Chris M.

I lay on my bed, black with new white sheets, and surveyed my half-clean room. I’d tried to change the theme to white, let some light in for once, hang lace from the windows. I hadn’t finished, though, and now I was on my back, staring up at the Nick Cave poster on my ceiling. We were wearing matching shirts—i hate every cop in this town! they read. He wore his because he hated cops; I wore mine because I loved him. Murder Ballads, the best album, was playing on the little CD player next to my bed.

And I kissed her goodbye
Said, “All beauty must die”
And I leant down and planted
a rose ’tween her teeth

This song was playing during one of the first days I spent with Peter. We were in a park, lying on the grass, and eventually I was lying on top of him as we talked and laughed and the mosquitoes landed on my back. The sun slowly fell behind the horizon and the sky was indigo. We went back to his car and I shoved the Nick Cave mix CD I made for him into the slot, and it began.

They call me the wild rose
But my name was Elisa Day
Why they call me it, I do not know
For my name was Elisa Day

I stared at the poster and my eyes glazed over a little as they lost focus. Peter was in Vermont. I couldn’t let that be hard. Soon he’d be in New Mexico, learning about philosophy and literature and beauty. Soon I’d go months without seeing him. Days was nothing.

He would be my first man
And with a careful hand
He wiped at the tears
That run down my face

Maybe this would be easier if I had friends? But loneliness is, like… my thing. My forté. The only emotion I’m able to handle like a human being. But maybe I can’t anymore. I got too comfortable with having friends and then they were gone and soon he will be, too.

From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one
She stared in my eyes and smiled
For her lips were the color of the roses
That grew down the river, all bloody and wild

I went to our favorite coffee shop, ordered a vanilla chai, like every day. The only free spot was at a big table with a man and a woman.

“Do you mind if I sit here?” I said, putting my headphones down.

“Not at all,” said the man, who was drinking black coffee. He was probably 25. The woman had a round face and a tiny nose and dark hair. She was very pretty, and she stood up to go to the bathroom.

The man stared after her, and then at where she was sitting beside him.

After some quick small talk, he told me about her. She was about to leave town, he said, and they’d agreed to break up before she left—long-distance, they’d decided, would be too hard. “I’m in love with her,” he said. “She’s such a beautiful person.” He held his mug to his lips and downed the rest of the coffee like it was liquor.

“I’m in love with someone who’s leaving, too,” I said.

“Our lives suck, don’t they?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“But at least we have them for now, right? That’s lucky.”

The woman came back and squeezed the man’s shoulder with a smile before she sat down. His face lit up so he was barely the same person. I could see how completely he’d thrown himself into her existence and how in his eyes, this woman was more important that anything else.

On the third day he took me to the river
He showed me the roses and we kissed
And the last thing I heard was a muttered word
As he knelt above me with a rock in his fist