I Won’t Swim After You

Stephanie White
Human Parts
Published in
3 min readNov 26, 2013


My hair won’t fall down like a dance. It won’t brush the middle of my back, it won’t swing or sway left then right. It won’t let your fingers skim through on the way to the rest. It won’t know how to soak up the sun in the springs and summers. It won’t smell like coconut or the sand or the ocean. And I’m not a mermaid, I won’t swim after you.

My mind won’t stop its speed on command or just because you say it should. It might fight until it crosses the currents, hoping you’ll push through to follow. It won’t stay and sink into the bubble of maybes you build below the ships and boats and fish that swim to live. You might need to race me and win. You might need to stop me before I slip off and disappear. And I might need you to hold me back from the sandy rock bottoms. And maybe you’ll do it without me asking and be good at it too. We won’t ever know until we try.

My eyes won’t know where else to look and so they’ll find yours. They might take their time to make it through the murky water and trapped air. They might drown on the way because that’s the first part and the hardest part. They might blink and look for a few things that aren’t there or maybe some that never were. They might try to hide themselves and everything they’re holding onto on their other side, but if you’re careful you’ll know where to search. And if you really mean it, you won’t mind the burn of the salt and the waves that will try so hard to crash in between yours and mine.

My limbs and other parts won’t be soft and graceful. They won’t always know where they’re going and for what. My hands won’t stay put and folded and still in my lap the way someone else’s do. Mine might touch yours by accident or for a reason I made up. My knees might have to meet yours once or a few times before I’m ready to reach for air up at the surface, before I’m ready to breathe again. And you’ll have to wait for me because I might be scared in the beginning. And maybe you’ll already know this and I won’t have to use any of the words I’ll have mapped and drawn.

My lips and smile won’t know when to just be. If they keep going, you might need to break them down. I might use my hands for the talking too. My mouth might get shy or tired and so my hands will keep the words going through the space instead. And if I use them to tell you a story and ask you questions, it’s because I want the answers but also I just want your voice and the sound it makes. And I won’t be fast or easy and maybe she was but I’m not. I might need to talk to you for more than just minutes. And we might need to lay here until we no longer need our efforts and the sea can just carry us.