How we fucked up
Every time I fuck you now it’s an accusation. It’s me saying fuck you instead of
pressing my cooling body against yours through the openings in our coats on the pier
while the heavy water moves around us. I want the feeling of that first night back. Your
shirt shifting over your breasts. Our moving shadows settling in the rafters over your
bed. The sound of someone watching the vague television and your idea of make-out
music which happens to be my idea of the soundtrack for sex. Everyone running past
the open window, maybe looking in which doesn’t really matter. Cinnamon brioche.
Hard shiraz that forces us to dance. Sex without disguise, only our gasping, inefficient
bodies. Now our love is a dark fawn and we are the good, clean thing inside it exposed
to the night’s fresh breath for the first time. Still throbbing. Only just.
Things you can do with time travel and a brown paper bag
Your ex-girlfriend has been diagnosed with something that she has probably had for
ages but with such mysterious symptoms it’s hard to know. Small creatures are shifting
inside her. The thing about small creatures is that you either kill them or they grow.
There is discomfort. There is breathing in and out of paper bags. There is the smell of
bread and the sound of blood and you are remembering her in a brown silk dress, with
a donkey eating from her hands. You are remembering the way she piggybacked you
to the university doctor when you had the flu. You are remembering how needles were
recreational, and the way you could stitch anything together. And you cannot bear all
the stumblings of her body combined with the sweetness of her hair. You say you’re
sorry because maybe if you had known then, you’d never have left her. You could have
collected her sickness into the bag, folded it and sewn it shut, and left it on the next
departing container ship to implode somewhere in the dark Pacific. You could have.
Maybe you still should.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hannah Mettner is a writer from Gisborne who lives and works in Wellington, and makes excellent shortbread.