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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.

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Formulae

Jack asks why I’m with him, why we’re together. I tell him there aren’t rules, formulas, structures like songs have, stories, determining what we do, why we do things. Some people hope that there are, buy into law-making, omnipotent forces telling us rights and wrongs, but really it’s only us now, and who’s to say the decision I made he hated was altogether wrong?

“You have an opinion,” I tell him, “and I respect that, but that’ s all that it is – opinion – and what I do is my prerogative.”

He tells me I’ve got the wrong attitude. We sleep next to each other for the first time in three weeks and in the morning, he kisses me when we wake, habit overriding, making him forget what I did, why he’s mad. In ten years will we even remember?

Streamlining

At some point two men is too many men although it seems like a good idea to start: you should always have a redundancy.

Since you saw that Sex and the City episode you back all your files up but you also understand love is unexpected and cyclical and every person you say no to, send away, is due a do-over, and chances are available – like sold out Chanel on eBay. You’ve got to pay a little extra for it, give more of yourself you think you’ve not got, but if you’re serious about completing collections, can say you exhausted every inch and avenue when you’re dying or dead, it’s worth it.

The decision is simpler than you think. When someone calls you “family” you either feel it or don’t. And when Jack says it you picture Annie Hall, Bride Wars, imagine letting go, and realise it’s possible, and that it shouldn’t be, and your choice is made for you and it’s the right one and it’s the right one and it’s the right one and the right one is.

Half-birthdays

Betty didn’t throw parties. Didn’t know as soon as Megan did about the other identities, which were honest, which was your birthright, and when your actual birthday was or is because you’re not dead and even when you are it’ll still get celebrated, accidentally by secretaries, children, ex-lovers you told everything to in place of telling wives, friends if the people you work with are really that – friends – and not interested in talents, only, but also mistakes, scars, details, style, your politics if you share that. Some people don’t.

This is a trick you’ll play forever, updating, and the latest you will lose interest in her. She’ll leave work and your new secretary, women at parties (not yours, you’re not having more), in bars, at business meetings, in restaurants, friends’ wives, will want what you are although you’re not defined and you’re not a sellable truth, a containable story, a tellable joke, easy-to-understand, historically accurate, a plottable film or an edible meal. You’re an appetiser. Some people prefer those. Some people don’t order mains or desserts, they just want to pick and, if so, you’re perfect for that.

You leave when you want – work or family gatherings. You drink in the mornings. You sleep better than you did a decade ago. The people who knew you, closest, are dead now. You weren’t quick enough or self-less enough to save them. Your suits are cut to your frame which is almost the same as it was in the fifties, sixties. You’re an inch more maybe, and observers think that’s just an illusion, that actually, you’re not filling out as expectations would have you. You’re levelling off, millimetres from the perfect, so close to the ideal. But everything degenerates, even this, and you’re sitting in the moment it starts, trying to prolong it, not ready to take yourself out of the oven, because every cake you were ever a part of sunk in the centre.

Is This Like That Movie ‘A Walk to Remember’?

People judge. Your congregation think they have an obligation to help you make right decisions, to regret wrong ones, to tell you which are the right and which are the wrong ones, because short-sightedness is not just a medical term. It seeps like badly fixed sinks or cheap bin bags, letting moisture through until your life’s wet and you’ve ticked wrong boxes on multiple choice tests, you’ve married people in error.

But this is not an error. At least, I hope that it’s not. I might be wearing a football jersey and you a high-street dress with the tags left in in case you need to return it, supposing no-one spills drinks over you (this is a party), but I chose what I chose because you bought it. Jack asks, “Why do you need to surprise people? Why are you trying to shock us?” But this isn’t a shock for us and it shouldn’t be for you, if you’d been paying attention. Some things you can calculate like a comet’s orbit or inflation. And you should’ve guessed this.

I’ll Marry You

It may not be for right reasons. Ordinarily, I’d ask you out or wait for you to ask. But there’s not time and the doctors here and the boards that meet to decide fates of insurance-less patients, strangers without real ties to afford them the benefits and extras that friendship or sex can provide (when it’s with a surgeon, anyway) are disconnected like teachers, trying to imagine you’re inanimate, not the person I see that you are.

I don’t presume to know you. We’ve barely spoken and the first thing you said was, “I’m proposing,” and it was to someone else and I told you good luck like luck comes into it but apparently it does because she said no. I cradled you. You told me, “Expect the worst,” and if paperless charts are the best, what you expect from people you sleep with, yours certainly were not. I told my boss he’d have done more if my name was different, if I’d worked here longer. He smelt law suits and stand offs and sick days, said he’d see what he can do.

There’s nothing to be done, and my suggestion is it for you. At home you’re waiting to die. I have spare drawers. I’ve barely moved into my place. I recognise you from TV. I’d have married you at sixteen (younger if the laws had allowed it).

You Think We’ll Ever Find Redemption For The Things We’ve Done?

Jack thinks once he’s made a mistake he’s broken, done, that’s it, hell. But I’ve always thought there were shots, hopes, chances for other, insert word here. The saving I offer is non-specific: could be picturesque or apocalypse. I’m ironing out the details.

Jack says, “On TV it’s simple. They underestimate criminals, expect more of the same, once bad, always bad. See them reaching for a gun, don’t think maybe it’s a mobile.”

“I was taught the same at school,” I tell him. “Don’t trust people. But redemption’s free if you want it enough and if you can really prove it, if the priest approves it and you get your blessings on time. I crossed arms across my chest, wished I’d had blinkers on, not watched Charlotte take bread, wine, and then John take it. I felt one step from the divine, one rung off of it.”

Jack makes a list before bed of every wrong thing he thinks, the number of times he’s thought it, and every action he’d undo or re-do differently if you could rewind and tape over life like VHS, or just snap the disc in half if it’s DVD. He asks if I’ll read it but I won’t because my wrong’s between me and the sky. I watched it leave the tops of my fingers as I breathed prayers over them, and I won’t retread what’s gone, wiped, forgiven already. I like to forget ex-boyfriends/girlfriends.