Home > F*ck Love(5)

F*ck Love(5)
Tarryn Fisher

“What are you doing?” Della asks me. “You’re totally zoned out.” She’s leaning into him, her hand rubbing his thigh. She picks up the placemat and examines it. “Is this … a treehouse?”

“Yes!” I say excitedly. She giggles, and I feel sad.

“Don’t quit your day job, Helena,” she says. “You’re the math girl.” I take back the placemat and put it face down on the table. Kit looks at me for the first time—like really zones in.

“Do you like to draw?” he asks. I like to compare people’s eyes to sweets. Kit’s eyes are chocolaty—melty and warm. I’m not a big chocolate person, but Neil has cough drop eyes, and right now I just really need something sweet.

“No,” Neil answers for me. “I’ve known her for years, and I’ve never seen her so much as doodle in a notebook.”

I look back at Kit, hoping for something. I think about saying that thing about wanting to illustrate a coloring book, but it’s not true, and I’d feel silly saying it. Maybe I’m scared.

“I don’t know,” I say to Kit. “I’m not very good at it.”

I wait for him to encourage me, but the server comes with our food, and all is forgotten. They spend the rest of dinner talking about a trip we are all planning to take over the summer. I spend it thinking about the dream. A life I never knew I wanted. I want to go back. I want to fall asleep again to see if I can visit Helena and Kit’s Pottery Barn house in Port Townsend, Washington. When Kit says something, I listen. He’s kind of the same person I knew in the dream, maybe not as self-aware. But, for the first time, I notice how attentive he is to my best friend. How touchy-feely, and not in a smothering way. He just likes to touch her, and I feel jealous. When he speaks, it’s never without purpose. He says things that make Neil nod thoughtfully, and make Della look up at him with a dreamy look on her face. This is crazy. I stand up.

“I have to go,” I say.

“Why?” Neil protests. “We are supposed to go to a movie.”

“I don’t feel well,” I say. I lean down and kiss him on the cheek. There is no stubble to graze my lips. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye guys.” I wave at Della and Kit and walk quickly to my car. I look over my shoulder, expecting one of them to be following me, and I feel a pang of sadness that they’re all talking at the table like I was never there.

I drive home and let myself into my apartment, still unable to shake the weird feeling I’ve had since waking up from the dream. Instead of taking out my textbooks to study, I find an empty notebook and begin writing down the details of the dream. So stupid. Such a waste of time. I tell myself this, but I don’t stop doing it, until there are ten pages of scrawling, blue ink. When I’m done, I’m exhausted. From the emotion of it, yes. But more so, because I feel changed. Shifted. Redirected. I drink three glasses of water, take a shower. When nothing can distract me from the strangeness I feel, I open my laptop and find Kit’s Facebook profile. We became friends recently, after the first time Della introduced us. It always seems like the thing to do when you meet someone new—add them to your life on social media. We are now friends! Now you can see what I eat for lunch, posted in my very favorite filter, and see pictures of my running shoes as I take an above shot to let you know I work out. And read my sentimental posts about how I date the best guy in the universe (posted on his birthday or our anniversary). Every pretentious, made up moment of my life will be yours. Welcome, follower!

After we tapped our way into each other’s media lives, I never took the time to go back and look at Kit’s profiles. Though I apparently follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, Kit doesn’t post very much. I find a picture of Della sitting on his lap and study them both intently—her white, perfect teeth, his tight-lipped grin. Where did they even meet? I try to remember. He was a musician, I think. She went on and on about that. I look for clues on his Instagram, but he only posts sunsets and beach shots void of humans. Really good ones actually. He played his camera phone pretty well. I slam my laptop shut, ignore a call from Della, and crawl into bed. Maybe I’ll get lucky and go back to Port Townsend in my sleep. Maybe the dream will turn into a nightmare, and then I’ll want to forget it. Tomorrow, my head will be clear. Tomorrow, Kit will just be Della’s boyfriend, and I will be in love with Neil, and I’ll have my whole life ahead of me.

I wake up and stalk all of his profiles again. Nothing has changed since last night, but it’s the first thing I think to do. I have seven missed calls from Della and Neil. I call Neil first while lying on my stomach, studying a picture Kit took of a seagull perched on a piece of driftwood.

“The movie was great,” he tells me. “I don’t know if either of them saw any of it; they were all over each other.”

I report Kit’s picture as inappropriate out of spite.

“What do you mean?” I ask. “He’s not really that touchy-feely.”

“I think they really like each other. They were making jokes about eloping last night.”

“What? No!” I stuff a pillow over my mouth and roll onto my back. Luckily, Neil thinks I was upset about Della.

“Relax. You know how boy crazy Della is. She’s not actually going to marry him.”

I make the sign of the cross as I stare up at the ceiling.

“They asked us to go with them to Barclays tonight, but I told them I didn’t know if you could since you have to study.”

“I’ll go,” I say quickly. I roll out of bed, trying to land on my feet, but instead I get caught in the sheets and roll onto the floor. Neil doesn’t hear the thump, or my cry of pain.

“Pick you up at seven,” he says before hanging up. He doesn’t wait for my goodbye. I stay tangled in my sheets and pretend I’m Frodo when Shelob the spider spins him into his web. I almost fall asleep again, but my phone rings. Della this time.

“Neil says you’re coming tonight,” she says. “I’m so freaking excited. Listen, I know this is going to freak you out, but I really think Kit is going to ask me to marry him.”

My What? is muffled by the blankets.

“I know, I know,” she says. “But when you know, you know. That’s what everyone says.”

I fight my way out of the blankets and jump to my feet. I catch sight of myself in the mirror and flinch. Topknot gone wrong, crooked and spilling out, lion mane hairs around my face sticking up in every direction. I’m wearing my Lion King pajamas from my middle school days. I can’t bear to toss them, because Simba and Nala had a beautiful love. There’s a knock on my door. I’m already opening it when Della says, “Oh yeah, Kit should be there in a few minutes. I sent him over to get my laptop bag.” It’s too late to slam the door shut. With his girlfriend yakking in my ear, I open the door to my dream husband. Not the husband of my dreams, just my dream husband. Except I’m not even sure we were married, just having babies out of wedlock and living in Port Townsend like a bunch of hippies. Kit raises his eyebrows when he sees me.

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