Loving You Left Me Bankrupt
This love, I carry it in a coin purse.
We met over coffee; borrowed a pen from the teller and wrote love poems with laughter, opened a new account to deposit our smiles. We sat and drank cupfuls of possibility, like you were the seed of a good person and I was full of all the potential to draw you out. Like my interest was exponential and your arms around my waist would form a tax free loophole.
You stood in a corner and looked down at my face, asked if I knew how beautiful I was and then paid for my muffin in cash. You wore a sweater that smelled like coffee and asked my shoulders if their bareness was overwhelming. Put your arm across my back and asked me if I wanted to come home with you.
It started the first time I let you touch me.
In a split second, before I could stand up straight, you were a split personality and we split the bill and my value dropped threefold. My kisses couldn’t even shop in the half price bin. My love was going fast and slashing prices and everything must go go go. Like I was the free bin at the garage sale and I hardly had time calculate a tip; my head spinning like a top.
You looked me in the eyes and acted like my pleasure wasn’t worth your time; held my hands to keep me from reaching for a second helping. Moved your lips to form the words that spelled misogyny and silenced the sound of my cumming with your demands as you held up your hands and said stop and only if I’m the one to give it to you.
You texted bullshit about maybe stopping by like my time was only worth $0.74 on the dollar, which is funny given that the last time you were here, you seemed totally fine to take just two bites out of the three different apples in my fridge. Like I hadn’t spent my whole paycheque making sure you’d get fed. Every time you put your hand on my back I got mugged.
You’re a criminal math problem, an economic black hole, a pick pocket in a coal mine waiting for Christmas and I’m pretty sure that last Saturday night when I let you cum on my chest, the balance in my savings account dropped to zero. You’re a dent in my credit score; a reason I have to buy this blanket on lay away.
Your mom called me last week trying to tell me that she had raised a beam of light and I have to wonder if she had the wrong phone number. She wanted to cut me a cheque for time served but I told her the bill was already in the mail. She cried a bit and promised to write the wrongs, in a letter, an apologetic poem, a soliloquy to be performed at Thanksgiving dinner when she’ll look at you and her list of your charms will shrink and cringe, burn up at the edges of fiery cheeks. And while she’ll be thinking of me, you’ll just be asking for another slice of pie. You’ll the rip the crispy skin off the turkey and shove marshmallows and yams into your face and she’ll look at your dad and they’ll wonder if I even have enough money to buy Kraft Dinner.
I’ll complain to the internet, I’ll lament the sorrow, write the words down on scraps of paper and place them into the cracks of brick walls around the city. They’ll commiserate with me; the internet, and the bricks; cold and hard and ruddy red and you’ll throw bullshit birdseed in my direction every couple of weeks just to keep me from starving to death. Be careful, you say as your tongue drips with maple syrup and flies, I heard you’re not from here. It gets cold in Montreal.
But I’ve got enough blubber to keep me warm, the layers have built up over the years, and I’m starting to believe it doesn’t get that cold anyway; cold is a luxury for the rich. I’ll press the snow against my hot cheeks to melt and wash it all away and then my eyes will open up like rosebuds or corner stores on Saturday mornings, slow and patient and eventual. I’ll roll my pennies and stockpile my dimes and when Christmas comes I won’t be a pauper wrapped in rags. I’ll fly home to Vancouver and I’ll tell tales of the time I moved to a city where I only met men who stole my money and heart attacks felt more like a literal command.
Until, on a Wednesday in November, I met an accountant who knew the value of good books. Who padded his way across my chest in degrees, like an eclipse or a quarterly statement, four sharp turns from a Bachelor to a Master. So I smile through the telephone and write jocularity in the steam of my bathroom mirror, a sweet message for a man who might one day get a chance to read it, assuming he has enough to pay the toll; just a few coins for my purse, the late fee on my love.
It started with a right swipe, a little green heart. Tinder of course.
Though I acknowledge and appreciate the differences in human experiences, and while your heartbreak is (and always will be) uniquely and completely your own, I must urge you to consider that I have been where you are.
By Devon Oyler
With his hat cocked back, body tilted away from his cane, and right forefinger pointing directly at his audience, Joseph Ducreux commands the attention of those viewing his self-portrait.
I was born in 1990; he was born in 1973. I’m 23; he just turned 40.