I can see the toilet from where I’m sitting at the dining room table. I left the bathroom door open. I have a plate of food in front of me: chicken and rice and oil soaked roasted vegetables my friend cooked, all reheated. It’s girl’s night and I’ve been here at my friend's condo for two hours and I’m still the only other one here. My friend turns off the ceiling fan. Yeah that was driving me crazy, I say. Is it cold, she says. No, I say. It was just blowing everywhere, she says. Yeah blowing everywhere, I say. I stand up and close the bathroom door. Are you writing a poem, she says. Yes, I say, and sit down.
My friend is looking down at her phone and it looks like she is praying.
Eventually her other friends show up but all I keep thinking about is getting home and getting back in bed. I have so many things I’ve obligated myself to that I can’t even think about or begin to organize in thoughts or deal with cemented lungs. Letting it pass through sounds easy enough to say.
The other girls want to know why I quit drinking. One calls me 'aka bitch,' in a joking way I’m sure. Another asks me why I look so young, why my skin is so smooth. I smile and take it because the only things I’m worried about are completely out of my control. I call a car when the time is appropriate.
I can’t stop crying at my desk. Waiting for my boss to show up so I can pretend to work and then go home, go back to bed. Sit and smoke in near darkness. Loosen the chains across my chest.
I’m shrinking myself in a silent protest that only I know about.
I don’t even know why I want you. I don’t even think I need to be fixed. I just need to be clean. I want to be clean of you. I washed my floors for you. Or maybe I washed something out of me.
If you want unconditional love become an animal caretaker.
If you want unconditional love study religion and believe in it.
I’m clearing my throat of you. Saying your name out loud feels like a sacrilege.
If you want unrequited love worship someone who isn’t real and will never be real.
If you want to make it real you’re desperate. If you try you want it too much. If you care you’re pushing too hard.
Hurt people hurt people lol
You can always take more but you can't take less.
Alexandra Naughton is editor in chief of @baipress in California. Her first novel, American Mary, was published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in March 2016 . She's a Libra. Follow her on twitter: @thetsaritsa