morning light spilling onto my dusty floorboards, tears of frost dancing on tips of grass.

My shoulders crack as I wrestle myself into a woolen sweater. I ask myself about this feeling: is it loneliness, or is it freedom?

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