Sometimes I don’t write because I’m busy. Because I’m lazy. Because I have nothing to say. Sometimes I don’t write because I am afraid of what I will say, or what I must say, and what I must think and know and feel to be able to say.
I call ex-Lover. Against all counsel, against my own will, I can’t maintain the wall any longer. I am calling to say we can’t be friends, he has texted me that he blames me for a prank someone pulled on Cute Girl, how can we possibly be friends if it’s me versus her in his head? He says it’s easier to hate me, that believing I did something awful is one way to do it. This takes down a fence rail barring my way out, he’s not my champion any more. I wouldn’t prank her via computer, I don’t know enough to make it clean and cruel and untraceable. A weapon you don’t know how to use belongs to your enemy.
My weapon is words. I can shape the world, history, memory with words.
Ex-Lover says through the phone that our relationship was staggering from disaster to catastrophe. I don’t say what I wanted was you, what I wanted to give you was me, even negative attention is attention.
He says we were already breaking up for more than a year. I don’t say every time I made a scene, every time I hurt you, every time I walked away it was in fear that I would never be able to walk away, too deep, no turning back.
He says, as I head into the produce section to get a smoothie, the only thing I can keep down, “I had hoped this would bring you closer with your husband.”
I say, “It did. It’s not enough. It will never be enough. I knew that when I married him.”
He does not say that he, too, hates not being enough. That when I slept with someone else, it was nails through his palms as well as fodder for his fantasy. He says, he was crushed by what I wrote about Folk Rocker, about wanting, about needing to be wanted.
I say, that feeling? When I wrote you I was with someone else? This is like that, except there is no happy ending where I come home to you and you beat bruises into my ass, my thighs, my pussy, fuck me until you own me again. This is every day a new chapter of pain and there is no end in sight. You have taught me to welcome pain from you, to beg for it, to wish for more, to love your hand, the belt, the chain. Now I have no choice but to seek it out, to wait for more. I do not say, nothing like putting your finger in the ass of a crying woman, remember? And the weeks you kept yourself from fucking me because you had hurt me so badly, instead pulling on the belt around my neck while I came, you coming later in your hand, smearing the semen across my breasts in the strange and creaky-floored hotel? I say, at the very least, you could have waited, you and she could have kept things quiet for a week or two instead of rubbing your new relationship in my face.
When you have been with a lover for some time, the only way to surprise your lover is to hurt them.
He is shocked by my response to the breakup, he doesn’t get why this is so hard for me. I say, “I love(d) you,” with the 'd' so soft neither of us can hear it.
I say, “Remember the staircase at the farmhouse?”
I don’t say the place we played house in the fields for nearly a week, the place you first learned how much you loved to fuck me while I lay still, the place where we cooked together and then I leaned over the top of the stairs, looked down at you looking up, your face against the blond wood everything there was in the world to me and I told you in someone else’s words how much I loved you though we did not (then) allow ourselves to say I love you, told you deny thy father and refuse thy name or if thou wilt not be but sworn to me—
He says yes, he remembers.
I say, “That’s how I felt all the time.”