One night, he shows me on his knee where the wound is healing over, and I’m not sorry when I think to myself that it looks like it might scar, like long after he no longer knows me he will still wear me on his skin, some faint mark from a chance happening in the living room, and I like to think of the way he might have to explain me to some future woman when her hands trace his body, like too, the pleasant fiction of how for him, I might be unforgettable.
I can’t claim him as mine any more than I could that other man in late spring, the one whose vanishing is not dissimilar from that first one I go through, except that this time it hurts me less. I can’t claim him as mine, and I am reminded again of this one weekend when I do not see him but want to, when I sit in someone else’s kitchen swapping stories over drinks and it is not where I want to be, and the smiles I give there just fictions with teeth. I can’t claim him, and the only one I ever could is in film canisters in my drawer. And those canisters are small, but their weight everywhere.
On that weekend there is too a night with a dress, floor length and green, over heels I am not used to wearing, and spaces filled with more people than make me comfortable, and another man, drunk not on the whiskey but on the sight of me, who tells me not to go. And I think then of Cinderella’s flight down the steps and away from the palace, that bewildered man looking for her everywhere. And though I feel something when he says this, a bewildering sort of something, that night I am only fiction in satin, cannot stay.
There are still pumpkins on the lawn when I arrive at home, their mouths filled with snow. And just before midnight, the dress is replaced, the makeup gone, the shoes put back in the closet. I watch instead the moon alone as I always do, lie alone in that bed as I always do, think too long alone as I always do, text, stupidly, that first man to tell him I kind of miss him, though I know I shouldn’t. Think then, of that space on his knee as the only part of him I might ever claim, make still, inside my head, another kind of fiction, some other story.
One in which he might have missed me too.