I Wanted To Give You Everything

They said don’t dwell on could-have-beens, the teachers in schools that nuns owned, but every regret’s an unexplored avenue, a mistake that aches for conclusion.

When he was dead, I was it. Our shirts were sophomore hand holding, and I licked behind each tooth, more thoroughly than you thought, and I told your son I would save him.

Now I watch the handle of your toothbrush bright in the low light of the torch whose batteries are dying but as we’re denying the world’s ending we use each resource until its wrapper’s utterly empty, until it’s leaking acid.

Soon we won’t wake up and won’t know it, and what’s the matter with that? Every false start will disappear like an exposed negative, shrivel like the magnetic tape in a VHS set to fire.

You, my security blanket, get picked up by people you call husband. I’m vilified like no replacement ever beat out the original. But I’ve seen Crocodile Dundee and I’ve watched Gilmore Girls. I’ve wasted time. I’m playing a long game.

I Can’t Kiss My Own Neck

First, you think we all think the same. Then you realise your thoughts are similar to those of your parents and friends and the people at school who hold sway for no real reason, maybe after school sessions mean something different for them. You did your maths’ homework at Mark’s house, got the last bus at six fifty six, watched Big Brother before bed.

Parents will say, “Carve your own way,” and, “Decisions are yours,” but someone else’s hands have a stake in your brain and, often, it feels like latex-ed fingers are inside cavities created by surgeons, somewhat delicately, but not enough.

The advice you give floors others because hope is for dreams and upbringings. You say, “Die, if you want to,” and, “It hurts,” and you leave doors open when you shouldn’t. You challenge the regressive nature of the women around you who want to recoil into their own wombs, live with the fetuses they grow but shouldn’t. You have a steady hold on guns, in a totally non-euphemistic way, and why should you change your life’s direction for dish washing, peeling carrots.

Whoever said women make stability, girls create homes, never met me.

If You’re Going To Hell, I’ll Just Come Pick You Up

Jack says, “Shouldn’t we hedge bets? Pick a side? Pretend we know where we’re going when we don’t, and we’re less sure than we were in primary school?” But I wavered, had a penchant for stories that led to performances in front of parents, even though I was relegated each time a play was cast, was always an extra angel, a shepherd with a well tied head dress.

“Couldn’t you tell,” I ask him, “if I was half-hearted about this? Wouldn’t you know that every word was a construct or lie designed to keep your interest, all just part of an end game, not about you at all.”

“I don’t think I can tell now what you’re thinking,” he tells me, and I ask, “Really? You can’t tell now?” and Jack replies, “If you asked me how many fingers you were holding up as you held them in front of me I wouldn’t see, I couldn’t know. I’m trying so hard to read you sometimes I overlook the simple stuff. If I knew how you felt about god, gods, a god, I wouldn’t ask, but I don’t. I don’t know where you think we go when we’re gone.”

“Nowhere,” I tell him, “or anywhere. Kind of where we think we should be. At the moment, I’m stuck in the middle, trying to choose, deciding if it’s either/or or neither at all, because we’re fucked every way I see it.”

You’re All Going To Hell Anyway, So You Might As Well Do Something For Yourself

Jack says, “Some films justify cheating and even endorse it, as if the writer’s after a way of rose-tinting a past they can’t really change.”

I ask for examples and Jack gives a comprehensive list that’s almost faultless, although his romantic comedy knowledge isn’t as full as I’d like in someone I’m considering seriously.

“What about Something Borrowed?” I ask him.

“That I didn’t get,” he replies. “The first half I couldn’t tell who we were vying for. And when she had the chance to fuck Jim Halpert and maybe even marry him and didn’t take it, the character seemed unknowable, as if the writer went back and re-wrote parts of her own life to feel better about them.”

“Isn’t that everyone’s dream?” I ask Jack. “To change things we can’t?”

“Not mine,” he replies, then he reaches for his phone, and I hear the message send, knowing I’m a bad overlap, like two people’s coats on a bus seat awkwardly layering or two flat fridge magnets, one peeling from the heater heat, the other more firmly stuck, only just. Not every action’s comprehensible so it makes sense that in films sometimes people make fucking stupid decisions.