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If You Need Me, I Will Be Over Here Listening to “Slide It In” on Repeat
The overhead lights are on – it’s that kind of party. The liquor gets better but the wattage gets higher, and already I’m thinking about what we can get away with in the corners of the kitchen, hallway, foyer. I blame the five semesters I spent as a drama major for my exhibitionist streak, though anyone who knew me before would confirm it began much earlier.
The problem with me is that I spent my malleable teenage years listening to cock rock and so I never learned the fine art of subtlety, because who needs a double entendre when a single entendre will do. I understand the uncertainty of the chase is supposed to be thrilling but there’s also something to be said for knowing where the next lay is coming from.
And so when we’re the only ones in the kitchen, I ask if you’re coming home with me. You say, well, actually, and your voice trails off, but it’s not the kind of sentence that needs to be finished. I ask if she’s here. The brightness in my voice isn’t fooling anyone. You say you’re meeting up with her later. Your eyes say I’m sorry, and I take a breath and make mine say, For what?
When I say, I hope it goes well for you two, I mean, I have underwear you haven’t even seen yet, and possibly, it’s so new it’s still that gray area, right, so we could probably fuck tonight and you could explain later that you were just so in love with her it scared you; we are used to that shit.
When you say thanks, you mean thanks. I hear, you will never see me naked again.
I excuse myself to the bathroom but when you turn to the freezer to forage for ice, I duck outside, pulling the door tight behind me. It’s not even worth it to ask why not me. I know why not. This is the result of living one night at a time. The cock rock is good for such living, for the wanting and excitement, and good for when it goes bad, but no one ever laid down a sweaty guitar riff for a song about figuring out how to be honest about what you want and getting it and being really happy. David Coverdale gave no fucks there.
But I wasn’t born at the right time or with the right parts or hair or talent to be David Coverdale, and I want to swear that next time, I’m going to be the one pursued, the one who gets to say well, actually, the one who knows the other person is waiting, but I know I won’t be able to hold out because what if I am holding out forever.
When I say I want to be liked, what I mean is loved and by that I mean consumed and possibly swallowed.
Amy Rossi is an MFA candidate in fiction at Louisiana State University, and her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart Web, Ninth Letter Online, and Barrelhouse.