I’m fourteen and I’m at my first party 
   and there’s alcohol and there are drugs 
   and I’m normal, aren’t I? 
All of the people are older than me and I’m frightened of 
   myself and the air only tastes remotely like smoke. 
   I drink and kiss three boys, two girls; 
   not because they love me but because why not,
   it’s normal, 
   isn’t it? 
My mother knows where I am and I feel safe, 
   but when the joint is passed to me I take my first ever hit
   and as I cough I can feel her sobs
   between every deep breath
   and I’m shattered, but normal.
The girl I’ve been friends with for four years makes love to me 
   and tells me I’m beautiful and will make a man very happy 
   one day
   and though I smile, I begin to wonder how love can fit in to normality 
   and how I’ll manage to live 
   without the ability to be strong 
              (the ability to be weak)
      and I go back in time and walk away from the party, 
          away from the crowd. 
  and building up to a strict sprint, I push back the need 
    for defense and the desire for destruction and, instead, 
       run six days to the door of the man I would love 
                   – had always loved – 
         and the moment his eyes find me across the door, 
            he wraps me up, 
                       winds me within him, 
                                     and says that relativity is all anything knows
                            and that I am perfect
                    and we kiss for six hours straight 
               and I am normal, 
                                  and I always was,
                                           I just had to find you. 

Published by Charlotte E.E. Griffiths