on learning to like after you

green eyes has good teeth,

i should’ve been a dentist, he jokes.

seat mere feet from seat, four palms

two occupied with frosty clinking glasses,

(no salt on yours, he says, freeing one palm with a grin)

he takes off his rimmed glasses and wipes them,

“you look nice without those,” i say, he smiles.

your eyes were brown indoors and hazel in the sun,

your legs were short,

your shoulders, your gaze

cast towards your small quick feet,

your words sped when our tension thickened,

sludge-like with the absence of words until

our bodies found their ways to separate places.


Feelings best translate to the nightmarish segment of a childhood funhouse, the tunnel right before the end, it revolves in an ongoing circular motion, and through it you scamper like a gerbil in a wheel, attempting to remain upright on your two frantically blinking light-up sneakers, but the omnipotent presence of gravity trumps all. There’s an immense O-shaped beam of sunlight pouring through and perhaps your mother or friends or somebody is flinging a wrist left and right, casting a frivolous beam of laughter up at the skies, oh she’s so precious, look she can’t walk right!

Feelings best translate to the contrast between emotions upon placing Piketty’s Capital in my shopping cart on Amazon, and struggling past the first ten pages. Tackling Capital seemed like a remarkable idea until I realized my lack of time, patience, and intelligence. Feelings are my useless economics degree, and you are a 600-page Amazon bestseller. But you could be any book, really; you could be Harry Potter and I’d be both the robe-clad girl in line for Barnes and Noble at midnight, and the bible-thumper who thought Voldemort to be satan. You’d be Twilight and I, both the twihard and the English professor raising my nose at lowbrow literature; the soccer mom flitting through Fifty Shades, and the Jezebel columnist condemning its misogynistic nature. Through and through, you are the book, demand exceeding supply and comfortably nestled at the top of all lists.

Feelings are necessary and you are the sufficient; if it were diagrammed, it would parallel a logical reasoning argument like the ones on the LSAT. If I went to class, then I got out of bed. Getting out of bed is necessary, going to class is sufficient. If I think of you often, sometimes with no clothes on, sometimes with your lips on mine, sometimes with your arm around me or just even doing none of those things and talking, smiling, laughing, showing each other the things we know the other would like, and then maybe kissing on the lips and each other’s necks and quietly giggling about how nobody else would ever guess that this thing could be ours, then I have feelings. Feelings are necessary, you are sufficient, and perhaps one day those dizzying feelings will dissipate at last. After all, you are the latter half of an admissions test diagram, you are the wheel that challenged me against gravity, you are the geekonomics summer must-read I couldn’t handle. Because some things that once felt so radically innate, like asking to spend time with you, suddenly place me at odds with the bare bones of nature’s power itself, as though gravity is gracelessly rolling me off my rubber soles.

Oh god, oh dear god. I’m going to die alone, says the twenty-year old exuding word vomit from behind the safety-wall of plastic keys and pixels and Google Chrome and Cranberries-themed Pandora playlists

I’m going to die alone, she mutters, not surrounded by cats as every self-pitying female laments in her qualms to go with a glass of wine (box of Franzia?), but by ladies who wove back her hair when she fell to rock bottom, by men who gave her quick, friendly pats on both shoulders and voiced their faith in her strength. Words of promise were uttered but never once was promise delivered, she mourns from the bottom of a pit of self-pitying cynicism.

There’s a type, some sort of it quotient that drives women mad in a particular man, woman, significant other. A highly credible internet time-burning article claims that chocolate not only boosts sex drive, but that it in fact mimics the feeling of love itself; bite after bite, this is love.

She’s going to die alone, she mutters once again, her mother spearheading the memorial and waving banners that summon you, you, and you; friends of friends and acquaintances of those friends because the world is weeping in your loss, she’d say, everyone loves you too much. 

A death by too much love, alas love that was never met from both directions. Bite.

In high school English, her teacher used to draw calculated diagrams of romance in Victorian Literature, the way eye contact between two individuals attracted to one another would be a gravitational pull of communication more powerful than the tectonic plates themselves. That’s what constitutes romance, isn’t it? Locked visions, locked thoughts, unison. Novelist Chuck Palahniuk once said something along the lines of that those who love you, and those who you love, never quite align.

She says I’ve seen Victorian eye sex though, as English teachers and giggly nervous tenth graders called it.  Relationships and mutual love manifested in ways other than airy, flavorless Skinny Cow wafers because Hershey’s was sabotaging the slender waistline that he– that purely hypothetical he— could hypothetically love so much. I’ve seen shoulders squeezed and embraced and lips locked and hope explode and I wonder, just wonder, why crazy old Chuck was right about me and nobody else.

And ultimately she laments dying loved, surrounded by instilled faith vaporizing from the upper left ribcage cavities of those who loved her, and the lovers of her lovers, and even their lovers too, and their hope and faith in her could rise to the heavens but it would remain meretricious, flimsy verbose if in her passing, she had never understood how the Victorians did it anyways.

Oh god, oh dear god. I’m going to