Kathleen Go

Wonderland

Kathleen Go

As I readjust your scarf while you’re midsentence, I look up at you and realize I’m doing it. I avert my eyes from your stare and let the end of the scarf drop from my hands, but i remember how soft it is.

This thing we’ve created for ourselves tonight, this alternate dimension, this fantasy, is consuming me at the moment–and I’m letting it. Here, we trade secrets for stories and shroud truths with lesser truths. We exaggerate, ramble, and laugh more than we normally would. We get to see each other more clearly in the dark. I learn what your skin feels like.

We spin our respective pasts into gold for the other to keep or to sell. Scars become currency. Just as we begin to lose form and inhibition, people appear beside us and ask to enter our world. It’s a jarring interruption, one I feel surprised to resent, one I needed all along. Standing in the threshold of what we built, furiously struggling with the buttons on our coats, and willing these feelings to return with the morning, I surrender an artifact of my self for an adventure that may end in ruin or never really begin.

Replaying the events of the night in a head that now feels detached from its body, I smile. I shiver.

All Over the Floor

Kathleen Go

In bed, next door, waiting, drunk. Last week I took his virginity and this week he’s taking his time. There’s someone with a pillow stuffed under his shirt sledding down the stairs on a neighbor’s coffee table, and there are girls, fresh from a strip mall pub wearing impenetrable paper-plastic bracelets, cheering him on. Melissa’s on the phone fighting with her boyfriend in Afghanistan, Jessie’s puking in the bathroom, Lauren’s playing beer pong because she just found out she’s good at it. The coffee table sledder jumps up from the ground and exclaims, “My asshole is bleeding!”

I shouldn’t have told him where I am, but there goes my phone, vibrating against my arm. “Just got on I-4.” two more hours and he’ll be here. Two more hours and we’ll fall asleep in drunken delirium. He’ll say “I think love you” and I’ll enjoy it. I’ll ask him to spoon me, he’ll already be asleep, and I’ll find another room to sleep in. Maladjusted lives in happy happy apathy.

“Is he coming?”

“He’s on his way.”

“Patrick said he’s wasted.”

“Well, he just got on I-4.”

I close the door behind Melissa and smash my face into her pillow. Tonight is not a special night.

3:48 comes quickly. Someone drops a beer bottle.

3:50. Someone’s having sex in another room. Jackie’s flushing the toilet.

4:27. Melissa’s kicking people out. “You guys all have to leave. Go. Teal shirt, you can stay.” My phone vibrates again.

“What’s the apt #?”

I turn off my phone. Moron.

4:45. I’ve fallen asleep. A belt hanging from the door handle begins to slink to the floor. On its way down, the buckle ricochets against the handle and smacks flesh. I’m awake but my eyes are closed. Why aren’t I sober yet? Someone’s in the room with me. I peek and see his silhouette floating toward the bed. I feel him lift the sheets and hear him get in next to me. He’s noisy and breathing hard as if he’s been running. His movements are exaggerated and constant and his presence makes me nauseous. His body is too warm and bony and it smells like beer, Marlboro Reds, and sea salt. I’m crammed against the wall. His hands are calloused, clumsy, and uninviting so I just keep pushing them away.

“I texted you. Did your phone die?”

I turn over and face the wall. “Yeah.”

I don’t know what time it is, but the sun still hasn’t come up. The body next to me has moved. It’s standing in front of the door, I think, and the early-morning silence shoves all of its awkward sounds into my ears–the breathing, the eye-rubbing, the face scratching. He falls to his knees. “Is he praying?” I think to myself. “He’s sleepwalking…is he?” the crunch of his jeans zipper pinches my eyes shut and presses my lips together to keep me from bursting out in laughter or screaming in exasperation. He fumbles with the front of his pants, alternating hands to fumble and to hold himself up. Then it happens: he pisses right on the floor. My mind whirls. It’s a steady stream that splashes on the carpet. Then it stops. He starts to stand up, perhaps realizing that something isn’t right. Then he plops back down as if to say, “oh, yeah, that’s what I was doing.” It lasts way too long and it’s way too fucking loud. A stream. On the carpet. My head is buried under the covers now, but he’s still going. I can’t think straight. I’m laughing, but I want to cry out of embarrassment for him. I consider jumping out of bed, hurdling over his body, and changing my number so that he couldn’t attempt to explain this. He’s so drunk, he probably doesn’t even know who he crawled into bed with. But I’m riveted by this moment. This hilarious moment that means absolutely nothing, but will be a hell of a story to tell my friends. So I stay.

I hear him shuffle toward me and instinctively scoot closer to the wall. He plops on top of the covers and curls into a ball. I’m smiling because it’s a funny thing to know something someone else did without his knowing he did it. He begins to snore this earth-shattering snore. My eyes open and I’m forced to stare into the developing morning light. I can’t be here when he wakes up. I push the covers away and lift my legs over them. I shimmy toward the foot of the bed, mindful not to disturb him, and when my feet touch the floor, I glance back at that shuddering heap one more time. He’s stretching. Shit. He’s awake. I assure myself that he’s the drunk kind of awake–the kind that doesn’t even count as awake–and tiptoe softly toward the door. I reach over his puddle, push open the door, and hop over.

Plastic cups, metal cans, glass bottles. No one is awake next door. I walk deliberately toward Melissa, who’s sleeping on the couch and using my beach towel for a blanket, and loom directly over her.

“Melissa.”

She stirs.

“Melissa.”

She stirs again, barely opens her eyes to look at me, and pulls the towel up to her chest.

“Good morning,” she says in a throaty voice.

“The craziest shit just happened.”

She groans. “Ehhhgh. On my bed?”

“No,” I reply, choking on my laughter, “on your floor.”

Melissa chortles.

“No, no,” I say, gasping, “Not that. He took a piss on your bedroom floor.”

Melissa covers her face and violently rocks side to side. “EWWWW EW EW EW!”

“I’m going to hide in the bathroom. Tell him I left, okay?”

“Wha…what? No, go tell him to clean it up!”

“I can’t tell him to clean it up! He doesn’t even know he did it! Tell him I left, PLEASE?! I don’t even want to deal with how awkward it’s going to be.”

“Oh my god. Go hide.”

Sitting on the toilet, I hear murmurs in the living room heavy with upward inflections and apologetic tones. I creep toward the door, conscious of the weight of each step.

“…It was like 3 when I last saw her…said you were coming…”

“…Don’t even remember getting here…”

I snort. Cover my mouth. Wait for a reaction to my impulse.

“…Good ol’ drunk driving, eh?”

“…Such a blur. And the weirdest thing happened this morning, too.”

I hold my breath.

“I woke up…and my socks were wet.”