It had been just an innocent attempt, let’s go to the superstore together. Why, sure, that doesn’t seem hard, but something about you, starting from the rush, the urgency to leave the house that I cannot even change.
“There’s no need to dress up.”
“I was in pajamas.” For god’s sake.
I get fed up just listening to you on the phone, then I smile ruefully in spite of myself, hearing your boyfriend on edge at your disconnectedness. You’re not even listening. You’ve picked up a new conversational goer – “Oh, I see.”
A thought reminds me of how people always say distance makes things easier as it does to some relationships. I imagine living in a dorm for the future, but it hits me sharply that it would make no difference after all, the chasm of awkwardness only greater emphasized on the phone.
Moreover, it makes me nervous while you drive, how you’re half attempting to brake within 5 feet to the rear of another car, whereas I’d be reprimanded from half a block away. I never realize my body has already tensed until I slouch, capable only to defer to that position from my stiff spine.
Then even the public eye couldn’t save me from going asunder. Frustrating, really, because I distinctly recall reminiscing on some YouTube artist or another admitting her faulty emotions on camera. At that moment, I bravoed at how right she is, if I were to upload a video right now I’d do the same. The public convulsion is strong enough, I can manage.
At the supermarket I opt to shop for the ingredients of a disgusting green drink, like all things good for you. We pick out the vegetables and necessities, I ask if we had kale at home. You answer yes, to my surprise. Do you even know what kale is? It’s a carrot. Funny, you did the same thing when I asked whether or not superstore sold incense. Of course they do. So what are incense?
You walk away from the fruit market section and from the back of your head along the length of you, I had the distinct impression of you mocking me. Me trying to be healthy.
We reunite after I found my jam, you were at the large water refiller for jugs, which after I’ve arrived, you promptly gave up on trying to accomplish. When I saw our cart I scolded you and re-shelved your plastic water bottles.
“I need to drink them for work.”
“Even the fridge has water.”
“It has a strange taste.”
It was a mutual end.
When we arrive at the check out counter, you jest at why I’m not paying for the groceries, somehow it’s amusing to you.
“Why did I bother to bring you along, can’t even help me pay anyway.”
One of these days I’ll finally get the punch line.
We exit the store with our cart, I take out the bags, leaving you with the sole responsibility of carrying your empty water jug, but instead of leaving our cart where all the rest goes, you park it near the escalator and leave it in a corner.
“The carts are the other way.”
“There’s people for that.”
I argue one last breath, and feel the old man sitting on the side bench silently judge us while we ascend upwards.
We forget where our car is parked in the parking lot, I honestly half expected you to sneer and say “Oh you’re absolutely useless, can’t even help me remember where we parked our car.” Whereas you would laugh and try to hug me afterwards, it only jostled suppressed annoyance and discomfort on my part. But you kept your silence, and even in that I felt the steel belief that you always felt the need for a man around, as much as you thought you absolutely needed those plastic water bottles.
A stray man sitting on a bench asks us for change, you answer too fast to have been genuine. I throw an apologetic smile his way but he isn’t looking. I didn’t like the way he looked at you.
You get lost trying to get out of the parking lot because you decided to turn the other way despite the marked arrows. Upon realization I hear you say, while laughing, “there’s no exits around here.” Laughter. “Oh this is what I get for being a smartass.”
I recall your ability to manage a solo conversation, all the phone calls when I was away, I listened to you exclaim ostentatiously over your ice cream. We had hung up shortly after that.
We don’t speak the rest of the way home. I imagine us dying in a car crash. Would I fight for my last breath? Would you feel remorse to recollect my admonishment of plastic water bottles the next time you went to superstore, alone?
Finally home, I take everything inside. I fold up the plastic bags and put the food in the fridge and I think about how writers create characters. They never say the wittiest things, unlike the ones I have difficulty as it is attempting. Instead I’ve met and remember with distaste characters of such feeble, whimsical, weak, feminine qualities that I read with spite, their dialogue constantly hedging and ridiculously in vain. But those were the good books.
I’m in my room now, preparing for a shower, contemplating whether or not I should have a later dinner. I think about a recent book I picked up, the relationships between a mother and daughter. I forget what it said, forget my brief comprehension of this psychological twist, but I remember a stark fact. Something about the maternal bond, eternally screwed over if wronged after year 3, whereas the author spent 4 years researching and conducting interviews, she found girls fantasizing about the brutal ardor of rape in earnest. And it somehow all related back to mom. I don’t understand it; but so what if I do.
You aren’t out. You knock on my door and I become wary of my nakedness. I hold the door steady with my palm, not quite shutting it, and you sneak in coins from the slit offered on a folded piece of advertisement paper. I take them and attempt to shut you out, but you glance in regardless, and I say again I’m naked, evident as it is, now with a renewed exasperation, shutting the door with a solid impact from the perfect mechanism between the door frame, the key and the latch. You ask from the other side whether or not I want a piece of clothing. I say no, leave it there. You walk away in silence, but even in that I felt your humor.