This week we have to two pieces from Nicole Andrasko which blur the line between prose and poetry in a beautifully metaphorical way way while still remaining measured, combining the fantastical with everyday experience.
Mint Chocolate Chip
You always wear your mint chocolate chip shirt whenever you’re happy. You told me this the first night I spent with you. You wore it under flannels, under your buttoned black coat, and once the summer rolled around, the mint shirt was always in view. That faded green and gray piece of fabric drove me mad. Whenever you didn’t wear it, I assumed there was a growing cloud looming above us. If you did wear it, I was able to feel my lungs slouch in relief.
I began to see the sky in streaks of green. I left trails of chocolate chips wherever I walked, so I would always be able to find my way home again. I ate a spoonful of mint chocolate chip ice cream after each meal, even though the flavor was bitter on my tongue.
The only days you wore other colors were the days that it rained. These were the days you gave the shirt a day to breathe. You tossed it in the wash at night but made sure it was ready before the sun woke you up – just in case another good day was hiding underneath your skin.
I used to think of it as a superstition of sorts, something to joke about, something lighthearted. But now all I can smell in the air is the sickly sweet combination of sharp mint and milky chocolate.
The scent is strongest when I pass the place where we parked next to the grocery store. We sat on the roof of your car, sipping milkshakes and dancing to the music playing out of the door of the passenger seat. I was pressed up against the hot metal, you tasting my smile, you laughing when cars honked as they passed us, you taking my hands to dance in a dirt pit.
That day, you were wearing your mint shirt. You were happy.
I was too.
Now, on the days that I see you, it is usually raining. I tried to blame that on the fact that I haven’t seen that shirt for two months. And I’ve been trying not to notice all the sunny days that you are wearing blue.
Whenever I ask if you’re happy, you always say of course, but the smile never quite reaches your eyes anymore. I never learned how to trust people who smile with only their teeth.
The last time I saw you, I tried to find the mint chocolate chip shirt. I rifled through your drawers while you were out of the room, throwing everything around desperately. Whenever you came back, you found me sprawled out on your rug, clutching shirts that weren’t green. When I asked you where it was, you said you think you lost it.
That night, as I left your house, I felt my insides crack as I saw a wadded up shirt that was lying on top of your garbage can. It was green.
I have never wanted to sink in six inches of soil more than I did this morning whenever you answered your phone after the third time I tried calling you. I will never understand how you’re so content with waking up miles away while I lay awake, wanting nothing more than to go back to Jersey and sleep among the waves. I know I’ll find flecks of gold floating that used to rest under your eyelids. They brush against my fingers and stick there, now sealed on skin. I never wanted hands any other color than blue, but now I’m stuck with golden knuckles and nothing to do with them.
This piece seams elegantly and beautifully between the everyday and the otherworldly and ethereal, creating a unique and distinctly moving experience for the reader.
Watch out for a very special announcement soon!