By Sally Howe.
Callie finally shipped you your things in July. When we opened the boxes we saw she’d written fuck you on almost everything.
You believed that it was your mom’s fault that your sisters were not speaking to you.
On my twentieth birthday, I locked myself in the bathroom and read Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry. You tried to coax me out, first conciliatory, then sharp, then with your fists on the door. I sat silently on the bathmat with the book tucked into my lap, nodding to myself, pretending that someone sympathetic was watching.
You kissed me on a beach at night. I took off my shoes to walk with you and the wind filled them with sand.
The year before we met I bought a tiny cactus for my dorm room. I thought, here is something I can’t possibly kill. But I did; it turned brown and tipped over and I had to throw it away. I saved the story, though, carrying it around with me like an ID: here I am, destroyer of all things.
This is a story you told me about the time you lived with Callie, then your fiancé. You were in your car, with a hooker in the passenger’s seat, driving through wintery Minneapolis at two or three in the morning. Callie heard the beep of your seatbelt being unbuckled over the phone line and asked you where you were. You shot a frozen glance at Destiny or Chastity or whatever, and into your phone, you swore that it was the microwave and that you were on your way to bed.
We met in rehab. You should have known better.
I should have known better, too. I had finally, recently, truly become one with my self-loathing. You smiled at me and it was as if no one had ever been kind to me before.
You need someone on your arm. You like having a sidekick.