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Feb 01

If I die before I wake, are you gay or straight

I was looking at the back of the world’s ugliest sweater. It’s the kind with the ribbon that goes in and out of the holes in a line of the pattern. You would like it. You think that sort of thing is pretty. We like different things. You like the ornate, I like simple, stripped down things, distilled to their soul. Other than that, we fuck good. You cook for me, but you have gotten fat and boring. I like the sex, but can’t stand the fantasy football. The way you sit at your broken red computer and lurk there and complain about a dude named Carnival and then stare outwardly when I notice that nothing is going on inside your mind. The brain you pretended to have is all gone and you resent me for that. You aren’t doing your dreams and you resent me for that. You resent me for everything, but won’t say it.

One day you tell me I look like Rosanna Arquette in this movie about a deep sea diver. The next day you tell me, “That jacket of yours makes me want to die. You make me want to die.”

Who cares. We are just wasting days until one of us bleeds out.

Sometimes I float up out of my body and look down at myself and wonder what my mom would think of my low choice in a man. I do not think about what my dad would think, cause that would only hurt. It’s like I’m behind a screen of smoke or some kind of thick vapor that prevents me from seeing the truth, which is your hair is unfortunate and you already told me all your stories and they were all good ones but only about other people. You have no real stories to tell because you have to hide what you’ve actually done to people. If you keep talking about your friends, maybe I won’t ever know.

All you had was a record player. What did we wear? Nothing. You wanted us naked at the keyboard and at the bass. But you couldn’t concentrate. You’d write one line and have to go smoke or call your dealer or text your old girlfriend, the one that loves you even if you hurt her and like to hurt people because you have nothing going on inside. It makes you feel important to hurt her, like you meant something once even if you’ve wasted your whole entire life.

You told me, “Baby? I like to suck a dick every now and then. What do you think of that?”

I said, “I think you shouldn’t tell me about it, but if you really like it, you should do it.”

In my mind I’m thinking, whose dick? Some tranny? Or even if you sucked any of your bisexual friends’ dicks then what would happen to me? Maybe you should use a mouth condom, but even though everyone talks about mouth condoms—does anyone know anyone who has ever actually used one?

You disappear one afternoon and hide in bushes up near Dodger Stadium smoking crack with homeless people. I wonder if you suck their dicks. If they are clean and if they smell like homeless people dirt smell or if they smell good like a clean dick.

Whenever you disappear, I wonder about girls not realizing you prefer sexual contact with boys or men or whatever. I consider that you and I made love for 5 hours at a time without breaks. I wonder what that means and think about it categorically like this: but if he likes cock and made love to me for 5 hours what does that equal? Like an equation for such a thing could equal something tangible. As if making love equals love. Or the words spoken are stand ins for action never taken. I love you, but have to go suck a dick and shoot crack and tell everyone else all my stories so they can tell me I’m amazing. To you, love equals absence. In a way, that’s true for all of us. Love that can equal an absence makes sure you can never really be invested in anyone. Not in the way where if you invested your full heart, that to lose a person would unearth you. Take you apart bit by tiny bit until you were nothing.

One day you came back, you were clean again for 3 days, I dosed you in the bed and gave you Suboxone and Xanax. You told me you were going to see your son. But, then you made pancakes.

“I have to go get high.”

“But I thought you were seeing Jack.”

“I can’t.”

“Can’t you see him and then get high?”

“I can’t wait is all.”

“Don’t you love him?”

“I love him but don’t want to give him anything. Same for you.”

I was all sucked out at that point. But, your friend had been calling me over and over wanting to see me. It didn’t mean anything, it was just loneliness. The loneliness of a love that is only an absence not a presence.

I slept with him. I’m not proud nor would I ever tell you. He hated you and called you a cockroach and didn’t understand how you could end up with someone like me. He thought he was better than you in bed and one day, while he was inside of me he said:

“I bet you’ve never had anyone make love to you like this.”

I started laughing. I laughed so hard and long that he rolled off of me and looked sad.

“You still love him, I can’t believe it.”

“No, it’s not love, it’s the obsession with why someone would hurt me. It’s not even the same.”

I call that dude jackhammer because that was his idea of sex. He thought he knew what he was doing even though it was clear he didn’t know and wouldn’t ever know. I didn’t want to take that away from him. It bored me to see someone so engaged in something that didn’t even interest me, but I needed someone to pretend to love me again. Not in the same way you pretended to love me. The way you pretend to love is more believable. That’s why there’s a string of broken hearts all around you. I always said you should have been an actor.

But, now, I hate you with my whole heart, just like you wanted.

But, I still want my stuffed puppy dog back. The one that was supposed to protect you while you were shooting drugs. I don’t like the idea of that dog with that new girl you picked up in rehab—does she snuggle him? Do you even know his name is Flip Wilson? I don’t like the idea of that dog in your sober living with the dudes that peep each other through the hole in the closet. That dog saves lives and he wants to come back to live with me, but if he has scabies or something then forget it.

–Lisa Douglass

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