Shouldn’t you be over this by now?
I’m sitting on the couch, feet tucked underneath the cushions. My scalp still tingles with the pomegranate shampoo that made you turn and smile when I sat down. I look at the clock ticking in the living room and wonder what’s so special about her cheap perfume.
What did you see in him?
Do, not did. If you look closely enough, you can see her legs clenching whenever you walk by. She likes the way you walk, you know, the way you dig your hand in your pocket, half slumping, half straight, the way you lift your head in the air a fraction of a degree. Degrees. If she dropped her calculator, would you pick it up? Probably not. Not because you’re rude, but because you don’t notice anything. Never have, never will. She likes that about you, too.
He’s not worth it.
Of course not. I’ve never been good with faces, but when I close my eyes, I can see your array of solid colored T-shirts projected like film against my eyelids, your sun-drenched skin, your Adam’s apple bobbing in a hiccup of a guttural laugh. I can taste your fizzy adolescence from here, carbonation caught in my throat and gone in a second with a less than temporary sting. I want to hold you forever. But he’s not worth it. Didn’t I just say it was a real shocker he had a girlfriend in the first place? Poor girl, she could do so much better than him. I bite down on the straw of my soda and blow a few bubbles as if for emphasis. They look at me and smile in approval. Priceless is different than worthless, the ice is melting at the bottom of my cup, and I know I could never do better than you.
Are you okay?
I nod. I wonder if when she ends the call and mumbles, “I love you,” the words laced with sincerity and sleep, you lay awake at night, body clenched stiff with delight, your thumb hovering over the end call button but not quite touching it, as giddy as I am when you so much as glance my direction. You two look good together. I swear I’m happy. Scrawl that in the yearbook and sign it with a flourish, hand it back with a grin and feel your heart bust open like an exploded pen. We both have our reasons.
You’re responsible for your own sadness.
Who’s to blame? I trace my finger over the kitchen countertop, but I really want to trace it on the planes of your face. Feel your skin like Braille, the boyish raise of your cheekbones signals your pleasure, the downward slope your emptiness. My mom will ask me if I’m okay when she opens the door and sees me sopping wet from the hurt that cascades like swollen raindrops down my shoulders, the smell of teenage infatuation both overwhelmingly pungent and devastatingly foreign. A perfume tucked back long ago that I’ve just spilled all over myself. I tell her not to worry, my teeth are chattering. I break, I buy.
You need to get over it.
It’s easy to say, easy to think, easy to lather up the tangles when you know he’s going to stroke and inhale your hair in the morning. Tear free. But human will is a much more fragile concept.
— it’s (not) my fault you didn’t like the answers