I’m not a bad person. But I guess anyone that needs to say that isn’t all that innocent—frankly, who is in this shit forsaken world? Even babies can be little assholes, and I bet if people were more honest with themselves, they’d say the same damn thing too, right? Ok—so I’ll admit yesterday wasn’t such a great day. I’m still nursing a dark ‘n twisty mood over how I became the worst person ever at my sister’s thanksgiving dinner. And it had nothing to do with her cooking, or that I used my niece as a food disposal to get rid of half of what was on my plate. After yesterday, tonight there were just three things I wanted: a drink, a good fuck to exorcise a dirty-dicked, philandering fuck-boy called, Rob, from my mind and to pour turpentine on a codeless whore’s new paint job. Not in that exact order. But first—thanksgiving.
The first error it would seem was not telling my relatives Rob and I had broken up, but I like to keep my business my business. My best-friend, Kat, says it’s because I’m a Virgo, whatever that means at a given time, but I just think it cuts the excess fat from the inevitable questions that come from my parents, siblings, uncles and aunts trying to crowbar the day to day tales and secrets out of me. Usually I can fly under the radar with everyone else so prone to over-sharing, but when sights and basic queries finally turn on me they are limited by only what they know.
How’s work? Girl, is that the same tattoo or a new one; why you ruining your skin? Are you putting up those curtains for the holidays, y’know…the set you showed me on WhatsApp? Is the book selling well? Saw your name in the newspaper for that award, did you get money too? Remind me, was it the silver or was it gold? (You know damn well which award it was!) Like rapid fire they came and I answered, and I was home free then but my sister rooted my soles to my shadow when she had asked: “I thought you and Robert were coming together?”
I dropped both my mouth and the potato salad. My heart followed when I heard his voice right after the crash and just before the muted gasps. His body always ran hot; that familiar heat pulled way too close to me and my hair stood on end the way my black cat, Lipton’s, hackles rose in protestation whenever Robert rang my doorbell. I was grateful that I didn’t still have the bowl in my hands. My gaze stayed on the shards on the flour dusted floor, my feelings related to the white mess, and I didn’t know what hurt most—my favourite store bought salad being sniffed at and rejected by my father’s overdramatic dachshund, Moose, or that Rob had the audacity to show up at my family’s gathering fifteen minutes before I did with rum braised short ribs (that he made).
I tried to play it cool. I tried to convince him to make up an excuse and leave. I tried not to let his snake oil charms and almond brown eyes spell my panty to my knees, and my dignity to the laundry room floor. I tried to get “we are over” saturated into his head while avoiding the wall he’d once pinned me to and hushed me deeply. I tried but for Rob breaking up meant a mutual agreement to do so, and he was sorry. What could I do with sorry, with promises, with husked plights against my neck? I tried to keep our business ours but he needed armor and ammunition and he poisoned my shields with his repentant show and I was the worst for not forgiving a man who loved me despite my fundamental flaws. What?
And then more questions, more questions like: “why are you doing him so?”
In the whirlwind, upside down, inside out, world under siege, fiasco thanksgiving was devolving in to I told everyone off. Drudged up from my chest of things I probably shouldn’t say, I loosed my fury like edged stone. I broke glass houses and Moose high-tailed it from the living room. My Uncle, chasing rum with rum, believed my outburst somehow validated his opinion of me versus the opinion everyone else had of the fuckups he had spawned. With all eyes on the Good Girl Gone Bad I should have said then and there why their defense of Rob was so heinous but I took my apple pie to go and left instead.
He wasn’t going to tell them, and finding him in the edge of heaven, sweat soaked and breathless with Josie-the vlogger-from-next-door was still my dumb business. I honestly should have listened to my damn cat the first time.
So when today sank into night, with every intention of washing away thanksgiving’s disaster, I sought out my favourite bar. I got that drink I’d wanted. A couple of them…like any proper, functioning, millennial who does the nine to-at-least-three, five days a week (including after a holiday which should be criminal), and needed to unwind. I ate greasy pizza and danced because according to Kat, my horoscope said so. She and I drank more, the music stopped five minutes too long before beginning again but I swayed my hips dirty to the ambient chatter because it was night and there’s an effect night and alcohol has on me that makes me a lil bolder. We talked but we talked about nothing, the kind of nothing that was somehow something when kicking it with the right friends. We half-joked, half-plotted the greatest amount of damage with the least amount of jail time and then decided no man, or woman, was worth it. We ground against each other like we were thirteen while the boys hugged the walls, and time flew and there was one thing left to do. I almost didn’t bother but he and I grazed hands when we reached for the cab door, and we got in together. We conversed with gestures, silence, and reactions popping like fireworks. I was intrigued but also hesitated and so began that ebb and flow all the way to his place. I ebbed and flowed from the dimly lit foyer to the wall, to another wall, to a table, to a bed. I tried not to chastise myself. Sometimes I want to live outside of my skin. Outside of the same ole girl I’ve been and known and kind of understood for most of my life. I knew it was about Robert but it didn’t have to be.
This was dangerous—it was dangerous, it was dangerous, it was dangerous. On the midnight sheets this stranger pinned my wrists to either side, nearly cruciform as he kissed the delicate cleft of my collarbone and further ‘til his mouth latched to my breast, and his tongue rolled across my nipple. He licked a path down over my solar plexus to the expanse of my tummy. His lips reached my hips and I hissed; caught his green eyes with my brown eyes and insecurities, worries, melted with the heat raised by the delve—the reach and curl— of deft fingers. I thought one final time that it was dangerous and I spread my thighs. Neon lights became morning, coffee subdued what sex remained in the air, I was stupid but alive and he husked his name against my ear. I smiled then whispered—hello Liam.