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We Should Have Fucked When We Had The Chance (before we got involved with other people) | Alexandra Naughton

We Should Have Fucked
When We Had The Chance
(before we got involved with other people)

I am texting you. I am walking through Golden Gate Park with Thomas and the sun is just going down.

“I’m sorry I told you, but I had to tell someone in person,” I say. “It makes it more real. Makes me feel like now I have to do something.”

We get to a corner and wait for the light to turn. I look down at my black boots and touch the smooth plastic of my flip phone inside my jacket pocket.

“Do you want to hug?” Thomas asks. I nod and feel myself crumbling into the weathered fabric of his denim jacket, crying and melting like brown sugar. Thomas holds me for what seems like the amount of time I try to brush my teeth and I’m holding his shoulders and looking up at the fading light streaming through the big branches. I step away to wipe my cheek with my index finger and take a deep breath, letting the misty saltiness of the air hang in my throat.

I flip my phone open and let my thumb glide over the smooth keys forming letters and words with t­9 technology. “Please pick me up. Please. Take me anywhere.” I type to you and press send.

“Is it really that bad?” Thomas asks. “I know he’s… weird, but can it be that bad?”

“I’m texting someone right now to pick me up, to run away with me,” I tell Thomas, fidgeting with a dusty tissue in my pocket.

“What about your job,” he says.

“Who fucking cares,” I say, staring at nothing in the distance. “I can’t keep doing this. I can’t breathe.”

“Let’s sit down,” Thomas says, plopping carefully onto a park bench. I root through my carpet bag for nothing in particular and feel the fog moistened wood through my sundress. I flick my phone open again and see the orange envelope on the screen indicating that I have a new message.

I read and smile.

“Let’s get married and start a publishing company and we can be the opposite of Tao Lin and Megan Boyle.”

“Maybe make out first” I type back and send. “We’ll be better than everybody.” Send.

Thomas lights a cigarette and I start rolling a spliff, the one we smoked in the doorway off Haight before the reading already wearing off. I think about the guy who arrived in the doorway carrying groceries while we were smoking, apparently a tenant of the apartment where we were huddled. We started to get up to move but he laughed, “You guys are cool. This happens all the time.” He was probably relieved we weren’t a couple of crusties. Thomas is too fly to be a crustie. I look at his hair. I think about those pomade poems we never wrote.

“You’re really going to smoke another one,” Thomas says. I laugh.

“Well,” he says, “if you’re really going to move out, maybe we could look for a place together.”

I consider this seriously and think about moving out of the city and into the burbs where it’s quieter and warmer and where I’ll probably need to learn how to drive a car. The suburbs have always felt romantic to me. To a citykid the notion of playing in your own yard is pretty romantic. A whole house not connected to another house. A chance to see stars at night. A chance to start something new. A chance to start something. Anything else.

I smile at Thomas and nod a few times, “I would do that.”

“Cool. I really want to get out of where I am now.”

I pick at the wood on the bench, a carved out bit where someone engraved the words “dat ass” in all caps. I take out my phone and look at the message you sent. “Well, duh.” Yeah, of course, duh. I think about what your hands might look like.

I text you, “I really wish we could run away, however impractical it is.” I think about my student loans, I think about the vet bill from when Sookie went to the emergency clinic, I think about the raise at work I will never receive no matter how much effort I put in, I think about the google buses that rattle my bedroom windows at twenty minute intervals.

Yellow envelope. “I know. It’s a fantasy.”

“I feel like Kevin McAllister,” I find myself saying out loud. “I feel like I always want my reality to disappear, for everyone to just go away all neat and clean or something. But I’m not a nine year old with neglectful parents, and no snow shoveling savior is going to help when the Wet Bandits come for me next.”

“What are you talking about.” Thomas is playing with his phone.

“I don’t know. I just need a change. I think. Something… I… I don’t really know.”

“I hear you. I think I’m going to cut.”

“All right, I’ll walk you to MUNI.”

We walk in silence through the park for some time, finally getting blue dark. I light a cigarette.

“What are you going to do?” asks Thomas.

I look up and watch the streetlights overhead as I pass under them, their yellow glow like an invitation, like a place I want to go. “Nothing yet. I’ll go back, work on my poems, go to bed, go to work tomorrow. I’ll figure it out.”

“Yeah, you don’t want to do anything crazy. Burn any bridges.”

“Yeah,” I say, taking in a deep gulp of the fog.

About Alexandra Naughton

Alexandra Naughton is the author of I Will Always Be Your Whore and My Posey Taste Like. She is the editor of Be About It and can be found on Twitter and Tumblr.

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