I have lilies on my windowsill that used to sit at the center of your small kitchen table – the round one in your little apartment in Chelsea that has heard all of our I like yous and laughter. The apartment with those porcelain white walls that echoed your voice saying that you liked my curly hair as you wrapped a finger around a blonde ringlet. Those walls heard the sound of your lips touching my forehead.
I had never felt that way before, like I was a treasured flower you kept in an antique vase. When you looked at me, I never would have thought that you'd put your eyes on someone else.
But now the petals are beginning to fall.
And I have been trying to water that flower inside of me that is praying for a bit of sun from you, but all I ever see in the sky are one-word messages and a crack down the lily’s stem.
Is this what we’ve come to? What did I do wrong?
I'm trying to be the girl that holds her head high and sees that I deserve better than those one-word texts and wilted flowers–that somewhere out in this world, there will be someone who will water me the perfect amount and allow me to grow and love selflessly without feeling like I'm giving too much.
But I can't double-text because then I’m needy. And I can't say I miss you because then I’m codependent. And I can’t keep checking your location because then I'm obsessive. And I can't say that you make my heart race as no other boy has before because then you’ll think I'm in love with you.
And God forbid I want to be loved by you.
God fucking forbid I, a teenage girl, show you my true feelings.
So I sit on my apartment floor alone, resisting the urge to throw the vase against the wall because you probably don't remember my middle name. Even though I remember that your grandma cooks you steamed pork buns on holidays, that you like mint over basil, that you want a tattoo on your thigh of your mom’s birth year, and that you want a garden of your own when you move to Europe to become a farmer.
Lilies aren’t my favorite flower–they’re yours. They remind you of your mom. But here I am, sitting on my wooden floor, watching the petals fall. My apartment walls hear my heart breaking because I fear I gave you too much.
So I will let the white petals fall one by one. I try to imagine they are the memories of you and me from that night, drifting away from my head. I beg for them to leave, but my hand itches to look at our old messages and begs to scratch the part of my neck that the ringlet you liked touched.
Art by Ella Beard