Dear Stranger

ImageI don’t know you that well but I get the feeling that I could if I tried hard enough to sit here and talk about something although I’m hesistant to bring up the weather because then I would have to pick a place to put us in like a restaurant or a cafe and it’s from places that circumstances always seem to arise and grab you by the neck like an invisible noose you’ve walked into or fine print you haven’t read on a contract that says you must be a person of value to me or to whoever it is that I turned out to be after years of watching me puke into the gutter or holding my hand through the telephone which I will on occasion leave on the bookshelf while you are explaining something I’m not interested in as I leave the room to finish off a bottle of wine just quickly enough to return as you punctuate your sentence and ask me for a response which I provide either begrudgingly or too generously so that you are always either angry with me or suspect that I am not listening because I am drunk and you know how I get when I drink too much so you do not ever bring it up but instead you get back at me when I am sad over something you know I think is important so I will ask you what the hell you want from me anyway and you will not validate that statement with a reply but will be consumed with guilt because you were actually listening and know that I am hurt from the expression on my face which you have seen one too many times and I will know that it’s eating you up inside to see me this way so I will try and squeeze a tear out from the corner of my eye and you will hate me for it but you don’t yell you hold me close and instead say that you’ll buy me a drink and I will get drunk and let slip that I left the receiver on the bookshelf that time you were talking about Star Wars and you’ll say that it was Star Trek and how could I and I will say how could you keep going on and on about something you knew I wasn’t really into anyway and you’ll say didn’t I say that I liked that stuff when we first met and I will forget what I said when we met and you will be offended and I will be mad at you for crying so well and with so much feeling so I will call myself a cold-hearted bitch and hug you and tell you that you know that I have a bad memory even if I remember that the first time I met you I thought you were kind of odd-looking and that you were wearing jeans with white thread hems which I still find tacky but you don’t do anymore because you know what I think what about white hems and that haircut and the way that you wink when you think you’re saying something smart which I’m still fooled by now that we still don’t know each other and everything you say still seems intelligent and everything you’ve done still seems like something I suddenly want to try just so that we can have something in common and so we can keep talking in non-places like the internet or the telephone which I keep by the sofa I’ve been sleeping on in case you call which you always do always five minutes after you say you will and I think that your nonchalance is challenging and your candor with things like keeping promises is exciting only to eventually find out that in truth you have been sitting by your telephone for five of the longest minutes of your life agonizing over when to call me only in the future when I have spent enough time with you I will know this and I will think those five minutes are a waste of time and every time the phone rings I will think you’re pathetic because who has the time to sit around all night and agonize over calling someone and I will be struggling with ways to not pick up and not offend you and hang up quickly to catch my favourite show which starts at nine and also make sure you do not come over to surprise me and bring me flowers just because which really means just to make sure that I was home and so I will say I was doing the laundry is all and the machine was on and it was loud and so I didn’t hear the phone and wow are those flowers for me you didn’t have to which I will mean because right now one of the many non-things I like about you is that you don’t buy me flowers because you are so comfortable in your own skin and so admirable and I don’t want you to know that I watch the movies we talk about as we’re talking about them just so I can know what you’re talking about and that I’ve searched for your name online because while I say that I am spontaneous the truth is that I am terrified of strangers and would like it better if I knew what I was getting into like dipping a toe into a lake before doing what I will do anyway which is plunge into the water and allow myself to be soaked even if I hate the cold and don’t particularly like swimming and it only takes me seven minutes to take a bath everyday so what’s the point of spending a whole day submerged in water and watching my skin get wrinkly which is what you say you want to do for the rest of your life to see me get wrinkly in the mirror next to you which I have to say back although I think you would look very odd wrinkly because you have a pronounced Adam’s apple which will eventually be covered with fat but which I like at the moment because I don’t see you a lot and have only begun to take note of certain details about the way you are shaped although at this point I am assuming that it will be you who will fall in love with me because you are the one who likes to order whenever we meet up in the flesh and spend a few hours filling awkward silences with funny jokes that are only funny because we’re both  intoxicated and are either too awake thanks to one-too-many cups of coffee or are teetering on the edge of sobriety as a result of having drank too much gin too quickly like we will probably do on every occasion that permits it like our friends’ birthdays weddings funerals and you will find it endearing at first and I will feign clumsiness when drunk so that we can do romantic things or put ourselves in romantic situations like having to sleep in the same bed or run out in the rain while I’m wearing a sheer dress so you can feel me up in a taxi cab which you will pretend not to have done and I will pretend to both not have liked and not have noticed so that you will know that I get that way when I’m inebriated and we will spend more time together so that we can hop into cabs only this time I will not pass out or pretend to so that I can know what it is that I am dying to know which is how your mouth tastes which is all I think of when you’re saying something smart to me over the phone when you call five minutes past when you say you will which is the time that I count on you to call anyway which takes the piss out of the whole thing as we get to know each other because you say you will call at nine at night and call at nine-o-five which annoys me because I like watching something on TV at nine and you interrupt it with your stories that I’ve heard before and one day we will be sitting at some non-place and eating some food we don’t remember and you will be talking about a book I no longer like and telling me how you think it describes us and how funny it is that we’ve come so far and I will nod and laugh and talk about time and say it’s crazy that it’s been years when really I mean it’s crazy that it’s been years and still we’re together because truth be told I don’t think we like each other that much anymore because you still think that I like it when you call me angel in bed and I still call you a dirty little motherfucker even if I know you’re close to your mom and you don’t like the image of a mother fucker in general you’re not so bad and I think most of the time hey that’s a lot of years to be with someone you met absolutely randomly but then I think about the coincidences that our common friends have brought up like that we went to the same pre-nursery and that we were both at the 2008 concert of our favourite band and that actually we met at a party once in 2003 but I was shy and I will think that fate has never seemed so unromantic as well as that you probably didn’t notice me because back then I looked like shit and you were lusting over someone else whose husband died last week and whose wake we went to even if we didn’t recognize the body and only knew him from the photo of him from when he was in high school that they hung on the door in which he was smiling really wide with a bit of green stuck in his teeth which happens to you often which is why I never prepare lunch for you that has veggies in it which you’re grateful for because you think my obsession with what I eat is absurd since we all end up in the same place anyway and I secretly hope that your non-veggie eating gets you in the end so I will be right just like I was right not to talk to you anymore so that you stay a stranger and so that you can be someone whose mouth I can think about tasting on days when I have the bathtub to myself without feeling guilt, or anything
[As seen in EM Zine Issue 2, September 2013]

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