One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop


The first time it happened I can pin point every small unimportant detail. It was August 23rd of our sophomore year. She was wearing her usual brown baggy skater shorts and a red top with black strips. Her hair was pulled back in a french braid.

I was sitting in English class. We were reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Lily was in front of me, she was doodling in her notebook. I considered jotting down a quick note about what we should do after school but I resisted. Mr. Duke has eyes in the back of his head.

I tapped my pencil and stared off into space and then I felt something warm on my hand. I looked down and it was Lily. She had her hand over mine. I looked up at her. She was smiling and her lips were moving.

But I didn't hear anything. I just kept thinking about her hands. They were so smooth. I liked that her fingernails were painted black. Her nails had gotten longer over the summer. I noticed how well she'd been taking care of them.

The second time I can't tell you the date, but it was some time during Christmas break. Lily and I were at her house sitting on her bed flipping through magazines. We were trying to find the interview I did a few weeks back.

Lily found it first. She flipped her long hair out of her face. A few golden locks brushed across my face. She smelled like raspberries. She laughed and pointed, the picture of Hannah was terrible. But I was so caught up with her hair.

I realized just how much I loved it long. I loved her long blonde hair. It reminded me of my grandmother's sunflower patch back in Tennessee. And it smelled so good. I can remember leaning over her shoulder, pretending to look at the article. But I was really breathing in her scent.

There had been other times too. Little things, like maybe she would be wearing tighter outfits. Not her usual skater girl clothes and I noticed… in a different way then a best friend. I noticed it like the boys at school noticed.

It bothered me. I had never thought about girls in that way. But Lily made me feel… different. When we walked side by side and our shoulders would brush I felt something. But I didn't know what that was. It confused me, and threw me mixed signals.

So I did the only thing I could think of. I buried those feelings deep, deep down. I ignored everything. I let it go. It's not like I was going to talk to Lily about me feeling differently towards her. But it doesn't matter, because I forgot all about that last year… But, the thing is though; I'm feeling it again… and it's ten times worse.

I'm lying on my bed. It's late Sunday afternoon. Lily is out with her mom tonight and Oliver is baby sitting his younger brother. I can hear my dad down stairs strumming along on his guitar. Jackson is out on a date with his girlfriend of the weekend Abby. I close my eyes.

I listen to the wave's crash outside my window. I think about her sometimes, I won't deny it. I never feel ashamed about the way I think about her until I'm standing with someone else. At dinner, with my dad and Jackson, I'll remember my pervious thoughts and cringe.

I feel disgusted with myself when I look at her in the hallways. I spend time in the bathroom hiding in the stalls. I've tried to stop, to look the other way but it's become impossible. I try to uncover why this is wrong? Who says? But then I see my fellow students in the halls.

Their eyes scanning, judging and I remember. In the safety of my mind I have her. I can touch her with the tenderness she deserves. I can whisper in her ear and make her laugh. But now, outside the corners of my mind there is only disgust. Maybe I should resent Lily for making me feel so special. But I can't, I can't do anything but loath myself.

I'm the problem, society says. I'm the disease. My desires and needs sicken half the world's population. I can't reveal my true secret, my true identity. All there is inside of me is frustration. I can't live with myself anymore. I've kept so much to myself, so many years I've been hiding.

I'm bursting at the seams. I need to let go and let out my pains and sorrows. But I can't! I won't! Am I really what I think I am? Can I even bear to say it? Or let alone speak it out loud? I don't know. I'm so lost. I pull the covers over my head and try to focus on something other then my rapidly beating heart.

I'm loosing my nerve, my confidence. Someone please, please help me. I like her… I like her… why is that so hard to think? To say? I don't want her to reject me. I don't want my father to look at me differently if I tell him my confusion. But maybe it's just a phase like they say?

Maybe it's just an unfair trail I must pass to get on with my life. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll wake up and turn my other cheek. Maybe tomorrow I'll like boys again.


Author's Note: I'm sorry to report that I will not be returning to Sailboats. I have a new idea and I'm going to stick with it. I've got a good outline and a marvelous twist. I'm really looking forward to writing this. And hopefully I will have you wonderful reader's support. I've decided on taking another spin on the ever dramatic storyline of Miley and Lily. (Also, the poem in the beginning will make perfect sense later on.) Leave your thoughts…