Stepping Stones, part 1

i am fourteen years old. the year is two thousand and four. my mom is away visiting my grandpa. he has cancer. he will not live much longer. i am feeling so alone. i miss my mom. i have already decided not to return to public school this year. it is August. i am sitting alone on the porch. there are no walls; it has not become my bedroom yet. i see a small piece of broken plastic in the dirt. it is sharp. i am sharp; if anyone gets close to me my anger and sadness will cut them. i pick the plastic up. i press it into my flesh, near my knee. i drag it against my skin again and again. i am bleeding. i lie when asked what happened. scraped myself on something. it was an accident.


i am seventeen years old. the year is two thousand and seven. my parents drove me to Burbank. we carried my things up to my third floor dormitory. at some point my dad cries. he does not want me to leave home. he has held on too tightly and i’ve been afraid to leave because i don’t want to break his heart. but at the same time i am angry at him because i want to be allowed to spread my wings and fly. i want to stop being his emotional crutch.


i am eighteen years old. the year is two thousand and eight. i meet a boy. he is really sweet. i tell myself i do not want a boyfriend. i want to be just friends with this boy. in a week’s time he will be my boyfriend.

nearly eight years later

we started as strangers
became fast friends
and lovers faster than we should have
then somehow husband and wife
then parents
then strangers again

strangers who still slept
next to each other
who still loved
without really knowing how
and then we became
something worse

next it was lovers again
but only briefly
then strangers
then exes
then something confusing
without a name

then something like friends
but quickly back to strangers
and still co-parents
the only part
we’ve kept relatively steady
then we began to build

i’d say we’re friends now
but sometimes slightly more
with danger always lurking
because our hearts
have never forgotten
what it feels like to be lovers

*In response to Transformation.