Stories

I'm working on something longer. In the meantime, you can read this.

 

You were sprawled on your back with your head pressed up against the outside of my thigh while I ignored you, responding to an email on my phone, and your hair was pushed up in little bunny-ear loops from having slid off my lap. Another raisin bounced off your upper lip.

“You’re gonna choke and I’m going to have to explain to your mother how you died of sun-dried grape-induced asphyxia.”

“Nope,” as an especially big one landed neatly in your mouth. “Peristalsis, bitch,” as you chewed briefly and swallowed. I finished typing and fwoosh and tossed my phone into the opposite corner of the couch and “Well that’s a relief, my relationship with Anne would be in tatters if you died, and you know what that would do to my mental health” as I put my feet on the coffee table’s condensation-ringed laminate.

I sat and you lay and the taxi 13 stories down blared and

“Would you cry if I died?”

“Your crazy is showing.”

“I’m serious.”

“I dunno. You’ve never died before. Who’s to say?” as you turned over and sat up, unsatisfied.

“You don’t think you would.”

“Are we really fighting about this? I think it would really fucking hurt. I think I would feel like I didn’t do enough while you were alive. I think I would miss you.”

“But you wouldn’t cry.”

I didn’t say anything, and then “I didn’t cry when I watched my grandmother die. I didn’t cry at my grandfather’s funeral. It doesn’t mean I didn’t care about them. I don’t know why.”

Two years later, we would break up, and you’d offer an explanation, that I didn’t give a shit, clearly, that why should you ever have believed I did give a shit if I was so willing to let you go out of my life, that you had only been a token to fill the role of significant other for a time, until I decided I was ready to find someone actually worth spending the rest of my life with, and that now I could toss you aside and simply move on and forget –­ as though I wasn’t losing you too, like I wouldn’t spend the next one hundred and eight nights staring at the wall opposite your side of the bed that I hadn’t been able to see before.

And it would feel like you killed me. And it would feel like you had died, but it would be another nineteen months before I found out what that would actually feel like. And I wouldn’t cry. And I’d wish I could. And I still wouldn’t know why.

“Well, if you’re not gonna cry at my funeral, you better not show up. I want waterworks. I want the guy who stuffs my body to be pissed that people are getting his hard work tear-damp.  I want someone to have to make a run to CVS for more tissues cause the funeral home ran out.”

“What if I show up anyway?”

“Then I’ll haunt you from the grave and make you cry.”

“At least I’d get to see you again” and you smiled, even though I would go to your funeral and not cry and never get to see you again.