Tobias is a Minotaur, whose bed you just woke up in. He is shorter, actually, than might be anticipated, with legs that are suddenly hairy at the shin, just above the hoof. At the moment he is in the kitchenette. He has put his jeans on and his t-shirt. He is making tea. You lie on your front, the sheets kicked to the bed’s end. You are yet to put your jeans on, yet to find your t-shirt somewhere under the thrown-off doona. This morning as you shivered through the first stages of a hangover, Tobias spooned you.
And now, atop his linens, you are thinking on your next move. Thinking of the caterpillar footstep of blood in your head vein. And trying to remember the previous night’s undressing. Who took what off who, and in what order? How quickly?
I wouldn’t say I’m resigned to this fate. I chose it out of a line up of Married With Children, Happily Dating, Casual Open Relationship and Bitterly Divorced.
I’m not averse to The Relationship; in fact I’m considerably more open to it than to consuming ricotta at any given time. Growing old with someone sounds nice, in as much as changing adult diapers, putting in false teeth and crossing Abbey Road with a Zimmer frame might be nice experiences to share with a significant other. But I’d rather do it alone. Or as alone as possible.
She pauses in the hallway. She stops. I glance over my shoulder. She has seen someone, perhaps someone standing in the other room. Behind me there is a party in its last sordid throes. A death rattle of celebration, someone’s shoes cast adrift on a wine-stained carpet, pâté on the furniture, the final gurgle of wine in the bottom of a cheap cask. I am a little drunk but not so much so that I might think that this woman is looking at me. She has been incendiary. She started with laughter, short and bright as fireworks. This at the beginning of the evening. It was impossible not to notice her. She had arrived with a young biology student who seemed disinterested in her. He flopped into a couch with his bottle of vodka cradled in his lap and proceeded to drink it with steady diligence. But now the biology student is asleep. His position has barely changed, the bottle still propped up in his lap, his cup resting on the arm of the couch, his head tipped back and his lips slightly parted. I am not sure if they were together or just sharing a lift as a matter of convenience. There is no one behind me. She is looking at me.
My boyfriend is grinning at me.
I want to say to him ‘you look psychotic’
I want to say to him ‘I think we should break up’
‘I think we should break up because you are a PC user, our values are conflicting’
I’ve always loved sluts.
I’m not sure if this is nature or nurture, as I was raised with a plethora of female role models whose ‘empowerment’ was predominantly derived from their sexuality. Being born in the early 90s, I experienced the world post-sexual revolution, mid third-wave feminism, all in full-colour through a somewhat grainy television screen.
“Is it Chinese New Year?”
There were fireworks exploding down in Chinatown again.
Every week, sometimes nights at a time in a row, more fireworks would go off and he would ask the same question. And she would say “I don’t know” or “maybe”, and once said “probably” and he tackled her to the bed and squashed all the air out. She didn’t resist, but just disappeared into the same vacuum space as the stars exploding in the sky down in Chinatown.
Neither of them ever bothered to find out.
Articulate. You like me when I wear my words
Besides that’s why you bought me dinner in the first place, or was it coffee?
Caffeine sounds more like us. We’re not big on food most of the time.
Don’t you remember? Don’t you recall I said
Entry is your strong suit—
Fucking is a good way for you to practice entry and you practice it on me all the time.