Not Again

I didn't mean to say it. It was either during a moment of clarity, or a moment of panic. And worst of all, it was a moment when Tano was making an effort. Or at least telling me about making an effort.

He said, "Are you sleeping in the bed tonight or are you sleeping on the floor again?"

I said, "Did you take a shower today?"

"Yes," he said, "but that doesn't mean I've decided to take a shower every day. It still feels like if I take a shower you're running my life."

"Have you been thinking about why that is?"

"Yeah. I thought about it today, and it was too hard, so I stopped."

I said, "When I get a new job, I'm moving out."

I said that. And now here we are. In the living room. On the furniture that is all mine. I try not to think about Tano in a tiny apartment with boxes of books posing as furniture until he can get some more money.

I don't know what to say. I sort of stare at him and sort of stare at the wall behind him.

We've been through this so many times. I don't want him to ask me if this is for real because I don't know what I'd say.

I get up to check my email. Maybe I have a job already and I can move out tonight.

I take off my clothes and crawl under the covers and hope I can sleep until I get a job so I don't have a chance to back down on the break-up.

Tano putters around his computer, as if he hasn't visited every job database five hundred times.

Then he comes into bed. Sort of. Sits on top of the sheets, really. Slumps his back and leans his head against the wall. "I'm sad about breaking up," he says.

"Me too," I say.

He goes back to his computer.

"Do you think I should write a thank-you note to the guy who interviewed me at Digital Planet?"

I tell him, "I write thank-you notes if it's a job I want."

"But a note is so intimate…I don't want this guy to think I want to be his lover."

Tano gets into bed again.

I say, "It's not showers, you know. It's that you don't love me. Do you love me?"


"I want someone to love me. I love you."

"But what about the showers?"

"People who love each other deal with problems like showers."

"Do you want to order a pizza? I feel like being wasteful."

"No," I say. "I'm saving money to move out."

"I would save money to move out but I don't have any."

"I know. I'm sorry."

Tano goes back to the computer.

"Tano, I say, "what are you going to tell people when they ask why we broke up?"

"I don't know."

I sit up in bed. Let my breasts poke out above the sheets. Are breasts appropriate? I don't know, but there's more of a chance to not break up the more my breasts are showing. I say, "I'm going to tell people that we broke up because after two years you still don't love me. Why don't you say that?"

"Because it's embarrassing. Bad for my reputation. Can you please cover yourself?"

I pull the covers over my breasts. Up to the beginning of the end of my cleavage. "Why did you love Sabina and love Madlyn and not love me? And what about Evelyn? Did you tell her you loved her, too?" I cry. I cry the kind of crying when teeth chatter.

Tano lays himself against me and kisses my back and my neck. "I'm so sorry you're sad," he says.

"Aren't you sad?"

"Yeah, but we can't both be sad at the same time. We have to support each other."

I snuggle up closer.

"Why did you love them and you don't love me?"

"This is why I didn't want to talk about love," he says, and he kisses my back some more until I stop crying.

I tell him I need to choose someone who loves me because I'm learning to love myself. "They're related," I say.

Tano reminds me of the cancerous spot on my back he found months ago. "It's changed shape," he says. "You need to have someone look at it. Now's a good time. You can take care of your cancerous back during the orgy of taking care of yourself."

We decide to go to the beach. We will talk. I put on my jeans with the hole in the butt. I stand in front of him while buttoning a green shirt that matches my eyes.

He pulls me into his lap.

Will the next guy pull me into his lap? It takes a special guy for me to not feel like child sitting in his lap.

He says he's doesn't want to break up. He says its not fair because he was supposed to be thinking about if he wanted to live with me, and he never finished thinking about that.

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