Mars Bau is a senior with a passion for poetry and short story. They love to write self-reflective pieces and especially love the work of Olivia Gatwood and Melissa Lozada-Oliva.


I remember there were keys in the cupholder. The light on the digital clock was green, blinking one-two against the darkness of the dashboard, flashing in time with the seconds it counted: one, two, three, four. The threads of my seat belt fell from right to left, the shiny vinyl flickering with every lamp we passed. My hands were so stark against the blackness of my pants—it was so easy to see them shake, folding and unfolding like paper cranes.

Grace was driving the car. She was my Youth teacher, a spiritual leader of my younger days. She was every bit the sound of her name—quiet and serene, calm and peaceful. Her hands on the steering wheel were lean, fingers long and curling all the way around. She wore a ring on her right hand, although she told me she’d never dated anyone. It glinted, sparkling one-two in the light of the moon. 

I wanted to tell her. Distinctly, I knew I wanted to tell her—even as my hands rubbed flesh over knuckle, I could feel the words bubble up beneath my tongue, pushing it flat against the roof of my mouth. I felt she needed to know—needed to know that I’d spent the last few days of my life grappling with butterflies I’d never known before, needed to know that I’d spent the moments waiting for her to arrive recalling the flash of a smile, the curve of a cheek. I felt that God had told me she needed to know—to know there was someone on this Earth who had eyes like melted suns, like liquor on a winter’s day, like the forest floor or the trees humming one-two out the window of the car. 

I didn’t know how to tell her. The beds of my fingernails were white as I drew them up, over the darkness of the dashboard, over the blinking of the clock, down to the keys rattling noisily in the plastic cup holder. I picked them up, clutched them tight. The car fell into silence. 

Grace’s eyes slid over to me. If she was any other person, she might have opened her mouth to ask. But the question was there all the same. I stared at my fingers, watching them rub one-two along the length of the key.

“I think,” I said quietly, “I’m in love with a girl.” And in the streetlights dotting one-two, one-two, one-two, I saw her knuckles whiten.