A short story from my newest book Under The Callous
“yeah I don’t know man, I feel like, why would I want to sleep with someone you’ve slept with, and care about, when we live in a city of like… a couple million people, ya know? It just lacks, like… integrity.” I wiggle my fingers at this last sentence, and bring them together in a neat little tipi to illustrate that I have found the word I am looking for. That I give it a home in my palm.
“Hmm, I mean in a way I can’t say anything because I’ve done it. But I did it when I was denying that I’m a garbage human. Now I know I’m a garbage human.”
There was conflict in her eyes, the insecurity she felt coagulating with the anger of the situation. I’m not sure I even know what the situation is or if we are discussing the potential of one. Wondering if either was justified. “I feel like she’s just doing it because she can.”
“Maybe. I can’t speak for her, obviously, but it seems like if you’ve talked about you liking him before and she knows that you’ve slept with him, then why even bother pursuing it? I think it would be different if there wasn’t any knowledge, or if she had had feelings for him before hand. But this seems almost like a seed was planted or something? And she has some like, competitive thing to prove to herself? Or maybe she isn’t even aware and is just insecure in the way that she’ll go after him because she knows he’s interested in someone else. Like a power ploy.” I was trying to justify the way she felt about the actions without giving away that I think she is the one who needs to do the work. That analyzations of others don’t amount to an understanding of your own feelings; feelings she would be in denial about until she could face them with something that would transform them.
I want to be touched with good intention, trying too hard to make you not want me. Not putting forth effort into being easy to understand, saying things like “I want to be heartless” without explaining that I just want to give all of myself away. I am altruistic in my absence, appealing to my need to appease people. It is easier to now make you angry than to later make you sad. It is better to to have no hook at the end of a line than to have to rip it from you when it is time to let go – instead just giving you the freedom to fall when you want. It is a graceless dance between grateful people, understanding although we may not move well we at least can move. Although words come out abrasive and thoughts may be ugly it is guarded by intention and I like it when you massage my head.
When you sneeze I am suddenly aware that beside me you are having a 10th of an orgasm, and that the likely hood of you having the same thoughts about me as a stranger as I am having is high. There is intimacy in the fact that our legs are touching right now but scientifically nothing can touch. But even if that’s true electricity stills runs from lightning through a lake when it’s thundering and I’m curious as to how many sneezes it would take to feel that way.
Summer legs that see more long grass and fence spokes than sun. More cool water stolen and sliding down shivering stomachs from dirty bleached out hair than warm sand sticking to the back of calves and shoulders. Skin coloured from bruises not UV rays. Never hydrated for all that is drank, every roof climbed helping you find your way to flying. The most the sun is seen is in pink and purple splashes on the east horizon on a 5AM walk home. That is also the most that is remembered. Husky voices, poisoned insides, untainted mouths and bodies that feel more air and rain than they do clothes. Leaving you more dried out than the remnants of autumn leaves, finished faster than drunk words falling out of mouths.
She thinks about strangers and the way they make her feel poetry without words, falling in love until her eyes fall away sometimes up to 100 times a day. Feeling as easily as sun comes through a window; warm and stuffy, blocking out the cold and the breeze. She’s a little more lost with a map, a little less tough with a frown. No rose petals falling from hips nor wisdom from mouths, no gold from hair nor feathers from fingertips. She is just the kind to tell you with such conviction that her dreams are truths that you start to believe in the religion of her mind. Don’t be fooled, salt water eyes will drown you not refresh you. She has a storm inside too strong to be seen on the horizon, no calm before because no-one ever taught her to be silent. Cursing life in the same tune she sings it, falling in love with strangers with gardens that need rain in their eyes.
You miss him. More than the first night, more than the second, more than the fourth. So much it hurts but you can’t break free. All you can concentrate on is your breathing while the situation grips you tighter than the demons that sleep with you in bed, hugging you tighter in the morning – telling you to stay with them a little longer. The world doesn’t need you today. But it’s not like that. It’s all consuming, mind numbing, nearly paralyzing sadness. You only cried once this time, it is not the overwhelming kind of anguish that swirls itself like rising ocean tides into every corner of your being just begging to be let out. This is the dry desert heat draining you of your will and resolve. Your chest gets tighter but never tight enough to stop the breath. Your mind gets blanker staring at the same blue wall.
Sometimes it’s more that you’re missing the part of yourself that was taken when they left, rather than the thief themselves. You jump every time your phone buzzes hoping it’s a message from that piece reassuring you it is safe now in hands more gentle than the ones that took it from you, that it is being put to good use. That although there was no instruction manual, it found it’s place quite nicely nuzzled in another chest. And that it misses you, but somehow feels it is better off. You look at the patchwork that is yourself and all of who you are that is bit’s of other people while trying to remember if that was ever a part of you that you had a right to let be taken away – that’s what it was, wasn’t it? Taken? Or was it ever even yours to own? You are emptier now, a little lighter. A little heavier in the parts around this now gaping hole. But hopefully the next lesson will fit nicely in that cave. Hopefully it is something the skin of your soul won’t reject.
It’s pathetic really. How all I can think of is how your hands felt on my neck, wondering how it felt to be given all that I was giving to you. How I know that fixing a person isn’t about showing them that what they can’t do is possible, but I did it anyway. It’s so sad how people are not really gardens, love does not make them grow. They digest it and use it to fuel themselves forwards but they never learn how to produce it. All I can think about is kissing you and I’m glad I’m not an idiot because holding onto this would have made me more of a failure than letting go, but at least I would be thinking about your mouth with intent instead of regret.
At least I would be thinking about your mouth with intent instead of regret.
You fuck her like your life source
is running on low
and leave her like you have somewhere to be.
You hold her like you want
to love her but
there’s another lover you need to see.