Stargirl

How much longer can I be Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl? 

Lighting cigarettes with matches and breaking hearts? 

Words trip off my tongue and run away into the wee hours and I forget other beings are around to capture my fleeting sentiments. 

They slurp them up and take them to heart, to head, to body, or all of the above. 

She sits like a succubus on the edge of the pasta pot, the water nearly boiling over, salty and starchy with her feet burning in the bubbles, but she doesn’t care. 

She’s Stargirl. 

If you’re under 30, if you can still snip the stems off flowers and suck your stomach in, bat your eyelashes and keep up with the latest trends, you can probably still be Stargirl. 

Keep breaking your hearts and breaking your promises, making people fall in love with you and littering a path of no reconciliation, loving and leaving them wanting more. 

The hearts in your wake crunch under your feet like so many beetles, carapaces satisfyingly turning to dust as you walk over each, like walking over so many graves. 

But there’s not satisfaction in it, actually, because you don’t mean to steal so many hearts. It’s just something you do. It’s just something that happens. You open yourself up, give people compliments and empathize with them and listen to them and throw your head back and laugh when something is funny. You riff if they’re a comedian and preen if they’re into looks and self-deprecate if the fucked-upness of your brain is what attracts them. 

 You find whichever way it takes to be loved and exploit it — unknowingly? 

Until they’re deep in love and feel foolish when you (inevitably) break their heart and leave them behind.

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