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We Can't Be Friends Anymore

          I watch you walk from behind as I lay still in bed.  You are naked. I’m shocked at how long your legs are.  I always am. You remind me of a Klimt painting, your exaggerated beauty just as intangible to me.  The sway of your butt tingles my chest in a way I don’t understand.

          We just made love, though I call it sex.  But you know better.

          When you come back to bed your face is wet.  You’ve just wet your face, I think. I don’t think why.  

          You turn your back to me.  I drape an arm obtusely over you.  I am the big spoon.

          I look at the thin white drape blowing by the open window.  You always think of putting nice touches like that. It ripples and wrinkles and unwrinkles, expands and deflates like the lungs of the room.  It dances in the sunlight.

          I watch it.  I tell you how pretty it is.  I’m always telling you how pretty things are.  I’ve never looked at you though like I’ve looked at those drapes.   

          You shudder as you sigh.  I think it is my own jerks as I drift off.  I fall asleep with my arm around you.


          When I wake my arm is empty.  The blinds aren’t dancing and the sun isn’t shining.  It is night.

          You pad silently into the bedroom.  You are clothed. Your face is wet. You haven’t just wet your face.  You’ve been crying.

          Slowly you look up at me.  Your eyes seem to weigh a ton each.  They are crushing me.

          Your arm extends towards me.  It seems hard for you. I reach to meet it, then see the note.  I take it. Tears plummet the staggering height from your heavy eyes to the floor.  

          I look at the note.  I look at you. Our eyes meet and you hold mine though I can see the struggle.  I can see the hurt. I can see what’s coming. My stomach pangs and twists in knots but it’s been doing that so much that it doesn’t surprise me.  Actually on and off the past few days I’ve felt nothing so at least this is something. I’m not sure which is preferable.

          I open the note.  You feel like we’ve been moving closer and closer to the edge of a cliff and now we’re teetering on the edge.  You can’t fall alone but I just want to teeter.

          We can’t be friends anymore.  

          I don’t understand.  

          You nod.  Your face almost collapses.  Instead it drops some tears which explode on your feet.

          You know I don’t understand.  You know that so well.

          Slowly I nod.  I look at you and you look at me but my mind is blank.  My head is in my stomach and it won’t work.  Okay, I say.  I’m sorry.  I don’t know what I’m apologizing for but I can see I’ve hurt you and I just want to crawl into a hole and die.  

          I put on my shoes, grab my backpack and whistle for Beyonce.  She comes up panting and smiling and excited and so incongrous I feel like laughing.  I don’t though.

          I open the door and we leave and I hear it shut behind me.  

          Of course, floats through my head.  Of course this is happening. Of course of course of course.  I’m not angry. I’m not sad. I’m not anything. I’m just floating along as one absurdity follows another.  

          Of course I’m losing you.  I’m losing everything precious in my life.  I look down at Beyonce as we’re waiting to cross the street and I expect she’ll get hit by a car.  

          She doesn't though and we are in the academic quad.  It is manicured and green and mostly empty. I walk to the middle near the base of an enormous tree and lie down.  Beyonce licks my face and I scratch her head and I’m very aware of that, and of the towering tree and the syrupy sun filtering through in thick beams and the squirrels chasing each other and dropping nuts through the flittering leaves.  I’m very aware of everything outside of me because inside of me seems to have switched off. Again. Of course.

          My mind is blank and sitting in my blank mind frightens me so I start to read.  I read hundreds of pages and the light is lower now, no longer coming through the leaves but slanting across the lawn from very low and finally I fall asleep.

          I wake up sweaty and itchy from the grass and it feels like I only blinked.  But the sky is purple and the lamps are on, casting me in the shadow of the enormous tree.  I lay still and wonder if Beyonce is still here. I wait a few seconds then whistle for her.  She grunts and gets up and sniffs my cheek. I stand up and start walking because there is nothing else for me to do.  

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