She’s an enigma
A whisper in a loud room
I need to know
What she becomes
In the dark.
See me after class.
I pause, only to hear her speak
Teeth catching the letters as she says ‘salt’ and ‘soliloquy’
It irks me to no end
How I will never know the spaces
Where her wisdom teeth used to sit.
See me after class.
It was the honey of her skin
The honey of her skin that trapped me
Drowned me in its thick syrup.
It was the roses of her lips
That made me run to her
Through the thorns.
It was the slick black of her hair that suffocated me like a swan
Trapped under an oil spill.
See me after school.
“Hey.” Was all she said when she answered the door. I had finally mustered up enough courage to take a bus to Ms. Romof’s apartment. Do I call her just Cassidy now? It all seemed fun and sexy on the way over here, but as I looked at her, all I felt was terror.
“Are you gonna come in?” Her boxy eyebrows pulled into a furrow as she noticed the tension in my movements. She tried to smile a little and I saw the star shaped stud in her tooth that made everyone in class ooh and ahh over her on the first day we met her.
Her thick black hair was messy around her face, curling at the roots. I assumed it was naturally straight, but knowing this – that her hair was naturally curly – made me feel special. Like I knew her.
She lived in the upstairs section of a split-level duplex. Her whole place was full of plants in white pots and had purple accents everywhere. She burned an incense stick that smelled earthier than the ones my friends burned at faux seances during sleepovers.
“I hope you don’t mind the smoke. I just can’t stand candles. I can never bring myself to throw out the jars.”
“Oh, no I think it’s great.”
Cassidy smiled at me and walked behind a wall that I found out was the kitchen.
“Do you want anything to eat? Drink? I don’t have that much, but I could order something.”
“Oh, water’s fine.”
I couldn’t wrap my head around how casual she was being. I had come here, and I liked her. I liked her so much, but everything was surreal.
Cassidy came back from behind the wall and handed me a cup full of a misty yellow liquid.
“It’s not…don’t worry. I had a little bit of this lime drink I opened up last night. I have some too, see?”
I glanced at it, but didn’t doubt her. I drank it slowly as we trailed over to her couch.
I know the flesh
The patches of hair and hard skin
Of where freckles become constellations
Where wounds of childhood dent and discolor
Maybe next week. I’m busy.
I’ve have this ache now
Sorry, buried under work. I’ll see how the week goes.
The smell of apricots and menthol cigarettes lifted gently off of her skin. Her freckles were covered in a thin layer of makeup and she furrowed her brow as smoke escaped from her plump lips.
“I’m sorry,” she said “I just can’t place your face.”
This hurt me more than I had anticipated. I remembered the bracelet she gave me years ago and the long weekend I spent at her house.
“It’s been a few years, but I -”
“Oh, fuck! Wait – I think I’ve got it now!” she said waving her hand to fan the smoke away from between our faces. “Weren’t you the girl who did that huge rally for some charity thing? For that person who had cancer?”
“Well, no. I was actually -”
“That was some cool shit. I mean, I wouldn’t have been able to do something like that for someone else.” She took a long drag, nodding her head like she was agreeing with herself.
I suddenly don’t want to be standing next to her anymore. I was sure I wanted to when I spotted her from across the street, but now I felt dumb.
“I didn’t even offer you a smoke.” She reached for her purse. It was a high-end brand, but it was frayed at the edges – possibly from a thrift store or an old gift. I remembered she never had much money.
“I don’t smoke, actually.”
“Oh, because of the cancer thing?”
“No, I just never-”
“I should quit honestly, but they’re just too addictive. It’s awful, but it’s better than what I was on before. Woo.”
The anger welled up behind my eyes as she spoke. She was talking at me, but not to me and it made me want to shake her until she remembered everything.
“Do you really, really remember me?” I looked her hard in the eye.
She sighed loudly and rolled her eyes. “Look, I do, but this isn’t a movie. Whatever we did back then…” she dropped her cigarette butt on the ground and snubbed it out with her foot. “Whatever we did is over. We’re not gonna fall in love. I was too high back then to -”
I hated this. “I could sue you.”
Her face grew red as she adjusted her skirt. “God damn, kid. I’m sorry, alright. I do remember, but I’ve been trying to forget.” She stared at me, pleading.
I saw how the years had faded her from who she was then. She seemed dimmer and wrinkles had formed around the edges of her mouth and eyes. I saw that she was no longer the bright-eyed English teacher I was once enamored of.
“I’m sorry. I really am.”
Why does Echo still pine
Please, stop contacting this address.
Cassidy doesn’t live here anymore.