Sky Brubaker

Applause Issue 32 Label

When I Was Nine

I asked my mother why I needed to brush my hair when she said appearances didn’t matter. Stumped her with that one, until she brought up hygiene. Remember when I had self-esteem? That was an odd time in my life. At fifteen I decided there was no one more brutal than myself. Does everyone despise themselves at fifteen? When I was nine my favorite shoes were white low-top Converse. Anyone could testify for this because well, after I eventually stopped wearing them they weren’t the slightest bit white. When I was nine I dyed the bottom half of my hair bright red with boiled Kool-Aid. I wrote stories I thought would become famous one day. I had fake glasses and told people they were real and now I actually can’t see. When I was nine I had a gap in my teeth and a knee I didn’t know would hurt so much in the years to come. I wrote songs knowing damn well I couldn’t sing, called myself a genius. Humble, too. I was a natural blonde. My eyes would squint beyond explanation when I smiled. I left everything on my sleeve. Didn’t know why anyone wouldn’t.

Are We Ever Going To Be Okay?

Short answer: possibly.

Long answer: I went on a walk Sunday morning and the air was brisk and the breeze made me shiver a few times but the sky was so blue and there were no clouds and so I almost cried. I got coffee–iced (despite the weather)–and the barista asked me about my day. I didn’t tell him I almost cried but his eyes were so kind for a second I felt compelled to do so. Then I took the long way to get a toasted everything bagel with avocado. Avocado isn’t my favorite but it’s my sister’s nickname and I miss her so I enjoyed my bagel anyway–because I think that’s something worth celebrating. I think it’s something worth celebrating that I went on a walk at all. I think that this life is brutal and bitter and gentle and beautiful. I think it’s okay to build walls, or to be foolish and tenderhearted. I think sometimes the sky is so blue that it’s worth crying about. I think whatever the original question was, the answer is, I don’t know, but probably, maybe yes.

We’re Still Peeling Oranges For Each Other

We’re four years old and our families are celebrating Christmas together, you show me all your new toys and now it’s been years but I still have a present for you every December. We’re eight years old and we share an orange and now it’s been years but we’re still peeling oranges for each other. We’re thirteen years old and we’re laughing so hard our water is spilling everywhere. Practice starts in ten and now it’s been years but we’re still filling up our water bottles together. We’re fifteen and we’re wearing each other’s clothes and now it’s been years but I still have your shirts in my closet. We’re seventeen and we’re praying together before we go on stage. So maybe now I’m wiping the smudged makeup off your face for different reasons and maybe I’m not taller than you anymore but we’re still pressed together from shoulder to hip and I will always have your back. We are laughing until we cry and we are picking each other up, from four to eight to forty to eighty.

Sky Brubaker is an elephant-obsessed, peanut butter enthusiast, wears lots of bracelets and has poor eyesight, loves graffiti, cartoon logic, and children acting like adults. 

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