Love, in no particular order
V is a person of many talents and many pains. They grow up somewhere in between generations and in between sexes. The happiest moment of their young life is when they shave their head and sing Justin Bieber at the high school talent show. The crowd goes wild and V looks more like a boy than a girl and cements the plausibility of their role as Justin. The girl V has always loved at the expense of themselves leaves after that, and V spends a year finding a way to follow. V has that gift, to offer love so strong that it rearranges geography. V goes from singing in subway platforms to taking beautiful women to hotels with a rooftop pool for the night. V is the somehow-loving, strange lovechild of aging intellectuals and wins the fight for being allowed by grammar. When V calls their mother crying in the middle of the night, V’s mother genders V correctly in her half-asleep state for the first time. V has parts of their body cut away in excruciating procedures just so that V can bear to be. V meets the love of their life many times and is abandoned. V goes to therapy to self-reflect and set boundaries and overcome an eating disorder. V saves their best friend’s life. It is not the only life V saves. One day, V falls in love with the most perfect person in the world. Her name is N, and they meet online. V and N live in cities one hour apart but V sends N postcards of poetry and N returns the favor. One night, V drives to N’s city and they go on a date. V can’t believe that after everything, they have found their dream girl. V knows they’ll get married and have a life filled with music and poetry and seafood. V knows they deserve love.
X has the most beautiful eyes you’ve ever seen. Slovenian. Catholic. Dad-was-the-church-caretaker Catholic. X is often seen wearing their middle school gym t-shirts, something about an obscure saint presiding over sports. When X isn’t wearing tattered t-shirts and acid-wash jeans, X wears things they make. A button-down with Sesame Street characters or a hammered metal ring. Eccentric. Like the Catholics. X’s dad still lives across the street from the church, in the Slavic neighborhood. X’s dad’s place is a shithole. It’s the upstairs apartment on top of some relatives from the Old Country. They all have onomatopoeic nicknames. X’s dad’s place has holes in the rafters and icons everywhere. He offers beer but is supposedly off drinking. X brings him small gifts as if to apologize, but it is X’s dad who should be sorry. One summer X’s roommate shoots herself in the head on the side of the road. X is shaken up. X gets arrested. X takes the name, “X”. A name of self, short for something that sounds like a magician’s name. When X meets a girl, their first kiss is a moonlit frenzy at the dam where the kids go to do drugs. It’s raining and the girl takes her college sweatshirt off. The kiss tastes like stale cigarettes and leftover teenage love. X tells the girl that they’re not really a girl themselves. X holds the girl’s hand all the way home. X becomes a muralist in the home city they love so dearly. X never went to college but has their art exhibited at the local community college, which feels better. X meets many girls. One day, X creates a new social media profile to announce their move to California. X knows they made it.
D presses a flower every time she picks up the girl she loves from the train station. D likes girls with long hair or boys with scars on their chests. D fancies herself as an effeminate boy when she goes West, like Brokeback Mountain. D skateboards in the middle of the road like she’s better than she is. D has dresses hanging from the ceiling of her room that she doesn’t wear but used to and might again one day. D’s lover gives her an acorn as a token of affection and she puts it on her upstairs shelf next to the acorn she already has from an older woman in Spain. D has always wanted a pickup truck and she wants to fuck in the back of it. In the fall, D lies with a girl in the back of someone else’s pickup and can’t stop smiling. D’s little brother’s name is also D. D takes him to the postal museum with her girlfriend and the girlfriend gives little D a book of stamps for Christmas. One day the Ds are in the back with their mom driving near their parents’ winter house. D knows it’s icy up there in the mountains. D’s mother pulls off the road because there’s been an accident. D and little D and the parents see the passengers bleeding in the street. They call for help but don’t know what ends up happening to them. D has poems on her walls from her girlfriend who’s in the hospital. D paints over them with the help of a friend because they hurt too much to look at. D loses two floors of literature that day. D only likes to have sex with lots of eye contact, and sometimes against the basement wall of the warehouse where she lives. D cooks as an act of love. Once she crafts a tiny pig out of marzipan and gives it to her lover on New Year’s Eve, like in Swedish tradition. D writes poetry every day on little scraps around her room. They blend in with bills and letters and community college brochures and even her dead dog’s collar. D runs into her girlfriend one day when she’s out of the hospital. D smiles her boy smile and shrugs her boy shoulders. “I have a pickup truck now.”
L Scully (they/them) is a queer writer and double Capricorn currently based in Madrid. Find them in the ether @LRScully.
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Art (cropped) Consuelo Hernández CC4.0