It’s raining– fat drops bouncing back against themselves in the pool, visible through the sliding glass doors of the greenhouse, where I stand and close my eyes, let Neko Case’s voice wash over me, singing along at the top of my lungs, a rare and blessed moment where I am wholly, completely alone–
Baby, why’m I worried now?
Did someone make a fool of me?
Why does every stupid fount of yearning need an object? Because desire is full, says my favorite poem, of endless distances… What do the poets know, anyway? Poetry and music have never done anything for me but get me into a very particular kind of trouble– I long to be Stevie Nicks in “Dreams,” turning someone’s head and walking the other way, laughing coolly with a girlfriend, but I usually end up like Neko Case, trapped in the center of a self-created cyclone, ripping another and myself to unfortunate shreds–
I lie across the path waiting
Just for a chance to be
A spiderweb, trapped in your lashes—
For that, says the venerable Ms. Case, she would trade you her empire for ashes. But what empire? That of the self, round, sound, soft castle of deliberate hairlessness, the ass I’m always not quite sure of, no matter how many men profess their undying to devotion to it? Just the other night, laid out on a princess blanket in the backyard, deluding ourselves that we’re hidden from the neighbors’ view by a set of plastic lawn chairs and a table, the tattooed neighbor grabs it and squeezes it hard, gleefully, groans with pleasure, slides a finger beneath the delicate yellow lace hugging my backside– none of it feels like an empire then, autonomy momentarily vanished to be the spiderweb he walks through unwittingly, the spider lying-in-wait– Hey, pretty baby, get high with me– the night obscuring our vision so that everything is blurred lines, hands and mouths on skin damp with spring– is it that I feel like another person in this state, or that I feel most like myself?
“I feel like there are two of you,” I say to him, my bare leg hoisted up, ballet slipper resting on the chair next to his hip, the skirt of my dress slipping back to reveal my thighs, cigarette in hand. “Like there’s you, here, in person, and you’re really sweet and kind, and you listen to me, and are really open about your life; and then there’s you in your text messages– super reserved, kind of cold, a little bit on edge all the time–“
“Yeah, that sounds about right,” he says, running his hand up my calf muscle, squeezing.
“And you don’t use g’s,” I say.
“G’s. You don’t use them. In any of our written correspondence. Like, you write ‘what’s happenin’ or ‘i’m goin’ to the movies, i’m takin’ myself on a date.’ Like that.”
“Ha! Yeah. That’s true. I don’t. Who has time?!”
“Yes, it’s taxing; I agree.” Later, we’re flat on our backs beneath the bright and steadfast stars on the princess blanket, in that state of perpetual motion that new lovers inhabit– I grab his t-shirt and pull him on top of me so that I can feel all of his weight; he hoists himself on his elbows, pushes my dress up so he can touch my thighs; I roll over onto my side, try as best I can to fit my body into the curve of his like interlocking parts, a second comma accidentally tapped by my thumb in a message designed to make him wish I was within reach:
i dont do the yearnin
the yearnin will take you over
he wrote earlier that day, in the afternoon:
Why do you think I write a blog about it? It’s like an exorcism…
Maybe. An exorcism, or a prolonging, or a kind of rhapsody, the song I’ve always wanted to sing, but have never been able to let fly. And anyway, everyone yearns. Or maybe some people don’t, but Mr. Tattoos is a yearner. At least in the night, at least with his face close but barely visible, at least when I can tell it’s all he can do, in the moment, not to eat me alive.
It takes one to know one, after all.
I might be in trouble with the neighbor, I text the perpetual ex. I kinda like him.
So don’t get in trouble, he writes back. Just have fun.
And what’s more fun than blankets in the grass, and foggy car windows, and curving your body in its new leopard print bikini against the chaise lounge in the broad light of day, stack of essays against your thighs, in the hopes he might catch a glimpse of you through the window?
Fuck the yearning– I don’t care if forever never comes– I’m holding out for that teenage feelin’–