Love Affairs

My god, I know that boy. Well. He really did seem like the type to put himself in this kind of situation, and I guess that’s why I never cared for a friendship. And to think that the girl is. Dead now. Ugh, men suck.

He lived two doors down from me and as the acrid autumnal death knell blew through the campus, I started to notice his window on nights when he was busy at his typewriter, when I would make the treacherous journey from the library to our round arrangement of townhouses with crescendos of frantic violins coursing through my ears. I would stop to watch his blood-orange afro floating at his desk, a cloud of fire over a fluorescent sea, waiting. Sometimes, she was there with him.

A lover of bitter coffee and bitter truths. Camus. Wallace. Updike. Przybyszewska. I wonder. What kind of parent mis-raises a child to freely quote Lolita, wear tank tops to class in the winter, and order iced blonde americanos past five p.m.? I once watched him argue in a politics tutorial—much to the outrage of the class—that if the Arab world really cared about solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and not killing Jews, they would have absorbed Palestine into one of their countries a long time ago. It’s like kicking a homeless man off the park bench he’s sleeping on. Just go find another bench, the park is full of them!

Given what we know now, it’s probably fitting that he killed himself.

The Master—October 31, Halloween
Clumps of pomegranate seeds fall into the red cave of her mouth. Music pumps out of a speaker. She lingers around the table’s talk. Her fingers bleed with juice. She is a cat, and I am a pirate. The fruit reminds me of my mother, she says when I ask why she chose it. Some people believe that pomegranate is the true apple of Eve, I tell her. She laughs. Good to know that she actually had good taste, she says, flashing her white teeth. I recall the soft earth of her body in my arms on the night of the university’s Black Students’ winter formal. Why do you look like you’re about to cry, she asks. Would she understand if I told her that a grieving face is one that is also lost in worship? She is Prosperina, breaking fast in Pluto’s underworld prison, and I fumble at her spirit like a mathematician in thrall of an impossible equation. I sit before her, my soul naked and small. She holds me in her hand and breaks me open, sucking on my seeds sweetly before spitting them out.

A suicide pact? Are you mad? They’re saying that it was some kind of erotic fatality, but we all know they’re just covering it up because his father sits on the board of directors. He probably raped her and did himself in when he realized there was no escaping what he had done. Just look at him. The signs were always there.

I hear they found a diary.

Did you hear that in one creative non-fiction class, he wrote about how he sometimes wanted to fuck his high school librarian because she wore the same earrings as his mother? That poor girl was way out of his league. A girl who worked hard to intern at the Supreme Court over the summer should have nothing to do with a boy who couldn’t pass a single class, trying to cosplay Hemingway from the safety of his father’s bank account. But I guess there’s nothing enough money can’t buy.

The Sea, The Moon—December
She soars above me, a mother in the air, reaching for the sun as little Icarus strains to stay afloat. The sun sets into Capricorn, the season of my birth, and we baptize each other in sex. She leads protests against a professor accused of sexual harassment, covering the door to his lab in red tape and warnings in blood. The politics department gives her an award for academic excellence. She has dinner with the prime minister because she loves this country. I receive rejection after rejection; the university newspaper publishes my essays as cruelly edited, gruesomely compromised versions of themselves; I catch a cold that chains me to my bed. She visits me and tells me to keep trying. Blonde braids crash like waves across her dark back as we fuck on the night of a full moon and creation feels complete. I obediently follow her dark eye, me her cold egg as she sits on my chest, and I siphon life from her breast. Mars is retrograde in Gemini, she whispers as we lie in bed on clouds of mushroom. Mars was in Gemini when America bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, did you know? A pair of cities, a pair of bombings, how romantic, don’t you think?
Consecration, Love’s Humility—Happy New Year
We are in my room, and she reads a collection of Emily Dickinson’s love poems as I write at my desk. She mutters lines aloud, leaving them in the air to hang and dry. I, the undivine abode of his elect content, proud of the pain I did not feel till thee. Lately, she has been tired of her life, irreverent towards her work; her mother is sick, and she might have to leave school and take care of her. She talks about freedom as if we do not live in the best country in the world. I don’t know, I say, it sounds like she likes to be hurt. Hmm, I understand that, she says. I think that there are sacraments love demands of us, ways to feel full. But it’s sad, I say. Sadness, fullness, they’re all the same thing. Her eyes shine with oil. She is a sculptor’s mould lit from within, burning. It isn’t despair, this sadness. It is love. It is love.

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