Julie Delpy

For four weeks Russell’s been researching rail travel, because he wants to be Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise. He’s prepared for other variations if this one won’t work, although he’s not updating Shakespeare, serenading Winona Ryder, or pretending he’s someone he’s not (unless it’s Ethan Hawke, obviously).

I try to be supportive. He asks me, ‘Where can I get a good hamburger?’ until he gets the accent right. We walk around the city, late nights and early mornings, and he keeps saying, ‘I didn’t think it’d be this cold. It didn’t look cold in the film.’ Sometimes, I swear he’s saying ‘Uma Thurman’ under his breath, but he may just be shivering.

He’s got his inter-rail pass already. I bite my lip to stop from saying, ‘This isn’t what Ethan would have, because Ethan’s American.’ I don’t relay any of Russell’s flaws back to him (he really can’t say ‘banana’) because I’m not in the habit of destroying hope.

Before he leaves I ask him, ‘Why Ethan?’ and he mumbles something about oddly tall beautiful women, whilst fastening the clips on his rucksack. I stand on tiptoes, crane my neck and say, ‘You don’t need to travel round Europe for that.’ And then he kisses me continentally, on both cheeks, as his train pulls in.

bs sunrise t

(originally published in Fractured West Issue 3, then on the National Flash Fiction Day blog)

Gone Still There (NaPoWriMo #3)

Instinctually, I check pockets
of school shirts, charity bag donations
because Mom washed Dad’s wallet
and a dollar mulch isn’t spendable
unless it’s just sweat on it.
Value isn’t learnable
a tidy room’s not bankable
because P’s Amex is the 1-Click
Amazon Prime trial.

This try out
is a contract collect
that feels like a date
you don’t have to face
post-fuck
but there might be a send back
get out clause. Refund.

Third try’s it
and if it’s not, don’t tell.
This is comfortably purgatory.
midnight

____ Buddy

Movies are misleading, make it seem like there’s a point in everyone’s life they sleep with a friend, that they end up together, that this problem in general fills the space of a ninety minute film, which converts to six months real time, unless it’s Linklater, Allen, or Burns.

Even if we’re allowed discretions and I have it on authority we are – forgiveness is a sorry away – life’s more awkward than Natalie Portman, not polished like Timberlake. We’re not attractive and slick yet unlucky in love. We’re just unlucky. We don’t compulsively fuck who we know because they told an awesome joke once, they notice us lose weight. Or when we do we call it ‘mistake’.

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