Five Year Plan
Within the year, I find myself a menial job that gives me enough money for a one bedroom apartment in Edgewater by the lake. To be responsible would be to save my money for retirement, but I have the soul of an artist, so I adopt a small dog that is neither scared nor excited. We get along just fine. Due to my nature, I continue questioning my every move, but due to my hundreds of dollars thrown into therapy, and an attractive therapist who makes mindfulness look cool and real and possible, I am more gentle and patient with myself. I am shallow and our world is shallow and does not want us to love ourselves. This is how we go on for some time. I read and write in the interim and you go to yoga when you can in a city far away. There is more life to be had than in your previous home. You hear that Jerry Seinfeld pursued Transcendental Meditation throughout the filming of Seinfeld, and consider that it may do you some good too, but you revisit this thought later. I purchase a small couch, but stray from too many cushioned seats, as I know that movement is life. Once I have stranger sex on the couch, and agree with myself not to do it again. I wonder what you are up to, what you are tasting, whom you are with. It goes on this way, until one day I apply to grad school. I would also agree to move to Argentina, if someone asked me nicely. You are ready to move back for the opening. We reconnect. I ask you: hot dog or corn dog? To make sure you are still you. Once you answer correctly, I allow you to move in with me. My yapper likes you just fine. I know your situation. You love a lot of people and also very few, and this union accomplishes something basic. I care to care for you. This caring fills me up and wastes my time, which, in a chic? way sustains me. The caramel color in your eyes is so delicious that you can do absolutely anything to me. The aftertaste of your voice is shocking and chilling and new and familiar like the first hit of fall. You are rarely home, but you successful, so health insurance is no problem. I install a pole in the middle of the living room and stretch.
She comes over the way any friend does-- after ballet class and says, will you help me with my poetry? I don’t know a thing about poetry, I say, and anyway I’m in love with a few chefs. It’s not fun if you are crushed by your crush, she says. You’re telling me, I say, and I thought we were going to macerate together. She says, you really wanted to do that? I say, I thought that was the whole point. I thought that was your idea. We go fishing for oysters to get us in the mood. It is winter, as it should be. She wears a fur hat on her head and sunglasses over her eyes, and explains that the professor did not like when she wrote her last essay about how it is synthetic for partners to remain in love forever. She speaks the same way air moves in such a way that to argue would feel foolish. I agree a good deal.
By the shore, I am all of myself, which makes me big. A man with a stand is selling the catch of the day. The juicy goods are in there, but you have to shuck em’ open or boil them. I say the shells are the most beautiful part. He says, have you tasted an oyster before? She orders a dozen, and has him separate them in the bag of ice by coast. We don’t remember which coast is which, and land midwestern. Grains of sand, I’m assuming, will end up grinding me down, as they do. Once she told me that I was weak here, and here, and here.
Back home, she is just going to wing it. Are you sure? I ask. I worry too much. You worry too much, she tells me. For that you must stretch. Wine and oil have taken with one another after enough heat. She dirties the potion with the shells while I cut garlic and lemons. Sex sells, she says. Of course, I say. We drink wine too.
We scoop the clams after a few minutes of cooking and she takes them into her hands to open. In the pictures I take of her, her eyes could engulf the camera and the room and-. I worry I am like some men who have touched me. Her vibration is unlike mine. We pour browned garlic butter.
She is pleased with the results. I am pleased too, and wish we had more than a dozen water clams between the two of us. The inside of the shell feels familiar. The outside too. We decide to each keep one. I’ll do the dishes later. We change into something more comfortable for the must. She changes in the bathroom. I change in the bathroom and assume wine will do the rest. We’ve never macerated together before.
In the corner, I presume, waits a tub of must. We get on the floor to stretch. We should watch some videos first, she recommends. Alright, I say. And pay my screen 34 dollars to show me some videos. They are high grade videos by professional women, so that’s why they are 34 dollars and that’s why I pay. I have very little money, I think. Well, it’s not like I do this everyday.
What I Want
*Detective music plays in the background on loop.* *Ideally Santiago goes absolutely off on interpretive dance in the background/foreground.*
My entire experience in relationships has been the person I am emotionally entangled with asking me what it is I want exactly and me just staring out the window. It’s not that I don’t know, really. It’s that what I want is so simple that nobody seems to understand, see? It’s like when my parents say words, and the other person says, Hey, where are you from? And they say Russia. Well. In their case Russia isn’t really Russia because Russia was the Soviet Union which was just a bunch of countries being forced to pretend to be Russia by way of language and writing with the right hand. Sometimes Russia can be markets and other times it can be a jungle. And when people ask me what it is I really want I say I don’t know, but I don’t know is just my Russia.
I have put this task of explaining what I want at the very bottom of my chores because there is so much to do. I must date women and pay my late rent, another game of Tetris. You’re not amused? You are right not to be. In treading water, any corner of the pool may be reached. The only problem is you get awfully tired. I am putting it off. What I want.
I want you to cook me food for free. I want you to show me how to cook that food for free, but be nice to me in the process and give me sweet kisses on the neck while the iron is hot. I want you to grab my hand and drag me into the closet and say here. Here is where we keep our towels. I want to know what you smell like and what you meant by that one time when you said “the best part is,” and then never actually even finished your sentence.
I tell my mother that the robots are taking over, so I have to take that into consideration, too. She tells me to befriend a nice robot, and everything will be okay. I ask Google what is the definition of devotion? Love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.
I want to be in the same room as you so my heart can play on a trampoline, but there’s another problem. I want you to tell me that she doesn’t mind if you love me because you’ve got this agreement and she is okay because she is me in another light and after all we’re only walking shadows. I want you to think of me when I think of you and a few times when I don’t. Just a few. If magic is of this world, I want to know if you feel a shift in the temperature when I arrive at the train station. But don’t tell me because if any of my wishes come true I might implode.
I look for you in everyone, and when you are not home in them I go home and stare at the wall, wondering when a centipede will surprise me.
Sarah Lisovich is aChicago based writer and artist. Her work has been published in Hooligan Mag, Queen
Mob’s Tea House, and Zoomoozophone Review. Her preferred pronouns are she/her/hers.