Two Boys, One Choice

Inspired by the poem “You Are Jeff” by Richard Siken

I

Two boys stand in front of you. Both are similar in many ways. Long blonde hair that flows to the tips of their shoulders, glasses framing their eyes, smiles so full of youth and excitement. Watch as they run up the stairs, feet climbing, wood creaking, smiles bright as the sun before them. The Earth beneath them falls away as you watch them run, so in sync.

Don’t pick a side. Not yet.

II

Your patella crumbles into dust as you place one foot in front of the other, your heart racing so fast you can’t tell if you’re having a panic attack or dying or both. The two boys that stood in front of you have disappeared, abandoning you to the wind that flows between the trees. You can still hear their voices echoing through the fresh air rolling off the lake behind you. You rest your head on the wooden railing in front of you.

III

Two boys stood in front of you, both similar in so many ways. They make you laugh, your chest full of light and your body feeling like you could float away by one pickup of the wind. Their eyes pour concern when they think you aren’t doing well, asking all the right questions that fit into all the right places. They see you when you feel like a ghost in a town full of people. You invited them into your mind. They picked and prodded around, bleeding pink from their mouths, learning all about how you feel emotions like an eternal flame, bright and everlasting. All about how you detach from reality, everything becoming shapes and static and nothing. All about how you feel like you don’t deserve love. And when they were done, they wrapped you into a hug and said “it’s going to be okay.”

Keep breathing. They’re right. It’s going to be okay.

IV

Two boys stood in front of you. Both are similar in so many ways yet different at the same time. One lets you lean upon him, his skin on your skin as warm as the sun on a nice August day. The other strikes up a conversation with you, grounding you in the reality you’re in, giving you hope for a better future. They both make you laugh and smile. They both make your chest feel like a door opening into a dark movie theater, the light blinding all eyes. They both make your body feel like a feather in the wind, one gust and you’ll float away.

They both make you happy.

V

You can hear voices now, soft and full of concern. Is it one of them? Did they come back for you? You can’t see, everything turning to black, your heart still pounding out of your chest.

Keep breathing. Now’s the time to pick a side, before it’s too late!

Be careful who you choose.

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I’m a young aspiring writer trying to figure out life. (She/her)

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I’m a young aspiring writer trying to figure out life. (She/her)

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