a prelude for april

I never much cared for March, conceptually. It's not quite spring and not quite winter (though this year it has been very spring-like indeed), so I always have a hard time trusting it. It's not until April rolls around that you can really feel safe in the knowledge that spring is here, and you can start making plans again.

This is probably why April's stories are about plans, which are, to me, something of a strange concept. At the very least, you can't ever speak them out loud. Plans never, ever work out the way they ought to. Even the seasons never seem to happen like they should. The universe goes on whether or not we make our plans. And yet people continue to make them. It's the strangest thing.

Of course, this whole little project has been a plan in its own way, and at the very least I'm enjoying myself. Hopefully you are, too, because there's still most of a year of it left.


trust, pt. 5


Everyone always talks about trust like it's some sort of a big deal, as if every moment of every day isn't full of decisions to trust someone for no good reason. I trust that the bus driver isn't going to drive us off a bridge, for instance, even though I'm pretty sure we've all seen those YouTube videos of a bus driving off a bridge. All this talk about trust being rare or sacred is just another way of saying "sometimes life goes wrong, and I'm going to live in terror of that moment."

So, yes, I trusted you. I had no reason not to. I trusted you wholly and completely and implicitly because as far as I was aware, you weren't going to be a dick about it. Life is simpler when you stop trying to make trust sound important. It's just a thing that humans have to do in order to survive.

I remember when you used to send me all these maudlin emails late at night--I assume you were drunk, and I never responded to them--asking me to forgive you for your "betrayal." Maybe every couple of months or so. Did you ever wonder about why I never wrote back? Never even mentioned them? It was mostly because I never felt "betrayed." I don't think I know what the word means. I felt abandoned, sure, and the chasm between us was unfathomably wide, but betrayed? Really? Don't flatter yourself.

I trust a lot of people who end up failing to live up to that trust. Sometimes it's minor, sometimes it's a big deal. It hurts, sure. But it's not a betrayal merely because my expectations are unrealistic. It's as much my own doing as anyone else's. You didn't betray me. You never lost my trust. It's just not that big a deal.


trust, pt. 4


Didn't we actually meet at a St. Patrick's day party? I can picture it clearly, you complaining about cultural appropriation, about the American need to find an excuse to get drunk. I still hear the sarcasm in your voice, see the ironic little smirk you're still so good at. I showed up late and didn't really know anyone there, but I knew two things as soon as I arrived: I knew that you were pretty much insufferable, and I knew that you liked me for some reason.

I was nervous before I left for the party, and despite all I'd had to drink it wasn't enough to stop me from feeling completely overwhelmed. I stepped out back to get some air, and somehow there you were  standing next to me. "You feeling all right?" All the irony and sarcasm gone. You were actually, genuinely concerned.

Obviously I've since come to regret this decision, but I answered honestly, because at that moment I trusted you. We talked until I felt a little better, then you walked me home. We stood on the porch for a while, and you leaned in close and I was certain you were going to kiss me, and you suggested that I should call you when I wasn't being a sloppy drunk.

In retrospect I know you were just being your insufferable self, but I was drunk on that weird bond that trust makes, and I decided I'd call you the moment I was sober.


trust, pt. 3


I always knew I was probably too unstable to be trustworthy--sometimes it was a dim thought somewhere in the back of my mind, but it was there. There was nothing more terrifying than the idea of someone I cared about deciding that they should trust me. It would be nothing more than a string of betrayals, and as soon as I detected a closeness to my relationships I'd point that out.

It didn't work. Not with Alex, not with anyone. I remember how she took it as some sort of confession, told me she was sure I'd never do anything to hurt her, acted like I wanted sympathy when I said this, when all I wanted was a little distance. And I sighed and let it happen, because what else could I do? The irony, of course, is that if I were actually trustworthy I probably would have found the strength to say something. Instead I decided, well, I'd done my best, right?

I used to say I didn't realize how much power being trusted gave me, but I think I did, at least on some level. It's just that until the very end, I was never willing to actually use that power. I knew that I was unworthy of trust, but I also knew that it was sacred, so I handled it with the reverence it deserved.


trust, pt. 2


In my old social circles, trust was pretty much not a thing that happened. Life was lived eternally for the moment. People made plans with no intention of ever following through, or feigned interest simply because that's what you were supposed to do. Everything was utterly meaningless, and I spent countless hours of my life trying to inject meaning into it.

There was this kid that I dated back then who seemed so different from all of that. He was uncertain in a world full of meaningless certainty--he couldn't even decide what name he wanted people to call him. And he even managed to make his perpetual uncertainty seem somehow profound. I was utterly taken by him.

I told my sister about him and she laughed at me. "He sounds like me," she said.

"And I trust you."

"Right, but I'm your sister. He's not. Mark my words, that relationship is not going to last. People like me are inherently untrustworthy."

I trusted her judgment, of course, but I decided to stick with it anyway. Heedless of the consequences, I plunged in to a world of uncertainty. I had no real reason to trust this poor kid, but I did it anyway. Sometimes you have to do something radical.


trust, pt. 1


I was always pretty careful about who to trust. I know that makes me sound like I think I'm all smart and clever and shit but it's just the truth. I didn't let people get close to me. It was safest that way. Then I started hoarding secrets so I could hand some out to the few people that earned my trust.

The one I remember is the one I gave to Eris, forever ago. It was a story I'd never told anyone. When I was in middle school I had a friend who died. Back then it was just me and her against the world. We were pretty much inseparable, and probably a little insufferable, too. I got no illusions about that. I remember we were out running around, doing whatever it is middle school kids do and she suddenly just collapsed. I thought she was just being silly. I laughed. I told her to get up. Then when she didn't I just sat there at her side and had no fucking idea what to do. It felt like forever before I finally called someone to help. And I always wondered if she might have lived if only I'd been smart enough to call for help sooner.

I never told anyone that story, at first because it hurt, then later because I wanted to have a secret. Then Eris showed up on my front porch and suddenly I wanted her to be a part of that. I let her in and wanted to make sure she knew how much I trusted her, so I gave her this secret. Literally gave it to her, all wrapped up and written down. "I'm giving you this because I know I can trust you," I said, and I meant every word.


a prelude for march

Saying farewell to February always feels simultaneously momentous and premature. February is winter's last best chance at making its fingers felt in the world, but March is a month fraught with uncertainty, where winter and spring vie for supremacy. Maybe it's fitting, then, that the theme for March will be "trust." March is a month of few certainties, and when the world is chaotic sometimes there is nothing left to do but trust. It's terrifying and weird and beautiful all at once--to trust is to surrender to the uncertainty that surrounds us.

When I was younger, one of the phrases that always stuck with me was "the people in these songs should have names." I found myself thinking about that this month, and I realized that, though I know the names of all of these people who are telling stories, you do not. I imagined that maybe it would be an interesting endeavor to work out who was telling which story, but I think I was mistaken in this. So from now on I will give them names. Or rather, I will reveal their names--they've had these names since long before I started writing this. Furthermore, I've given them names in the stories I've already published--perhaps you should go back and reacquaint yourself with them?

It is my hope that these stories will build as the year wears--there will be new context and new perspectives, and it's only four months until we start reaching counterpoints. Four months! It seems so far from now, but also so very close. Time seldom follows the rules we tell it to, and it never really fits in the stories we give it.