I’ll pretend we never met even though I wish fictions about us were actual and always and once, when the script said kiss, I couldn’t control the undersides of my hands and I undid zips which didn’t call for undoing.
On TV they tell that you’re lying by blinks, mistakes you make stuttering, speech impediments be damned, it’s incriminating evidence alongside blusher, sweat, spit, finger tips grating against the skin of another.
My eyes are pinned and I won’t close until the entire paragraph is mouth-free. I’ll recite a line from a poem I wrote about you in high school – when you were a student and I was your teacher. I could even re-tell the story of us the way we’ll tell our children, without x-rated, cops, my nails scratching at bra hooks, slipping through the outlines of flowers on the lace that you’re wearing.
And what we will tell, lie-less, is a matter of opinion, an opinion matter.
You sleep first and the neighbours fucking isn’t enough to rouse you.
Don’t try too hard, or do, but don’t give advice before you know, and you’ll not know when you know because there’s no graduation ceremony, and the age gap pops like a DVD case that someone else owned first, and the skin on skin is something electric, and you can’t help the thoughts, that own age is two the same, and this is alternative, and you’ve reached to outer space since Signs which was after Sixth Sense and you’d embrace another reality if it opened like a set of soundless bead curtains, and you wish you could cup every lost year and live through his time because you’ve missed so much, and what’s left isn’t enough somehow, because eleven years gone, he’s got eleven years more, and every word you say’s a word he’s said and you’ll not match and how much longer will clashing be in fashion? The hairdresser said dip-dye’s not popular like it was in 2009, and 11, and eleven is a prince, is a Jack, is almost.
If my breakup made the news and there was speculation as to who I’d date next I’d hide out on an island with every ex-boyfriend I could convince to come with me.
You’d be an easy draw, first RSVP, an email, a text, short call, not even a letter. In fact, you’d be awaiting announcements, from Day One to present day, sure that fault-lines effect not just earth but my underskirt, understudy (the girl you see in almost every photo of me), under-eye-skin, conscience.
I was never quite sure my religion, which my religion was, until I was sure and knew it was not text book, a modern day creation. You, who Sellotaped Rosary beads when they snapped, once.
Every other piece of news is tea-making time and that, this, relationship is the whir of a plan to kickstart a career that never should’ve veered, from TV.
You were suspicious of me once, when Jack was here, when Jackie was, and you asked outright, or after 8 texts to friends and your mother. You always text your mum.
And the conversation lasted past both our bedtimes – my 11pm, your 12.30. And you cancelled Saturday morning coffee, there weren’t movies, and Sunday wasn’t an out-of-town aquarium, an over-the-border shopping centre. Instead you silenced every phone call I made, even when we were in the same room.
I’m getting your attention, securing your eyes, buying gifts to extinguish ex-girlfriends I fucked and others I slept with and I wonder if there’s a quota, of women you cope knowing that I’ve been with. And if there is, am I over it? Am I over the amount, or will another 8 days, 14 or 4 erase your fish memory that forgets what I made you for breakfast. Should I be worried about that?
Disallowed from slipping your shoes off, checking your scalp through your hair.
This is not a story with a beginning, a middle, or end, because the start wasn’t the start of something, and there’s no such thing as a clean middle, because middles are intestines, and the end we don’t touch however we try, and when we’re close, we want to live, just let us the fuck live for a second, to see every second you swore we’d see you lying ____.
A year is easy to reach, and we do, without much thought. You cheat once, and I kiss a girlfriend I might have married, and I fight your father, and your mother says she’ll try and she tries and sometimes I buy her dinner or she pays because she’s the adult and I am, and it’s confusing, a little, and I’m not your teacher, and I teach you things, read books you read to keep up and ahead, and forget I can’t set assignments anymore.
And I wish we had deadlines, the ultimacy of exams, and I’d revise you until I secreted you even though I’d be the adjudicator brushing thighs at your examination table, developing paraphilia by association, the association being you. There are worse things to love, worse things, if you categorise things, if you can, and I do and your dad would say, “Don’t love what you love,” while fucking your friend Emma in the spare room on sleepovers you watched Dirty Dancing at for the first time, and Patrick Swayze, and dances, and Luke not asking; you never had a torso make you wetter.
I’ve been in love before. I survived on Pot Noodles and scratchy Sex and the City videos, some of which wouldn’t play, when David left, and when Ben quit I dropped 2 stone. It was the simplest weight loss ever apart from, you know.
And I hope you don’t go but if you do I’ll be fine. I’ve measured the lengths for ‘getting over’, and ‘rebounds’ and ‘flings’ I’ll try and I’ll do if it means you’ll get grainy like a badly pirated copy of a cinema release or a shop copy of a book I could’ve bought new from Amazon and I’d really savour the wearing, absolute lack of wear.
Each time, I hope this love is it, and there have been about 5 true loves, 11 ‘ones’, and anyone that says they feel different to the last, they can really tell, they have certainty, knowledge, they’ve seen, I say, “Shit,” because no such thing, there’s no such thing, and I’d only ever say that in the bed of Brad Pitt, and then I’d be stop-gapping it.
Our anniversary is on the least convenient day and we celebrate in the kitchen, by not even leaving the house.
My parents say things like, “You shouldn’t be here,” or they ask as a question: “Should you be here?” and “What are you doing?” and “What colour is that? Beige?”
But there’s never been a misplaced skin piece, an unadorned plateful. And the day I wake wishing you dead, well, that’s the day I leave and not seconds before, on someone’s command, without alternatives, suggestions.
You button the back of my dress and help me tie my laces. You’re a lot older than I am.