an

| year (masculine noun) | /ɑ̃/

This was a year of radical change. Somewhere, something broke, and I offered the universe an ultimatum: Hear me, or I will go. How idiotic and narcissistic I was to believe the universe could bend and fold to my feeble will. Who was I to plea? I ricocheted between believing I was God and thinking I was ash. What fetid sorrow. What scalding white hot madness. No, I am grey and uninspired. I am boring and unlovable. I am only half girl. Half human. I am the nothing powder of crushed white bone. I am the suffocating silver of pre-dawn goodbyes. The wet breath of winter singed by lonely enamel sun.

In 2016, I mapped the geography of my sadness and ran screaming toward the Adriatic. I fell in love, and he threatened to leave because I was self-destructive and terrifying. I had some ephemeral quality, a tenuous and unwilling grasp on mortality. He sensed it wouldn’t be long before I severed that wiry and serrated cord. And I am sorry for the times I collapsed resigned on the inky midnight lawn, in sheets reeking of cigarettes and dust, in shadowed bathrooms locked against your pleas. On the streets of Budapest, running, laughing, gasping, falling.

I excavated the rambling surface of my euphoria and found the peaks of Nordic mountains I had clawed and climbed. I found too a weathered, tufted chair and the feathered twilight texture of your hair. The yellow stuccoed walls, the mosaic window panes, the ruins of an empire, my tear drops sullying a page.

Sifting through this strange debris turned my nail beds black. I tilled and scraped. I grasped and sweat while taking stock of a year gone past.

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something insomniac with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I recently graduated with my M.A. in French, and I've spent the past two years living and working as an English teacher in France. I now work as an English professor at a university in Lille, where my students are learning to never omit the Oxford comma.
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