By Robin Bissett

“Listen,” you began. Your lies—a desperate spider’s last few threads—stretched from the wide windows to the hopelessly patterned carpet. As you weaved and swung, sharing your story, I saw your joyless eyes search mine for signs of submission.

Your smile composed of untrimmed fence posts, cracked rocks that I’d scraped my knees on before. I knew that if you opened your mouth any wider, I’d glimpse sharks blindly searching for prey in an empty kiddie pool.

You encouraged me to stomach the stones you held in the palm of your hand so that you might watch me drown.

You did not realize that I have drowned so many times before I am now in control of my own buoyancy. So, I stayed afloat and safe. I turned away from you and called to the shore.

Now, it is your turn to listen to me.

Listen to me carefully, for I will only say it once, and I will not repeat myself.

You do not deserve my words.

Robin Bissett (she/her) is a writer, artist, and senior at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Find her on instagram @robintbissett.

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