taming words

Sometimes she wrote just to write – just to put pencil to paper and feel something, feel like she’s doing something, anything besides just waiting. Then she’d crumble it up and throw it away because she didn’t own the words; they owned her. They made brief cameo appearances in her mind during ordinary conversation and left a trail of confetti on her school notes. They swirled and nipped at each other, but when she read them, they behaved long enough to sing to her.

They were as wild and capricious as she was. Some days, she would lean forward with her elbows on her knees, hold her head in her hands, and sigh, hoping they would tumble down from her lips, but they stayed defiantly within. Other days, they pressed against her skin from the inside; they made her sick with the urgency to get them down on paper; they tired her out as soon as the rush was over. She felt like fainting or collapsing or falling asleep, but she knew she would just be more vulnerable then, so she stayed awake. She grew more cautious and stashed her books away for fear of another onslaught – but secretly, she loved them. She forgot what she looked like tugging on her hair and scribbling sporadically across notebook pages. She didn’t notice the bags under her eyes, only that her eyes seemed to open a little wider each time she wrote something she actually liked. She knew, above everything else, that words were going to save her, even if they had to ruin her first.

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