Sorry for ranting my best friend texts me. It’s the same phrase I sent her two nights ago. We always are sorry, apologetic for texting too much or too little. Neither of us knowing what the middle ground is anymore.
I tell her I’m unhappy. She says we all are. But I push, saying I’m unhappy in a way where I worry that I never knew what the definition of happiness was to begin with. She texts back a gif of Danny DeVito frowning. That’s such a mood.
It’s easier to imagine myself happy in my friend’s mind than to actually experience it.
I’m sorry for laying all of this on you, but that feels too heavy, too much to put on someone else, so I include a picture from our semester abroad in Paris. We wore dark dresses and red lipstick, unsure if we wanted to be Taylor Swift or demons.
It could be worse. I’m home so much that the place feels icky in my mouth. Like the word moist. Something is wrong with it, with me. With us.
I won’t talk to a professional. Neither will she. Nobody has insurance. So we both just continue to text, laughing at our typos, saying we are too drunk even though we both are sober. The lie shaky like the Jell-O we used to eat at picnics when breathing on a birthday cake wasn’t taboo.
Do you remember the time we asked that bartender for a shot of writer’s tears? Or when we staged a photoshoot in Washington Square Park in our ripped skirts? You have to remember when we brought slippery boys back to our apartment on 13th street. How one clipped his nails in the bathroom and you cried the next day, disgusted, saying that was worse than him not having a condom.
I don’t text any of that. I’m afraid I hallucinated it all. In its place I send a picture of a chipped wine glass she gave me on my 24th birthday. She’s seeing a lot of action tonight!
Those three dots everyone fears and wants appear. I wonder if she’s going to acknowledge the words she can’t know I’m thinking. The pain on my wrists, the ache in my knees.
The dots disappear, replaced with a quote from Happiness Continues: A Jonas Brothers Concert Film or 60 Minutes or something else I don’t watch. I pretend that I do, wanting to be accepted, loved.
Lol! You always know how to cheer me up. I’m here for you too ❤️.
Katie Bockino received her MFA in fiction from NYU's Creative Writing Program and her work has appeared in Barely South Review, The Satirist, Prometheus Dreaming, Gandy Dancer Literary Magazine, North Fork Real Estate Showcase Magazine, and Z Publishing House's New York's Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction. She also teaches English at the City University in New York City.