"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


the halo effect

the halo effect

Ok.

There are days I want to take back. Imagine the peach. 


The time spent on bathroom floors. There is a feeling. The way it feels to be in the backseat of a car and it’s almost one a.m. and you want to go to bed and no one is listening to you and your throat is thick with peach schnapps and it’s the way the grocery store you grew up going to looks like when you should be asleep and how you wander up and down the greeting card aisle picking up sentiments penned by strangers at random to read because anything is better than going home and – 


breathe. 

pause. 

I’m going to pat my pockets/rub my eyes/count to twenty. 

I’m still here.

 
Ok.

There is a feeling. 


The peachy summer. Italy, 1986. Silk scarves caught between sticky fingers and cat eyed sunglasses and muscle cars built for a quick fuck. Who cares if the engine rusts after fifty thousand miles? Drive until we hit the sea and then get out and swim until the brine rubs us raw. When the sun kisses the water (and there is soft path of yellow from the shore to The End) we go ashore. Soft yellow apples and white cheese drizzled with honey. I keep these days, folded like love letters in linen pockets. I almost forget but then it’s wash day and I’m fishing them out of the hamper and smelling the perfume – kerosene and sweet cream. There is something sweeter on the days written with sun stained sweaty salt and foreign words spoken slowly.


I recall the scratch n’ sniff greeting card. 


I love you smells a lot like genetically modified lavender. 


I return home, as I always do, and end up in the aisle. I close my eyes and the conditioned air almost reminds me of the summer I spent braiding thick grape vines into a nest. Pretty things grow thorns because they know they are pretty (a hardness to protect the tender flesh of fruit, of petals). A breeze.


The peach, overripe, splits in my palm. Juice slides down my forearm. 


I’m eighteen and splitting my knees open in a parking lot. There is the sharp hiss of jesusfuckingchrist. There is a feeling. The way skin lets you know it’s broken. The miniscule twang of stitching pulled apart, the sloppy relief of the fabric which had been pulled taut to make the separation happen in the first place. I bleed for four days but I refuse the staples. The blood, oilslick and brown with loose gravel borrowed from parking stall 11 at the Goodwill, pools in the hooks of my ankles in the shower. I peel back the skin and see the ghost of bone. If you think about the rose, the vine, the coconut you know this is backwards. Humans were built wrong.


With my hair tucked behind my ear, he tells me I’m sweet. I’m his favorite word backwards and in a different language. The way it sounds when someone you love mentions the name of someone you almost know but not quite. Wait, is she the one? Is he the guy who? Remind me, please. Their existence is desperate to be known. I have to know. Don’t let me forget. Don’t change the subject. Yes, it does matter. Don’t let me forget anything ever again. Ok? What do you mean Ok?

Breathe. 

Pause. 

Bring it back to the peach. 


jesusfuckingchrist. 


Everything but the almighty  stone will rot.


Megan Russell is diving headfirst into her twenty-somethings. This liminal time in her life is mostly taken up by 80s pop music, tracing shapes into velvet, and falling in love with the feeling of sun on her face. Instagram: @megruss

Karena

Karena

Girls Don't Play Football

Girls Don't Play Football