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Hey gang!!

No housekeeping from me this week, except maybe an apology to my friends who've already had to listen to me drone on about this all week. It's a mushy one... Enjoy x



Please don’t let me forget Sunday afternoons laid on my back with my ear pressed against the phone — my very own seashell echoing with the sounds of your ocean, 50 miles up the A1. The sheets rippling with your laughter, with the dark depths of your current coming up on my shore. The way you say my name in front of your friends or leave a comment on my Instagram— your soft and public declarations breaking my internalised notion that I am something to be embarrassed about. The way we talk about art and sex and philosophy. The way your voice gets lower and slower when you want me, and oh how you want me. The way we want each other and, shit, it is gone two in the morning. You hot ginger, you, and I am momentarily dizzy in that you have never known me as a blonde, that there is a whole history of me you don’t yet know and how there is one of you that I don’t yet know too. The way we talk about an us and then paint over the words because there is not supposed to be an us. Least not yet. Least not like this. You’d be my girlfriend if it weren’t for — How you refuse to tell me your star sign but that if I had to guess, I would pin you as a Gemini, like me. How, the first time you call me ‘Es’, is also the last. 


Sometimes you meet someone and it’s as if they’ve turned on the gravity switch after having spent an eternity drifting off into outer space. You tumble back down to earth and arrive into yourself, at last. And you can think of the past no more — just imagine the ways in which they might become a part of your future. 


But sometimes they flick the switch back off. And where you thought you were tethered — they instead let go.


Because fear is a thing.


Because not allowing yourself a good thing at the risk of losing it is a thing. 


And sometimes, when you are lucky, you are somebody else’s good thing. 


And when you are as equally unlucky, a thing they have to sever with space. 


With the very real words, I need space.


So you drift back up; up, up and away.




From the get-go, he taught me very many things. He taught me to not be afraid of my own voice. To feel safe using it; to witness being heard. He taught me about sex. To break down the performance of it; to question what is really coming from me and what is coming from being an involuntary participant to the male gaze. He taught me how to like someone. That liking someone does not need to, nor should, come with anxiety and reading between the lines and loneliness; that it can actually be joyful and truthful. He taught me about boundaries. Where mine are still failing me — or I am failing them. He taught me that even when you generate fire — the magic formula — it still sometimes needs to be put out.


Lessons and revelations that were so immediately clear, I feared we were doomed right there from the start. Doomed because lessons are supposed to come at the end, no? When a person has brought to light the things they were meant to, when they’ve done their job, per se. When you can attach a meaning to their time spent in your life. Lessons eventually transpire, I have written, in various iterations lately. A pep-talk if you will, for, I am someone who doesn’t easily find the lessons in things without a lot of time having gone by first. I need to have gained enough distance from something to see it as part of a bigger picture rather than a contained event. What has lockdown taught me? Ask me again in five years.


And because I’m the master of weaving narrative into places it’s not. It takes me longer to work out what is *truth and what are mountains I’ve made from molehills. 


[*A note on naivety. I think I am a naive person. I think I believe things, sometimes insurmountable things, that couldn’t possibly be true through the eyes of anybody else or that is rooted in the realm of reality. But that is also my honesty. And if it’s how I see the world, then surely that is my truth?]




But you were lessons in the beginning. You were lessons, always. 


And it has been 8-hours since you decided a wedge was safer than open arms. And I can’t blame you, I can’t. We were never supposed to end up this way. Me, breathless at the beauty. You, afraid of your own capability to feel. Us, equally thunderous and fervently uncontained with surprise. A thousand failed attempts at reticence. Every day a taunting palimpsest of what we couldn’t shake. Everything we tried to scribble over written in invisible ink; the undeniable refusing to be erased. As much as you can’t force a connection, you can’t force yourself out of one either. 


So, again, pump some space between us. 


Let me drift out towards Saturn and you to Mars. 


Let my targeted ads return to their preverbal state of Before You — when my feeds weren’t clogged with Lego. Let me fight the urge to go and replay your old voice notes when I forget your voice — the one I became so good at I could hear the lie before it escaped your lips.


Because I know there’s no such thing as “ready”. But you don’t yet know that. 


My lessons may have arrived at the beginning. But yours still needed to come at the end.




As always, I love to hear from you. If you liked today’s newsletter, want to carry on the conversation or have any thoughts or feedback at all, do hit reply. Or feel free to share or forward this email to a friend. Thanks for reading x

🍄Songs, Songs, Songs🍄
(click to listen/follow on Spotify)

I Do This All The Time — Self Esteem

Woman — Little Simz, Cleo Sol

Damaged — Leo Bhanji

Did You Come? — girl in red

Gemini (I Wonder) — Vanessa Cuccia

Now & Then — Lily Kershaw

WITHOUT YOU — The Kid KAROI, Miley Cyrus

Your Power — Billie Eilish 

Punisher — Phoebe Bridgers

Bye Bye Baby (Taylor’s Version) — Taylor Swift


Esme Rose Marsh is a writer, artist and the founder of Hook Magazine. She publishes a bi-monthly newsletter called I’ve Been Meaning to Say… which contemplates what it takes to live a meaningful life and her collage prints can be purchased in exclusive drops throughout the year. Esme is a recent cat-convert, a current adoptive ginger and a frequent user of the em dash. She has contributed a variety of creative works to the likes of The Coven, Restless and CONKER and is available for freelance commissions…

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