ode to sixteen

i. i am standing by the water, and i’m six years old, the wind is pounding into my back. i lean into it, and don’t move a muscle, my cinderella jacket flapping in the wind. i still can’t remember when i let go. i’m running fast and i’m gonna get away, i’m gonna run all the way across the ocean, and i’m never coming back to this place.

ii. i am swimming in the ocean, i’m the youngest on my team. i’m working on my frontstroke but i still can’t figure out what you meant, when you told me to be nicer, try to come off less blunt. my arms burn and my legs ache. i put my head underwater, and i hold my breath. i want to stay there forever, where i can’t see the fun.

iii. in my head i’m flying, and i’m doing all i should. i’m your very favourite daughter, i suffer and i bitch and moan. i swear like a sailor, and that could use some work, and besides, i’m always alone. my arms ache and my legs are sore, but there’s money in the bank. and for that, someone is proud of me. i close my eyes and dream of kissing you. dream of sleeping for eternity.

iiii. i’m walking up the hill and there’s blood in my teeth. and my vision starts spinning, blink and you’re going to be thirty years old, stubborn and prideful and aching on your feet. i am walking up the hill, one second turns to twenty-five, sweaty and tired and bruised, and at some point, all i want to do is survive. just keep on pushing through.

iiii. except i’m holding your hand and it feels like flying, like the wind in my hair, my heart pumping in my chest. i don’t know what happens next, but i don’t want to wake up just yet.

iiiii. i want to dream like i have never felt heartbreak press against my ribs. ‘cause i’m still reeling from the knowledge that all my heroes are just as lost as i am on where to go next. i’m standing by the water and i’m running for the waves, and my jeans are soaking wet. i’m screaming at the rumbling sky. i want to be that person again.

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