Joe & Juliet by Isabel Hathorn
I thought I told you a thousand times
I don’t want to fall in love with Juliet Shines
Who texts me twenty-four seven
Who thinks thine eyes are a matchmake for heaven
I tried to warn
I just want you gone
Fifty times a day you send me a text
For fifty long minutes you call me… nup
I leave you on ‘read’
Don’t panic, I’m not dead
Why don’t you just shut the hell up
Get out of my tormented sight
And maybe we’ll meet again … if I feel right
You like me, it’s unrequited
My love is complex and too wild to understand
Don’t take me on a date and lend me your hand
You knock on my door with a gift
I slam the door to set you adrift
For the last time I’m feeling it’s true
We ain’t no Capulet and Montague
Juliet, I am not meant for you
Oh how I await my ‘black mirror’ to ring
How I crave your divine soul
I search for clues of your love
Hidden in your texts
Dreams of wonder fill my nights
Of having thine boy by my side
My brain is spinning me awake
While my pulse races still
I want the rush of love to thrill
What you give me is graciously hurting
But I am immortal for your love
Though your actions are undeserving
You have a sweet sense of freedom, like I do
Paint my pain with your artist’s brush so light
I’m suffering in silence deep this dark winter night
Juliet I listen to your music, it kills
Sometimes I want to wander and explore your heart
But my wild ways would tear us apart
But that’s what relationships are about
With all the mood swings
We can grow in eternal spring
If you let me in you are doing the right thing
Let go of the ivory thorns, that prickly past
Start the new chapter and I will guide your mind
Do you trust I have a clean heart that’s ready to find?
How infinitely I crave you into my soul
How delightfully I see sparks fly around you
How crazy, I’ve been wanting
And it’s you
Give us time
We have something true
I understand the depth your tongue speaks to me
I have noticed you grow and change over the years
While I’m running away throwing back tears
I can now let go of the ivory ghosts
I will take what chance I have with this delicate young figure
Who’s intricate and inspiring
But Juliet, I shall never forget
The way you have driven me through these social emotions
Now I feel great devotion
I’m weak and cold and shaking and shy
I want to kiss you Juliet and I now know why
Love me with your lust
Take me in your arms
But let’s grow up for we’re fifty years ahead
Otherwise we shall end up like Romeo and Juliet
Finally Fifty by Sara Patil
You guys will not believe what just happened. Finally, after six horrible months … I’m down to fifty! The fabulous fifty! Fantastic, fresh fifty! Fantabulous, forgiving, and free … fifty. Fifty kilos, to be precise. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this moment. All the horrible cardio and keto actually amounted to something! You don’t even know how desperate I was to lose all that weight.
I drank apple cider vinegar shots every morning, avoided ALL carbs, and most importantly, I made sure to only eat exactly fifteen hundred calories a day. No more, no less.
It didn’t come easy though. Oh, I’ve had my fair share of mental breakdowns and binge sessions. But it was all worth it. I’ve been waiting for this day for so long … and it finally came. I can’t wait to tell Mum. I bet she’ll cry … with joy of course. I can’t wait to see her smile, to see her eyes brighten, and for her to hold my hands and tell me … ‘I’m proud of you.’ It gives me shivers just thinking about it.
Just wait til I take photos. Everyone at school will go MAD. All the guys will want me, and all the girls will want to be me. Oh, and the best part is, I can fit into a size eight! Eight! I’m basically a model now. Vogue will never see me coming. Can I tell you something? Can I be honest with you … completely honest?
When I look at myself in the mirror … I don’t see myself. I don’t see my new body, my new face … I don’t see the new me. I only see a stranger. As amazing as my new weight is, it isn’t me. I’ve just turned into the person everyone wants me to be, and that makes me feel so, so … pathetic. I thought losing all this weight would unleash the new me, the real me … but I’ve only become a version of myself that makes me feel sick.
Do you know what scares me the most? What if, what if I’m never happy? What if I’m never satisfied? What if I just lose more and more weight until I’m hardly myself anymore? You know, I can’t wait for the day when I finally learn to love myself, and not just my body but for … myself.
But I know that day will never come. I can feel it. No, I know. But sometimes I can’t help thinking, you know, I can’t help asking myself; when will that day come, when will I finally love myself?
Ahem. Sorry about that. I don’t know what got into me! Ignore all of that. I guess the hunger got to me. Um, please don’t tell anyone about this. Especially my mum. Especially not Mum. She doesn’t have to know about all my nonsense. Let’s just keep it between ourselves, okay? I would really, really appreciate it.
Happy Birthday: A Zoom Call by Aaliyah Zaph
A sombre living room setting. Dark furniture, last night’s mess on the coffee table, a haggard rug sprawled underneath.
JEN enters clumsily, gripping her laptop in one hand as she settles onto the couch.
JEN: Okay, it’s connecting … Cassie! Oh, can you hear me? Happy birthday to you, happy birthday … Oh, I’m on mute? Oh Jesus, lemme sort this out … there, can you hear me? Yeah, I was-uh-singing before, which is why, you know, the little dancey arms, yeah.
I’m so bad with technology. We’ve been doing remote learning for, like, almost a term now, and I still can’t figure it out. And sorry for calling you literally so late. I just thought, you know, you’d want some time with your family.
Yeah, I know we’re family but like your kids and … I don’t know his name. Sorry! Seriously, I can’t remember. I wanna say Tim … Nope, wait … Trevor! Yes, Trevor. How is he, by the way? He doesn’t like me, does he? Is that why you’re whispering?
Oh the kids, of course! Tell them Auntie Jen sends her love. They must be big now, yeah.
No, Auntie Jen does not have a current love interest. There’s too much going on at home. You know, I see why you got out as soon as you could.
I’m kidding … I’m not. I’m kidding!
You know what was weird, though. Cousin Tony came by on like Tuesday or something out of nowhere to fix the Wi-Fi. It wasn’t even broken! I think they sent him to check up on me and Mum.
Cass, you know Tony.
You do! He turned fifty a couple years ago, and had that big party.
Oi, don’t roll your eyes. We weren’t even gonna go til you made us! He’s the one on Facebook with all the guinea pigs …
I don’t know what he does for work, I just know that he’s weird.
Have you spoken to Dad lately? He’s got a new wife. Name’s Margot, she’s a beautician.
Oh don’t roll your eyes like that, Cassie. Not everyone has time to get a PhD.
What? I’m not being defensive, I’m just saying. She’s doing my nails for formal. I’m getting French tips. I sent you photos of the dress but you didn’t reply.
I’m not angry, Cassie, it was just a statement. You’re starting to sound like Mum.
Yes you are!
Wow, way to change the subject.
I’m kidding, Cass.
Yeah, Mum’s okay. I mean, considering everything, you know. It gets lonely here. Quiet. Sometimes too quiet. This sort of silence is suffocating, so I’ve started to build a home inside my head. Sometimes I just lie in my bed and listen to my breathing. Sometimes I press my hand against my heart like it’s pumping a secret to me, but it never is. I—Oh, you’re frozen.
Cassie, can you hear me?
Can you hear me? I’m talking now.
Do you want to hear me?