‘You know you don't have to do that right?'
The pen scratches to a stop and I lookup
'Write. You don't have to write every day like someone's waiting to hear from you, no one cares you know. Just stop it already, the sound annoys me.'
I say nothing, just look at her, my older sisters satisfied smirk mocking my page.' Just type it weirdo'.
What is it she thinks I'm doing? Writing to hear other people's opinions? To get Society's stamp of approval?
I shrug at her and open my mouth to hit back with a 'that sounds like a you problem' comment but bite my tongue, she's not worth the energy right now. I look back down at the table, dipping the pen into the ink pot.
No. No I write for my escape. To the girl, the girl with the periwinkle eyes.
It's ironic really. How my sister thinks I do it for the approval of others when if she knew the truth behind what would happen if it was to meet the eyes of another , how much further from society's acceptance I'd be pushed. We'd be pushed rather.
It was her who taught me calligraphy. She'd been practicing when we first met, I'd been watching her from across the art room at college for about 30 minutes before she noticed me. She'd been too focused on carefully curving each letter, her hand looked like it was flying. She’d looked up, her brow slightly furrowed from concentration and in that moment our eyes met I fell.
It wasn't always easy.
At first it was okay, we could meet without anyone thinking anything was off. I’d invited her for coffee and we’d spent hours talking, long after our drinks had finished. She thought like me, to the point of understanding where she knew how I felt without a word being spoken. she was what I thought could never exist, that girl who is always on the same page as you, even if she is writing her own line.
It got harder the more we had to keep secret, we both hated that. It was hard to bw out with her and unable to slip my hand into hers, to steal glances only when the coast was clear. But we kept fighting, heads down against that storm. That's the thing see, things like love you can't see coming. They just hit you, the way a wave does when it knocks the air from your lungs. And then they wash over you, drawing you further into it, the way the water pulls your feet from under you after the initial impact. Our fight was one of silence, to keep quiet. To hold the knowledge that one day it would be okay, something we could dream about. Something to remind each other of while we huddled together in the barn behind my house before we had to face the world again.
Sometimes, not often enough to raise suspicion but when appropriate for a friend she'd come by my house. My parents loved her. She'd help out on the farm, harvesting the fruits in the orchard, not a care for the bees, getting her jeans covered in mud pulling up beetroots or feeding the animals with me. It brought out such a light in her and in me. Getting to spend that time with both my family and her meant the world even if we had to stay secret.
Her home situation didn't allow me to go there much but at college we'd meet in the art room where we'd met, and she'd teach me things she knew. How to paint, how to see the story behind an art piece, how to write as if your writing has life in itself - calligraphy. Our moments together were priceless.
And then she got into university.
Her dream was to study art at uni and we fought for many a tearful night over what to do. But we had no real choice in the matter, her father wanted her to go and she had no reason to argue against it. And in her heart of hearts I know she did too. It meant her moving, hence the fighting, a lot further than we'd hoped.
She left on a summer morning, she didn't go home the night before. We stayed out, deciding to take the consequences that came with it. We camped out, by the lake on the farm which was big enough for us to not be looked for. We lay talking watching the stars for much of the night, it's the place I go back to in my mind every time I miss her too badly. I made her a promise that night, to write. She asked that I do it in calligraphy, so she could see what she taught me continue to progress while shes gone, a little piece left behind.
So here we are, writing.
Her letters are the highlight of every week, hearing her joy is worth however long it takes. She writes to me about the people she's meeting, the new world she's seeing independently from the life she led here, the new things shes learning. In every letter she runs on about our future, our shared dreams, the new cactus she saw in the store down the road that she things would look great in our bedroom. I can't help but feel excited. After this next season I'll be leaving too, and then maybe, maybe we'll get the chance to move to a place of acceptance. Or if not, as we both say when the conversation gets weighted, we'll move to tbe mountains and no one will ever know. I love that thought.
I lift the pen back up from the paper to dip it again, the ink drying slowing in front of me. The way I see it is every letter means a step closer to home.
The girl with the periwinkle eyes.
'All my love, Anna'.