They tear up the room, they jest and joke around, and I’m that much closer to not being here anymore; but when you have no friends, everyone is your friend. They gist and jitter, like little bugs, they bump into me, sit by my side, lean on me, kiss me, and just as quickly they leave; when I hold one it feels fuzzy, like an idea. “Will you ever let me go?” No, never; I’ll hold you in my arms forever– and it’s not there anymore. If you let them go, they’ll be yours forever, like air you’ve already exhaled. “Do you love me?” Well, when you’re not in love, you’re in love with everybody. I write it all down, scratch things out, add things in; I make many mistakes you’ll never know about, sink into the couch and make easy conversation with pieces of lint and loose change; I clumsily stitch words onto people and people onto words. “I’m your ideal of an ideal woman,” I make one say, taking a long drag off someone else’s cigarette, I kind of shoot an askant smile, trying to look smart or at least aloof and not stupid. Bumping into me, sitting by my side, leaning on me, she smiles. “I’m afraid of dogs,” I tell her: “I was bitten when I was a toddler. It wasn’t painful, but some fears kind of stick like that and you can’t get rid of them. I wanted to pet it; I kept hesitating too, but the guy told me ‘Don’t worry, he won’t bite’– so I petted it, and sure enough it bit me.” She presses her body, swaddled in a fuzzy sweater, closer against me, I hold her head tight against my chest, her hair glows redder than the tip of the cigarette; I make her say more things, pithy things, terse things, non sequiturs, redundancies, allusions; her skin burns the tips of my fingers and chars my tongue. Casually she says “I think you’ll fall in love with me.” “O yea?” I chuckle, running the lank of her hair through my fingers. She says, “O yes; I have you all figured out.”
I write down the conversation before I’m any part of it.
“Stop that,” she palms my notebook.
I try to get her hand out of the way, I try to explain to her that if I don’t write this down it’ll really happen, but it’s too late because she leans in and kisses me.