I’m spinning drunk, spinning dizzy. Picking at hangnails like I can dig my way to you. I would bite your neck if I could leave my vampire mark, but rules are in place for a reason. Lolita love. Mmm, a Lolita type of love. A little crooked? Sure. But when I hit the punch lines of my jokes, you know to laugh; boys don’t even catch the tone of my narratives. You are a man.
I’m 21. Just a young girl who knows enough vocabulary and politics to feel big. Just 21. Still taut in the cheeks. Still filling out checks incorrectly. Still able to eat tacos at 2 AM and able to call myself “kind of skinny” the next day. Figuring out a path. Job interviewing. Not adding to my 401(k). Surely very far from my high school reunion. I look in my pantry: salt, pepper, two cans of beans, instant coffee, trail mix, peanut butter. What lacks: baking soda, baking powder, sugar, flour, thyme, rosemary, sage, vanilla extract, almond extract, a muffin tin, a cake pan, all those fancy things you use to make dishes and desserts you never even eat for dinner parties on your coworker’s backyard patio.
Hey, you. You’ve got me writing again. Really such a hassle because my words are the indicator that a vein has once again cut open. I tell a friend that I’ve once more been on the search for Percocet. I cry on the Q line uptown. I study in the romance section of the library. I do things I said I would never do, like set my alarm for 7 AM and make my bed and balance my bank statements to catapult 15 years into the future.
My heart is crispy and fried, burnt at the edges and full of cholesterol from ice-cream-pint nights that act as a palliative substitute for sugar I’d rather receive in body-to-body contact. I watch Netflix, don’t pay attention. I’m busy imagining us banging at chests. Banging at walls. Banging at counters. Making music that cuts. Music so sharp, it makes a clean wound. A paper cut that seethes with rage. The throbbing an assassin, threatening, “act or die.”
I see you on Thursdays, so on Thursdays I wear my frills; tell myself things may happen. Tuck my hair back; tell myself things may happen. Speak of what I think you want to hear; tell myself things may happen. But you notice my clothes, my mane, the things that change and the things that don’t, not at all.
I’m here at the holy day Thursday, and you stand just 6 feet away. 6 feet? Ha ha. More like 72 inches, more so 72 units of something that feels far more distant than 6 feet, 72 units where words can’t pass my teeth gates and race to you because you probably have a girlfriend, and I’m 21. And you are 39. And you have gray hair. And you own an apartment probably in Prospect Heights. You blah-blah talk about things and my mind wanders to if I was less of a girl, more of a WOMAN. Born in 1983, coming from a walk with my two Dalmatians, Ms. Full-Time Working Woman carving out a slice of my day for you. I’ll buy the drinks, and you’ll sit back and think, “Damn. That is a lady.”