Muse -- creative nonfiction by Sophie Bourne
I never believed that I could fall in love so young, much less in love with her. I would scoff at Romeo and Juliet’s yearning for unity in death over separation in life, and I would try and convince my childhood friends that their budding playground romances would lead to nothing. I took pride in the fact that while I may be heartless, I would never be hopeless. I always believed that true love was fun to write, and nothing more. In a way, loving her was an inevitable scenario that could have only been avoided by tearing my eyes out, or ripping my pen from my grip, fingers and all.
I wouldn’t be able to tell you the color of her eyes, even though I am unable to keep myself from looking at her. She is just simply, and so incredibly beautiful. She is as stunning as a siren. Her control over me outweighs the ships she is able to sink to hell. She doesn’t know the power that she holds, but I am hopeless to her harrowing melodies. Our eyes are polarized, so I believe I am going blind, because there is nothing else worth seeing. My worst fear would be realized if she began to stare at me the way I do at her, because that would mean that I am dreaming. It is easier to be a coward, rather than a fool. How else could I notice the way her hair won’t obey the small elastic she uses, attempting to tame it. It instead curls under her chin, and grazes her eyebrows. Her shoulder’s cave when she speaks about something she’s passionate about. I love hearing her speak. Her voice melts into every song I’ve ever heard, while simultaneously only just beginning to exist.
During the day, my eyes tended to jump from one backpack to another, clumsily rounding the corners of hallways. When I’d see her standing only a few steps away, my legs melted into a puddle on the floor, and the grin of a fool spread under my nose. I fumble with my dying phone in the 45 seconds before I smile at her with the faux confidence equivalent to an overly excitable toddler. Or maybe the same as a teenage girl returning to class from the large stall with a shiny, new dopamine hit. My thumb slides up and down, back and forth, through old contacts that I can’t remember my relation to, until right before we pass each other. It’s a miracle my teeth haven’t splintered from how often they’re exposed when she’s around. I try not to look so desperate for her “hello,” and polite wave, but I know I fail every time I see her. I am told that when I speak to her my cheeks flush the same color as a child’s skinned knee, but I can’t feel that. I can only feel my smile waver as she passes, eyes balancing on the touch screen of her own phone. Nothing.
When I look at her, my mind causes her flesh to shift. I have been forced to be conscious of the pair of rose colored glasses that have been balancing on the bridge of my nose. She wears contacts. She made me really want contacts. I should have gotten contacts. Two shards of a broken lens mutate her once perfect appearance to a new persona. One whom I have only recently been introduced to. The person who I knew her as flickers like a shadow, or a dying candle, behind the eyes of who she is. These rose colored glasses were torn from my face, and the shattered lenses cut my eyes until blood streamed alongside tears. When her face gets caught in my line of sight, the powerful siren is no longer there, only a fish desperate for air. I can only compare her to a dying fish, trapped in a tearing net from the side of a fishing boat decorated with molluscs. The waves rock us back and forth, and time is lost, and I can’t tell if I’m lovesick, or sea sick anymore. The voice that melted my sense away, now screeches a reminder of truth. I have learned that she is not the wicked mistress of the sea that could easily drag me to the ocean floor, she is only a fish out of water. The fun, exhilarating anxiety that overtook my senses when she smiled at me is partially replaced by a blanket of needles, wrapping my heart. Except I feel guilt too, because my old feelings for her haven’t immediately disappeared.
How is it possible for a muse to be less perfect than the art they inspire? How can a mere four words impact the feelings another one caused? Why are the thousands of words I’ve collected, and created, all for her, hopeless when compared to the truth? I wonder if Van Gogh’s sunflowers were wilted, and I wonder if Mattisse’s famous curves were straighter than her. I wonder if Mona Lisa ever drove drunk.
My friend sat across from me, holding out a melting refresher. The dewy plastic slid my shaking grip up, and down the label, until the thin paper relented, curling below the straw free lid. I could blame my nervous, chattering teeth on the ice, or the caffeine, but my anxious giggle betrayed my rouse.
“I liked her,”
She’s a bad person
“Like, a lot.”
Example after example of my love's malevolent actions poured from my friend’s lips. Gossip is like red wine. It’s addicting, it's rich, and when a glass shatters on the carpet, it’s too similar to spilled blood. I can’t tell if it's mine, or hers. The splinters etch the reminder into my skin. She’s a bad person so I shouldn’t like her.
She pulled out her phone, and texted her boyfriend, informing her of my revelation to the truth. A truth that they had come to realize months ago. Apparently these rose colored glasses are greeting gifts, but mine were the only ones glued on. I wish my friend would’ve told me earlier, before I wasted months sitting with too many feelings for the caves of my chest to house. I was standing in an open field, bullet wounds to my teeth. It turns out, I was too exposed.
68 minutes pass, and I trip again into a habit I don’t remember creating. This is my groundhog day. Everyday we come to this long building of hallways almost as narrow as hollow bones, and walk alongside students we never learn the names of, only to earn our degrees. She’s almost there. This time she smiles, and says my name as we pass each other briefly. The rest of my day is wonderful.
Love is always so great, until it isn’t anymore. Something changes, something is discovered, or sometimes it just fades. I can’t call it love, in fact I refuse to. Love has to be mutual, which ours is not. My unrequited infatuation will stay overly simplified, as a crush, out of respect for us both.
Sophie Bourne is a rising junior and writer based in Massachusetts who’s favorite pastimes are songwriting, and procrastination. She enjoys using writing as a creative outlet for the things in life she almost can’t describe, and reading the countless books that sit on her bookshelf, recommended to her by lovely friends. This is her first publication!