If this feeling was a candy heart it would just say “GIRL HELP” | creative nonfiction by Emily Carlson

If this feeling was a candy heart it would just say “GIRL HELP”

On this great and lauded holiday celebrating romance, I feel like Machiavelli dressed up as a teenage girl. Never mind the fact that I don’t know anything about Machiavelli, except that he was manipulative and Italian, and the closest I’ve ever been to Italy is staring at your hands while you lift a slice of pizza to your mouth. What’s important is that you have reduced me to plotting. I cannot stop thinking about how to make you fall in love with me. It’s early enough in the day and I am nefarious enough that I bet I could pull it off. What’s your favorite scent? I’ll adjust my perfume accordingly and act innocent when you mention that something smells good whenever I’m nearby. Tell me your favorite color and I’ll wear it, throw out everything in my closet that doesn’t conform, unless it’s fluorescent orange because I don’t think I can live like that. But if your heart beats faster at the color of traffic cones, I’ll buy matching eyeliner or nail polish – oh god, I want to paint your nails. Forget falling in love, just let me hold your hand. Notice my seasonally appropriate manicure and pay no mind as I quietly beg God to keep my hands steady for you. I want that closeness like I want air, which is to say, constantly and without even thinking about it. I want to braid your hair and put my legs in your lap. I want to feed you chocolate covered strawberries. Or maybe not, since you’re lactose intolerant. But I’ll buy your favorite beer if you’ll let me kiss the amber bottle when it’s empty, touching your lips secondhand. Can you hear me thinking this? I am mortified by how badly I want you; if you were as close to me as I wanted, you’d feel the heat from my blush. If you were close as I wanted, I’d blush even more, and it would create an eternal feedback loop and we could tell the world we’ve invented a new type of sustainable energy, because I could never, ever stop my cheeks from turning red when you’re around. They would give me a prize for loving you and in the acceptance speech I would ask that nobody ever look at me again because anything that feels as good as this must be indecent behavior. And if it’s not indecent, I’ll make it so. I want to kiss your shoulders and have you kiss mine in return. I want to lick your teeth, I want to bite your neck – I remember reading Dracula in white hot summer heat, finally understanding the act of vampirism. It’s winter now, but I see the sun in your smile and know that it could reduce me to ash. If I was a vampire, I’d want to suck you dry, make you like me. If I failed, I’d welcome your stake between my ribs. You’ve already pierced my heart, and wouldn’t it be just a little bit sexy to die by your hand? Being stuck on you means that I am already prepared to die from the depth of my desire (and possibly a lack of oxygen from holding my breath each time you come near me). If I cannot figure out how to make you fall in love with me, I may simply combust. I will be buried wearing your cologne, and they will chisel the excruciating truth of my demise on my tombstone, and goth kids in the future will take pictures with my grave.

Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram

Emily Carlson (she/her) is a queer writer, reader, and lover of monsters. Emily is a reader for The Gamut Magazine and has most recently had work published with or forthcoming from With Confetti, Fifth Wheel Press, and Sword & Kettle Press. Emily can be found on Twitter at @emiacarlson or by saying her name three times while looking in a mirror.