My bag is cluttered with uncapped black pens, a conventional banana, and an old journal. I eat breakfast, slowly peeling away the skin of the freckled, dark yellow fruit. It is slightly smushed on the top, but the more bruised it is, the more sugar I will taste. It sits in my mouth sweet and smooth and I swallow nervously when my right leg begins to twitch uncontrollably. My craving for sweet becomes sour when I chew my cheeks. If I hold in everything, I’ll be okay. The antenna of the banana falls on my thigh and I stand to throw my plate of oatmeal away, but before I rise, my anxiety does. I stay seated.
We are dismissed later than usual and as I walk alone towards the glass doors, I catch a reflection before everyone swings it open. I should straighten my frizzed hair and scrub the yogurt stains from my jeans.
Perhaps my obsessive behavior gets the better of me, but it helps me to be calm. I like bananas and apples and oranges because it takes time to get to the core. It takes time to get through all the fiber. It takes time to be fulfilled.
During the day, I spend my time with my friends. From past experience, I find that everyone loves good company, but not when it’s not benefiting them. I guess there’s something selfish about being possessive over someone and wanting their attention 100%. It takes effort, but when I go all-in, I expect my friends too. But I guess that’s not how every relationship works. If I come across someone in my life that devotes some time to me, I appreciate it like hell.
One of my friends likes sitting under trees and talking about them, absorbing every branch as if they were the veins in her arms and observing every pattern on the leaves as if they were creases on her Led Zeppelin t-shirt.
“I gotta go back, I need to write about that tree we just passed,” she says, and she walks backwards and into the maze of cabins.
My heart rate has slowed down a bit since breakfast. I am grateful that the river is sparkling like shiny vanilla mousse beside a flickering candle. That candle being the sun; orange and alike, I wonder how beautiful it must be on the inside if I were to peel back its layers. It would be dark red like my shorts and not the color of blood but the color of royal enigma, waiting to be understood.
I rest my head on the riverbanks and I wait until my friend meets me by the canoes. The substantial end to my thoughts are like damaged neurotransmitters; I am in need and I am disappointing. I’ve accepted some things about myself that I cannot change. My plate of food in the early morning, my clothes when it’s warm outside or chilly inside, the people I choose to spend my time with are all things I can tweak and adjust to my liking. But I wonder if anyone had to tweak me like a rough draft of a story, would they like me with my hair short or my hair long? Am I just a plain package, camouflaged like a crumb on a large plate? If there’s one thing I am never short of, it’s promises and I promise that they would find that beneath the honey mocha skin, I am blue and I am burning.
Shenu Kathymoon is a writer and poet, attending Miami Arts Charter. She has been published in numerous magazines and literary journals such as Rattle Young Poets Anthology, Creative Communications, Critical Pass Review, and more as well as Silver & Gold Keys in Scholastics. She was born in Sri Lanka, but is raised in Miami.