Unabridged

I cut orange potatoes with an orange knife. A slice drops to the floor next to my orange socks.

I spread my hands with seasoning. I don’t know what will happen to the potatoes exactly, only that they will soften and become edible.

I don’t think thoughts while I cut the potatoes. I think:

Of Carlsberg pint glasses on the rocky shore. Of going home for the holidays. Of asking my mum to teach me Tarot. Of the quiet of my day. My silence is numbered. Don’t ask me how I know but it’s something I feel. I think of my father calling me “lovely” and “woman.” I wonder what about me triggered “lovely”? My trash talking during darts; my thoughtlessly placed crass language; my ability to fall asleep on the floor wrapped in a sheet with the TV and all the lights on-me at 28. My slurping of the coffee in the way he does. The slight disapproval in my eyes and my mouth whenever she would say something I didn’t agree with.

I can smell the potatoes browning. The sweetness wafting up. I bought you a book but I don’t know if you’ll use it. I would keep it for myself, that does seem safer, but it’s not my style. Not my book to keep. I shred the spinach with my fingers. The water and the oil hiss as they mix.

And then suddenly, an inventory of care crops up. So I’ve named it. Without a trigger, I see you that time you didn’t kiss me but rested your nose on my nose. I feel you get up in the middle of the night to check the lock with a concerned look and curve of your fingers. You threaten to throat punch the boy who made me cry. I tell you I wouldn’t have come if I had anywhere else to go. You hurt. We argue. I don’t apologize. As long as I’m not the one hurting. But I was still hurting. We fell asleep with our backs to one another. You smiled at me when we woke. I think of that time you put the pillow under my head when you thought I was asleep. I was asleep, but when you moved my head I woke up. I didn’t open my eyes.

I consider how much space is required for growth as I mix the spinach into the potatoes. I watch it start to shrink and darken. The potatoes have blackened, some of them. I know they will be ready soon. It’s strange the things you think you forget, but really they just get pushed back into storage. It’s funnier that I almost feel like you’re drawing the memories out yourself. Like taking the needle and the pump to my veins. They weren’t there, before. They were buried way back, and now it’s like…contents must have shifted during flight. I open the door and out they fall. One after the other. I struggle to catch them, but before long it’s me at the ball pit. Covered. I shake them off I pull out a plate I look for the fork I used earlier. Remember that day on the bus I told you I was ticklish or the night you danced in the window. I told you to stop dancing and come down and talk to me. You kept dancing. I tried to have a conversation with your roommate, but you ran your fingers up the length of my feet. I jumped. We stopped talking and looked over at you. I told you my socks were dirty. You met my gaze, and kept going. Heel to arch to toes. I pulled my feet away. Your finger followed. I drink my tea that tastes like rum. I add the milk to cut it. I’ve lost track of the plot line streaming on the TV.

You poked me in the nose in April and I took my glasses off and you said, “you can see me now.” You didn’t seem to care at all like me. How can I know what your care looks like? As if I expect the shape to fit so nicely in my hand. As if I expect it to be big and bright and easy to manage.

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