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Jack Friday
seldelaterre Released Dec 16, 2010

[I realized that, in challenging someone to do something that I was too afraid to do myself, I was being unfair. So. That said, here's a short story told in the first person.  Critique and comments are always welcome.]

And I am so angry at you it actually makes my chest hurt. I hate that after all this time, you still think it’s okay to call and ask me what’s wrong, what’s going on, what’s this about, why are you sad- like it’s something you actually care about.

And I’m not being bratty and I’m not dehumanizing you because that’s one of the seven stages of grief or whatever-the-fuck happens to your emotional state when you come to the conclusion that the person you’ve spent a year of your life monogamously screwing (because that’s the word for it, that’s the word for it, that’s the only word I can think of for what we have) is something else.

And because sociopaths are born, not made, there is nothing I can do about it. Characterized by an inability to feel emotion- literally unable to experience the scope of the “human condition” to its fullest extent, they are who they are. Like that song, without the glitter and the Jesus.

It’s not even like something went wrong with you. There ain’t a damn thing wrong with your brilliant, beautiful, mile-a-minute mind. You’re just you, and I’m just me and our lives ran parallel for a while. That was all. And I think that’s the worst part, the knowing- I-can’t-change-it.

Because you’d be an idiot to think that I didn’t notice the way you fake it sometimes. How calm you stay in the face of my own lunacy. How patient, how level-headed. It wasn’t that you were particularly well-adjusted or judicious, no. You just couldn’t scrape up enough neurotransmitters to give a fuck. Your eyes would stare at my form, clothed or otherwise, with gaping black pupils but you never had the decency to blink. You have astounding eyes, almond-shaped and black with blunt lashes.

It’s stupid how beautiful you are, really unfair and stupid, because I would have done anything to make you love me even if you weren’t so goddamn blank. It’s stupid how hard I tried. How pretty I tried to be, how funny, how understanding, how accommodating, how kinky, how coy.

And the way you treated me, literally pinning diamonds around my eighteen-year-old neck like I deserved them. And it’s stupid because I would look up at you, feeling bought but not necessarily objecting, and see the nothingness and tell myself I imagined it. Were you pretending too?

“I’m fond of you,” you said, “but that’s all. I’ll miss you when you’re gone.” Because that’s what’s supposed to be said after a year of this absolute batshit-crazy game we’ve been losing. Because that’s what my heart is worth. Fondness and a necklace. Oh, and a coat. And the two pair of handcuffs that were really more a gift to you than they were to me but they’d look weird in your duffel bag when you fly down to Virginia...

So you've texted me. You’re in Virginia, I’m in New York. My date has not gone well and you have somehow, magically, freakily, heard about it. “You want me, but with a soul. It’s not him, try another.”

I look at my phone and resist answering how I want to. “No, I want you either way.” And I come to the conclusion that I am a little bit of a masochist.