I just thought this was pretty. I want to give her a hug. And she’s not a bad writer, to boot.
BY JENNA FLETCHER
At the sports bar, the game blaring on the big screen, the bartender will come to know you for your pendulum-shift split personality—either laughing too hard or on the verge of tears. It is spring. This is how you’ll spend your Sundays. Your Tuesdays. Your whateversdays. Anything as a distraction.
The volume of this compresses everything. Beer glasses clinking, an announcer explains something about stats that you don’t understand, a player gets fouled and a man seated at a table in the corner yells “F*CK YOU!” towards the ref on tv, his arms raised angry.
Make an ill-advised date with a stranger at a bar that houses the same name as the holiday and get stood up. Laugh about it, feeling stronger this time. You’re a muscle you can’t name, bigger than all of this grief. You make a detour, buy flowers for your best friend. Spend the night watching Thelma and Louise in her living room thinking about how that car careening off into the canyon? It feels a lot like you.
On a plane to god-knows-where, the next place you can ghost yourself into something that feels big, you find yourself wringing your hands in the eerie stillness. Confused at how fast the landscape passes and how you’d hardly be able to notice this acceleration with eyes closed.
You play the record, test yourself. Look an old photo in the eye. Rewrite old meaning. Let a hand wander on your thigh under the table and feel drunk off the power of the temporary. The power of no, of yes.
It’s a pop song on the radio you keep repeating, a Thursday night where you can’t stop crying into J’s shoulder, the fire and the refusal. All the bridges will look different, maybe it’s a new green or maybe it’s the size—you’ll swear they once were a hell of a lot more looming. The music is up loud, some basement you’re testing your wits in, and the guy on the PA grasps your hand so tight you remember what it feels like to be in your own body again. It’s sweat and it’s tears and it’s barred teeth, spent breath.
You are a short skirt, combat boots, a handful of peonies you bought for yourself. You are a tight fist. You are messy and compelling.
This is how you cope.