I Set Fire To Your Ex (and other spectacular tragedies)

A small collection: stories of shame

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1. I Set Fire To Your Ex

I am sorry I could not handle the way you touch when I am not there. I remember I had originally wanted breakfast but had stayed up too late and awoken for lunch. At work I had a panic attack about anticipations and lack of elation and other stuff. Then at the tube a dude sporting a rad love for Georg Baselitz told me I didn't carry myself as a virgin. I asked him, "How does one carry itself?" and he told me about confidence and how the sway to my walk would indicate I had sex a lot. He told me: "I'd say you were experienced, miss. How else would you know how to walk like that?". I got off a stop before planned and was suddenly feeling timid and untitled to the way I carried myself: I hadn't earned it. At 5th Ave (across the bar that serves that fruity beer you absolutely hate) I had suddenly convinced myself that as the moon was rising the sun was crazing. Splintering in the horizon. It was sick; just like me. And it might never get up the next morning either. It'd be a puddle of chippings at the bottom of the universe and I could lay there with it for eternity. Watching dubbed Korean porn in some parallel universe and eating french toast. Mourning.

At this point I'm trying to remember what else happened so I can use it as an excuse to why your ex now has a pixie cut. You have to understand we'd broken up months before and I really didn't think of you much. I was near my home when I saw a gruff guy looking at nothing from a set of stairs near the pavement. He looked 40-something but the street lamp outlining his exposed collar- and cheekbones made him look obscure and sexy. I imagined taking him home and gaining permission to go inside his bedroom with him. I imagined sex as a missile plunged into my womanhood only to explode as pleasure deep inside my naked chest. I imagined getting pregnant as a teen and meeting his daughter from a previous relationship. I'd be a great stepmom; like a sister but more strict. I'd set boundaries but still be gentle and kind. You have to understand I did not think of you at all.

I wondered if reading erotica to climax is a girl-thing. I remember this because I never came to a conclusion. I saw you through a bar window with Anabel (you were still together at this point). She was wearing a blouse with these weird frills and your finger was hooked around the waistband of her jeans. I wish that it had been me so I'd be able to take you to my dorm and have sex with you. I wanted to cry when I saw how she laughed with fully open mouth and flickered her long blonde hair over her shoulder. I'd had math classes with her last semester so when she saw me she waved vigorously and came out. If it wasn't clear before it was when she strode towards me. 

"The sex is great, huh?" I said.
"Huh?" She said. Puzzled. "I mean, we don't even-"

I tried to light a smoke in the January breeze. She couldn't finish her sentence but I sensed the wrongness of what I had said. I wanted to tell her that she walked like a hoe - for her own benefit. I wanted to tell her she was a virgin just like me, and when the sun broke into a million pieces she could lay at the bottom of the universe with me. I could have explained my acquaintance with Georg Baselitz-guy but it wouldn't have made sense. I know about timing and momentary atmospheres and the fragileness thereof: you have understand that spoken words can in one setting be a recreation of an individual's placenta and in another hang loosely in the air; simply waiting for the wind to whirl it into incomprehension. I therefore did the next best thing. When she turned around to walk inside I leaned closer with my lighter and cigarette until the strands of her hair lit up in the evening air. It sounded like - I mean, you know when you crush Autumn leaves in your hand? It sounded like that only autotuned to a low pitched swish and a crackle and it smelled like sulfurous. All I could think about was power and sex and earnings.

It wasn't really an accident, I'm sorry. You broke up recently - I'm sorry about that, too. Hopefully it wasn't because of the pixie. I'll tell you now that I never really got the smell of your ex-girlfriend's burned hair out of my nostrils. I'm convinced it'll stay there forever. If you see her again, can you pass her my number? 

Sorry I set fire to your ex.

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