I went to Yellowfins tonight; it was Local Talent Night. You should
have been there. But you’ve crossed the bridge—literally—to the
mainland, which consists of this entire United States all the way to
I fell in love with the first girl and her neon personality and her
raps about her truck. It sounds lame and cliché, but it wasn’t. It was
fantastic. Her singing voice was nice and fit her personality like
Robert Frost’s poetry does not fit his. He’s an ass, but she—she
deserves a name, so let’s call her Claire—is smart and kind and
insightful. Her words, rhymes, claps, and snaps shoved my body through a
wall. Now there’s a giant hole in the shape of me in the back of
Yellowfins. They better not make me pay for it. I’ll blame it on Claire.
The typical guy-and-his-guitar duo showed up, except the guitar was a
piano and he left his typical back at his loft apartment with his long
hair and love songs. He sang and he spoke and he played his piano like
Ben Folds did a few years ago in Blacksburg, only he didn’t break it.
He told me he could save me. Not the Jesus kind of save me. He sang
he could save me “from the
predators.” I would quote him but I can’t remember his name; it wasn’t
as catchy as his lyrics. Jack—maybe? I can’t remember, but I do remember
that one of his songs was sad.
He warned us, though. He said some type of warning statement followed
by, “We remember—we forget. We remember—we forget. We remember—we
forget.” Then the noise from the piano rose from keys and came at me
like a psychedelic tidal wave of feelings. I’m not sure what feelings
swirled in that wave, but there were lots.
My therapist, Sandra, and I are working on that through gestalt
therapy. I’m learning to be aware of my body language because it tells
me what my emotions are. It’s hard to do. Every time I realize I’m doing
something with my hands or feet or anything I stop. I need to be on a
reality TV show so a camera crew can follow me around. Then I can watch
my body language and know what I really want.
Like what to do about my car. To break up with it or not to break up
with it? That is the question. Would no one say that if it were not for
Shakespeare? There’s not that much to it. It’s not like Claire’s truck
raps. It’s not like Piano Guy’s lyrics.
Before he began playing this woman sat at a table in front of me and
her crack was showing. I wanted to tell her, but I didn’t want to create
an awkward situation. Maybe I should have said something because I’d
want someone to tell me if my crack were showing.
I’m no good in those situations. You would have handled it
marvelously—like a quickie. Fast and mess-free. Not that I’d know
because I’ve never had a quickie, but I imagine it to be that.
You’re not my type, you know. I hate opposites, but that is what you
are—the opposite of my type. You wear slightly skinny jeans and shirts
that are either behind or ahead of current fashion. I’ve never been cool
enough to differentiate between the two. But you leave cool beneath
every footstep—like specks of glitter you can’t wash away.
You also surf and skate—on a board. Last time I tried to skateboard
this kid stepped on the back of it and I fell and broke my elbow. I
haven’t surfed since I was fourteen because a jellyfish stung my arm and
it hurt so bad I thought it was a shark until I realized that my arm
was still stinging. In my defense, I swelled and scarred from that
Back to the show, though. I think it made me miss my father.
I don’t like thinking about him because he is this abstract being
that I don’t understand. He’s like the internet—existing somewhere and
nowhere at the same time. My only memory of him is the same as the first
time I saw a dead body. We were in Annapolis for his funeral. It was my
first funeral. I didn’t know that you are not supposed to poke the
body, but I was four. There are a lot of things you don’t know about
when you’re four.
I didn’t know that you existed when I was four, but I am happy that I
know about you now—I think. My body isn’t doing anything but living
right now, so I’ll have to ask Sandra what that means.
But my point to all of this is that you should be here, but you’re in
California. I’ve texted you twice and you responded both times, but I
don’t want to be a nuisance. And, I’m sure you regret our drinks date
from two Tuesdays ago because now you think I’m in love with you—and I
am in love with you. That’s the worst part. But I can’t tell you that
because it would seriously freak you out. If it didn’t life would be
scripted and all emotions would be empty. Gestalt therapy wouldn’t
exist. And I’d rather feel love for you than have you act like you love
me back for the sake of an audience.
Meg O’Brien studies creative writing at UNC
Wilmington; she will graduate in December. She is addicted to
triple-grande-nonfat-no-whip-white mochas from Starbucks. Her favorite
part of election season is Saturday Night Live.
See Meg’s 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.