This is How You Lose Me by Jiordan Castle

This is How You Lose Me

If I was still sixteen

I would blast angry punk music

and egg your car

maybe even your bedroom window

if I had enough eggs.

But since I’m older now

older but still a few years younger than you

I want to blast Adele

and not ironically but actually

want to press my face into my mattress

and sob to her first and second albums

with the door shut so no one can hear but me.


What I want to know is

how a person does

what a person does

to weigh another person down.

Maybe it’s us holding hands above a shark tank

me always threatening to put your arm in

whispering This is only a test this is only a test.


You never took me out to a $4 dinner at Denny’s

like I wanted


made me waffles

one-handed like you promised

too difficult

because of your dislocated shoulder.

You were the one who said you would do it.

I never asked.


We watched movies

where Liam Neeson kills people

where Bruce Willis kills people

where Mark Wahlberg shoots Derek Jeter.

You let me choose every time.


I grew up on an island near Manhattan.

Too near to it

so near

that I had to leave.

You’re from California

blond and tall

a jaw like Luke Wilson

before he put on weight

and after when he took it off.


You lived with a woman for a year

before you decided that the apartment was too small

for such little love

and so many fights.


This was the summer before

the winter you met me.

I was wearing a gold bandeau

the bar was crowded and loud and damp.

Your arm was in a sling your smile was a Colgate ad.

I asked “Do you have a girlfriend?”


“Does your girlfriend have a cat?”

No girlfriend no cat.

“Do you like Beverly Hills Cop?

Which one?


In the cab I thought you might be a murderer

because I think all strange men are murderers

so I asked:

Do you collect skulls?

Do you like fire?

Have you ever killed anyone?

You still gave me a pair of shorts and a t-shirt

and my own side of the bed.

And in the morning

multigrain cheerios.


Midnight: your birthday.

You were asleep. I was watching the clock.

I didn’t want to wake you up.

The day before

I had met your twin

had met your friends.

This one night

you wanted me to stay over again but I needed the sleep.

You looked at me with cow eyes a color I don’t remember

(can’t now couldn’t then)

and said

But it’s my birthday.


I went home

but I wish I had stayed

so I could have stayed again and again.


Days later we watched The Grey together on your couch.

The plot: wolves kill men

and Liam Neeson kills wolves.

I watched my head on your good shoulder.

Liam stood to face the alpha at the end and… that was it.


You turned off the light. I couldn’t sleep.

I asked “But what happens?”

You said It’s just a movie

and rolled away.


And then you went missing

and gave me responses reactions

instead of conversation.

And I was ready for that comfort

but it had gone bad


like I’d forgotten to check the date.


The night I told you my dad had been in prison for four years

was the night you told me about your life with her.

Your head was resting on my chest.

You said

Was that too much?

Your heart sped up.

I shook my head. You laughed


I can feel if you’re lying.

But it was just that you were too heavy to hold.


And when you disappeared days later

you resurfaced as a text message:

Maybe the timing isn’t right.

I had weeks but she had years your ghost girl

and her dad was sick

or dying.

When I was in your bed talking about prison and plans and staying in San Francisco

I asked about her enough to know but not to pry.

You said you didn’t know if you should reach out to her

I wonder if she still hates me you whispered.


When you disappeared

when you resurfaced

you wrote that you were having

ex-girlfriend issues


I don’t know what that means

I wrote back on the outside reaching in

just a phone call away

a phone call you didn’t make.

I needed to hear you say it’s not me not my fault.

But mostly that you want tonight and the next night every night

with me.

Instead you write that you’ll call me when you get home

and you don’t.

I cave and call you

and it rings

instead of talking back.


You showed up in my laundry today:

a gray t-shirt with STUD printed above a stenciled muffin

a gift you got as a joke

and gave to me.

Instead of giving it back

I want to call Domino’s on a weeknight (an exercise in grief)

and give them your address

tell them it’s a party a pity party

and we need ten pizzas

with anchovies

delivered at 11pm

no sooner.

We will not be prepaying

I’ll say

the man of the house has cash.

He’s not asleep

just keep ringing. Don’t give up.

Jiordan Castle is a New Yorker transplanted in San Francisco. During the day she writes blog posts and ebooks for money. At night, she eats pizza (unfortunately, not (yet) for money). She has been published elsewhere on the internet and in print, and gets intimate at