We don’t have souls; we’re just our bodies.
Not much better than ants,
Smarter, with a larger, more complex society,
But you kill us and we go away.
There isn’t some spirit that survives.
It’s all very simple, he told me.
And I thought he had no sense of the silliness of life.
We sat in the back far corner of a studying-type bubble tea place.
I don’t think I’m the person he invites out to go drinking.
But, I could be myself with him for a minute, which was great, because I was sullen and being assholeish.
I used crude language to be fun.
I updated him about my life, my dates, my non-ending sinus infection, and my fears.
I listened while he had to remind himself to come back to his body, because his depression would take him somewhere else.
I laughed at his stories, and his breakups, hookups, and drug use.
It was nice to be friends for a minute.
To think to myself, we’re friends, I can do this.
I can buy life insurance,
And have tea, normal-like, and find a way to make it.
He gave her what she wanted.
That’s the refrain.
She wanted another child.
She told me, my mother,
She was thinking about getting a donor, if she didn’t find someone.
Were we not enough?
Are my sister and I not enough?
Is that why my brother gets more money and attention?
He’s the boy. The youngest, the one really wanted?
She told me when she forgot she was talking to me.
They were getting divorced soon anyway,
She said there was no way.
I’m thinking I was the one last try, the goodbye, or the accident.
At the same time she was mock-trial arguing women’s reproductive rights at her law school,
She chose to have me.
And I sit here on a Sunday afternoon wondering what I’ll do by accident,
And what I’ll get because I want it, one way or the other.
I wore a tank top that showed my bra
So he would look at my cleavage.
It’s the one thing about me I thought he might like
But if I’m resorting to skin,
It means I’m desperate.
I’m not sure which shows more strength,
The persistence of trying without hope
Or the courage to have confidence in what’s left of my body.
Will I be my mother and have no long-term close friends?
Will I have no one to hang out with on Sunday nights?
Because I want that.
The casual, they just show up.
I’m tired of having to plan it.
I know it comes with time, trust.
But I want a click, I want luck, I want safety.
I guess I’m sacrificing the opportunity for something better, to settle safe.
I think I’m okay with that.
Be proud of your failures.
What an un-American thing to say.
Us, the people who can’t take seriously the things we didn’t do ourselves.
Unless you’re talking to businessmen who are telling you about how to build a better life using these three principles,
I don’t see anyone taking that to heart.
I see them pretending to brag about the things they did that went wrong,
To fool themselves into an excuse for bragging, and follow step three written in the first book they’ve read in years.
It’s like she forgot she left.
She was telling me how bad dad was to her when we were little,
With a casual wave, before you remember.
I told her, when it was just me and dad,
When she was in school,
He was calmer by then.
She looked at me in shock,
Still never seeing that other people have lives too,
That might be just as important, painful, or meaningful.
I don’t open up to him, I don’t feel safe.
I like him, I’m attracted, but I don’t feel I can be myself.
Is that because he’s more attractive?
Or because my body knows he’ll hurt me, and it’s keeping me tucked away,
The me who has no boundaries.
I’ve been staring at a age-spot that appeared on my hand.
I remember the wart that was there for years and years.
The constant shame of my hand, the constant hiding.
Right there over the third knuckle.
How often I would pick it apart, hoping I could make it go away without showing anyone.
Without creating another problem for my mother.
Who tried to ice-burn it away with some over-the-counter contraption she picked up on her way home when she was only going to the grocery store for one thing.
I was fifteen before we went to the skin doctor and the third thing he tried made it vanish.
And I wonder if his spot on my hand if from the cream they used.
If this is a delayed reaction, to the fact I hid my shame,
And didn’t tell anyone about what was wrong until years later.