I start counting, because counting is enough sometimes to make the time pass and to get past this. I count my feet because there are two and two is an even number, but once I count my feet I have to count my body all the way through. I count my fingers and there are ten and that is even and I count my toes and there are ten and that is even, and things are looking good so far. I have two legs and two arms and two hands and two feet and two breasts and two eyes and two lips, scratch that and make it four which is still fine and even and right, but now things are complicated. I have one nose and one mouth and one cunt, I have one face and one torso and one ass and one clit and you used to put your one tongue on it and then press your one tongue against my one tongue, filling my one mouth with the taste of my one cunt and then that was okay, no matter how many ones we put in we were always two and that was even and so it was fine. Now I’ve lost count and my two eyes are crying what I’m sure is an odd number of tears and I’m pressing them closed using four of my ten fingers and even that reminds me of your fingers pressing into me and I am lost here and stuck here because an elevator doesn’t just let you off whenever you want it to, you have to wait for the two doors to open and sometimes you have to wait for an odd number of people to get off in front of you so you can break free and run, run, run.
The two doors open and I am still one on this elevator when they do, and this is a time when one is better than two, as impossible as that sounds, and I don’t run, run, run even though I want to, even though I want to just bolt through this lobby and past the guards and down the escalator through groups of misters and misses and suits and ties and I want to burst through their days and break through the doors, I want to scream as I do it and I want them to hear me but I want you to hear me even more, and I don’t do it. I don’t run. I don’t make a noise. I walk calmly to the doors, I ignore the revolving ones because what a nightmare of possible numbers that is, and I get outside through the much more maneuverable traditional doors and I breathe deep in the rain soaked air and I light a cigarette and I take one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten steps to a spot that is not too close to anyone else and I stand.
I pick up the phone that lives in my head and I call you. I have so many things I want to say to you, but today I start with:
“Do you remember getting kicked out of that cheesy bar in Pioneer Square? The one with the faux western theme and all the frat types mixing with the forty somethings, all hoping for a chance to fuck the girls dancing on the bar or at least one of the drunk misguided stereotypes writhing in a solid mass to top forty pop hits? That was one of the best nights of my life with you.”
I take your silence as encouragement. I continue my story, our story, because maybe you don’t remember, and sure, that’s almost too awful to consider, but it’s something to say other than “I miss you so much I feel like I’m fucking falling all the time now” or “I love you and you loved me and how can one little letter make such a huge difference in my life”.
“We went there hoping for trouble but not looking for it. We went there like we went so many places, wanting not necessarily violence but it’s potential. We got our hands stamped and forced our way up to the bar, not caring how many future bankers or car salesmen we trampled and shoved past. Once there, we eyed the dancer on the bar and ordered two shots and two beers. It was like we were in a movie, we just ordered beers and waited to see what they brought. We already knew it didn’t matter. The dancer came over to you and started her obligatory mating ritual, practically rubbing her scantily clad vagina across the top of your head as she gyrated. This was our chance and I took it. I got angry. I got wild eyed. I pounded the bar and I started to shout. I demanded equality. “Get over here and rub your vagina on my head this instant, young lady! What’s wrong, don’t you believe in equality? Is this bar anti-gay, or is it just you? Do you people discriminate against women? What the fuck is wrong with you, you bigot!” I built to a frenzy and began rhythmically pounding, chanting. You joined in. “Equality. Equality. Equality. Equality.” Predictably, a bouncer laid his hand on your arm, because obviously you had to be the source of the trouble. Just another drunken pile of raging hormones gone mad in the face of tits and ass all packaged and displayed neatly. He grabbed your arm and I caught your eye. As soon as I made contact, you nodded and we were off. I grabbed my beer, never knowing what they’d served me, and threw the drink in his beefy face. In the moment of shock that followed, I made a run for it, screaming “REMEMBER THE ALAMO” as I ran. I never looked back for you, I knew this time you were our lamb to the slaughter of a bad idea and a good time. I ran in circles around the dance floor crowded with people we knew we didn’t want to be or know. I ran and I ran, only deviating from my circle when I absolutely had to. I made the situation into a scene out of Looney Tunes, the bouncers playing Wile E. Coyote to my Road Runner. I wasn’t trying to escape, I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. I just wanted to keep going as long as possible. They were closing in on me and I knew it, but I just kept running, limbs flailing wildly, jumping over people where necessary. When they finally grabbed me near the women’s bathroom, I knew I had a choice. Would I go quietly into this good night? Fuck I would. I’m only five foot two, but I thrashed and kicked wildly as they carried me out. I’d never been physically removed from anywhere before, and it fulfilled all of my expectations. They carried me out and tossed me on the sidewalk. I was sober but I still felt no pain as I picked myself up and went looking for you. They were as dumb as they looked, shouting “Where’s the other one?” as they rushed back inside to find you, forgetting that they’d already deposited you safely outside the other entrance, quietly and with no fuss. No nonsense for you, not that night.”
You still haven’t said anything, and I’m hoping that’s because you’re remembering us that night, our manic glee as we created a cartoon scene all over their meat market, the way we were always a team this way. I’m hoping that you are remembering us and that this might be the thing that reminds you to be in love with me. I press on just in case things are this way.
“Every time one of us ended up bruised we fucked like we believed in forever, usually wherever we stood. That night we ran laughing, holding hands a half block before we saw the fence surrounding a parking garage and knew without exchanging a word that we had to climb it and it had to be a contest. Most of our contests were like this. There was no prize and there were no rules, there was just this thing we had to do and losing was almost as good as winning if you did it with enough enthusiasm and style. This was that. We said nothing, we just ran and started the climb. You were fast, you were always so fast. Contests involving speed usually belonged to you, unless you tripped, unless you fell, unless you decided to let me win. Tonight was usually, and you hit the top a full minute or more before I did. You got to the top, and you stood laughing and stripping your shirt off as I continued to climb. Losing is never an excuse for giving up, we told each other every time. You, half naked and full of joy, standing there watching me made me climb faster than I thought I could. If you’d been at the top all along like this, I’d have won, hands down. I could beat anyone to get to you this way. You grabbed for my hand to pull me up but I shook you off, wanting to do this myself. I crawled over the final rung with the lack of grace that was my trademark, and as soon as I was up you were on me. I stood up and you shoved me back down on the cold concrete, a rough shove that had my scabbed elbows taking more damage. You straddled me in my shock, and it took a moment for me to respond. It took all my strength but I shoved you off of me and stood again, watching you on the ground. I gave you my hand and pulled you back to your feet. As soon as you stood in front of me I knocked you back down. There was a crack and I knew it was your head against the cement and we were even then, while we were being odd, and we were just starting. It wasn’t always like this with us, but oh, when it was. I was on top now, and you slapped wildly at my hands when I reached for your zipper. You fought like you meant it, and I loved you then like a fucking housefire, I wanted to consume you that way, to leave you burnt and ruined, to turn you into something no one else could ever experience. A hard left to my jaw broke me out of needing to be the last person you ever knew, and I was on the ground again. Do you remember us that way? Do you remember that I couldn’t stop smiling at you that way, with my teeth loose which was okay because if they were loose they were still there, they were still in my mouth like I wanted you to be in my mouth, you and my loose teeth jammed in together behind my red red smile. I was on the ground with that smile, and you were on me again, kissing that red smile, and it hurt, but I wanted you more than I wanted the pain of it to stop, and this time you didn’t fight me when I reached for you.”