Categories > Original > Drama3 Reviews
This is how a poem is born.
Some people don’t have any conditions whatsoever that could possibly help them become something other than a nobody. No one cares if they’d rather be an artist than a corpse stuck in a cubicle, because people are cruel like that. But then there’s the ones who come up from underneath, strengthened by desperation and misogyny.
We have a wonderful term for that here. We call those people “Dandelion children”, because of the way dandelions seem to spring forth through the thickest concrete, break through tarmac and stone. It takes incredible strength to do that, and some people choose to admire these children, the kids who throw themselves head over heels into something without a safety line, without any air to breathe.
But there’s also the part where dandelions are considered useless weed, nothing but vermin. Ugly and hate-worthy, even though they flower the brightest yellow, like little suns. Because people get annoyed by these wild survivors that come flying in from nowhere and completely overpowers their weak, bred-to-perfection gardens. Not respectable, because no one ever tamed them and made them perfect.
I admit it. You certainly were one, but maybe not in the way that most people think. The way you picked up a guitar and said “I’m the best guitarist to ever walk this world” and everyone believed you, even though they never really knew you. Even though you weren’t like them.
And that’s just what made you so special. You weren’t the child you were raised to be, you wasted your brains out on the streets in a daze of uncertainty and self-consciousness. No one wanted to know you. Know of you, maybe. But no one wanted to come too close. Except me, then, but I don’t think you ever knew. You were the dandelion of my heart, and hearts aren’t visible from the outside.
I remember the first time you kissed me. We were eleven, soon to be twelve. It was autumn, dripping gray to the ground while the trees shot all the color they could muster upwards. Into the sky. Paying with their lives to save it, praying for the winter to have mercy. Leaves like fire deprived of it’s smoke, it’s heat.
It was so innocent, just a sweet little peck on the cheek, but I was so naive. Just because I was young doesn’t mean I was stupid, but I’m not denying that I was naive. It was a way of stopping the real world from gobbling me up like it does all the grown-ups, a way to stay a child for just that little bit longer. Even though I wasn’t.
And I knew I wasn’t the only one whose cheek you graced with your attention, not even the first. Not in any way the last. I lost sleep about it. That first night, it made me sick. I was worried that all you saw was a way to boast your reputation, something exiting. A statement maybe, just to show yourself worthy. I didn’t want to admit that I really had nothing to do with any of it, that I didn’t exactly matter all that much. But of course I knew it was true.
I keep thinking about all the things you said to me, the things that made me want to hold you so tight it hurt. The things that made me believe things for a moment, only to see me down and out a few days later. Because of course you never stuck to your words.
You told me how beautiful I was, you told me to never let anyone get me down, never let anyone break me. Out of all people, you told me that. It made me laugh, almost, because we were older now and out of the two of us, you were the naive one.
“It’s not that easy” I told you, and I let my hair hang in front of my face as I said “Because sometimes it’s harder to leave someone behind because they hurt you, than it is to take the pain and stay, because you love them”
And you told me I can’t love someone like that, you said “Tell me who made you think like that. I’ll kill them for you” But I really didn’t want to see you out cold, so I just said I wasn’t sure. Born that way. Maybe.
You used to have a hamster, his name was Manne. He lived in a cage on your dresser, kept eating paper rather than food. It was a curious thing to see you holding that tiny animal, keeping it close to your chest in your cupped hands. You held it like it was the most precious thing in the world, gave it your attention, every day without exception. I envied your hamster.
But there was this time when you made me hold the shivering animal, close to my chest just like you always did, and you stood so close. Your hands were around mine at first, guiding and guarding. I won’t ever forget the way the hamster’s tiny heartbeat felt between us, the electricity as your hands moved from my hands to my shoulders, my neck. “You’d make a wonderful mother” You said. I didn’t know what to make of it.
Back then, I knew you had a girl. She was your girlfriend, but you just kept calling her “Juliet” and the funny thing was that it was actually her name. I kind of pitied her for having such a silly name, but then I got reminded of my own and it kept me down for a while.
A week later, you told me you’d broken up with her. “It hurt” You said “But it can’t have been wrong because I’m not crying, right?” and I didn’t have anything to say, because I didn’t even cry when I heard my grandfather had shot himself in the head, and that was definitely wrong. I just held you close when you told me you felt lost and I didn’t know what I’d rather see, you happy, or you and me.
It was about that time that you started getting into drugs. At first it was just alcohol, like any teenage rebellion goes. But you took it a bit too far, and eventually came the weed. Then the rest. “It’s not bad for you, I swear. Let loose a little” Was what you told me when I confronted you about it. “I want to see you drunk” You said once, with a laugh, and I knew that you really didn’t, but you wouldn’t understand. Wouldn’t believe me, wouldn’t listen to me. You never really did.
I think It all started to end when we were fifteen, on a school-trip to an island where no one really goes except rich people with nice houses and sad teenagers with sand in their shoes. Us.
You clung to me in a way I wasn’t used to, talked to me more than ever, for hours on end. Into the dark, and even when I was all gloomy-eyed and not very funny to be around. You’d usually leave me to mind my own wounds by the time they started to show, but not this time.
“Please sit with me?” You pleaded on the bus ride home. I complied, sat down beside you and let you snake your arms around my waist, leant back against you when you tugged me closer. “I’ve dreamt about you sleeping in my arms” you whispered into my ear when you thought I was asleep, when you thought I couldn’t hear. But I’m a night person, and I shiver just before I go to sleep. Sometimes it wakes me, that’s how I know. Most people do. You do.
It was at prom, pretty dresses everywhere, penguin suits and heels and hair-do’s. I wore what I always wear. Tight black jeans and a plain shirt, no one even knew my name, really, so it didn’t matter.
You wore a dress shirt and bow-tie, blazer and slacks. You looked serene, like nothing could stop you, nothing could bring you down. Except maybe, if you kept your blazer on, you’d faint from the heat. But that was no big concern, you just peeled it off. Threw it in my lap.
I didn’t know if I really wanted to be your coat rack, stand there on the sidelines while you danced and laughed and sang. At first, I thought I’d leave it where it was and just go home, but I knew you’d come back to get it later. I couldn’t deny that I wanted to be near you, so I stayed.
Just like I thought, you came back. To get your cigarettes from your pocket, cleanse your lungs. “Thanks” You breathed into my ear, and then you kissed my cheek. That’s probably the one moment I despise the most, because somehow I knew that it was wrapping things up. This is how it ends, I thought. The very same way as it started.
Your hands were on my waist, I knew what you wanted, but you were drunk. It just wasn’t right, you’d probably remember nothing anyway. How you managed to get so wasted with all the teachers around was beyond me, but kudos to you. You were incredible at hiding it. I don’t think anyone but me even noticed. And Juliet, of course.
Because she really couldn’t deny you anything, could she? I’m not blaming her, though, it’s not her fault. You were the one who crawled into her space and pulled her with you, you were the one who dragged her over to where I was holding your jacket, just to reach into the pocket and be gone.
I used to love bow-ties. I used to adore them, but you made sure to make me hate them. You see, the first thing I saw of you when you returned was your stupid hair, then the absence of your bow-tie. You’d tied it around her wrist. And of course you had to come back to get your jacket.
Or so I thought. But no, you put it on, took my hand and you led me out onto the school yard and lit a cigarette. Looked at me through your bangs like I was some kind of mystery. When I started shivering from the cold, you took your jacket off again and draped it over my shoulders.
“I wanna die at twenty-seven” You said through a blossom of smoke, leaning against the wall and watching some mag-pies scatter trash around the basketball ground, darkness enveloping the outer peripheries of our vision, only tugging slightly at the light from the school’s windows. “I wanna die rich and famous and with nothing left to live for”
I could understand what you were saying, for once. Unlike all the times when you told me things that you never would confide in anyone else, I knew what you meant.
“Because you want to be remembered” I said, and I think you nodded. “But how’s that for an epitaph?” I asked you. “What will people say, do you think? I don’t think they’ll say anything at all”
“Why?” You demanded to know,
“Because you’d be one out of many. That’s why” I said. I knew what you meant. I knew better. “Dying young is so passé”
Then there was silence for a long while, you dropped your burned down cherry to the ground and I stepped on it when you didn’t, you took my hand but turned your head away. Another minute of silence later, you sighed, squeezed my hand and said into the night,
I didn’t know what it meant, I don’t speak finnish, and it wasn’t until later that I found out what you’d said. I only knew you didn’t mean it, maybe you did before, at some point, but not when you actually said it. It was already too late. We were beyond rescue, because we had both wandered like cats around hot soup for so long it had gotten completely cold.
I remember the last time I saw you. On a train, on my way home from my friend’s house. You’d left me hanging after school ended for the last time, not returning my calls and pretending I didn’t exist. I know you wanted to turn your face away when I caught your eye that day, I know you didn’t want to see me.
To be honest, I’m not sure I really wanted to see you either. It was like a bad script acted out by even worse actors, like lemon in warm milk. It split and soured, grew lumpy.
I like to pretend that I hate you more than I love you, things are easier that way, when I can just say you’re a dick and be done with it. No one asks you any questions if you just say the word ‘asshole’ with enough gusto.
I would want to be able to stare into your eyes and tell you how much I hate you, how much of an asshole I think you are, I want to smash your face and not feel bad about it. I want to say your name and not feel a thing even remotely resembling love. But instead I write you songs.
Bless you, dandelion child.