Jenna Dorn, “Just Another Pair of Boots” and “Gills.”

Just Another Pair of Boots

© Gerry Gomez

© Gerry Gomez

by Jenna Dorn

Its another day spent sheltering your precious feet. I’ve traveled everywhere with you, rain or shine, days strolling along the harbor, flecks of salty sea adorning my leather exterior, nights shuffling around the dance floor, kicking and tapping, combinations of movement that have your feet screaming for them to be freed from my protection. I’ve accompanied you to demanding work shifts, exploring new territory, and trouble. Always through the trouble. I’ve stuck with your restless feet during your first, thrilling kiss with him. I clung on as you ran away, swift and stalwart, from your fears, from your nightmares that seemed to find us wherever we hid. I trudged when you couldn’t bear to move at normal paces, when you couldn’t bare one more disappointment from the world. I skipped whenever things all seemed to be falling into place, puzzle pieces connected, life making sense once again. I never complained or cried when you took your frustration out on me, throwing my once strong and sturdy soles into a corner, lopsided and alone. I’ve sat there for days, worn, formed wrinkles that have etched deep in my leathery skin. I’ve sulked and shrunk, hunched over, like the innocent girls who once wore boots like me, but now wear heels with no safety, just exposed and held high like the confidence you pretend to have, that you long to have. I am just another pair of boots.

Gills

BREATHE!
Breathe, I remind myself as my shallow inhales and exhales begin to feel more like choking
In through my nose, out through my mouth
Mouth that can no longer breathe because mouth has been stuffed with food to avoid talking but no talking led to no breathing which led to no living
How am I supposed to feel alive if my body awakes every morning feeling like it was hit by a thousand buses, body paralyzed
Bloody emotions splattered along the concrete, anger, fear, loneliness, happiness torn apart by a bus that did not even see me coming,
INVISIBLE!
the bus driver justifies for his crushing me
I am now nothing but a vegetable with a million words storming my mind but incapable of speaking them

The anxiety builds up like my chest is some chimney
smoke filling my lungs and then rising
steaming,
A shrill teapot whistling in my ears
I can no longer hear
only stare with desperation
Your voice won’t stop, your antagonizing won’t stop, the pause button is broken, the power button is broken,
but where is the eject button to eject myself from this hellish horror movie that I never wanted to watch in the first place?

RELAX!
Relax, you remind me as my worries run through me faster than the blood escaping from my deflated heart – It’ll be okay
Okay, you tell me. What is OK?
Crawling under the covers to blanket the fear on my face,
This blanket that only protects the surface – what do you see?
Calm Cool Collected!
A smile worth a thousand words but I can’t express a single one
Because under the surface is a snow storm and this blanket is just not warm enough

SWIM!
Keep swimming, don’t stop for air, you tell me
But the salty water seeps through my open pores,
and I am drowning in my own skin,
My legs are growing tired
and I can’t keep treading
Treading and I find myself so far out that I am now just a forgotten speck of black in a choppy sea of blue

The ground is so deep underneath me that everytime I try and firmly plant my feet, I slip and sink
I gargle, I scream,
My muscles are cramping up and I finally stop trying to be strong
My body descends downward and suddenly I wonder,
What would it be like to have gills?
To be able to breathe when you’ve gone under,
To ride the rough waves
To let the water prune your skin without having to worry about drowning

Bio
Jenna Dorn is a student at Santa Barbara City College. Though it has always been a passion of hers,  she discovered that writing was her true calling only less than a year ago. Jenna finds writing to be a deeply cathartic process and a great outlet for creative expression. She is working toward a career in short story and film writing.

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