I wake up in X’s bed at 4:30 in the morning and feel the furry beanbag that is his cat leaning all of its weight against my stomach. Turning so that I’m no longer spooning the cat, I rest my forehead against X’s shoulder and he wakes up. We exchange less than ten words as I grab my stuff and head to my car, leaving with a simple ‘see you in a few days’ because counting out an exact number will leave me too heavy to drive home.

Ducking through roads of the bubblegum pink of the early morning, I wish there was a way to watch a movie of all of the times I have army-crawled through the 5 am sprinklers at my parents’ house. The sky is the lavender of taffy and clouded, their edges already reflecting the very beginnings of a sunrise.

After sleeping for four or five more hours, I wake up and start my day for the second time. This time, with the damp of drool on my cheek and a shoe still on my foot. My bed is a pile of coats and ringed in half-empty backpacks.

I know that I am a tough decision to make.

The machine-made need to check my phone as I roll out of bed. Wanting the validation that someone thought about me while I slept. The competition to be thought about more than you think. A mug full of 1/3 eggnog and 2/3 coffee, a bagel with my mom’s homemade tomato basil shmear, and then an episode of Outlander on the couch next to her.

I am sweating by the time Clare almost-kisses a few more guys and the credits roll. I wonder if it is too soon after Christmas to go shopping for myself at that one used bookstore with the cashier who turns old band shirts into dresses. My nails are black and I decide that I will add a layer of sparkle to them for New Year’s Eve. I think about the Kait Rokowki quote from her poem ‘Five Reasons Not To Kiss Me’ – “I am trusting you with last winter” and make fourteen bracelets before lunch.

“Did your mother call you beautiful too many times to believe her?” –Kait Rokowski



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