Canvas

for teens, by teens

Canvas Teen Literary Journal is published quarterly in print, ebook, web, video, and audio formats.

Relative to Falling in Love

Aileen Flanery


A memory that doesn’t exist. Cigarettes and drug money in a five star hotel where a boy once overdosed on heroin. Or maybe it’s cheap perfume and whiskey in a $39 a night motel where a boy once overdosed on heroin. Either way, it wouldn’t be the worst thing that’s happened there. She’s stilettos and streaked mascara throwing up in the bathroom at the bar because it’s too much (liquor), (love), because she can’t possibly consume any more. But she will, because there’s something about Sundays that won’t let you put down the loaded gun in your hand. And I guess no one moves to Omaha to drown in an ocean that dried up years ago, but everything is red (lipstick) (dye number 40) (blood that ran from the wrists of the teenager who felt too easily) and drowning isn’t hard. Drowning is the only thing I do these days – how’s that for irony? Little girl, afraid of deep water, (please help me) she’s not a strong swimmer, (no stop it, don’t push me in, I can’t breathe I can’t breathe I can’t breathe) and to her it isn’t a fucking joke. 101 Ways to Deal With Stress and Pain: 1. Deep breaths.  2. Sex.  3. Count to eighteen slowly in your head. Twenty four times.  4. Tattoo yourself using a sewing needle and India ink (it’s art, they don’t understand), grit your teeth and keep going, because love is imperfect permanence. A memory that doesn’t exist. Did you know that boy from the hotel (needles on the floor and escape plan running through his veins)? I don’t think the deep breaths helped him much. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe if it hadn’t been for the deep breaths he would have been gone long before then. A memory that doesn’t exist but I’m still drowning.


Aileen is sixteen and attends Durango High School. She hopes never to become a math teacher.

© Canvas Literary Journal 2016
Writers & Books
Rochester, NY