Monday, March 21, 2011

Omniscient Foreskin

Are We Breaking Up?

    Lily knows Jane is cheating on her, but it's difficult to prove because they haven't yet set the boundaries of their relationship. Well, not officially. They did have one conversation, or exchange of words, late one night after six shots and two hits of acid. Emboldened, Lily said, "Jane, I like you. Like, I like like you. You know?" Flattered, Jane said, "Wanna make out?" Later, Lily tried to clarify: "So we're like together, like together together?" Still later, Jane solidified things: "Sure, I guess."
    Those three words meant everything to Lily, everything that words as brief and smoke-like as those three words can mean to a girl as young and perpetually stoned as Lily. She put herself to sleep with those words, whispered them into the crook of her elbow as she composed sonnets in text messages she would accidentally send to her cousin Joan on more than four occasions. In those three simple words, Lily envisioned a life, a world, entirely populated by she and Jane (and maybe one of those hairless cats she's seen in movies). "Sure," Jane had slurred, and Lily saw a white picket fence; "I," and there was Jane in the yard waving a spatula at the gas grill, wearing one of those novelty Kiss the Cook aprons; "guess," and there was Lily, dragging Maury, the hairless cat, behind her in its purple harness, leaning over to Jane to oblige the aprons' command.
    But here is Lily, now, sitting in her mom's idling Dodge Stratus, trying to figure out where Margret Winterbottom fits into her picket fence dreams. She supposes she fits atop Jane's quietly thrusting lap, the same position she saw Margret and Jane in last night at Bodie's graduation party.
    Someone outside of the car pounds a gloved fist on the windshield and flakes of thinning ice sloosh off into the road. The glove clears an oval of space on the glass and Jane's face appears, scowling. Lily locks the doors and pretends she can't see Jane.
    "What the fuck?" Jane's voice is muffled by the glass and also the roaring of the motor as Lily guns the car's engine. She's been sitting outside of Jane's house all night, and the car would desperately appreciate a moment to shake itself awake in the twenty-degree weather, but Lily is impatient. Jane stands aside and lets the Stratus zoom away, instantly pulling out her phone and sending a string of rapid text messages to Lily which mostly read as gibberish because she forgets to remove her gloves. Receiving these messages, Lily thinks they are some kind of code and spends the remainder of the afternoon trying to decipher them, which distracts her from thinking about Margret Winterbottom's tongue sliding all over Jane's stomach.
    Around midnight, Jane receives this text: "What r u saying?"
    Feeling as if she's spoken her piece and Lily is purposefully playing dumb, Jane simply deflects the text right back to Lily, as if it were undeliverable post, Return to Sender. Misinterpreting this gesture, Lily reads the text with an emphasis on the letter "u" - "What r U saying?" - and sighs deep and longingly, realizing Jane is being coy because she's afraid to be the first one to commit. Lily should have expected this and been more sensitive to it, being two months older than Jane and vastly more experienced in the world of dating (which Jane, for her part, does not realize they are doing).
    Wanting to reassure Jane, but not wanting to embarrass her, Lily texts back: "Sure, I guess."
    Jane deletes Lily's number from her phone. Lily composes a sonnet about how much she wants Jane to grill burgers in their back yard and walk Maury together, and sends it to Joan. Joan replies: "Ew, I hate those cats, they feel like foreskin." Joan is lying; she loves those cats, but even more she loves making up jokes about foreskin.
    Lily goes to bed thinking everything is okay. Margret Winterbottom goes to bed thinking she should have at least made Jane buy those tickets to the Tegan and Sara concert before letting her get to third.
    Across town, a newborn hairless kitten shivers uncontrollably, and does not know why.

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