his parents called him will, a condensed version for william. to me, "will" was the constant friday nights of his curved thighbone in the midnight air against mine, and scintillating neon lights and 80's music that were etched inside our pupils like crossfires.
david bowie was singing to me through my headphones, and i mumbled to him about will and my uneven forehead, (my skin wasn't clear anymore, either) and how will and i held hands in public restaurants and how my lips were so chapped that they peeled when we first kissed-- but i was seventeen, i had purple constellations doodled on my french homework, and during algebra class i sketched green eyes with thick black eyelashes that were distinctly his.
their expectations of you were standard by their own means--they wanted a husky boy with aftershave smeared on the palms on his hands, and on saturdays they imagined you with black oil decorated on your cheeks like a lit up christmas tree holding up your hands and furiously kicking 'that damned navy ford that never seemed to fucking work,'
summer was as bleak as ever, and we were nineteen when we decided we would meander and roam. (i swear to god if i knew then what i knew now i would've clutched your hand and whisked you straight into your bedroom and protected you from all this.)
it was july when we weren't sober anymore than we were plummeted to the brim with alcohol in our small bodies. most of the time in the mornings, we would each wake up with vomit smeared on the sides of our awakening heads, and we would moan from the bowels of our throats and chuckle, breathing the contagious and dulling oxygen that was now putrid and dank, pregnant with our little mistake.
ruby and sara were high school seniors who wore crop tops exposing their winking belly button rings. they were known for chiva, (now it would be known as heroin, but chiva remained the word that sirened our names again and again, the sweat on our white bedsheets when our supply was short, and the scratching we would do to ourselves, the veiny curved marks lining our wrists when we screamed and cursed, fireworks of tears spraying the floor) and we were blissful and unthinking, so we pleaded with them to bathe and experience chiva as if it were our own child, and they laughed and grinned at each other, (they knew what they were doing to us, but will had always said they had slimy and lengthy tentacles that emerged from their skin overnight.)
i gripped will's hand until my knuckles were white from pressure, and ruby was tilting her head as if she had never seen such an unadventurous and spiteful nineteen-year-old. so i ravenously jabbed my forearm with the glistening needle and in the distance i could hear will's voice murmuring in my ear,
"i think i love you."
a few weeks into school will's unwelcome and familiar red visitors stippled the sides of his arms, he had helter-skelter eyes with crimson branches in the whites of them, and the charcoal and grunge pits of addiction underneath.
when he slept at night, i could hear him breathing heavily, and sometimes his body twitched and gasped with the intensity of an erupting volcano, and as the dawn came creeping in with sleepy and pondering eyes, i watched the dust particles in the air of the sun's beams hover over those red dots, and i ravaged myself out from beside you and slapped your neck as hard as i could.
"you did this to me!"
jade was my former high school friend, and she sometimes had chiseled white powder spread across her fingertips, grinning as if she knew i was descending further and further into a blank and never-ending abyss. somehow she welcomed herself into my dreams (as if she was welcome) and i noticed myself clutching the dirty remains of my hair when i arose, and lightly tearing individual bits, flicking the long strands into the air as if they were paper airplanes.
i wanted to quit, i wanted to quit, i wanted to fucking quit. and will wasn't answering my phone calls, and i could see the nagging dots on my arms that whimpered and called my name, grunting and growling, mutant jet-black heads stemming in my head, we love you, please take another hit, we want you here with us.
i opened my window, my pores reaching for the crisp, morning air. i stumbled onto my bed and grabbed a sketchpad and graphite pencil. but instead, this time, i doodled extended needles and exaggerated graffiti letters spelling out the word,