Home > F*ck Love(3)

F*ck Love(3)
Tarryn Fisher

He goes back to his drawer and pulls out a coloring book. At first I think he’s getting it for the little boy, but then he hands it to me.

“Do you want me to give it to Tim?” I ask, confused.

“Tom,” he says. “And no. That’s what I wanted to show you.”

I flip to the first page and find what I’m not expecting. Beautiful pictures of castles made of candy, fairy houses perched in fruit trees, and princesses fighting dragons. The type of coloring book I would have wanted as a child.

“What’s this?” I ask, not looking up. I want to see more.

“It’s yours,” he says, taking the baby from me.

I laugh. “I can’t draw. I’m not artistic at all.” I slam it shut and hand it back to him. This is such a strange dream. I pinch myself, but I don’t wake up, and it hurts.

“That’s how you bought this house, moved to Washington. You have a line of them, and they’re very popular. There are even posters and notebooks. You can buy them in Target.”

“Target?” I repeat. “I’m in school to be an accountant,” I say. “This is silly. I want to wake up.”

Why am I getting upset? If this is a dream, I should just go with it, right?

Tom comes running in just then and announces that he spilled grape juice on the floor. Kit leaves in a hurry, and I am left alone to tend to the little girl. I sit her on my lap and touch her mane of silky hair. She sighs contentedly, and I figure she likes it. “I like it too,” I tell her. “One time I fell asleep at a funeral because my dad was playing with my hair.” I keep doing it so she doesn’t cry and alert Kit to the fact that I know nothing about babies. When he comes back, we are sitting on the couch, her half-drugged against my chest. I’m still trying to wake myself from this strange dream. He leans against the doorframe, smiling that half-smile he does. “She’s just like you.”

“You don’t know what I’m like,” I say.

“Really, Helena? Don’t I?”

I hesitate. I don’t know anything.

I keep expecting the dream to end, but it doesn’t. I spend what seems like hours with Kit, Tom, and Brandi as they move through their day. I try to be a good sport, pretending to fit in with his life, even taking a walk with them through the greenest woods I have ever seen. Do dreams really go on this long? Why when you wake up, do dreams seem so hazy and distorted? We stop at a lake, and Kit and Tom skip rocks while I hold Brandi, who really, to my horror, doesn’t want anyone but me. I scoop some of the rich, wet dirt onto a fingertip and taste it. Dirt shouldn’t have a taste in a dream. Or it should taste like Oreos. It definitely shouldn’t taste like dirt. After the walk, Kit cooks us all dinner. Fish he caught himself. He grills it outside on the patio he says that I designed. Again, I remind him that I’m not creative enough to have designed something as majestic as the patio. It reminds me a little of the coloring books, with their carved wood tree houses, and lanterns hanging from trees. The fish is delicious. By the time Kit carries Brandi and Tom inside to give them their baths, I am in full panic mode. I reference the movies I’ve seen to help me: Inception, BIG, The Wizard of Oz. When Kit comes back carrying a bottle of wine and two glasses, I’m crying and ripping the paper napkins into confetti.

He doesn’t say anything about my tears. He opens the bottle and fills a glass, setting it in front of me.

I throw it back like a college girl. Because I am a college girl—not a mom.

“This isn’t real,” I say. “Where are all of my memories if it’s real?”

He sits down next to me and throws an ankle over his knee.

“The day I fell in love with you was the first day you found yourself. You weren’t even mine yet.”

He looks all blurry and distorted through my tears; I let them slip down my face as I listen to him.

“You always insisted you were left-brained, but I didn’t believe you. An artist can always recognize another artist. We sniff each other out. One night we were all drunk and hanging out at Della’s place. She said she wanted to color, so she carries out all these coloring books, crayons, and markers. And we all lay on our stomachs on the floor and colored like five year olds. It was one of those nights you don’t forget, because it was so bizarre,” he pauses, “but also because I fell in love.”

I want him to keep going. The story he’s telling has never happened, but it sounds so real.

“I was lying next to you on the carpet, and Neil was on your other side. Your picture was the best. It wasn’t just good; it was surprisingly good. Everyone freaked out, but I felt smug like I already knew it. We started joking about you being an artist, and it was then that you said you wanted to be great at drawing so you could have your own coloring book line. So I told you to do it.”

I find that my lips part, and my eyes become glassy when he speaks to me like he knows me. It’s intimate. I’ve always wanted to know myself and have never known where to begin.

“I can’t—”

“Draw,” he finishes. “Yes, so you’ve said. You took classes. Didn’t tell anyone but me.”

I want to pick up a pen and see if it’s true, if I have some hidden talent I never knew I had. And I want to know, of all people, why I told Kit. If this isn’t a dream…

It’s a dream.

“Wh-what sorts of things do we do together?” I ask him.

Kit licks his lips. “You and I are the same,” he says. “Don’t look at me like that.”

I snort when I laugh, covering my mouth with the back of my hand.

“We are very different.” He smiles. “I’m an optimist, you’re a pessimist. I avoid confrontation, you charge into it.”

“So how are we the same?”

“We were both on the search for something true at the same time. Sometimes a person’s truth is another person’s love.”

I don’t know what he means, and I’m ashamed to admit it.

“Do we like to do the same things?”

“Yes.” His face is in shadow, but I can hear his fingertips as they rub at the scruff on his chin. “We like art. Food. Small moments that last forever. We like to have sex. We like our babies—” I get goosebumps at that last bit. “We traveled a bit before we had Brandi. We hope to do more of that. We have a list of all the places we want to make love—”

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