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July 27, 2020 Fiction


Mila Jaroniec

Almond? photo

My son was born under the sign of Cancer just like you were. Chani Nicholas says Cancer knows that water holds memory. I like to think you still remember me because I still remember you, in fact I remember you all the time, but seeing who you are now makes me think I’m remembering a different person on the other side of me.

We don’t recognize each other. 

I see you in a MAGA hat and want to know what’s wrong. The working title for my first book was Maga after Julio Cortázar’s La Maga, sidewalk sorceress, and I’m glad I didn’t use it because now it doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean. But there you are, on the internet, wearing my words and you didn’t even read them. I look at these evil thoughts you have and evil thoughts you share and still feel like I could heal you, if we could see each other. If I could explain there is another way. I can do nothing. Is it my curse that when my love is returned it falls away from me, dissipates like a communion wafer underwater? Is that why our love was not sustainable, because you returned it, and when you returned it you did so with interest, which was too much for me because I’m not built for emotional excess, blame it on the Capricorn in my chart, but is it just the curse of sameness, that kissing you made me realize I could heal more people with my body and make them feel whole—blame that on Aquarius—did it hurt you to know I thought loving one person was not enough? All I ever wanted to do was save the world. Call it amoral or call it altruism. Either way there’s no evil in it.  

Like La Maga, I look for synchronicities.

You’re saved as Wild Colonial Boy in my phone, after the Devin Townsend song. I love Devin Townsend. That’s your fault. You are responsible for most of my taste. I texted you once to ask what you thought of Casualties of Cool. You didn’t respond. What for. Since then I got to interview Ché Aimee Dorval. You’ve since retweeted the president. 

Your birthday is my PIN number for most things.

Nine times out of ten a headache is the result of dehydration. I know that because you taught me that, and when I bought a bougie water bottle with a lip balm on the cap I thought of you. You hated when I smoked cigarettes. Well good news, I quit. You don’t care. My lung health is not your problem but I still want you to be proud of this new achievement. I want to return to who we were and arrive at ourselves where we were and start from there, see each other again if for nothing more than to start from there, because we never stop being ourselves, do we, all of our selves are alive inside of us at once and whichever one takes dominance does so on the basis of eating the others’ limbs. It’s not as violent as it sounds. The selves may be cannibals but they still share a heart. 

We thought we were meant to be together because we both said almond? at exactly the same time. 

In the yearbook you managed to write Master of Life under your senior picture. That must have taken some finesse. And by finesse I mean your English teacher had a crush on you and so turned a blind eye. I understand. It was hard not to have a crush on you. Other kids wrote normal things under their pictures. JCP, Honor Society, Speech & Debate, those were mine. Half-lies. As usual trying to make myself look more accomplished than I am, exercising the creative liberty that would color the about page for the rest of my life. 

Now I think we’re doing the opposite. Now I think if you were curious, I could tell you who you are. 

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