5 questions i ask myself often

words by jill desmarais

art by raviya

1. How am I supposed to grow after loving someone? We would break ties and act as though we’d never see each other again; how cruel. I want to remember how it was to adore them. I want to see them at the supermarket six months later, my eyes all glossy and small; a dozen clementines in my basket. I would ask if the stars were aligning for them, they would ask if life was expanding for me. I would say good-bye without crying, but rush out into the parking lot and drop to my knees in front of my car. Because clementines are their favourite fruit and I still buy them thinking I’m coming home to them.

2. What am I to do after the death of someone I’ve known my whole life? I would be at the baggage claim in my hometown airport, tears crawling down my cheeks. I would be thinking of how Nana used to fix me white toast and watch the game shows with me when I was home with a fever. I wonder where she is and if she sends the monarchs that graze my backyard everyday. For now, I will paint the sky with our memories and wear the ring full of citrine that was once her’s on my left pinky.

3. Will I ever heal from my teenage years? I’m still bound to my 14 year old self, so haunted by her memories that she didn’t want to live to make new ones. She wanted to exist as an angel, grazing the Pacific coastline. I give homage to myself at 16 years, so repulsed by everything that she carved the word ugly into her cheek. How much pain can a young heart survive? At 18 years old, my answer is “Almost anything imaginable.”

4. Why do I feel everything so deeply? Next thing I know, I’m drowning in my own tears. When I get depressed, my whole body is engulfed in heaviness; like a weighted blanket I can’t seem to pull off in the morning. I’m colourblind in those moments. Red is a bloodstain, orange is the colour of my hospital wristband, yellow is the sun that doesn’t shine anymore. On the other side, being an empath is a blessing in disguise. I see a person and exist with them. I’m the girl who will stay up all night with a person and drink wine coolers with them on the rooftop, even though they only just stubbed their toe.

5. How long will the summer last? Sweat sprints down to my ankles and air-conditioning is my cherished friend. I’m a different girl each season. In autumn, I am tender and familiar. I have no foe, summer is already gone, so I feel genesis. In winter, I’m dreary and mellow. The kids down the block make snow angels on their lawn; the onlookers attempt to get a rise out of me. But I stand tall like the snow. In spring, I’m light and sweet. I get the hiccups more often than not; I am and I feel grounded. In summer, I’m fierce and electric. I’m too strong for my own good. I yell to some God that I’m worthy of love and all love holds for me.