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So I remain silent,
hoping not to sound
"You love me.”
His nose scrunched up, and he tore his gaze from her. "Hmm... I mean... I suppose if you wanted to... like quantify it or something," Her eyes were becoming far too accustomed to the sight of her inner eyelids, so used to rolling these days that she quite honestly couldn’t be certain when she was doing it anymore. "Yeah, I guess I love you. Maybe."
She'd barely heard it over the melancholy madness that surrounded the evening train, it had been partially drowned out by the station managers incoherent series of departure times, the anxious whimperings of a nearby service dog and the wailings of a small child.
She might’ve missed it had her eyes not been so ardently fixed to his mouth, watching vowels and consonants form against his lips - a string of loose, barely coherent syllables had gathered together to form—
I love you
She didn’t say it back until they’d boarded the train, somewhere between Sterling and Nevins Street. She hadn’t been entirely sure how to, in all honesty. Her grasp on the english language faltered and floundered pathetically in comparison, she couldn’t pepper her speech with soliloquies and metaphors, she’d struggle with so much as a simile. It wasn’t like a novel where the lines were so intricately intertwined between characters, when everyone knew what to say and how to reply..
“I love you too.” She’d kept her gaze out onto the window, watching the mesh of wilting flowerbeds and worn shades of concrete that made up the Brooklyn Suburb. The train rumbled on and neither of them spoke for the rest of the journey.
The jaws of the train doors had barely parted enough for the drunken couple to make their way through with minimal casualties - several orbiting planets had been knocked from their axis around Juniper’s dress; the astroids that had attached themselves to the wool of Fitz’s sweater crumpled into deflated balls of paper machete.
The entire universe was on the verge of collapse!
They’d erupted into a fit of laughter.
Pressed themselves quickly into a corner of their presumably empty compartment.
Lips crashed against one another, the faint remnants of Garlic Bread could be smelt on Fitz’s breath - accompanied by salsa and fire whisky, he left raven coloured kisses across his girlfriend’s skin. A side effect of tonight’s costume makeup; fevered adoration could be read through messy kisses, clumsy with the touch of ciders and wide.
“Ouch.” Pluto had jabbed itself against his chest.
“Okay, you go left - and I go right.” She offered, shifting somewhat against the map of the subway line; hasty hands touched excited skin and broad grins were felt against lips and teeth.
He pulled away from her once more, and as though saturn too had now accosted him, “Okay, which way is left…”
Sometimes, I get stressed. And I find it vaguely comforting to know that in some small corner of the room, I've created a personalised 'comfort' bundle for myself. Of all my favourite treats. So that sometimes I can just sit back and pig out a little.
I don't know if Fitz ever finds them - I suppose he must do because thrice they've ended up missing. I don't know where he puts them. The first time he'd dumped them in the garbage
I fished out: 4 Acid Pops, 2 chocolate frogs, a packet of doritos, 3 nutter butters, a drago claw, sugar butterfly wings and a jelly skull, once he went to work and locked myself in the bathroom with it for the better part of an hour; now he stores it somewhere else. I checked the trash though. Stuck my hands pretty deep into the trashcan, rummaging through the black bin-liner - turned it over even, and all I managed to salvage was an elbow stained with mustard.
But today is a new day.
I took initiative today.
For the fourth time since we'd moved into this apartment I grasped that bundle of additives, artificial flavourings and fat and I ground it all up into the garbage disposal, one after the other until all I had left were a series of aluminium packages.
I loved him too much to tell Mom
even if she found out anyway.
2. Marcy Grey was two years older than us and infinitely cooler.
Though we’d never seen her so much as kick a ball, she maintained a near perfect physique
- surviving on a diet of ballet and cigarettes
I don’t know why she noticed us, maybe she was just bored, but one day she teaches us to develop a system in the bathroom like she does (it’s a right of passage)— two of us share a stall and smoke down the toilet bowl closest to the window, whilst the other stands guard.
Marcy takes a long look at me, and leans forward, crumpled ‘rollie’ in hand
- “You’ll thank me later.”
3. Michael Steele smokes straights.
He can jut out his lower lip, curve his mouth and form three perfect circles;
on our first date he raises a finger up and bursts one,
“Don’t let it die a virgin.”
I’m pretty sure I’m in love with him,
because that seemed witty at the time.
4. Kieran Dunne smokes the same brand as Michael.
It’s my first heartbreak, so I’m allowed to be
a raging bitch cut up about it.
I’ve convinced myself the smell gives me PTSD, so my nose can’t help but turn up whenever I catch him smoking them (which happens to be often).
Philip Crane will never know, that the night he died I brought a gram of weed that I never got to smoke.
6. Joseph Fitzpatrick doesn’t smoke.
I think, maybe he used to but he quit...
somehow he’s gotten the idea that I have too (or that I never did), so I do
- cold turkey.
We laugh at parties and clutch shot glasses in the warmth whilst others huddle outside,
he’d place a finger against the corner of my mouth -
like he could feel a tiny pulse -
and kiss me,
as though my lips were a nicotine fix.
I know I must love him
because it gave me goosebumps.
7. Laundry day.
I raise the cotton of his shirt to my nose,
and the seams smell like menthol...
I know I must love him because it feels—