I want to be more. Sometimes it burns inside of me, the type of fire that feels like the last time you held me and called me beautiful and in my eyes, I thought that this type of love was enough to hold me aloft over the roughest, tumblest of days.
Like a balloon difting, a star falling, the world tipping, waves rushing up and through the sand that separates you and me and all the words we both should’ve said that cold, October night, I want to be more and more than what I am now, back bent over, searching for the pieces I lost along the way.
Youngest aunt told me to go get a cup full of snow from the early December sky and I nearly shouted in joy. That winter, my asthma was acting up but the piercing chill in the air was enough for me to feel, for the very first time, that I was breathing and not some clogged up version of myself.
I remembered seeing the slender curve of your back, how dangerous you looked leaning against that old swing set Grandma insisted we should have, though each and every one of the cousins were now big double digits age. You were always the one I liked the least, if only because your beauty made all my faults stand out more.
Around you, my acne swelled and my stomach gushed over the waist of my elastic sweatpants. My hair grew kinkier, my voice more raspy and what’s worse, you were immune to the cold that day so I could see your long arms, slender, against the white snow. Your lips were red, but it wasn’t because you bit into an apple. I could still see the boy, some neighborhood punk that the Aunts told us were too low class for our family, scrambling over the chain link fence and the way you clasped, unclasped your hands, I knew you were missing the weight of his harden, teenage frame, achingly lovely in a barren field.
Your eyes narrowed and I saw the red marks the boy left on your neck but before I could say anything, you turned and ran back into the house. I tried to catch you before we broke the thread that connected us, that one moment of hesitation and fear and jealousy and all the things I should have said, but instead, I fell and you left me sprawled in the snow as more fell around me, decorating my shoulders and the bottom of my shoes.
To kiss snow is to kiss nothing but the coldness inside and out.
Youngest aunt mixed condensed milk and strawberry syrup into the snow I hurriedly packed in the cup after you left me outside. I tried to give you some, but you hissed a death threat and turned your back to me, again.
Defrosting my toes and fingers by the heater, I shoved spoonfuls of that sweet, sweet snow, remembering the sight of your clasped, unclasped hands, wishing that someday, maybe a boy will decorate my body with his lips. The snow was so sweet, the milk and syrup mixing together to form a soft pink, that it burned the tip of my tongue and the roof of my mouth and still, I could not stop.
I pretended I was eating stolen kisses by the swing set and I did not want to stop until my stomach hurt and my mouth, from my too thin top lip to the back of my throat, was numb.