Post by antigone boyé d3f [zori] on Aug 14, 2019 0:02:02 GMT -5
I slept with slutty Shauna again.
Not because I love her. I think the fact is that she’s someone that I don’t have to love. I called her up after work and we went back and forth about going out to eat.
“What are you up to?”
‘Getting cleaned up. I’m a mess after today.’
“What would you say about getting out?”
‘You don’t want me to just come over?’
“Maybe I can be nice to you sometimes,”
‘Since when do you like nice?’
She’ll be dressed with her tits pushed up and falling out her dress, and I’ll just have to show up. And I’ve told her she should have more confidence, which she calls me a cunt for, but we both know it doesn’t matter, because she’s going to wind up sucking my dick. Most of the time she leaves before the sun is up, since I don’t like having to share the bed. She’s cool with it, though. It’s a good thing we have going, her going out and then coming back, through the back door and up the stairs to my room, banging one out, and then going our separate ways.
I’m a hopeless romantic.
We met up at the Rookery. They have aluminum siding and a rusted set of iron letters to spell out the name just above the door. I like it there because they light the place with little candle bowls, so the light’s low enough you get to see shadows on each other’s faces. They know me, too. Well enough that they ask if I’m having the usual – a whiskey neat – and for Shauna, a G&T. There’s something comfortable coming back to a place that hasn’t changed as much as you have.
We sat for about two hours getting piss drunk, laughing about bullshit. She’s on the factory floor during the day sewing shit and that day was corsets, and she talked about how bullshit it must be to squeeze someone’s body into them.
‘I’d never fit,’ She said, and put her hands on her hips.
“Nah,” I agreed, and snorted. She eyed her drink, and I can tell she was wondering if I thought it was true. Her eyeliner is smudged, smoky eye showing some wear in the candlelight. “But fuck that. You’ve always liked just being who you are.”
‘Yeah, I guess I do.’
She’s a bigger girl, and I like that she doesn’t give a shit about it. I mean I guess she cares a little bit, enough to put on make-up and a dress. Better than me. Tonight I got on a black tee shirt with a hole by the neck, but I like to think it’s stylish. She just calls it homeless chic. You know what she said? Shauna told me last week we were going to go shopping for a new pair of jeans, and I told her to go fuck herself, but – she’s right. These have probably been in my drawer for at least three or four years, so.
We’re on our third drink, and she was going on about how some bitch at work told her she was gossiping about who was close to getting fired, and I had another one of those out of body moments. You know, where you’re looking at someone and you’re trying your best to hear the sound coming out of their mouths. You’re staring right at them but you’re not there, not even close. I was off across the sunset, a thousand miles from Shauna.
I couldn’t stop thinking about Birdie.
I guess when I look at Shauna, or when I used to look at Cecilia, and before that Debbie, I start to think about how they stack up.
Yeah – it’s fucked up. Shauna sitting right there, beautiful as could be. She’s a real person, you know? I think you’d like her. Nice – or no – kind. They’re not the same. Nice is an arm’s length, and kind is arms wrapped around you, embracing you. She tries, but I can’t see it, not in anything other than a good time. But that’s what we both want, so it’s not like I’m hurting her.
She reminded me it was your birthday, or – that it was supposed to be, soon. Not that she said anything about it at all. But that I knew in seeing her, I’d be seeing Birdie the night after. That the date was circled on the calendar, with stars and hearts, black ink, and all.
It’s a losing game, comparing them to Birdie.
Birdie told me that I was a fucking little pricked asshole for showing back up at the house. First words out of her mouth.
‘You little pricked asshole.’
And I said, “I’m pretty sure that’s not how anatomy works.”
And I swear to god that she laughed.
I’d told her that I was coming by because I needed to go through some things, and that I wanted to check up on the house, because I still liked to make sure she’s all settled. You know? Not like I can give her much out of my pocket but at the least I could make sure the faucet in the kitchen isn’t on the fritz or that she doesn’t got anything that needs fixing.
Something about the way she stood behind the front screen door burned into my brain.
She opened the door when the sun was burning the last of its red in the sky. The little lights on each side of the doors came on, and she’s standing there, arms across her chest. And I got a little bit – I was there to try and see her – I told her she could at least smile a little bit. Which became a whole fucking thing.
‘Don’t tell me to fucking smile.’
“I didn’t tell you. I asked you, you could at least smile more?”
Like two minutes going back and forth about how much we didn’t need to see each other, and then some silence you should cut with a fucking chainsaw.
But then I told her I came because I wanted to see how she was doing. On account of what time of year it was. I took off my hat because she always makes me take my baseball cap off before I go into the house. We spent most of the time in the kitchen, which looks mostly the same. The linoleum needs replacing, it’s supposed to be white but it’s been yellow since you were a little girl. Always said I was going to fix that for both of you, but I guess I never got around to it. Maybe next time.
How are you holding up?
Was a simple enough question, but for the both of us it’s a lobbed bomb. I think you were the thread that kept us together, shitty as we were. Like – you, me, and Birdie – there shouldn’t have been a reason for all of us to be together. But we had you, growing up, and all the Hopes weren’t just going to let me sit on my ass and have her raise you.
Not like I was going to walk out on my girl.
But you knew that. Shitty as things got sometimes, you were always my girl.
Had you breaking the law with me when you were six years old. Not like murder or robbery, but they put a big old lock on the chain link fence of the park. Like – they just decided no one was going to get into the park that day to play on the old metal jungle gym. And we said, because we didn’t give a shit, fuck that. Well, you might have stood behind me while I said it, but the thought was there.
So I hoisted you up along the fence and you wiggled your little legs so your feet scraped the metal links, and then I climbed up, too. And we sat on the top and we looked down (it was only a few feet down) and we counted to three and we jumped. I remember how happy you were when I pushed you up in the air, smile across your face, swinging on those swings. The whole playground to yourself, because we’d decided that it was worth whatever trouble we might get into. Sorry, I got something in my eye just then.
We had some good times. Good times, I’ll tell you.
She let me go through your room a bit. Now don’t go getting too upset. I didn’t take down any of your posters and I didn’t rearrange anything. There’s still some junk in your closet that I think she’s planning on giving to some of the Hope girls when they get old enough. That’s what she told me, anyway. She stood in the doorway when I went in your room, her shadow just stretching out over me. The overhead lamp bulb was out so I had to turn on the lamp next to your old oak desk.
‘I’ll get you a beer,’ She said to me.
I sat in the squeaky desk chair and sat back. I forgot your old window looks out onto the street. Clouds weren’t so bad, so we could see a few of the stars. Birdie came back and gave me the beer and had one for herself, but she stood out in the doorway, leaning up against the frame. Let me just take in the room for a bit, eyes closed. Thinking about my girl, when she played with little horse dolls or wrote whatever she was writing in her journal.
That was before you started not feeling youself. Or maybe feeling more like yourself. I don’t know.
It all started to fall apart around the same time. I lost my job over at the tailor’s shop and couldn’t find work that year. I remember we spent a lot of time together when you got home from school, or the days that I got bored and made you skip. You didn’t talk much then. I remember you were worried because it was just Birdie working, and things were tight. And that I started staying out.
And then a month turned to three to a year.
It was bullshit, feeling like I couldn’t help you guys. I wanted to help you, and – I could’ve done better, I know. But it was hard. And then you started to get sad, and that just made it worse. I wanted you to be happy and thought it was all because of me. And then we argued, me and Birdie.
Life was supposed to get better, and I kept getting told to look on the bright side of things. Except I kept looking around and seeing that I wasn’t getting anything, no matter how hard I tried or didn’t try. And yeah maybe I drank a little much and smoked, and stayed out with guys but I wasn’t that old then. I had you when I was a kid and fuck if I knew what life was supposed to be like. I didn’t have 30,000 Hopes to tell me what to do.
I could have used someone to tell me not to stick my dick in anyone else. And you know, it’s harder than it sounds – I give your boy Saturn some credit – when you have nothing else, being wanted by someone else is an easy answer. Sometimes you just want to be wanted, that’s not the worst thing in the world. Didn’t work out so well for any of us, though.
What did I tell you when Birdie made me move out? Okay, I think first things was:
Don’t get pregnant.
Which was the first thing, and maybe my best advice for you. But also, You deserve a better world than the one me and Birdie made together. And it wasn’t that we didn’t belong being your parents. It’s just that sometimes us being together was like we blocked the sun out so you couldn’t grow.
“I miss her,” I told Birdie when we were sitting in your room. “I knew I’d fucking miss her but I didn’t think I’d miss everything. You know?”
You grew up, Damaris. But that didn’t stop you from being my little girl.
Looking at you was seeing something we’d made together, the last little piece of good that seemed to make sense for us. Even if you thought you weren’t what you were supposed to be. But Birdie and I broke a long time before you did.
I got you a birthday present. It’s not very good considering I got it from your room, and that it’s not new. But I thought you might be missing it, out here. You remember the little white plastic horse things you used to have? The weird little chubby ones that you seemed to have a whole family of? I think you got them when you were thirteen. You were a weird kid, you know that? I’d just started at Daniel’s Laundry, I think. I saved up for months after you told me about the little toys in the second hand store window. They were antiques, but not anything people seemed to want.
Brought one of them because I thought it might keep you company out here. Watch over you, or something.
I don’t know if you believed in that sort of thing.
We didn’t talk much about that, I guess. Not that we talked much about anything after I left the house. I don’t know if I can think of an extended conversation we might have had together about anything.
I started as a line cook the other day, a little side job. Thought you might want to know.
Just an odd job. Nothing fancy. Out at a diner.
Trying to change, a bit. I think I’d told you I wanted to cook, someday, maybe make food for people so that I could make money. Not just be drying clothes until I’m too old or go blind. I just… I wanted to tell you because I know I hadn’t done much of anything, in a while.
Your mom’s doing all right, I think. I’m still watching out for her. I mean, when she lets me. I stop by, to make sure things aren’t too hard. I think you taught us that last, that we gotta look out for each other more.