Peeling an avocado in my kitchen, she stops to lend me a hand tying my shoes, because my ribs still hurt. Afraid to sneeze, she’s been airing out my room.
A toddler with bags under his eyes. Parents smoking in the car. Confined smog. Ladybug in a gas chamber. I feel a sneer appear. Poor little lout. My sister and I could always slam the door and holler all the way downstairs.
Sugar-free lemonade. My mother eating table spread to lower her cholesterol. I don’t point out the irony. I blend sour cream into soup and hope I get to eat dairy without pain again.
I see her again, with long legs and a sick smile. Hasn’t come out of the closet yet, so every boys narrowed eyes are following the quiver of her thighs. There’s so much confidence to be had, she says, when you honestly don’t give a fuck what guys think and you know girls like the back of your hand. Like the nail beds. Like the scars you’ve collected, the bottle caps of your youth.
My sister on the phone. Our parents failed us, she hails from the south. But it’s ok, she says. Because they always bought us things. She recalls a memory of being left alone in a cot, untouched for hours. Bawling. But then they bought us things. So when we love someone, we buy them things. And when they don’t buy us things, we question their affection. And then we buy things when we feel empty. When there is no one to go to or touch, we open our purses. The bells of coins. The noise means little, if there are faces we enjoy, who will smile in surprise at the things we give.
I want a cigarette. But I don’t. But I do, but I really don’t. It’s ok. I have patches. All my fucked up dreams. Stop pushing me down in them. You have bluish lips and your eyes have the same lines. You’re making me laugh the same. I hate you for that.