60: Added Sugar

In 60 days I will turn 30

I read my horoscope (every morning).  It reminds me that my life is happening.

I bite into last night’s sandwich.

I forgot about the ketchup until this very second but it sticks.

With my one bite of sandwich, I drink two glasses of water.

If I’m full, I will be happy.

 

J lies on my floor, on a pull out bed that literally pulls out of the couch like a drawer, and he tells me all the things I need to know about women.

“They don’t know what they want and even when they tell you what they want they end the sentence with “I don’t know”, it’s such bullshit it’s like they want ME to know everything.”

J knows everything.  Doesn’t he know everything?  Why else has he been fucking talking since the moment he came in?

He moved to Toronto.

I met him in Montreal.  We were both performing at an open mic.  He was one of the hosts,

“I started this show,” he would frequently repeat.

He moved to Toronto a year after I met him.  I cannot recall how it happened but he had become one of my closest friends.  We have fucked a total of two times.  The third time, he has taught me, will be the last time. “Never fuck anyone you aren’t dating more than three times.” His golden rule.

He is now lying on my floor and I cannot stand him.

I tell him, “Ok, don’t make me yell at you, ok?”

This is my moment.  I can tell him he’s wrong.  I can tell him he’s a dick.  I can tell him to fuck off, just sleep and wake up and never come here again but instead I beckon, “I really don’t want to argue with you, this is my home and I don’t feel like being in my own home and arguing.”

“What does that even mean?”

“I don’t know.”

“SEE?”  A loud laugh. “It’s such bullshit.  Girls are such bullshit.  I hate all of you.”

This is age 25.

 

Two months from 30.

Walking through Dundas Square is a sensory explosion.

Whatever happened here today was bad.  I don’t know what it was but it lingers in the air and it was bad.  Billboards announcing movies.  Men announcing the presence of God.  Some sort of plush-clad adult plays the drum of a plastic bucket while a child watches and probably wonders how to contextualize this very scene for the sake of his own maturation.  I walk.  I am cold.

I drink too much.

None of the medications I take come with a label that says “DRINK WHENEVER YOU PLEASE, AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. NOTHING WILL HAPPEN” and yet I persist with frozen margaritas in a chain bar I will only ever admit to patronizing if I feel like I really need to confide in someone.

I read Chloe Caldwell’s book of essays while slurping salty lime tequila.  I only stop to scroll through the messages C sent me at two in the morning two nights ago when I was still sober.  I read his messages because they validate my beauty.  Finally.  From a guy I was sure thought I was dirt.  For roughly 6-7 years, I have slept with him here or there, on and off and I have assumed his judgement of me:  I am dirt.  I also assumed that I am only attracted to him because he thinks that I am dirt but now, scrolling through these messages, reading “I forgot just how attracted I am to you”, I still care about him.

These messages are not real.

I keep drinking.

 

N’s eyes don’t move.

They are drunk and they are still.

“What?”

“No, nothing.”  He kisses me.  “Nothing.”

He gets up and smokes by the window.

N is a tall, handsome, army vet. I hardly know him.  He likes my poetry.

We are not a couple.

When he isn’t here I think very hard about how I would love for us to be a couple.

I am sure it is because he kisses me.

“Can I smoke?”

“You can literally do whatever you want,” I reassure him.

He laughs at me.  I get the same sensation I always get when men laugh at me:  I plan to never eat again.

He smokes.  I smoke with him. He has grey eyes.

 

C has grey eyes but I have never noticed them before.

“I have two questions.”

He lies in my bed, looking at me.  I am at the foot of the bed, looking at him.  This is his first time in my adult apartment.  I have not been with him in over two years.

I cannot focus on the moments before right now.  He is here because he asked if he could come here.  He asked if he could come here for a reason I never considered.  I used to beg to have him come over.  Now, having forgotten all about him, he has asked, on his own volition, to join me in my home.  I do not consider his intentions.  His presence is nonsense.  Why would his intentions matter?

It is noon.  He walks in from an all-night outing, still a bit drunk.  He asks for painkillers.  I give him Advil.  I tell him he can lie in the bed.  Now we are lying in the bed.

“I have two questions for you.”

C has two girlfriends.  I am unaware of my appeal to him.  I am unaware of his thinking.  I am used to being pathetic around him and now I feel, basically, like a q-tip:  I am stiff and I am fluffy but isn’t it useless if not for one specific purpose?

I don’t think about him anymore. I have met many many men since last being with him.  I assume he has met many many women.  The youthful drive to acknowledge something special between us has disappeared with all romance. Now he is lying in the bed I offer to him, staring at me, thinking about his dick.

My twenties are certainly for stupid sex moments.  I am 29.  Just get through it.

“I have two questions for you.”

“Ok.”

“First, how is your writing going?”

I nearly wind myself explaining to him that I’m not sure.  I’m trying but I’m not sure.  I say it in a million ways.  I cannot tell if he is genuinely here or if he is already thinking about his next question.

With an exhale and a conversational continuance I demand, “…ok, what is your second question?”

C is suddenly shy.

 

N is never shy because he is usually quiet.

 

I get home from a day of work and cocktails.  My dog is at my parents’ house where we are staying because of my current knee injury.  I am alone.

I think about the added sugar I have consumed today.

I have an app on my phone where I record all the food I have eaten in a day.  Yesterday it told me that my day was “too high in added sugar”.  All day I have been thinking of added sugar.  Added sugar is such a dick.  I never expect to encounter it, I don’t really want it, I seem to enjoy it without enjoying it and it’s effects never go away.

Cranberry juice.  Margarita.  Ketchup.

Granola. Cream cheese.

 

J smokes by the window and his face is illuminated by a self-righteous smug smile I will never forget.

 

N smokes by the window and I categorize his expression in my head way far behind a door marked “Exit Cues”.

He tells me he was in a gang once and he laughs at himself.

“I was a really bad person.”

“Are you still a bad person?”

He cuts me off, “Do you think I’m a bad person?”

“I don’t think I know yet.”

“I’m not a bad person.”

“Yeah, I don’t know.”

“Are you a good person?”

“Relative to most gang members, yes.  I suppose I am: Good.”

He laughs.

N’s face is illuminated by his real, genuine interest in me.

 

I am dating someone right now who has paid me exactly one complement since I met him.

Up until this exact moment I was worried that I am too self-absorbed to be able to handle a man who can’t remember to tell me I am beautiful.  But: I really like the way his face lights up when he looks at me.

Maybe I can get over myself enough to just be able to remain in the same room as that light.  Just for as long as it works.  Or until he tells me I’m beautiful.  ‘Til death or ’til rebirth.

Liking him is hard because it’s easy.

Difficult men make me try.  Trying makes me feel dramatically engaged.  Dramatic engagement feels like I’m getting somewhere.

Ease is just:  inherently gorgeous.

How do I tell him I think we’re gorgeous?

 

J pulls me into an alley.  This is our third and final time.

I give him a terrible blow job.  He stands me up.

“Do I take my pants off, I don’t know, I don’t know what to do,” I’m not scared but, as often is the case with J, I am merely doing this to impress him or to be impressive or because, for some reason, I did not say no.  Scratch that.  I have no idea why I am doing this.

“Just turn around.”

He turns me around.

I don’t have enough time.  I can’t enjoy this.

I am gripping the exterior walls to two different houses, wondering about the people inside.

J ejaculates all over the side of one house.

He laughs the dumb stoner laugh that will stick to my thighs for the rest of my life.

“My cum is everywhere.”

 

I take off my shorts.  The smell of vagina and menstrual blood wafts upward.

I sit on my bed.

Hours previous to this moment, I was walking through chaos.

I drink orange juice.

There is acid in my stomach and I still have to wake up tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll shower.  In the morning.

 

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All the best, calm calm peace,

-R