Saturday, 26 June 2021

'Poor Monster' by Kathryn Kulpa

He’s crying out my name and I’m bored already.

He’s going to want to talk. To tell me all his secrets. He’ll think he wants to hear mine.

He doesn’t want to hear my secrets.

I went through a Sad Boy phase once. Bonus for black, tousled hair. Bonus for frock coats and eyeliner. Cheekbones cut like shards of metal. An aesthetic quirk, the way some people like brutalism or rockabilly.

He’s what Sad Boys become when they age out. He’s Depressed Man.

He’s nervous. Adam’s apple gulping reflexively, one eyelid twitching. I want to reach out and stop it. Press my hand over his eyes, lead him into sleep like a groom leading tired horses into a dark barn. But I’m the one who needs sleep, or something like it. Distraction. Just enough sensation to keep the body occupied while the mind drifts, untethered, untouchable.

La belle dame sans merci, one of those boys called me once. The beautiful woman without pity. He wasn’t entirely right. I always cry at the ending of Frankenstein. Poor monster.

I wrap my legs around him. Like a bear shimmying up a tree. It stops him talking for a minute. How much maintenance these bodies require, how many neurons firing just to move a pinky!

Sometimes I’ve been greedy and not left them even that. But mostly what I take are the moments they won’t miss.

“What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” I ask him.

There’s always someone these boys think they want to forget. Some lost Lenore. His eyes wallow in tears, Roderick Usher eyes, beseeching everything I don’t have to give.

I could end it all here, if I wanted to.

But I wipe his tears away and whisper soothing lies. Just like a real human girl.

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