last summer

By: Jasmine Harris

last summer, i died. well, very nearly.

last summer, i lived off of mugs full of cold milk tea, a concoction i frequently made to keep my weary mind company.

last summer, i felt myself crumbling, like a cookie from the inside out. only i wasn't a cookie. i don't even know what i was.

last summer, i pretended to fall in love but i don't think i ever really did. or, maybe i did, but. it didn't feel real. back then, nothing felt real.

last summer, i found myself outside at night. i found myself slipping the pools of my phalanges into the comfort of my sneakers, i found myself pulling the strings of my earbuds tight around myself until the music wrapped me in a different world, and my footsteps took me into another.

last summer, i only went out when the sky was the blue of the weights beneath my eyes, nearly the black of blooming bruises when i hit my knee too hard. sometimes there were stars, i think. last summer, i also started forgetting.

last summer, my mind numbed over as i read meaningless sentences about neurons and axons and myelin sheaths, the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, the hippocampus. i don't even remember what half of these do.

last summer, i sat with them on swings, going higher than i'd ever gone, the speaker's sound engulfing us, just us, and nothing else. there was the front of a cosmic brownie box that i saved.

last summer, i resorted to sketches on paper, eyelashes drawn closely together, lines overlapping until vague shapes traced their way along my insides.

last summer, i became resolute. that fucking failed.

last summer, my eyes never closed till it was at least 4am and failed to open till after noontime.

last summer, i couldn't escape.

last summer, i didn't die. i forgot how to live.