Since I can’t get over you, I replace you -
But I haven’t replaced a memory since.
It’s a Sunday, I’m in bed and there’s a plane somewhere in the sky with the voice of a falling missile. My mind’s still heavy, a lagging reminder of drugs consumed. The voice gets nearer, louder for a second and there’s hope. Then it disappears and I crash, again:
And remember, and remember.
And even though it stings
I hoped it always stayed, awake.
There is a dullness to everyone after 7am. No one seems to have a presence in the room. Their words are hollow, laughs blunt and hair flaccid.
Everything is dull, except the flicker of pink panty in my periphery. I manage a half erection and move toward the glimmer of respite. My opening words to her are hollow but filled with innuendo and her laugh is blunt, but in a suggestive way. A time passes and her friend leaves the couch and she offers another glimpse, another deliberate invitation. She asks me if I’ve ever had sex in a club toilet. I force a hollow smile and whisper bluntly, “no, and we’re at a houseparty”.
An hour later I reach for the zip of my pants, given to me by a past lover for my birthday last year. My eyes are stuck on the zip and the girl offers a hand. I brush it quickly and ask for her name, for piece-of-mind, rather than out of politeness.
“Nadine, but my friends call me Nads”.
“It’s been wild, Nadine”.
Jeremy is a boy who only knows what is necessary that he should know. There are insights from articles in The Economist which he re-packages as his own at client functions; quotes from the early chapters of dozens of seminal novels which he uses at house parties to confuse unsuspecting hipster females and their lurking male companions; there are the lines from peculiar songs and Gondry films he writes on serviettes and leaves for waitresses; and of course, the things he’s heard James say, in passing, which then become his own. Jeremy reasons that no one is original. That he, especially, is a product of everyone he’s ever met, and everything he’s ever read. This contention, of course, belongs to someone else, but he’s not sure who, anymore.
She introduces herself as Karen, though I know her as Kitty.
“Nice to meet you, Karen. We may have actually met before. I was in a tree at Meredith, I rolled your joint for you? You asked me how many drugs I was taking. I said, ‘only as many as I need to’ and you said that was ironic. I didn’t get how at the time. I get it now, I guess.”
“Well lovely to re-meet you Ti..?”
“Thomas”. I never call myself Thomas, she never calls herself Karen.
I look at her and she looks well, all around people look well. But someone in that packed room is sick. I often get this feeling – the feeling that of all people, I should be unwell.
“Are you up to much after this?”
“Going to shoot some pool. I can show you how if you want.”
Laughing, “I know how to play.”
“Of course you do, sorry.”
Three hours, eight beers later we leave together.
Finally Karen leaves and I shower. Something to do with the way the water is falling gives me the feeling my brain is coming unstuck. The blue Radox shower gel disappears into white foam on my pale body and I wonder how.