He kissed me and I didn’t like it. But he was kind and sweet. He was slow and gentle. And he asked me if I was happy and he asked me if I was okay? Is this okay? Are you okay? But I thought of you and that made me angry so I loved him but I didn’t like it because he was slow and sweet and gentle and he was kind and I knew you would laugh because you would know you would say I like this one and it would be the truth because you don’t lie and he is kind and you aren’t and you respect him for that and I love you for that.
And I wanted to shower after because he wasn’t you but he loved me and he wanted to hold me so I let him because he was kind. And I wanted to smoke after, too, because you smoked after and I loved to taste the way the smoke burned your lips and I loved to watch the way the smoke whispered in the light that shined through your window because you couldn’t afford curtains. But I couldn’t smoke because you smoked and he didn’t smoke and he was kind so I had to be kind so I let him hold me. But God! How badly I wanted that cigarette to burn in my fingers and to burn on your lips and I wanted to pass it to you then watch it whisper in the light but he was kind. So I let him hold me and I watched his curtains.
He doesn’t pick me up and throw me on the bed like you did. He holds my hands because he is kind and he rubs my neck because he is gentle and I smile but I don’t laugh because I don’t like it. I don’t laugh at him like I laughed at you, all stupid and loud and poor. He is gentle so I let him rub my neck but it makes me anxious and that makes me angry and I want him to rip off my shirt and throw me on the bed but he won’t because he is kind. And I love him for that and I hate you for that because I love when you rip off my shirt and throw me on the bed and I laugh at your laugh, all loud and poor and stupid.
And it’s weird because he walks around the house naked but you never walked around naked because you wore those stupid sweats but was it that scar? Were you embarrassed of that scar? He is never embarrassed but neither were you so that can’t be it, that can’t be why you didn’t walk around naked. He is proud and soft-spoken and always so kind and you? You were stupid and loud and poor. That’s why you didn’t have curtains and that’s why you wore those stupid sweats and that’s why you have that stupid red scar on your beautiful hip but I’m making it up because I want you to be stupid and I want you to be embarrassed and I wish you told me your stupid scar story but you never did and that makes me angry so I let him walk around the house naked and I encourage his pride but I don’t like it because his boring hips are not beautiful.
And I love him for that because I don’t spend hours in bed tracing his scar but I hate him for that because if it were you, you would tell me a story and I would spend hours tracing your scar and listening to your story. You always made the stories so stupid and so smart and I could never figure out how you did it and I could never figure out why I believed you but I always did because I wanted to. And you never made yourself the prince and I love you for that but you never made me the princess and I hate you for that. And the stories were so funny and the stories were so witty and that’s what you were you were not smart you were clever. You were clever and so stupid because if you are quick you can’t be smart and you were stupid so you were clever.
He is not poor and He is not loud but I don’t like it because the house is quiet and the house is like a museum and I’ve already broken a vase and cracked the flowers he got me because he is kind. You never got me flowers but you gave me stories and you wrote me notes and I loved you for writing that note on the only good sheets we had but they were already tearing in the corners so it didn’t matter. You held me and threw me and loved me because you were stupid and I loved you because I was stupid.
Laura Peters is currently a full-time student at CU Boulder in Colorado, working as a nanny to pay for tuition. She’s majoring in creative writing and computer software engineering with a minor in French. She often chooses writing over sleep in order to fit it into her day. Melancholy Hyperbole is her first place of publication.