I fantasize about what it would be like to break up with you. I’d throw the creamer away, never having to replenish it. I’d unfollow you immediately on Instagram, even though you don’t post, just so you can see how serious I am.
I would reply to Tyler’s text from six months ago, as if I am just now seeing it for the first time. And Tyler would answer. Even though he’ll be married in a month.
I would go to sleep whenever I wanted to. I’d no longer have to wait up on the weekends, hoping you’ll call from whatever town you’re in, only to be disappointed by your tired slur.
Do you remember that time you called me from Austin? You were eating watermelon peachy-o’s and I couldn’t tell if you were joking or not when you were saying you kept “trying to have a baby” with me. I was laughing although I was wondering why you had gotten so drunk. Especially after I had wanted to go to Vegas for New Years. See a DJ, live out my forgotten youth, take a molly, and dance until 4am. “I hate clubs,” you had told me so defiantly, there was no changing your mind. “I want to spend time with you,” you said, opting for Hawaii. You joked you’d take me on a helicopter ride so you could propose.
I smiled as you laid out this plan, my thumb circling the base of my left ring finger, imagining.
During that call from Austin, you took on so many faces that I had to pause and check to see if it was you I was still talking to. “You’re dirty,” you said to me, “I don’t kiss you because I think about how many dicks must’ve been in your mouth."
I could’ve hung up, but I wanted to know more. “You tell me stories, and I just know that you’ve fucked all the guys in them,” you say. I ask for an example, and you sigh, before deciding, “All of them,” making it impossible for me to discern whether or not you’re right.
Of course, you didn’t remember the next day. “I’m VERY sorry for whatever it is that I am currently apologizing for,” you said with a laugh, as if this was all funny to you.
“I need time to process,” I replied.
If you were gone, I would be gone too. I’d get on a flight to Chicago, put on knee high boots and a black turtleneck bodysuit underneath a velvet mini skirt, and I’d go to the bar with my best friends. We’d laugh so hard people would think we were faking it, and we’d spin each other around the dance floor to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” I’d drink syrupy whiskey even though it gives me the worst hangovers, because it tastes the best, and I like how it looks in my hand.
When I’d retreat back to my hotel, I’d miss you like how I miss a cigarette between my lips. If I could, I’d smoke every day, but I can’t, so I don’t. I’d put you in the same category. Tuck you away, remember what my lipstick looked like left around the filter, remember what my lipstick looked like left on you.
I’d stare at myself in the hotel bathroom mirror. Before I wiped the Ponds Cold Cream across my face to reveal my true identity, I’d mouth along to Billie Eilish songs because I liked how my makeup looked all worn in and faded. I’d bang my head against the line, “You ruined everything good / Always said you were misunderstood,” wondering if my mind’s eye was picturing me or you.
I wonder every time we fight if it will be the last, because it will be the time I leave. “Why the fuck are you in this relationship?” you shout at me when I beg you to meet my needs. Maybe because you’re the culmination of all the ones who came before: the sweetness, the toxicity, the boyish charm. I see all the love I let get away manifest itself in you.
The problem is that if we are not in anger, we are in silence. Me on the couch, you on the recliner, watching TV. Lying in bed, scratching your back, different show on that time. You think this is love. You think this is comfortable. But I am ready to explode from the inside out. You should be holding onto the back of my neck so tight I’ll question if it will remain attached to my shoulders when you let go. And your tongue should be so far down my throat, I’ll think I might choke. You should be memorizing the beauty marks across my skin, but I don’t think you even know I have them.
Instead, you’re in fear of how you may not be enough for me. And instead, I’m thinking how maybe you’re not enough for me.
But you will come home from Austin. And I’ll watch you fall asleep and think of what a beautiful boy you are. My heart will soften as I think of all the insecurities you’ve convinced yourself you don’t deserve to have. And I’ll want to crack you open like an egg just to see the yolk spill out. And I won’t book the flight to Chicago, and I won’t text Tyler, and instead I’ll put my lips against your back while I scratch it.
And in the morning, when you tell me we’re running low on creamer, I’ll order the gallon size.