JULIE JOHNSON

boys are better in books

THE MONDAY GIRL EXCERPT

"To those who would love me — I offer you a warning.

Do not get too close. You won’t survive.

There is a dark place inside my mind and a melancholy, masochistic streak running through my heart.

I am a hedge maze of razor-sharp thorns without a map.

Unnavigable. Inexplicable.

A tangled, twisted place with more spikes than a cactus. Prickly and liable to draw blood whenever you draw near.

There is danger, here.

There are demons lurking below soft skin and sloping curves, the kind that can never be brushed off or expunged. No exorcism can root them out, no priest with holy water can wash them away.

That’s all right.

We’ve grown quite close, my demons and I, after so many years intertwined.
But I fear you will not find their presence a comfort. You will see the shadows of my soul and falter. Even the bravest of you will quake, shaken to your core, when you realize just how broken I am. That I am not a girl at all, but a collection of shattered pieces slung together with glue made of false confidence. Taped into a shape resembling feminine grace through sheer force of will.

Get too close to me and I will infect you like the most deadly disease. My misery is contagious. I will kill whatever happiness dwells inside you, extinguish that inner light you’ve always carried like a gust of wind blowing out a candle.
If you meet me on the street you should hurry on without a backward glance, and later when you climb into bed beside a happy girl with simple thoughts and stroke her perfect hair with fingers that are still shaky from our near-miss, you can whisper that you had a brush with death today, darling, and somehow lived.”

Excerpt from THE MONDAY GIRL: The Girl Duet, Part One.