Helium Angst

Posted on June 24, 2009

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By Carson Rogers

WHEN I SIT DOWN, I tell you I am going to read you this. I tell you that it is a love letter from me to you. I say I wrote it on the flash, it was love-spawned inspiration. You are looking at me with weary eyes; you are crossing your legs, your arms, closing your heart. I start to read and my lips and mouth are dry. I try to look up at you after each word and see if the phonemes and morphemes have taken effect. In my mind these are chemicals not unlike drugs. In your mind they are useless sounds, trivial. You breathe a long nasal sigh, but I continue to read this to you and I place my hand on your knee. You feel the sweat on my palms but you don’t recoil. Maybe in your mind you are disgusted, but you don’t move. You give me half a smile. I tell you that you were a victim, and tell you I am the world’s greatest criminal. I tell you that my love for you bridges all of that, I will change and that I will fix it. You roll your eyes. You stand up and my hand falls and dangles. I told you to listen to me! You tell me I suck at tenses. You tell me I am a terrible English teacher and I wouldn’t know a diphthong from a modal. You go into the kitchen and I follow, holding tight the paper in my fingers, everything is shaking. “Don’t leave me,” I read aloud. “I will love you forever!” You take the cottage cheese from the fridge; you take a Sharpie from the drawer. You write my name on the cottage cheese container, you hurl the container at me. I dodge it and suddenly the dog is covered in pasty white chunks. We start to laugh. The relationship is salvaged for another day. We towel off the dog. I make plans to go drinking with friends.

Carson Rogers lives in Whitehorse with his girlfriend Emma. He collects tobacco pipes and hunts arctic goats. This story is based on all of his past relationships put together.

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Posted in: June 2009