When that girl pretended to be me, I thought I’d lost you and I did and I conceded easy defeat because I had someone to sleep with already and that’s the epitome of greed: wanting two people as yours. But who set the limits and the rules, deciding monogamy was the ultimate and only? And I’m not talking polygamy, because don’t marry if you’re not set on somebody.
But like sexuality, love’s a sliding scale and like the abacus in the primary colours they had at nursery, maybe there’s a slip day to day and we’re not concrete like the Cullens or how society says we should be. I resent yes, no and maybe options. What about I don’t know, tried once, all of the above, tomorrow?
And when she was here I untied each of my guts that tangled like earphones in handbags or string left to its own devices or spaghetti, but that’s slippery and possible to deal with with a fork.
And I made deals, wished, prayed to every obstacle or god or figurehead or pillar or statue or show or star or celebrity or text or eye or undersole or beer glass, cigarette butt, finger dial that I could. And I didn’t get anywhere because that’s not a thing. It’s a fiction. A character played by Morgan Freeman.
You were missing. I didn’t look but you were twelve, I was ten. I had your name and a jumper you loaned and a half pack of cards, mainly hearts.
I’d seen Gremlins and my nights were horror films in waiting, trailers, teasers, tantalising. Pen pals only worked if parents sent letters. Mine said they would but I expect loft boxes stuffed with unstuck envelopes and birthday wrapping and yellowed Sellotape.
I thought that if movies were Biblical lies, Jason Statham lines, you’d be dead before I knew. Are you dead now? Or is this that unfinished game?
I extinguish myself then set about you but like teaching, taxes, Lost’s last season, I couldn’t plot the fairground rides in the right order so that they didn’t smash as they spun.
People I knew in school start disappearing, in coastal towns, cliff edges, at the tops of forests with altitude, in busy precincts I no longer frequent. They’re not lost anywhere I’m familiar with and I’m not familiar either with them although the names are a roll call cemented in my brain better than biology, slicker than maths. I never revised, read, knew enough for exams, dissertations, dinner conversations. Couldn’t renovate talks with Aaron, conduct any meaning with John.
And every other dream’s less ridiculous and every girl I should’ve learnt from becomes the actress director dancer writer partner mother baker friend I’ll never be.
You deserve the chance to not die if you don’t want to. But there’s no cure for it. When will they find cures for it? And don’t say what’s said when questions get asked about life being eternal. Life isn’t. It’s almost.
I’ve nothing profound to add. I fucked up my time and you did. And some of the moments I thought maybe, only to realise no.
But if you die, don’t do it this way. Not like this. Don’t choose this. If a hallucination says anything it tells you you’re not sane to decide if to die.
Don’t die don’t die don’t die don’t die don’t die don’t
I will act late, too late, when you’re at terms with the fact I’ve fucked other people, that Jenny and Dan and Mon are single numbers on a triple digit list. There aren’t triplets. But we all have aims.
And when I act you’ll imagine every second before, the sections of life and quarters in which I could’ve intervened, every interaction welcome, like an unexpected sequel; Before Sunset.
I act anyway, late, because I imagined life was a loop and I’d catch a repeat of you. When I realised it’s not, I wouldn’t, don’t, I extinguished every flame that honestly was an unlit match, merely threatening fire with rubbing and I never rubbed anything. I saved every hand job for you.
“I wouldn’t buy your soul,” Jack says, “try to save it or make you sit through a Matt Damon movie,” like that might be a chore.
“What if it was cheap?” I ask and Jack says, “That’s not the point. I mean I’ll never own you.” I tell him he’s right, that’s true, that I’ll cling to technicalities like my name, profession, by not wearing white. But I know it’s a trade, still, with its own repercussions.
“What do you think of Ben Affleck?” I ask, and there’s a pause; a soul or deflated balloon that leaves spit on your hands.
Any plan is easy with money.
There aren’t unexpected endings or expected ones and predictions come true coincidentally and there’s no significant alignment between what we pray for and get, and dreaming something’s no more solid than a job application, a purchase on eBay. Mine just never turn up.
I’ve spent a lot of assuming time, and I’ve made such a high amount of guesses, inevitably a portion are true, have come it. I’m completely comfortable with the idea there’s no string puller, no grand plan, nothing I can sign up to that’ll significantly alter my day to day.
You’ll suggest a religion to me because you can’t help yourself and it’ll be the one you condone, belong to or believe in. And your answer for every other contradictory or plain wrong choice I could make or club I can join will be that yours came first, or it’s right because a voice told you or a wish got granted, or I don’t mean wish but prayer. But I like wish better because there’s something less cut-throat in it, not the determination of a will get, must get, should, but a maybe.
I enjoy maybes. Everything is. It rolls. And only the writers are gods, killing the people we love, making decisions on our behalves. And we’ll be unsatisfied either way so what the fuck does it matter who’s dead?
I held back because I thought time was a Friends’ box set: even when it’s done, repeats are playing somewhere. And we must be that pick-up-able thing so that answerless questions get met after summer breaks or in sister shows. Not just fan fiction.
Our expiration date was a line read from a hand by a hack or somebody with genuine talent if you believe talent exists in all its reported fashions. To some, creased palms show work and working, but now I understand the kink in the centre of mine, akin to birth marks or made scars. It’s us wearing out and me watching last words on lips I didn’t kiss every opportune moment. I don’t know when a moment is.
Nicholas Sparks as god.
I can’t repair, and I spot lies on the sides of skin cream bottles. Scars are reminders of parties I had but shouldn’t have had because something got broken or stained or smashed. Stitches are for hemlines, not arms, elbows and fingers.
You couldn’t tell, but my laser eyes regress weekly, and I’m not sure how much they can cut off surgically until they stop working altogether. I always thought the scar tissue grow back was the hoped for but actually it’s degenerate; Lindsay Lohan.
I’ve cried more at TV than when people left me or came back only to pack or didn’t call when they said they would. There was a time every dream was prophetic and each promise a bond, stocks, shares and superglue. But if dreams are truth I love twenty people since Wednesday and I end up with each and there’s no need to choose because I’ve the seamlessness of Chyler Leigh.