The sea is spread and cleaved and furled, i say. You’ve said that before, she says, you’re starting to repeat yourself.
The sea is spread and cleaved and furled, i say. By the relentless heft of a tanker, she says.
Yes, by the relentless heft of a tanker, i say, and by the small diesel-powered skiff we’ve borrowed for the day, and ﬁlled.
with Antipodean millennials and crates of Mythos, until its hull sits a little lower than the Albanian gent who rented it to us.
would like. That’s true, she says. And by our own bodies, i say. You mean by your own body, she says.
i do, i say, the sea is spread and cleaved and furled by the stuttering heft of my own body, by the whip and ﬂicker.
and chunk of my own legs, and by the spread and drag of my oddly spindly arms that heave the weight of my recalcitrant heart.
through the waves. I know, she says. i swim like a sad hippo, i say. Without grace, she says.
Yes, i say, but with the plump, grey certainty of getting my own way.
i am tearing strips of jackfruit from a jackfruit taco at a vegan fastfood eatery, because vegan.
is in, and jackfruit is the new catch-all vegan feel-good meat substitute for people like me.
who like the dirty slip of something akin to ﬂesh, and more cashew-mayonnaise than is possibly.
good for them, but who also enjoy the semiotics of their own moral rectitude nearly as much as the food.
So, is that a problem, i say. For who, she says. Is it a moral failing, i say. It is, she says, although.
in the world we live in, it’s hardly up there is it. Up there with what, i say. I don’t know, she says, perhaps.
genocide, or sex trafﬁcking, or the systemic oppression of women. That’s a fair point, i say.
and this jackfruit is delicious.
Michael has given me a very bad review. this matters, i say to my girlfriend, and then:
Airbnb is built on mutual trust, it’s our new model, it’s kind of like Blanquism, but less French
and about making money, and based on the web instead of in, like, nineteenth-century Paris,
but Michael’s very bad review of my stay in his ‘cozy flat close to city centre’ matters
and although i didn’t leave it in pristine condition, it was a shithole anyway,
and i want to amend my original review, in which i had demurred and suggested
that Michael’s ‘cozy flat close to city centre’ was adequate, and i want to edit my review
to say fuck you, Michael, fuck you and your hipster collection of Coltrane and Jacques Brel vinyl
but, i can’t. i can’t do it, because i wrote my review first and these are the Airbnb terms
that i signed up to but didn’t read, because who even reads the terms and conditions,
and Michael says i could have left the apartment cleaner, and now i am nothing
but a slovenly shit, nothing but a disgusting, sloppy splotch on the virtual realm,
which, because it has been written, is also a kind of truth.
After everything, after months of giving me more than I deserved, you have told me it is over. I am sat in the antique German armchair with an inset pegging effect on its teak legs that we paid too much for because of the inset pegging effect on its teak legs, which is considered collectable. I am sat in my studio and the studio manager lets himself in to discuss repairs to the ceiling of my unit to find me sat in an antique German armchair, staring at a property website, tears drizzling my cheeks.
As a child, as a pre-adolescent, I spent all of my pocket money on a birthday present for a pretty girl that did not like me. I remember my father telling me that this was nice, but that a girl needs to like you, and it does not matter what you buy her. I am thinking of this when I ask the studio manager to leave, when I pick up the phone to ring an estate agent, when I view three properties the same afternoon; when after five minutes in the last, most expensive, I take it without bothering to make an offer.
I am convinced that the only way to make things better is to be a better person, to be the person that you will like. I spend months crying in our old bed, fucking Tinder dates in our old bed, hurrying random strangers through rushed avocado-based breakfasts and out of the front door, so I can continue to cry in our old bed.
I am trying to show how much better I am. I am trying to be the functional human that I hope so much you will like again.
We are eating ceviche. This is what we do now, we are people who both live in Shoreditch and meet semi-regularly to eat ceviche, or sometimes gluten-free waffles from a hotel lobby in which one can also procure healing crystals.
We are not here to procure healing crystals. We are here to eat ceviche in a semi-regulated manner, which amounts to the forced maintenance of a friendship that we have both professed to value. I find our consumption of ceviche deeply upsetting, although I understand the need for boundaries and the semi-regulation of our new dynamic.
I am clearly *killing your vibe*. You are going to Reykjavik at the weekend and the awkwardness with which you gulp on a particularly small cube of tuna ceviche tells me that you are not going to Iceland with friends. We finish our ceviche, I finish my drink. I will not ask you a question you do not wish to answer because the least I can do is to stop being a cunt.
We walk the Bethnal Green Road and you stop to tell me you are going to Iceland with a guy. I say: I know. We agree we should discuss it at another of our semi-regular meetings. I suggest we do not do it over ceviche.
The sea is spread and cleaved and furled 9
I’m totally killing your vibes 43
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