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1 story

by Sophie McCreesh

Sophie McCreesh is a fiction writer living in Toronto. She completed an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her writing has appeared in Hobart, Peach Mag, Bad Dog Review, Bad Nudes, The Minola Review, and elsewhere.

Dreadful and Willing

            When asked what my interests are I just think of sex. When that became boring it was difficult for me to find joy. Sex and revenge are my idea of a good night. Most of the time they happen separately but if I could ever combine the two it would bring me a peace I have never known.    

            I dreamt I was in an art gallery with an instillation of spinning life-like clown sculptures. The old building was white inside. There were frenetic circus noises mixed with a techno track, barely contained by the speakers built into the ceiling. The clowns were all on pedestals. Then my eyes opened and I was alone, surrounded by the lilac walls of my bedroom.

            You once helped me bring home a chair from the thrift store. It’s brown, Victorian. It has light-blue upholstery with little gold chains sewn into it. A drawback is its lack of comfort. The embroidery on the deflated seating cushion doesn’t fit the tone of the room.

            I felt you stroking my hair but your movements seemed performative like the way you wanted it to look to your friends or enemies was wholesome. Once when I was younger, I went to sleep on the school playground and all these kids circled around me asking why I was lying down. I was resting. Those motherfuckers didn’t get it.

            You were heading to Norway to live in a cabin and draw outlines for tall buildings—a sought-after residency. We said that we’d write letters that would describe the passing of the days signed with a fake name.

            I was able to slip into the dream again when I closed my eyes. I returned with the confidence of a person with low stakes. It wasn’t real. I could wake up whenever I wanted and be back in bed alone. I hated the clowns, so I began to push them down off the podiums. Somewhere along the way I found a baseball bat and I picked it up so that I could continue to smash them all. No one would know.

            Sex has bored me for a long time. That’s why I have written to you. I’ll explain why later, once I think of how to do that. There are aren’t many things that I’m good at. I am not a leader. I hit my knee on the door while we were carrying the chair into my apartment, as I was holding the legs while you lifted the chair’s back. Your long fingers were wrapped around its carved edges. I got the sense that you were trying to pretend that we were married. The impact left a large bruise.

            I stopped listening to music with words. I started going to more drone shows like we used to. I closed my eyes because shutting off one part of my senses helped me concentrate on how the floor vibrated, and the way that it felt like my anger. Sure, I am an old soul like you say. I have felt extraordinary feelings to the point where I am sick—just like everyone else.

            The intrusion though—part of it is seeing you everywhere on the streets, in elevators, around the park, on the subway. What a joke. I made bargains in my mind. When you left I thought maybe you were joking too. There is the realization that revenge would do nothing and how any feeling of victory would pass as quickly as a drug. Then there are drugs.

            Sex is boring, yeah. I find myself stuck in traffic because of a parade I don’t care about. When it clears I drive far, passing a cemetery in Montreal. I said I’d explain so I will. I’m right back when you were telling me about the intimacy it takes to do those things. I thought you were protecting me when you spoke about trust. Now I’ll do anything with anyone. You taught me. You left.

            The clown in my dream turned into glitter when they hit floor. The bat I was using had the power to make them disintegrate into sparkling dust flying above the heels of the pointed leather boots I was wearing in the gallery. Eventually I had to make the dream end. I didn’t have the ability to open my eyes like last time. My lids felt heavy like they were glued shut. I walked to the highest point of the gallery and dove off a balcony in an attempt to end my dream life.

            I’m trying to find ways to mimic your disruption and make it my own. I believe that you know I think of you. It feels like everything is happening twice when the dates of the year move on and I think about what we did together on any particular day. No one ever sits on the chair that we brought home and I believe that is because it looks too fragile. Do people who are vulnerable know they’re that way? I look up to where my eyes would meet yours if you were standing there.

            Now when I look at the chair I don’t know if it’s your taste or mine, meaning that I might have unconsciously imitated the things that you thought were good. I wish I could see everything with the wisdom of age. Move swiftly through nuances like the delicate traces of the music we used to listen to. I wish that the vibrations of my fingers following the drum beats on the table would somehow reach you. I could show you that I trained myself. I know my shit.

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