In summertime, it was Christmas lights and spaghetti for dinner, red rose petals strewn across the table. You, so drunk and happy, then so drunk and cruel. As you yelled in the August twilight, I threw a chair into the wall, the plaster falling like Pompeii or some other kind of ancient doom.You, unafraid, full of hatred and red wine. Our dysfunction violent and sepulchered. Before bed, you sat naked at the piano, singing Someone Like You in perfect key and I was certain that I was in hell. In autumn, it was ginkgo leaves on wet sidewalks and infidelity. Twice I followed you on the street, haha, I wouldn’t call it stalking. Then, it was over, so—
—I fucked someone from Connecticut, with eerie blue eyes and a trust fund, who rolled two cars after taking too much Xanax, who managed to get scarlet fever in modernity and whimpered while asleep, who loved deli egg and cheese sandwiches and her family’s dog, showed me Harold & Maude. She gave me bronchitis and left me in her bed one morning as I read the newspaper. A quick kiss goodbye. I let myself out, never saw her again, then—
—someone new, from Pennsylvania. Selfishly, I thought of my own lineage and of Bethlehem Steel as I hid all the sharp objects in her apartment. She could joke and draw and paint and made me laugh. Charming shyness paired with a love of dancing the Charleston in heels in the street past midnight. I kissed her bloodied knees. She had a pretty mouth, we drank shots of tequila at 7am and cried in turn until she was institutionalized, then—
—springtime, I fell in love again. With a girl I’d known for years, dark haired, dark eyed, and a little mean, like how I like. There were cherry blossoms in the gutters, letters delivered to halfway houses, long phone calls marked by pauses and silences and then admissions of missing-longing-wanting. All throughout, my crushing fucking pain.
One night, you were finally more specter than anything, and she and I were alone in a room in a Rodeway Inn near the tracks in a dying industry town. We smoked Newports, let time slip softly. Her pale collarbones like cups meant to hold nothing but clean water, my heart beating fast and irregular as I drank from the sink. When we kissed, it was long and slow. Our mouths and our goddamned suffering.