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
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
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?”
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
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)
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.
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
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
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
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
delivered at 11pm
We will not be prepaying
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 nomoreundead.tumblr.com.