I’ll make jokes about death. Give names to the bunnies locked between coyote teeth as we walk through the forest with bare feet. Go to your apartment. Drop to the floor. Hide under blankets until the air is too warm. Stick heads out and kiss. Stand up, I’ll watch as the covers shift off, leave you naked. Grab a bottle from the counter. Come back. Take the first sip then pass it to me. I’ll crinkle my face and say no more. But that just means I want you to get a glass of water for me to sip after each pull. You’ll know that.
Play music. Dance with me. Wait till our eyes are clouded just a bit. I’ll look up at you. You’ll look down. The whole world between my nose and yours. Eyes lock. We’ll have to fill the gap. Lace your fingers through my hair. Sit on the ground. Grab the bottle.
Get me drunk enough to tell you my dad fell off a building. Get me drunker and I’ll say. Twenty-one feet. Say it fast. No time to sink in. But repeat. Twenty-one feet. 21 feet. 21. Twenty-1. 2 – 1. 2. 1. 21. 20-one. T w e n t y o n e f e e t. When I think that you get it I’ll say “he landed on his fucking head.”
You’ll stare at me. Ask why I never told you. I’ll say you never asked. I’ll say it’s just how it is. It’s like how I eat too much grapefruit and blow my nose right before bed. You’ll roll your eyes. Say that’s not the same. So I’ll tell you about high school. These older boys asked my friend and I to go to to this so-called haunted cemetery. We asked my mom. She said no. We asked her dad. He told us it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. We got in the car.
The boys told us we had to walk through the whole graveyard. Make our way to the statue of a woman. Next to the fence. Touch it, and she’d speak to us. My friend and I glanced at each other. Grabbed hands. Started to walk. Halfway there, I panicked. She sensed it. We turned around. The boys opened the car doors for us, we sat together in the back. I told her being in a cemetery scared me. Made me think of my dad. Everything was too heavy.
But I lied. I wanted a ghost to walk up to me and tug on my hair. Maybe tell me I looked pretty. I could feel death. Like the blood in my veins slowed down, tried to itch its way through my skin. Pool on the ground, turn earth red. Then black. But my body fought back.
This is when you’ll blink quickly. I’ll smile. Know I said enough to scare you. Reach for the bottle. You’ll hold onto it a little tighter. I’ll scramble into your lap. Press my lips on yours, move my body. You’ll come up for air. Won’t know what to say. Take a pull. I’ll keep talking. Tell you that my mom told me that after Dad died, I came into her room. Told her Daddy visited me while I was in bed, told me that we were going to be okay. I was two years old and don’t know if I had a dream or was full of shit. Maybe he was actually there.
You’ll say I have to start talking to you. That you barely know anything about me. Look off into the darkness while I play with your hair. Shove me off. Stand up. Look out the window, pretend to see stars. So I’ll spout off facts. Mention how Mom and I always forget to bring garden scissors to clear weeds off his grave. That he built a shed in our backyard. Mom was only 17 when they met.
But you won’t look at me. You’ll want more than I can give. I’ll snuggle into the couch. Use the giant pillow as a blanket. When you turn around, I’ll be asleep. So grab the comforter from the bed. Hold the corner in one hand. Drag it on the floor. Wrap it around your shoulders. Sit down. Pull me onto your chest.
We’ll wake up. Kiss me before we brush our teeth. You’ll look at me like I am someone new. I’ll shut the bathroom door in your face. Come out with wet hair. Sit in your lap, kiss your neck. You’ll think about how my dad’s grave is 40 steps away from the big tree. Cook eggs in silence. Watch me as I drink steaming tea. My mind will be full, but I won’t have any words. Just stare out the window till you turn off the stove. You’ll stay quiet as we eat. I’ll rip off the edge of my toast, think about eating it. Toss it at your head.
Look at me. Smile. Let the smile turn to laughter. Set down your cup of coffee. I’ll climb into your lap. Ask what you want to know. Tell you I’ll give you one answer for every story you tell me about your mother. You’ll pick me up and bring me to bed. Lick the salt from each other’s eyes. Two wolves after war. Whisper about childhood: train sets and the time your mom thought it’d be cute to put a bow on the cat’s head but he tried to eat it.
I’ll say I have to leave. Go home. Call my mom, tell her how my weekend was. You’ll tug at my hand as I try to get up. Say “stay.” And I’ll want to. But I’ll know my shirt is still on the living room floor, waiting, and you’ll already be leaving my mind. Boxed out or maybe boxed in. Either way, I’ll see that the the clock is still moving. Point to it. Move my arm to the beat of the second hand’s ticks.
Sam Frost lives in Los Angeles and spends most of her time binge drinking green tea. She mostly writes non-fiction, and it almost always starts in the notes section of her phone. Find her on Twitter @sammfrostt