Montreal-based publishing entity Metatron is guest editing Everyday Genius this month. We'll be featuring excerpts from our new fall catalog as well as Canadian writers we like. Today's author is chill person Frankie Barnet.
Gay For Her
You meet her at a potluck, that girl from the party. Kara’s house? Yeah that girl with the nachos. Or maybe you meet her in the eighth grade. She remembers you vaguely from high school, mistaking you for someone named Bethany but no hard feelings it’s all super chill.
She isn’t as pretty as you or maybe she is much, much prettier than you and you ask your friends,do you think she’s pretty? They tell you that she looks kinda like Scarlett Johansson but that’s only from certain angles and from certain other angles she looks like Al Pacino.
It’s your 337th time drinking alcohol, it’s your fifth time smoking weed today. It’s her DJ night and maybe it’s the night you sleep with Brian, the person that of all people you sleep with in your so-far life you regret sleeping with the most. You sit across the table from her, she’s wearing velour. Never in your life have you heard anyone talk so explicitly about masturbating with the bathroom faucet, you think, I’m going to add her on Facebook. This very tall girl.
Find out she is also a vegetarian. She’ll tell you she hates vegetarians. Type back, “lol me too.” Skip the assigned readings for class, hang out just the two of you and go for Chinese. Hang out just the two of you and get totally wasted. “Borrow” a sweater. You have the same first name.
Weird she’s had sex with so many more people than you have. Weird that you’ve had sex with so many more people than she has. Weird that you’ve slept with exactly the same amount of people, what a funny coincidence. The both of you in stitches over Brian’s penis. You’ve been called a “fuck puppet,” she’s been called a “cum bucket.” Refer to her with other people and her last name is dropped, simply Lisa, simply Jess, simply Marianna.
You tell her something about your mother that applies directly to how she feels about her mother and then she tells you something about her ex boyfriend that applies directly to how you feel about your family’s late Bichon. See her cry for the first time. She sees you cry, like, every day. You have completely different names.
You write in your diary, “I love her but I am not in love with her.”
You look at her and wonder how you never noticed before that she is insanely pretty. It’s in the curve of her nose, or it’s in between her nose and her mouth and it’s her ears and toes and the way she just gets you. She’s so pretty, and she’s your best friend, of course she is, who else in the world would be your best friend? You promise always to be friends, even when you are older, you promise to always smoke weed.
There’s free cake in the Women’s Study department to celebrate Simone de Beauvoir’s birthday. You sneak in and talk about how hard you are falling in love with Brian. She tells you it’s in the stars, she says she’d kill for your stars.
You promise you are not mad she didn’t make it Friday and you promise you will make it Tuesday. You are late for her birthday dinner. You are late for her birthday party. But you’re right there at her vernissage when she spends the whole night talking to her art friends, the ones with weird hair who never talk to you, so you hang out near the back and drink the cheap wine alone.
Google Simone de Beauvoir when you get home, feeling guilty over pizza. Oh well i’m prettier than that! measuring your thighs with your hands cupped together.
You’ve been feeling uneasy lately with the way you feel in the mornings after smoking weed, so you decide to take a little break, just until you feel more balanced again. It’s the year she decides to get real about her pottery. She moves to St Henri and says she wants to be a lawyer. She moves to Calgary to learn massage. She’s always bragging about her art friends and what blogs they run. She’s always bragging about her boyfriend and the time his parents met Obama. She’s great at school and she’s great at the drums. She looks like Kim Kardashian, she looks like Sky Ferreira and she looks like Kourtney Kardashian. She’s great at dressing herself, she rules at sucking dick, and she just inherited 10 000 dollars from her grandfather. She is so much better than you at everything. It is like she is your younger brother, whom your parents have always liked better, and then she goes out to the bar and she sucks your younger brother’s dick.
You’re really so smart. You’re really so nice, so unappreciated, really. You sleep with her ex boyfriend. The night you sleep with her sociology professor. The night she doesn't even text you back. So lame. She is so lame, you can do better. You sleep with that guy who works at the Chinese place but do not tell her or anyone about it ever because you find out after he is 17.
She starts acting like she can do better than you, and you in turn become certain you can do better than her, because what kind of person would think they can do better than their best friend? Only a sad and miserable person with a sad and miserable life would ever want to implement hierarchies like that. Who does she think she is, to tell you that you have a drinking problem? Even if she was the one who introduced you to Brian.
Play out fantasies in your head where you’re finally honest about how pathetic she’s become. Fantasies where you gently let her know how hopeless her dreams are. You start to make jokes with other friends, jokes about her improv and her weird dad.
“There is a new sense of freedom in my life, I can feel it,” you write in your diary when you’re barely even thinking about her. You meet new people and talk about new things, better things. smarter things, cooler things, things that have more to do with music and Palestine. You run into her one day at a party and nod from across the room, then artfully avoid each other, like she’s just some guy you once fucked in a bathroom somewhere.
One day remember that time when you went with your friend to the Women’s Studies department and ate that free cake. You sat on the couch and she explained to you who Simone De Beauvoir was. You think, she really was very smart.
That night or a week later get black out drunk and think about how unhappy with your life you are. How tired you are of so many of the things you’ve chosen to define yourself by. Why on earth did you cut your bangs like that? Girls like you are becoming lawyers, girls like you have at least been to Europe. All you have is your stupid fucking haircut. If you only could just lose 1 million pounds or maybe you should have never broken up with Brian.
Sit at your computer or in front of a piece of paper, maybe even the back side of a list you wrote of ways to get in shape. Remember that time you got drunk in the park with your friend and made fun of all the dogs. When she peed the bed in New York City. She removed your plantar warts on the day after halloween while watching Maid in Manhattan. Will you ever have a friend like that again? And you do not fully understand what happened between the two of you. Maybe you can see how the way you acted towards her could have been misconstrued to make her think you didn't really care about or love her, but you only meant it that way because you were angry, or jealous, or insecure, or actually a muddled confusion of all of these things and more, which you never expected to get so out of hand. “Why were you so hard on me?” You ask her. “I don’t know why I was so hard on you,” you tell her. You tell her, “I miss you.” You tell her about how lonely you feel, now that she is not your friend anymore.
Wake up in the morning, already late for work. Wake up in the afternoon and puke for the rest of the day. Remember vaguely drawing a picture? Remember typing something up but when you check your computer there isn't anything there because half way through you realize how uncool it all sounded, like you’re gay for her or something and plus she’s the one who should be doing the apologizing. Wake up in the morning and don’t remember it at all. There you are in the bathroom, over the toilet, struggling to believe something as neon as bile could come from inside of your body.
You do not remember anything, you do not say anything, until the next time you get black out drunk, tomorrow or a week later, when you write, do not send and then delete another email about your feelings towards her, but you don’t remember that either so it is like you do not feel anything.
Frankie Barnet is a writer currently living in Montreal, Quebec. Her work has appeared in publications like The Void Magazine, Soliloquies Anthology and Dragnet Magazine.