I promised Marisa


They said he?d prefer me in the backless dress. I sat on the bed for an hour before he sent for me. They told me to lie face up on the table, and were taking off my bra when the drugs hit. I woke up two hours later, crying and coughing blood.


At 1:10am for three nights running, something thumped at my window. One knock on the glass, then silence. I switched the lights off, threw the curtain open and let the dark come pouring in. It clawed at my heart, bruises under chipped fingernails, trying to extract diamonds. Sometimes all that keeps it at bay is paralysis and a symphony.


While whacked out on pethidine, I told a trainee nurse that I was going to steal her life and turn it into a story. I told her this was a good thing. She didn?t want to talk to me after that.


My mother keeps carnivorous plants. I stood in the kitchen of the house I grew up in, leaning over the sink, teasing the Venus flytrap with a child?s paintbrush, tickling the leaves until they snapped shut. Great, fat slaps of rain were washing out the muggy afternoon. Later that night, I stood on the porch and watched the lightning crack the glowing, reddish sky.


It?s my birthday. I?m 25. I think I have achieved a lot for my age, although I often feel like I should have done more by now. There is a list of things a mile long that I can say I have accomplished since November 2008, but I think I will remember being 24 as the year when I fell out of love and fell, finally, into myself.