Beginning excerpt of a piece I’ve been trying to start for a few months.
Feedback is much appreciated!
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We are fighting again.
I’m sitting upright in my bed, staring at my laptop screen, resting my thumbs on the space bar for YOU.
I can’t remember the last time I lied down in my bed. Actually lied down. No electronic device heaving heat onto my lap or draining energy in my palm.
He’s lying down with his back to me. With each inhale, his side rises: ripple in the shore. He’s sailing into some dream and I’m stranded on an island just an inch away.
I want to drop my laptop’s jaw, layback and cuddle up next to him; but it says that you’re typing. Miniature bubbles pop up on the screen, bolded ellipses.
I’m moments away from ripping YOU a new one.
It’s five minutes to midnight and I’m seeing YOU in less than ten hours.
Oh, scratch that. It’s actually three minutes to midnight and you’ve stopped typing. No new message.
My pointer fingers hover over the “F” and “U” key. There’s nothing clever about an insult that’s appropriate.
I imagine YOU sitting upright in your bed too, swaying back and forth, hand to chest. YOU are a collapsed rocking chair. That’s why YOU aren’t typing. Your hands are too busy tracking your heart rate; or maybe your hands have delved down past your chest to your stomach because YOU feel sick, and maybe –
Oh. YOU are typing again.
“Okay. I am sorry.”
“That’s not an apology.”
My message is read. Typing begins.
“Okay. I am sorry. I should have known better and not said it. I’ll try not to next time.”
Sometimes messages are read but not understood.
I feed the conversation with a block of text ornamented with “fucks” and “you don’t care” and ellipses that hang off sentences like obnoxious decorations on someone’s bumper.
It takes YOU two minutes to type back.
Anger tends to resonate in my arms. I feel this pulse tense up and collar my neck. Each flap of the collar disperses to my shoulders. Now separated, the pulses are smaller but more frequent. They bungee-jump down my bicep, hang and build up in my elbow. One by one, the pulses shimmy down the bungee cord until it snaps, crashes into my wrist and expands in my hand; my hand that is now reaching for my phone.
YOU sent me a block of text – ellipses-free – telling me something I already knew. YOU are a collapsed rocking chair.
I am no longer in bed and it’s ten past midnight. I’ll be seeing you in less than ten hours and will be sleeping for less than six (if I’m lucky).
I close the door behind me and hear his shore shift.
I’m now in the other room, back against the closed door, knees to chest, waiting for YOU to pick up the phone. My right hand trembles from the heavy pulses. I switch the phone to my left, but it’s no better.
YOU pick up after two rings.
Well, YOU don’t really pick up. Your weak lungs do. They tell me to stay on hold until the air clears up.
Wait a moment.
YOU are hyperventilating into the phone. The sound of you gasping kicks at my own lungs. I inhale and feel my lungs tighten. In my stomach, nerves pop up like dandelions. I exhale and millions of seeds parachute off the stems. The pulse is now circling my fingers like rings. I switch the phone back to my right hand.
“Can you please say something to me?”
We appreciate your patience.
Your anxiety seeps through the phone. My lungs bloat, but there’s no air coming in. Your nerves rev up like a mower; I can feel my dandelions shrivel down and the seeds drop like snow.
We are horrible for each other.
“S-sorry, I-I am here.”
Your enunciation is as bad as the signal. I get up and walk to the other side of the room. My lungs slowly soften like deflated balloons. Words are too tired to jog up and attend our confrontation.
Now the roles are switched.
“Sorry,” I sit down. My shoulders concave: posture of a dandelion. “I’m sorry. I know you care. Sorry for being such a bitch.”
Hours beforehand, YOU claimed you no longer trusted my judgment. Little did I know, hours later I’d be questioning my own.
I’d rather talk to YOU than your reception desk lungs, so I change the subject.
“Sometimes when I talk, my past comes out.”
A heat replaces the dandelions. Not a warm fuzzy heat that I get when I enjoy a conversation. More of a hot, prickled feeling that expands like a puffer fish, or shuffles through like a porcupine.
I’m too scared to see the time and I’m wondering how far he has sailed away.
WE’ve both calmed down. But your seeped-in nerves are still with me like a terminal’s lost luggage.
“I’m so happy you don’t think I’m crazy. I love you.”
It’s almost 1 A.M. and I’m back in my bed. I’m no longer sitting upright. My laptop is sealed shut and asleep on the floor.
I’m finally lying down in my bed. No electronics in-hand or on my lap.
I’ll be seeing YOU in less than nine hours. I have six hours to sleep.
Now I’m wide awake and all I want to do is sit up in my bed, open up my laptop, message YOU and tell YOU how I really feel.