We all know that I have stopped dating. This is, firstly, because I am doing a book; secondly, because I will not go out with a boy I love less than Matt.
To do my book will take another year. To find a boy I love as much as Matt will take longer. A lot of this time will be spent learning how to stop saying “Matt! My soul!” both aloud and to myself.
Sometimes I will call Matt and he will go, “Not now, I'm doing a book!”
And I'll go, “So? Darling? I'm doing a book too! Don't you think I'm doing a book? We are ALL doing books!”
And he'll go, “Yeah, okay sugar, I know. I guess even Sylvie Anderton did a book.”
And I'll go, “Ohh, but while Sylvie Anderton did her book did she also knit a cashmere sweater with MATT written across it? FOR HERSELF?” And I will hang up.
Finally I will find the boy I love as much as Matt. His name will be Dmitry. Dmitry and I will sneak into screwball comedies together and sit in the front row touching each other.
One glorious late-Spring night, Matt will corner Dmitry outside Brainworks and beat him up. Just beat the living shit out of him. Matt and I will have a terrible fight; Matt will stop speaking to me. I will send Matt a Christmas card with no words in it, just a drawing of snow falling on a frozen heart.
Matt will buy a pet, a light blue parakeet. After the parakeet dies, he will date Sylvie Anderton for five and a half months and she will dump him, spectacularly, for an HBO actor. Matt will attempt suicide.
Because Dmitry fucked with my mind so much, because they all fuck with my mind so much, because all anyone wants to do is fuck with my mind, I will stop dating. I will do a quick succession of books, screwball-comedy books, and feel better.
When Matt gets out of the hospital, he will be so embarrassed he will move to Arizona. In Arizona he will live by himself, eating Chef Boyardee and not letting any of us know how he is. None of us will know how he is for several years.
Sometimes we will even forget to think of him, forget to think a boy like Matt ever existed.
Then Matt will suddenly come out with a book. It will be a beautiful, luminous, rollicking, transcendent book, the manuscript smudged with tomato sauce and tears. It will be the best book any of us has ever done. Then we'll all, all at once, know exactly how Matt is and how much we missed him. He will go on a book tour.
He will sit in Brainworks and sign books. I will go up to him in the line, wearing the sweater, but when it's my turn he'll still be hunched over, writing a thorough dedication in the previous person's book. I will get on my knees at the level of his face, and lay my arms across the table. “Psst. Hey Matty,” I'll go. “Hey. Matty. Hey.”
“What?” he'll snap. Then his eyes will lift to mine, and he will say something.
I don't know yet what he will say.
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This is up at SmokeLong Quarterly now. There's some "quirkiness" in it; I don't know. Enjoy!