The journal that I am currently scribbling away in advertises itself as made solely of recyclable materials. I like to imagine that at least one strand of it came from your favorite, old, ratty T-shirt that you used to wear to bed those hot, summer nights in which I could feel your steady breathing on my shoulder. It had so many holes in it. I hated the way you smirked as you slipped it on, knowing that it would irritate me. Nowadays, I miss that dirty rag and the way it hung loosely to just below your cheeks.
Orgasm means “little death” in Latin right? I heard that a few years ago and thought it to be absurd. Now I understand exactly what it means. It means that just for a few measly moments of life we actually get an enjoyable taste of death- a taste of death that we all cling to, long for, ruin a marriage for, die for, and even kill for. It is the one equalizer of the human race. We all long for an orgasm, a few moments in which we can escape our own heads, if only temporarily. It is a break from the madness, the chaos, and calamity of this world. I remember you whispering to me, as the shadows of the passing cars danced on your face, that we spend our entire lives trying to figure out different ways to prolong life, to avoid death, yet the first taste of death, of blackness of the mind that we get, we jump at.
I have a vague memory of telling my wine-clouded mind to record what you were saying, because at some point I would be able to use it in my writing. Is that what the life of a writer has become? Nothing more, nothing less? I can never just exist; I can never just be. I must corrupt every experience I have ever had by manipulating it in order to fit into a piece of writing.
There are nights that I sit at my typewriter and bleed, just as Hemingway advised, but my knuckles turn white from anxiety and too many sleepless nights spent watching the shadows of cars that pass by but no longer have your skin to adorn. I even have a generous glass of whiskey in my hand and a cigar in the other as I contemplate the swift tapping of the typewriter keys. If I close my eyes, I can focus on inhaling the light layer of dust that I refuse to clean off of my early 20th century typewriter. His name is Felix. Don’t ask me why. I think it is a lovely name, though, and perhaps he will be who I end up sharing the rest of my life with, because lord knows I have emulated the very end of The Sun Also Rises without fault. It is pretty to think that you and I would have had such a damned good time together, but that is all it is: a beautiful lie that makes my skin crawl when I think of how I always fall in love with falling in love but rarely fall in love with the people themselves.
–story by MARISA CRANE