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Comfortable Madness First PDF 4-13-18

“Butter,” Mom used

“Butter,” Mom used to say. “No one likes a weak character. If you tried,” she’d say, “girls are supposed to be charming. If you want to be a dancer, you have to control yourself. Butter, people are going to think you’re a lesbian.” When she found out Tayla and I were not just girlfriends but, girlfriends she lost her mind. She threatened and begged and when I wouldn’t be the girl she wanted, she kicked me out. “Do you remember how we met?” Tayla asked. In the eighth grade, I stopped eating for a week. I sucked water down and I danced until my feet bled. That was how I met Tayla. She was in the band room banging out wild tunes and I was in the gym spinning and sweating. Her music punched into my spine and tossed me up. I couldn’t stop. Voices told me to stop. Colors rolled through the room in streamers and misty walls. The floor felt too hard, too far away. I floated out of myself, but not completely. I was terrified. I was sick and weak and I spun too fast for too long. Everything went black. When things came back to me, Tayla held my head. I´d seen her before. She was the slightly Goth loudmouth. No one liked her. I avoided her because she said things no one wanted to hear and that scared me. I didn´t want to know what she thought of me. But just then, with my head in her lap, I couldn’t stop staring. “You ruined your feet,” she said. “You couldn’t walk for days.” “It hurts,” I said. “I know.” “All of the time,” I said. Again, she plinked the keys. Even with no direction or meaning, Tayla’s music changed me. “Everything hurts,” I said. She nodded. “I’m done,” I said. She never looked at me. She turned away.

“Really?” she asked. The word hung like a blade between us. Something cold and hard twisted in me. What could I say? This was more than just a talk. This was a ledge, tall and dangerous and beyond it nothing but a long fall. “What do you want me from?” I asked. She turned. Again, silence. Smoke and bone colored mist rose between us. “I’m just remembering,” she said. But it was more than that. It was a warning. It was a shot, quiet and serious. She wanted me to come back to myself. I rolled onto my belly and closed my eyes; not sure I could do it.