The Language of Desire

At 19, wanting someone else is the same as wanting yourself

sofia (sof) sears
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readMar 6, 2019

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Illustration: Thoka Maer

II once went to a party in a glass house. Round, overlooking the night-stretched Los Angeles hillsides like a fishbowl on a precipice. One shove too far and the whole thing would tumble, shatter, splashing its depths and creatures out into the unruly pitch-dark.

He was an awful kisser: He thought he was a dentist, tried to scrape the scruff from my gums, unrelenting, tongue all over teeth. Still, I wanted to be the kind of person that likes such roughness. This greasy Cheeto-y mouth that swarmed mine — I wanted, terribly, to enjoy it. So I sat still and sweetened the moment with pinprick thoughts of another person’s mouth. When he pulled away, how defiant and satiated he looked — like he’d kissed the indifference out of me. I smiled, turned my head, tried to watch the movie playing in front of us, but streaks of disgust lingered in my brain like some fogged-up windshield and I could not clear myself of them.

Then there is you. The kind of person with your face sprung open like you’ve sowed earnestness since the day you were born. Pillow-soft you, the lush place I want to curl into, the toothpaste around the sides of my lips you, you with your gentleness, your disinterest, your distance. You linger for days, a mere sentence, or a word, a punctuation point. You are a he, right now, but there was once a she, too; there will be more of both and neither. We don’t know each other as well as you think, and I like that, because knowing — it is a fault line, a gap-tooth. Knowing should not be me widening my arms to reach across the space for you, it should be both our bodies outstretched or not at all.

High school parties deserve epics, odes, hymns: each is confined poetry in itself, a twisty-turvy sweetness mixed with boredom, profundity stitched together by drunkenness and teenagehood. In high school we take what we can get, cannot afford selectivity or pretense. We gorge on whatever’s available. Our hearts fumble with the mundane until everything becomes important, glazed in melodrama, because what can we live on if not hyperbole? At 16, 17, none of it feels like an exaggeration, because it’s not — we live submerged, overfilled, unregulated in feeling. Our lives throb like burst blood vessels; how sunken we feel…

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sofia (sof) sears
Human Parts

#1 shirley jackson stan. writer of many feminist/queer/monstrous things. subscribe to: heartmouth.substack.com. read my work at sofsears.com