Grace Coughlin

The Problem is They Grow Up
When he was twelve, he’d catch fireflies in a jar, tinfoil on top, and every time it would surprise him when they didn’t glow for him the way they did in the open air. He’d Shake the jar. He’d Smack the glass. He’d Rattle the metal lid. His mom would say ‘That’s enough now, set them free,’ but for him it wasn’t enough. Before the bulbs blew out—suffocated, I would guess, from a lack of air and sky— they’d flicker just a little one last time. And, for him, that was enough. He hasn’t been twelve for thirteen years.

Last night at 2:35, I pulled up to your driveway. Your mom’s bedroom light was on, and the TV blew a commercial through open windows. Your room was dark, the curtains drawn, just as you left them. The day that you packed, I hugged my knees on your bed; waiting. All you left behind was a sweatshirt and book (for me). I drive here at night sometimes, forgetting that your windows are dark now. On the night you left, we sat in your driveway, with melted slushies, and you told me that you believed I would find a way out.

I Meant For You to Read This
I meant to ball my hands into steely fists, but unfortunately they shook just a little too much. I meant to maintain my posture, head high and spine straight, but unfortunately I sagged beneath the weight of you. I meant to fix my gaze dead-ahead, but unfortunately our eyes met as we passed. Seeing your heated faces, exuding pity and guilt in despicably equal measure, I meant to shoot laser beams out of my eyes: the red-hot kind that would burn you to bits. But fortunately for you, all that sprung forth was water—leaking out like a fractured pipe.

Grace Coughlin is from Buffalo, New York. She is currently a Senior at St. John Fisher College, majoring in Psychology with minors in English and Visual and Performing Arts.
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