Home > F*ck Love(11)

F*ck Love(11)
Tarryn Fisher

“It’s hot,” I say. “I hate Florida.”

“Florida hates you. You should move somewhere cooler.”

“Like where?” I ask. I chew on the inside of my mouth while I wait for his response, but I already know what he’s going to say. Wa-Wa-

“Washington. It’s perfect there.”

“Oh yeah? Have you been?”

“I’m from Washington,” he says, wiping his hands on a blue bandana he produces from his back pocket. “Port Townsend.”

I throw my head back and look at the sky. I want to stress eat all the friend chicken. All the Kit Kats.

“I think you’ve mentioned that,” I say. Though he hasn’t. Not that I can remember anyway. But, if it was lying in my subconscious somewhere that would explain…

“I haven’t. I don’t like to tell people where I’m from unless they ask.”

I look at him. “Why not?”

“Because then they think they know you, and I don’t want to be known.”

“That’s stupid. Everyone wants to be known.” I crane my head to look for the Triple A rescue truck. Please hurry, please hurry.

“Except those who don’t.”

“Why did you tell me then?”

He looks up at the sky, and I can see the clouds reflected in his sunglasses.

“I don’t know,” he says.

My eyebrows dance around for bit. I’m glad he’s not looking.

“How did you know I was here, anyway?” I ask.

“I have eyes.”

I pull my lips tight when I look at him, so he can really see my displeasure.

“I was driving by, Helena. You’re hard to miss.”

Hard to miss? Hard to miss? Was it because of my thighs? It doesn’t matter because the rescue truck bounces up like an overeager golden retriever.

Everything in my life is bad timing.

Kit waits with me while a guy who looks like Ben Stiller changes my tire.

“How’s my Blue Steel?” he whispers to me, making a face.

“Of all the movies to remember him in,” I sigh. “What is this? A school for ants?”

Ben Stiller’s lookalike dusts his hands and is off to save someone else.

“Thanks for pulling over,” I say. “And keeping me company.”

“No problem; you’re kind of a lonely heart.”

A lonely heart. Am I? I look away.

“I’m not lonely,” I say.

Kit grins. “Really?”

I look back at him, dumbfounded. He looks so smug. All that smirking.

“See ya, Helena.”

It’s the way he says my name and smiles at the same time. No one else smiles like that when they say my name. Do they? It’s never been good enough for me to notice. Certainly not Neil, who hardly smiles at all. Della mostly whines my name, and my parents call me Lena in purring, adoring voices (only child).

By the time I’ve got his name out of my mouth and say goodbye, he’s already in his truck, pulling away. It isn’t true—any of this. My fascination with Kit, my sudden inclination to art. I am having a quarter-life crisis. I read about them online after Googling: What the fuck is wrong with me? The website was a dot-org so I know it is legit. Anyway, it said that sometimes when a person experiences a huge life change, they lose all grip of reality and try to create something new that they’re more comfortable with. That’s what is happening. I think about commenting on the article, validating the author with my story. I picture him checking the article every day waiting for someone like me to share my personal breakdown with the dot-org community. In the end I am too ashamed to admit to any of this.

The South Florida heat has sucked me dry, or rather made me the opposite of dry. I lift my arms and air out my pits. Fuck it. I am calling in to work. Car troubles. I drive in the same direction Kit went. He lives in Wilton Manners. I’ve seen his apartment complex in the recess of his Facebook pictures. That’s what Florida is—not an apartment building—but a whole sprawling apartment village, painted various shades of orangey-pink, with a gym and a pool. I can find that. What if he is at work? Where does he work? He is getting his masters—Della told me that once. And he bartends nights at some place downtown. Facebook tells me where he works. Perfect.

I blast the AC and set off to find Kit Isley. A staged run-in, maybe a little private conversation to turn me off. After all, Della and I have completely opposite taste in men. I can get this shit out of my system once and for all. I’ll be back to normal by Monday, coasting down the highway of my smooth, well planned out life. Neil in the driver’s seat. Neil. Neil.

Neil

Neil

Neil

Kit works at Tavern on Hyde. I walk in at six o’ clock and park myself at the bar. It’s trendy, and not what I was expecting as his place of employment. Maybe something more dive-ish. I know, I know, I’m a judgmental asshole. I order a glass of wine from a female bartender with facial piercings who tells me her shift is over, and Kit will be taking care of me.

“He’s not here yet,” she says. “Should be any minute.”

“Do you have any Butterbeer?” I ask as she’s walking away. She doesn’t hear me, and that’s a good thing.

I send Neil’s call to voicemail, and sit up straighter when I see him walk into the bar. He’s wearing a white button down, black pants, and suspenders. He’s not my type, but the getup is pretty sexy. Like, put your brother in suspenders and he might become hot too. Okay, that was too far, and I need to stop watching Game of Thrones. Kit goes straight to the computer and clocks in. Before he can turn around and see me, I spill wine on my shirt. Leaks right out of the corner of my mouth, per usual. I really need to see a doctor about my gappy lips. I’m scrubbing at my top when he says my name.

“Helena?”

“Yes,” I say. “It’s me.”

He leans on the bar in front of me, watching. I’m wiping incessantly at my boob. I stop.

“You’re so awkward.”

“Maybe because you say really awkward things,” I point out.

“This is why we can’t have nice things,” he says, handing me a cup of seltzer and a rag.

I’m getting really weirded out by all of his “we” comments.

“It was on sale,” I say. “Twelve dollars at Gap.”

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