Are we each born with a moral compass? Do we all start pointing due north, and waver throughout our lives, swinging back toward the centre in our best moments, spinning furiously at our worst?
Your god tells you that we are born in sin, that we climb out of the darkness and head toward the light. I am inclined to think the opposite. That we are pristine and shiny when we meet this life – that the fall comes from living. We learn to deceive, to bend and twist the truth to get what we want. All of us. We lie to ourselves and each other in a hundred ways every day, and we get better at it the deeper we go.
We did try in our better moments to change our course, Mack. To go our separate ways. We tried to live by those commandments your god made. But the needle would not stay fixed, it would jump and start every time we were alone together, or too long apart. Tracking our bearings against each other’s cardinal points, we couldn’t help but come back. We were constantly pulled in, always finding the way back to our own due north. We so often left that compass spinning.
Sometimes no further navigation is required.
You only ever told one person about us. And you never told me who it was. You followed the fundamental rule of an illicit affair, the only one required to ensure it survives. You kept it a secret, and tightly. But I have always wanted to know just what you said in this one reveal. What pieces of our history did you entrust to this other person? I know only that you made this singular confession. I wonder, which version of our story did you decide to tell?
There is so little you would share with me. So little I know of what you loved. Just those careless, incidental pieces you collected, and returned to me as I lay across you.
You always clutch at your wine glass Maggie – you never put it down. Look at those pictures from your sister’s wedding. God, it’s like an erotic embrace. I’m jealous of that glass, how you hold it. But it’s no wonder you are always half gone, Mags. Ha! Your eyes flash when you’re angry, don’t they. There they go, now. I always know I’m in trouble when I get that look!
Laughing when I tried and failed to wound you in return, deflecting any arrows I would fire at you with a kiss to my nose.
Good lord Maggie, you’re challenging today. Exhausting even. The kiss would travel down. So exhausting. Pour yourself another glass of wine, and I’ll rest my head right here a while, okay? See if I can find a way to make you like me again.
Did you use moments like these to translate a girl you knew, a girl who could make you laugh, even as she set your moral compass spinning?
Or are these the stories you would tell? How we so often fucked in the park at night, how I loved the leaves stuck to my legs, the awkward scramble, the moving of my face to the dirt. How I could make you come in velvet bars and midnight taxis, and up against bathroom walls. Is this the version of me that you left behind? Was I the lover in your story, Mack?
Or did you say that I was merely your eager and available whore.
Editing, editing, editing the book. And refusing to kill all of my darlings …