Brent isn’t at the Yellow House, is unreachable by phone, hasn’t seen Vicky, who went to Iceland, for days, talked to Bear, who never liked him like that because he sleeps exclusively with Georgia, who also hasn’t heard from Brent since we began referring to her as Capital Bitch, which isn’t fair, but when she’s guzzling gummy bears from the bottom of a Vodka bottle, it’s easy not to think about each other’s dicks.
Since we met, he took to therapy once, while I continued to visit mine each week, was institutionalized once, then returned to Austin fully loaded with benzos, antidepressants, and Seroquel for what real doctors soon referred to as misdiagnosis owing largely, but in part, to how I wouldn’t tell them I came down from coke each day with at least four gin-tonic-and-cucumbers.
Sorry I didn’t tell you about the coke. We only bought a gram for his birthday and when we came back from Of Montreal, which is a total blackout—other than having to take Brent’s friend home early because she can’t hold two bottles of wine and four FourLokos like the rest of us—I stayed up sneaking the baggy to the toilet after Brent went to bed.
Which is the problem. I know what my limits are: nothing. Brent believes he can kitty scratchhis thighs with needles and pins, call it cute, wallow in books for weeks before taking his legs to the clinic to get patched up. It isn’t the same as cutting because you care: Brent’s hasn’t felt connected to any of the bears he’s met on Grindr, which I say is fully understandable but probably has nothing to do with impotence.
I mean his eyes watering with anxiety, acting too cool for something real, something like what I’ve got. Not impetus, or limp dick, which is closer to what I get with strangers when I went home once from the club to my studio apartment, got on my knees to find one in my mouth, saw my wick implode, shrink, and quiver, suggested I call him a cab. Can I stay the night?Do you want to cuddle, instead? You don’t teach veterans how to fuck.
Have you heard from him, is what I’m saying. Has he driven out to Abilene? I mean, I know this sounds ridiculous, and it’s only been three days, but hear me out: he’s been sleeping in my bed since August and has only been wetting it since Sunday. Nobody wets their bed, Tiff, not at twenty.
Brent didn’t even do this. Have you thought about therapy? We haven’t talked about what life since you got married. After your barking screams in the bathroom, did you consider talking to someone? You wouldn’t want to end up behind another door with scissors and your hair. You can want something new, a change, and walk into it. I’ve been told. I’ve been given pamphlets.
Zach Linge’s publications include poetry in such journals as New England Review and Poetry Magazine, and a refereed article in the Spring 2020 issue of African American Review. Linge lives and teaches in Tallahassee, where they serve as Editor-in-Chief of Southeast Review.