by Andie Bottrell
I’m reading this book because of you.
It’s been five months since you rejected me
here I sit,
reading this book because of you.
It’s also worth mentioning,
since you were in my house today,
that I got my tattoo because of you.
not “because” of you,
but “because” of you I wanted to
so that I could tell you
“Hey! So, guess what I did…”
I’ve been listening to Elliot Smith again.
That’s because of you,
though no one needs a reason to listen to
I bought a Leonard Cohen CD,
that was because of you, too,
even though I don’t think
I’ve even listened to it yet.
But mostly what I do,
that is because of you,
is I try not to speak to you
since you don’t speak to me, too.
That one is the hardest…
next to not inadvertently
when you pass.
by Andie Bottrell
“I’m allowed to go to bed,” he said and it was almost defiant, but with a grain of pleading and I didn’t know where that sentence had come from at all. Perhaps, it’s possible, that I had provoked it, but I can’t even imagine how.
“I know,” I said, as he joined me in his bed, but lost me when he went under the covers, while I remained above them, awkwardly unsure of myself and of why I’d even come. Then, I looked at him again, and I remembered why- because he made my heart melt.
“Do you want me to leave?” I asked, trying to be brave.
He answered, “If you want to leave I wont be insulted, but you can stay if you want. There’s plenty of room.”
This was a tricky answer. Buried at the base of it was what he really meant, which was either that he wanted me to stay or that he didn’t. Most likely though, he didn’t care much one way or the other, meaning that I could chose to interpret his answer however I liked.
I wanted to stay and so I did. I opened and crawled under the covers to join him, careful not to touch him as I felt he didn't want this. I wondered if he was merely taking a kind of sophisticated pity on me because it was my birthday.
And again… what was I doing here? I don’t tend to go where I’m not wanted, but the trouble was, here, I didn’t know if I was or not. My judgment was compromised, overcome by what I wanted, which was him. Badly. Worse than I’d ever hungered for another human before. I don’t mean just an emotional pinning either... I mean his flesh. His downright, throbbing, pointy flesh. I craved it, I guess because my first taste had been so splendid and then re-splendid and all consuming even. He had been, after-all, my very first oral consumption!
I barely slept and when I did it was lightly, aware of every movement, every noise, every adjustment. I censored the night closely for any impulse or almost touch. There was never an almost touch.
Early, around 7, his alarm clock buzzed off and he jolted and I jolted and he smacked the buzzard off. Then, he turned to me, looked at me directly and said “Sorry” in the most sincere tone I’d heard him say anything to me in. My heart melted again. Yes, it was that easy with him.
He drifted back off to sleep, effortlessly. I struggled with all the of the meddling thoughts inside my head. I looked at his walls, at the few stray spider webs in the corner by the ceiling. I recalled whole lines from his short stories and felt as though I might be, even at the moment, living in one; though I couldn’t for the life of me guess what he would be writing about me. I tried to push away the wish that we would spend the entire day together in bed, sure that it was the furthest thought inside his sweetly dreaming head.
At last, I could take it no more. My eyes were wide open and would not close again. Then, my cell phone received a text message, so I bustled myself up and over the foot of the bed to look for it, recalling he’d made mention of dropping it at some point in the heat of passionate build up. Eventually, I found it on the floor in the pocket of my dress. It was my friend that I‘d been wining and dinning with the night before, texting me to find out about the outcome of the evening. I replied that I’d call him later and crawled back into bed.
The cat began to scratch and moan in the next room, no doubt hungry for his breakfast. His sleeping owner ignored him as long as he could and then, finally, tossed off his covers and stood tall and groggy, his hair a curly mess of benevolent bed-head. He opened the bedroom door and I heard him in the kitchen. He fed the cat and then poured cereal for himself. He called back to me to ask if I wanted some. I said that I did.
I really wasn’t hungry at all, for the exception of an intimacy I was narrowly missing. I was grasping for a boyfriend or a lover, but got whole grain cereal with milk instead.
by Andie Bottrell
The way he hugged her,
she had to be his lover.
Now, normally I’d have
looked her over
to see how I measured up,
but for some reason,
today I just turned
and walked away.
I guess this is me