--YOU MUST HAVE BEEN A BEAUTIFUL BABY
…I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re having a wonderful day.
…I am three scenes away from finishing my novel. That makes me happy. I should have a shitty first draft done in a few hours.
…I’m sitting at Starbucks in Bellingham, WA. There are a lot of summer hipsters here.I like Bellingham. It has a big art house community and there’s water everywhere.
Tonight I’m doing a reading with other writers here at The Amadeus Project for “Cirque Journal.” It should be fun. I like reading.
This is one of the four pieces I’ll be reading. It was published in PANK and is a favorite of mine.
She says, “When I kiss you I can feel how much your teeth ache.”
I kiss her again and she tells me that’s more like it.
We sleep in. All day we lay in bed like lumps, like lonesome cats and dogs, pillows becoming our neighbors. When I ask if she’s hungry, we kiss again.
She only has seven toes. I knew this when I first met her. She was helping out with lawn-mowing as a little girl. I say, “But seven is a lucky number,” and she takes my chin and wags it in her palm. “You,” she says, using her nickname for me. “Oh, You.”
The last time she tried it, the doctor said it was a cry for attention. “It’s hard to drown yourself in the bathtub,” he said. Which made sense. Which was true.
But this time she let the bath overflow and used a blade. Two blunt swipes across the wrist. She needs stitches, but for now the gauze and ice will have to do. She’s not ready for the hospital, and, to tell the truth, neither am I.
I have a book light that I blink off and on beneath the sheets. “This reminds me of summer camp,” she says. “I was happy before then.”
I let her tell me the story. I don’t say a word. His name was Ben, a redhead with angry acne. He said she was dirty. There was an owl in the tree above them when he did it. Since then, she sees that owl once a day, if not more. The bird stares at her, mocks and accuses.
I hold her hand and put my lips on her fingers. Her pulse throbs through a wide green vein. She says, “You know, it might not ever go away,” and I tell her, that’s okay, just don’t leave me.
She says, “I don’t get you.”
I say, “Don’t worry no one does.”
She kisses me again, soft like Cool Whip, calls me, “You,” and adds “I love.”