“not over it” by Rachel Charlene Lewis

i tell my girlfriend not to let me become agoraphobic. no, i don’t. i don’t tell my girlfriend not to let me become agoraphobic because if i do she’s not allowed to think it’s her fault. it will be mine

because i don’t leave the house anymore and i sweat about it, angst, grab the keys get up sit back down again. i’m not afraid, but i am, afraid, of everything, of the men on the street who get too close so i can’t tell if they’re trying to get around me or to bring me close, suffocate me gag me destroy. i flinch when looked at. there are no people to look at me, here. i don’t know

what’s happening but i don’t know if i care enough to figure it out. my girlfriend holds me close before she steps into the shower. i ask her why, but she won’t stop the hugging. she always lets go first, but today she won’t.

i do. i say, why are you looking at me like 
i’m going to turn into a ghost

she kisses my forehead and fades into shower steam.

before i can join her, my grandmother calls.

on the phone, grandmother says, there’s always 
something to be nervous about. i guess that’s a part
 of being alive,

but it isn’t inspirational. it’s a death sentence, a threat. she’s over it, being alive. has been my entire life. i taught myself to find joy in succulents and mint tea and small touches, new internet friends and  jeans that fit so that i wouldn’t get over it. i’m not over it.

won’t be. don’t want to be. my succulents are still so young.

my love, too. i love enough to hang on, tight. not fade into steam.

Rachel Charlene Lewis is pursuing an MFA at UC Riverside. She is on Twitter and Instagram @RachelCharleneL. She'd love it if you tweeted her a piece of lit that made you cry. Or you can follow her on Instagram to track the growth of her cactus child, Tabitha. Whatever you’re into.