witty-remark's Diaryland Diary



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At 10 in the morning, we slither through the doors of a seedy pub in Portland. “Don’t judge us,” I say. “I won’t if you don’t,” says the waitress, winking as she polishes off a shot glass full of something syrupy and dark behind the bar.

I order pear brandy. Neat. My black halter top is soaked from the rain outside. The clasp behind my back unbuttons as I writhe, trying to situate myself in the leather bench, now slippery from me. Slippery like this memory. An eel swimming between my fingers--cooked in the droplets of that liquor. I knew I wanted to come home and write about it when it happened. Just like I knew I wanted to come home and write about your best friend and his milky white skin, and mountainous ridge of ribs when I lay beside him on the sands of the Mediterranean Sea: here

But I’m here with you now, not him. In a dark pub, with a flickering light that casts shadows across our faces. That pulls us into darkness despite the sun’s best efforts to remind us what time of day it is. Here, behind the dirty stained glass windows, time doesn’t exist. Or exit. An hourglass tipped on its side—it’s a vacuum. And we like it that way.

Next to us are books. Classics. Thumbed through by alcoholics and tourists. We happen to be both. I can talk to you about literature. Not him. His thoughts were coils surging with science. Facts. Like cold, hard pebbles. Your thoughts are electric and delicate. Too fragile for even me. I would destroy you. I call you a raw nerve. You take offense, but adopt the moniker yourself by the end of our trip.

When we stumble out, the sun punishes us for forgetting it. Our eyes narrow into tight slits as we draw our hands up over our faces. I know how we can repent for our sins. I pull you into a sun-soaked library. Drunk and buoyant, we find a small nook. I read you jokes from a children’s book. They’re awful, but my chest seizes as I struggle to catch my breath and finish the punch lines. When we resurface by the computers, eyes dart up and glare. I realize I wasn’t quiet.

At night, we walk through the Shanghai tunnels. A tour led by a man with a rough, leather jacket but a soft face. In the darkness, the click of his cane against the concrete underground is all we hear. And whistling, you swear. You admit it to me after. You swear you heard a woman sing in your ear. I swear I heard nothing. Saw nothing. Felt nothing. Does it matter who’s lying?

9:00 p.m. - Monday, Feb. 06, 2017

Then - Now

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