you remember dying in kensington gardens. you remember the slow beginning rush, the pull it takes for you to see how to die. how to die completely. you remember dying in kensington gardens but you haven’t died completely. the pull wasn’t enough. nothing ever was.
all their promises are just circles.
the fountain they deemed sacred. water so murky you forgot what the sky looked like. cobblestone. cobblestone pavements. the blues. the reds. the violets. statues they used to call angels. children. their bicycles with the pretty flower baskets in front. hands entwined. gold maple leaves. dying maples. his promise. nothing.
nothing. all just circles.
you tell him you feel holy; he rolls you onto your back and says you must only think happy thoughts if you want to taste the clouds.
he blows lilies down your jaw to the crook of your neck, draws more down your collarbones. from here, his lips leave a trail of fairydust on their way to your arms. he whimpers lullabies to both your wrists and asks you to forget about autumn.
but you can’t. you never tell him this.
you just let him kiss you like maple leaves don’t ever wilt.
he pretends to know his way, clipping the weatherworn map in his left hand and waving hello to the mermaids with his right. the hurricanes he leaves destroy not much else but himself and yet, all this destruction is so easily forgotten. (to be immortal is to forget.)
the Jolly Roger dotes upon him as he dotes upon you but the look on his eyes is one you know so, so well. those sapphires are as familiar as the sirens’ cries but you never tell him this.
hands so little, so brittle, eyes so rotten and lips exhausted, the boys have long ago stopped trying. you know he hasn’t. he pretends to know his way but he’s just as lost as they are; the only difference is that the seas still welcome him home.
you know he doesn’t know what that word means too. you just want to let him lean his head on your shoulder to tell him your definition of it but you’re scared you’ll be the next one to lose yourself.
there are days he asks you to cover your ears and try not to breathe too much. these are the days when the mermaids would sing of mangled fairy wings and vanished fairy dust; fairy bones that have been offered fatedly to cobwebs.
some days he asks you to sing for him yourself. these are the days when he would pierce the thought of growing up with a thousand poisoned Indian arrows.
you sing to him with the sirens’ cries in mind (again). the lagoon adapts a different shade of black, and yet the stars still shine blacker.
you remember dying in kensington gardens but you forget what dying feels like. you forget paradise.
his kisses make you wonder if the flick of his hook across your throat would feel just as lovely.
fall returns and you think you want to grow up. he touches you goodbye. you let him kiss you while all the leaves wither with the wind. hush, he smiles. hush, darling. fall returns and you want to grow up but you stay. you stay in the ill interim of his touch and your tattered grace, of his warm immortality and your mortal warmth, of the lost boys’ delusions and the mermaids’ saccharine treachery.
you dance in your nightgown and dream of bleeding to desiccation in a fairytale graveyard.
“to die will be an awfully big adventure.”
he strokes your cheek and you think he promises to take you to never—
he never really promises.
to be immortal is to forget.
but nothing is ever completely forgotten.
(you’re eighty-nine and in your deathbed and he’s in another faraway land with another wide-eyed girl but he’s still lost and dying.)
Yasmin’s note: This is fucking incredible.