Gossip

Jack says he never learnt what gossip is for, what good it does to anyone involved because we’re talking circles, sentences dirtied up like money, or second-hand clothes that never quite feel right however much you wash them. And some people change words on purpose, enjoy the angles; it’s storytelling out loud at other people’s expense.

“I never thought,” I say, “you worried about Ed Westwick, that you thought about Blair Waldorf. That in between Nietzsche you were sneaking shows I had on TiVo, researching things you’ll never use, actors you’ll never warm to.”

Jack doesn’t respond, scratching denim like it’s a layer he can rub off, that’ll come off without scrubbing, that’s tantamount to make-up, underground smudges, leaked pens or crayons or wax easy to chip off, un-do-able, avoidable, something you can change, an unseen layer that John knows is there, and Jane does. It’s the slight sound that stops the silence, that’s tinnitus or wires or lights unsure when to stop, so every time you wake up you’re expecting grander skylines, like in the cities you see on TV constantly that you start to believe you’ll one day see but you won’t. You can’t trust words from people’s mouths and words are inventions anyway.

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