Tiny orbs. That was what held her shirt together and split for the infinite. When she let them fall out of orbit, I knew I was going to—even if everything was okay.
They brought me here. Lindsay had left the couch, but she made me stay. The meatloaf rug folded in clumps up the coffee table’s legs. I pushed it flat with my foot, crushing Pop Tart sprinkles with my toes. Anytime I opened my mouth, she covered it with her hate. It dragged her to my face, hoping to find a new home, out of her and into me.
Outside, the sky rotted in shades of bruise.
At first, she wanted to know. There was no way I could describe the plainness of it all—her face, her fuck, the combination of her body, the shadows hiding the rest. She wanted more, to believe she was replaced and it was worth it. At least let there be justice in that.
I sat, waiting. This night had already happened. I dreamt of after, of full nails to bite left between couch cushions, of clocks set by my fingers, of old cigarettes stuck on other tongues and I wetting their cancer. She let me have a beer around midnight, but she also made me stay. The privilege of being told, that was what we moved on to.
She asked me if I thought this was fair. I said that it was not. She asked me again. I said the same. The Budweiser label decayed in red flakes, stuck in the hard tips of fingerprints. We let the room fill with ether, playing chicken, before she ignited it with spit. One of Lindsay’s hairs stuck to the Bic where the warning label used to be. I peeled it off last week while we watched TV. The collected filth formed a scab.
She said I was a schizopath. I did not correct her. In a wet inhale she figured it out.
She asked what she should tell people, and who to tell. The question came with a clause—it made her think she had to move. She took my silence as agreement, or maybe dismissal, to the empty threat. I thought she would let me go, but I had to wait, at least until the mildew dried from her face.
When the bruise became jaundiced, and its banana-rot light offered her sleep, it was over. I took my four empty beers in one hand and brought them outside. There were lies out there. Orbs stuck between it all. Stuck and sticking to what was true. I kept up with all of it. Lindsay wore Gap jeans. I did too. So did the girl that brought me here, I think. The stink and flakes of my body were my own.
The orange letter above the subway stairs had nothing to do with me, just Lindsay. I doubt I would be back. She needed this space to move her life into, something I had already decided did not matter.
Profile: Fyan Farker