You leave the room and take the coffee pot with you to strange places in the house. I can imagine you with expressive faces holding coffee in the basement or the garage in the dark or outside near our tree. Sometimes, you say you don’t like me. I can imagine every single outfit you have ever worn.
The tragic scene in the movie in which love dies and hopes dies hardly moves us or causes sensation in our bodies. A good cry has not happened in years. I am wearing the same things over and over again. Together we drink diet soda pop spiked with good whiskey. I am petting your inner thigh with just the use of my fingers. It appears I am focused on you. Diffused light milks our vista from the bulbs with soft colors, brightness. You say I say the word milk too much. We pass hot popcorn with our hands. We are watching a movie we rented down the street a dozen times. There is moonlight on your face from the window. Even though we are angry we contemplate each other’s mouths holding our ground and principles. I like how firm you are. We both say I cannot believe you own this attitude/Attempt with me to make it hot/Tear the denim off your legs.
You have a dream about this. For the end of the world, everyone is having an end of the world party. Everyone we know is at this party. A friend of yours brings a megaphone to the party and intimately shares the fun with everyone. Voices are snowy and garbled with static. Alone with your glass in the corner, you look out and feel the scene to be surreal. You even move your hands forward in front of you and clench your fists. You notice colors and old memories. You say I can read your mind. You ask If you can read mine is it yours. I watch you drink and wonder when you will become dangerous. When I drink red wine I know I mumble too. You focus at squeezing the air at the bottom of your lungs, looking angry, walking past me three times. I follow you for a dozen laps around the kitchen, trying to hand you bread and call you love. Everyone else in the world is quiet in the living room in the dream. Your mother says she really likes me. Your boyfriend from the seventh grade is a real asshole.
I am distracted by a phone call for weeks. I think maybe the world has really ended but apathy is powerful. Do you remember how broadcast news used to make us cry. Do you remember writing a note down to remind your future self to love the future. The feeling collects and collects inside everyone. I have a craving. I make the mistake at looking up at our waitress last night while she is looking at you. She is not going to remember us. She comes up to us with more breakfast food and coffee. The steam from the plates makes the moment seamless. For some reason I remember you even calmer than you are. I am trying to tell you Leslie Cheung died almost ten years ago. We only have to wait a year or so to celebrate and rent Happy Together again. Yes, this entire time I have had some of your dress in my mouth. What is your problem.
Updated 20 May 2011: Hear this piece read at Orange Alert (Podcast).
Richard Chiem (b.1987) is the author of the e book WHAT IF, WENDY, from Pangur Ban Party. He is the winner of the UCSD Stewart Prize in Poetry 2009 and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. His work has appeared in Monkeybicycle, kill author and decomP, and is forthcoming in Magic Helicopter Press, Mud Luscious Press and SLAB Literary Magazine. He is currently working on his novel, Blowing Up Los Angeles.