He likes you the way Jack liked you
when you liked him at school
and this amounted to lunch with seven other people at his house
This guy has a wife.
Jack has a wife now too
but the space between you
isn’t a gridded text book, anymore
waiting for a cheat easy answer.
Your chemistry would be quashed like five day old avocado
kind of the wrong color
melting in the fridge drawer against a strawberry box.
There is no move on New Year’s
with this guy or Jack
or any other guy that works for you or doesn’t
or even someone you could afford
the going rate’s within means now
but being able to afford something doesn’t mean you’re going to get it
necessarily, does it?
I’ve ignored every toothache I’ve had and every boyfriend telling me to find dentists, get doctors, gets told that I’ll fix myself and I carry on fixing, Googling, standing in the Health section in bookshops as long as it takes: until someone tells me to buy it. Never.
Soon, my sister will qualify and every question, lump, scratch, scar, eye flash or floater, will be hers to answer, dissect, know.
I used to wait for saviours, named in songs and words written by men or god-given depending on the historical accuracy of the people teaching or talking or sprawling. Now, I am my own. And when I buckle, when the pain’s a bone burner, I call in contacts of contacts of mine, never select anyone randomly, because that would add weight to serendipity, fatalism, creationism, love.
This won’t be the first time I’ve sipped blood, smelled blood, died.
Would you fix your nose, hair, weight, waist if it’d make a difference? If it was even the hint of a difference, a possibility that could burn or break you, would you do it? Could you single-mindedly fix yourself on to a goal and extinguish doubt without religion, or are you not in a position to? Would you let someone else be you if it meant who you were, became, could be, was the only sort of worthy that matters? Celebrity. Or would everything end before then?
Someone will come with an offer when you’re past the point of goods, bads and okays. You won’t know what an okay is. You’ll romanticise, reminisce and wish you could picture in its entirety the sort of offer you’re after, you’d really like to receive.
But there’s no like, no promise, and a person’s words aren’t better on paper, and you can’t justify a decision in writing. An action, an action is all there is. And god would say that too if we were on speaking terms how we used to be, in primary, again in middle school, but the fuckers in my head now are unerasable ex-boyfriends and people I’d rather forget. Excuses and almosts and a yes that is later retracted and hope before there is none.
You’ve never known the number of strikes I operate on, the rules I have for conducting relations. It was cobbled together from the mouths of Sarah Jessica Parker, Obama and one of the Jens and the Afflecks. You teetered, topped up the way computer characters regain juice the longer you leave them.
And you thought words were a tool, corrective, like love poems when you’ve fucked a different person, not the one you should have, or on Valentine’s when you’re trying to staple, cement, your eyelids to the skin of another. Or just shut them – you could sleep then.
You’d like to wrap your guts in a bag or a blanket, tie the top of it, so that it’s ready to boil or burn.
You strike a balance between suburbs and city and you keep women happy because you were brought up to even though you were raised in a whore house or because of that.
You can’t believe out of every man it’s him that kisses, a grab shock kiss you resist an appropriate amount, open the door after to send a message, or fake send it, you’ll decide after. You’re almost divorced.
Losing a shirt, tie, tartan suit jacket, is enough to impress anybody, and who knew spanners were easy? Who would’ve thought a tap could be mended succinctly. It’s true you have a touch. Each of the three knows it. Every city woman, worker, girl.
No hands – and by holding them back the scene’s underscored with, “I saw Sherlock Holmes. I saw you in it. And you were the villain. You ended things.”
So we end this we end this we end this. We find the toolbox and we stop leaks, mistakes, slips, feelings not substantiated by knowledge or learning or friendships. We smash and we want messiness more than this but we tell everyone we want this because we want it now but now is not tomorrow.
You waited and when he came he said, “I’m going back,” like there wasn’t choice and his parents said “He chose, you know,” and you asked him, “Why? Your son’s here now,” and he replied, “They need me Joanie. More than you,” and his words were a high school taunt slipping past your underlined skirt: more than you more than you more than your measurements, milestones, brains, babies, recipes, biceps and work. More.
Downhill. Your husband cheated on you and you divorced him and remarried immediately and now you’re unhappy and you’re eating chips and you’re sucking leftover ice cream up like there’s rationing and you’re faking sickness to stay in bed, avoiding sex, having lunch with friends even though clothes stopped fitting months ago.
I know it’s a lie. You didn’t put weight on. You never put on much. And the fat suit’s smooth, fleshy, the joins masked by slopped on foundation which stops us finding your skin hue, halts us knowing you completely. I’d like to enter the lie, lick the edges of it, understand the overlaps, extras. Enjoy the additions, like 50% free washing powder or Wispa Duos. Like anything there’s two of. Every opportunity to do something twice. (I’d __ you twice).