So Maybe I Lied?
We share a room at school, so at least there's no
denying that we're roommates, since she won't let us be called friends. On
the first day she announced in a manifesto voice that she hates
precipitation. What do you say to that? I've watched her muscles and tan
turn to paste from August to March. I've watched the hair dye stains
around her ears wax and wane and the spots on her face, chased by
concealer, work around like constellations. It's not like that, though.
How could it? She writes book-report music reviews in
the school paper that mention the bands in question out of a limp sense of
duty. When she talks, she gets a look on her face like she's locating a
very important sheep on a foggy hillside in a landscape painting inside
her head. She says things about not being afraid to be modern--embracing
synthetic fabrics and organic geometry or something. I have to interrupt.
"New dress, right?"
She milkmaid-plucks the hem, please. "Garage sale. The
old lady's kids were sitting on a total Japanese goldmine."
"Huh. I think I've seen a picture of my mom wearing that
dress. So anyway, being modern...?"
Her eyebrows push together in her search for the sheep.
"YEAH. I mean, there's just nothing compelling about music today
because it's all about this naked concentration camp Egon Schiele pain and
suffering, whereas I'm looking toward Mondrian's vision of a future, where.…"
I don't say: you mean, looking back. I do use her
shampoo, though. Also, her conditioner. Her pills. I wear her underwear
when mine are dirty. I sold some of her CDs in town, when she had some
guitarist from some band she doesn't even like living in our room for two
weeks, and then doing it. When I thought I had pink eye, I used her
mascara. And once I was eating Jolly Ranchers and had a lot of saliva, so
I put it in her bodywash. The one that made her so touchably soft for the
smelly stick-figure guitarist.
I would rather splash my way to class, imagining her
faked doe eyes staring out the window and the phone against an ear.
Leaving excuses about important interviews on the voicemail of her
professors. Maintaining her dignity against the elements and smoking. When
I get to class, everyone will look less than what they think they should,
which they're always mistaken about, anyway. We will be fresh and eager
like students in a developing nation. But no uniforms or dictator.
Those are the days that postpone the inevitable
explanation. Why, I hate you, what did I ever do to you. And what could I say?
You make me tired when I know what's going to happen? You make my head
dirty and crowded? I don't know what to do when my apologies and my fuck-yous
are the same thing?
Vanessa Koepke likes cake for dinner.