You want to do cocaine with T-Pain. You want that coke on a plate on a boat. You want it with a fox; you want it with some socks. You want it in the fog; you want to scarface that fucking plate.
You’re a fallen vegan and a fallen (never say failed) academic and haven’t done coke since the time you stayed up all night lecturing non-gradschoolers on feminism in Aliens. You don’t remember who drove you home; you didn’t have a license. The kindness of strangers or some shit. Next day, your dog may have peed in the house because you couldn’t be bothered to let her out. All you could do was eat pizza and cry and watch Stargate reruns.
You thought you’d be young forever, like James Spader’s cockiness in Pretty in Pink. That you’d be able to get away with wearing all white for always, and forever you’d look sexy smoking cigarettes while squinting like you know things. Now your belly sticks out from all the wine and your legs are skinny, askew as this beautiful golden boy skateboards a shopping cart away from you.
& you know nothing, really, except that knowing nothing is a Jon Snow cliché. & he’s a beautiful boy, too, and this beautiful golden shopping cart-skateboard boy’s staying at your house for a few days. You haven’t eaten in a week and you’ve run 3 - 5 miles a day for weeks and still the belly, the legs. And still. This beautiful boy’s sleeping on your floor.
The closest you’ve gotten to this beautiful boy is thumb war.
You know thumbs; you don’t know war. You think it’s all stupid; you think there should be other reasons to touch him. But, he insisted. You were sitting, facing each other for once. It was his first night at your house and already you felt lost.
You won the first of three; you were set up, you think.
& you know the other reasons. You keep them hidden in your back pocket, in the pocketknife of your heart. The scissors, blade, nail file, & tweezers that all alone mean nothing.
This beautiful boy’s in produce already, way ahead, checking out the fresh fruit. You teeter around on 4-inch crazy-heeled tall boots trying to look Free People good. Free-spirited. Ethereal, even. Like you’d been Coachella-ing till T-Pain showed up with blow. You’ve never been to Coachella and probably’ll never go. This beautiful boy will. This beautiful boy hasn’t noticed your boots or that you’re aisles and aisles behind. You’re still by the beauty products; you’re wondering if he doesn’t want to be seen with you. You’re wondering about not tweezing and eyebrow merkins and all those things that have caught you by surprise. It’s late October but still warm, and outside fake ladybugs bombard everything. They’re everywhere on windows and windshields and sleeves and faces, and you’ve known all along you’re too old for thumb war and that nothing will change this.
Ryder Collins has a novel, Homegirl! She also has two chapbooks of poetry, and her fiction chapbook, The way the sky was now, won Heavy Feather Review's first fiction chapbook contest.