I Want To Be Ugly But In Your Way Not Mine

The first image result when you Google “Sid Gillman” is a picture of Sid Gillman holding a replica of his own head. I ask you if you want to play the “Random Wikipedia Article Game” and you ask what that is and I say you should infer the only rule of the game from its title. Sometimes I forget that your emotions are very real and very serious and not just unabridged versions of your facial expressions.

I wonder if anyone has ever made a replica of the inside of someone’s head, inside of a replica of the outside of someone’s head. If I replicated the inside of your head and put it inside a replica of my head I wonder which one of us it would be. I Google your name and there are no images of you holding your own head.

Your flight is in an hour and I walk with you to the bus stop even though I said earlier that I wouldn’t. You look smaller with your big backpack on your back. You’re like a hermit crab, and I think: We’re all like hermit crabs. I want to tell you that it’s stupid that you’re moving because of something Carlos Castaneda said, but it really just makes me feel boring and small. I will probably start reading Journey to Ixtlan (see: only Castaneda book at the library) once I lose the feeling that you know and that you wish I would “do my own thing.”

A group of drunk carolling teenagers stop at the bus stop and sing to us. Some of them are laughing, probably because they’re hyper-conscious of how in-your-face they are being. They’re wearing sweaters like the ones my dad wore in pictures taken when it was cool for him to wear them. I wonder if some of them are sweaters my dad donated to Salvation Army. I wonder how I would feel if my dad’s sweaters were on the backs of a pack of drunk teenagers in the city.

Your bus comes and you smile really sincerely at me before you get on. The carolers stop singing when they pay their fares and one of them looks back at me when I don’t get on the bus.

I turn around before you find a seat because I wouldn’t know what to do with my face if I had to wave to you through the window. I cut through Davisville Park, and walk like a weird injured bird across the “Natural Ice Skating Rink.” I almost step on a dead squirrel in the snow. It’s curled up like it’s asleep, and I would probably think it was if not for its one milky white eye. I take a picture of it with my iPhone and send it to you.

.  .  .

In the morning your brother calls and asks me if I miss you. I say yes and he says he does too, but in a different way than I do. I say it’s only been a day and we both laugh and I feel kind of good until I hang up. I feel anxious and impatient about my relationship with your brother.

I write a vignette about three Filipino women listening to Zeppelin IV on vinyl. I want to read it to you over the phone but you don’t pick up so I feed it to the paper shredder under my desk. Doing this makes me feel the way I felt sometimes as a kid when I would slam my door and my parents would carry on downstairs like I wasn’t there and I wasn’t upset. I take a fresh piece of paper out of my printer and write down things I’m excited about, like Christmas back home and J.E. Sunde’s solo album. I make a note to myself to practice drawing botanical illustrations of plants. Some day I think this might impress someone I really like.

I watch out the window while a couple walks by really slowly, like they know I’m at my desk and know that I want something to watch out my window. The girl has dark hair with blonde roots showing through. Her head looks like someone tried to put mascara on a dandelion, but they didn’t do a very good job. She throws her dandelion head back when she laughs, just in case I can’t tell she’s having a good time.

You text me saying you have the flu and it’s a sign that you should have stayed home. I wonder if I’ll catch it from you and then I remember you’re in Edmonton.

I feel weird re: texting you that picture of the dead squirrel.

About Fawn Parker

Fawn Parker lives in Montreal. She has been published in Keep This Bag Away From Children. She can also be found on Twitter.

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