Monday, May 21, 2012

Kiara Huertas ’14 on making ink trails between post-it notes

Kiara Huertas ‘14
Major: Creative Writing
Minor: Religion
Hometown:  Waterbury, CT

To an Ex-lover

We are not bombs waiting to explode beneath each other’s feet,
scattering limbs until I cannot tell where my frame ends and yours begins.

Neither are we paintings waiting to be finished by the next artist that passes.
And while I may be like a fruit spoiled by sun on a windowsill,

I hear my own cry beginning to rise from rubble,
baby girl, no one can ever steal your shine.

I still look upward as if the sky could exonerate me.


Imagine this: every time you come across something in life that you want to remember, you pull out a post-it note and scribble down details about it. You might scribble down a nice thing that someone said about you. Maybe you record a sentence or two about that one moment, when the sun shined on water so perfectly, you couldn’t help but think of the most recent conversation with your schizophrenic mother—when she didn’t sound crazy. Maybe you scribble about the first time you realized your best friend was no longer your friend, but you don’t write on the post-it that your friend isn’t your friend anymore because you haven’t learned that yet.
Instead, you describe the quick flicker in her eyes that you might have missed but didn’t. You don’t write anything more about the flicker either, you just write that it was there, and what it looked like, but not what it meant. You’re not ready to discuss such things yet.
            Eventually you start to color code your post-it notes. You scribble down the things that you remember fondly on the pink post-it notes. On the blue ones, anything that feels like tears, or anger, or all the times that a white person responded to the rolled r in your last name with: I have a good friend that’s Mexican. On the yellow ones, you write the things you haven’t quite decided how to feel about, like prep school, which ultimately equipped you with more words and more ways to use them to depict all of these moments, but also inspired more than a few of the blue post-it notes.
            Imagine now that your room is overflowing with post-it notes. They are on the walls and the bed post. They are on your desk and computer, and covering the whole window so that you can’t see sun, or rain, or people walking by. There are so many post-it notes that you’ve even filled your underwear drawer, so you resolve that you have to do something with them. You have to be able to open the window without fearing that some of your post-it notes will fly away before you can make them something beautiful. So you sit Indian-legged in the center of your room and start peeling away at the post-it notes that you can reach first. They aren’t necessarily the most compelling post-it notes, but they are the ones that you can grab without rising. You don’t know exactly what to do with these post-it notes, but you know you’re not ready to rise again and you don’t.
            Now that you’ve started to read the post-it notes, you begin to cry over them, making ink trails between them. Suddenly it hits you: you’re not crying over any single post-it note but at the joy of having them…to remember. The thing is, as you remember, you don’t look at the post-it notes the same way. You decide that they don’t do enough for the memories, and you need to record them in a way that surpasses scribbled, abrupt words. So you begin to string post-it notes together on a page. The page is longer and wider, so you weigh it down with words too heavy for post-it notes. You use words in a way that makes you ache so thoroughly that it doesn’t feel like pain; it feels like metaphors spilling from rooftops because the clouds got too heavy to hold them (that’s the best way you can describe it anyway). This is the joy of writing: deliberately placing post-it note memories onto a page so that those words don’t just sit where you stuck them. They fly now from mind, to mouth, to ear, to soul, and back again, and the movement is so great, so unsettling, and grounding, that you stay right there, on the middle of your floor, Indian-legged, and you breathe the breath of someone just trying to take it all in.

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