1. When Happiness Betrays

Memphis sun swelters and he stares at the glisten of sweat on my neck.

“What if they gave you everything you could ever want?”

Hot lips press mine and I taste honey in his mouth. The bees buzz around us, jealous. “Would you, then, finally be happy?”

Another bead of sweat drips between my breast. I take no notice, glaring at him. The hairs on his jawline already growing back in; his smile, soft and tender compared to the light shining on him. I exhale.

“If you want an honest answer, I can’t give you one.”
He sighs and I can feel him shift next to me. He runs his hand through his hair and I wonder why he tries to dissect me.
“Well, why wouldn’t it satisfy you?” He’s whispering.
I notice the wilting flowers on the balcony and begin counting the lines on the wall.

“Because maybe I am unsure of what it is I even want.”

He looks up to the sky and I long to kiss his nose. “Is the world not enough for you?”

I long to help him understand my dissatisfaction, although not even I have found the algorithm for this feeling. I fear longing is the only language I will ever be fluent in.

He looks from the sun to me and I see his eyes dilate back to normal.

Forty-seven lines in the wall.
“No, not this one.”

I kiss him and only hear the bees.



70 MPH and my stare is fixed on the clouds. I see Zeus, horses, something close to holy. The Cure plays and I feel a hand on my thigh.

“Where are you today?” Concerned eyes always questioning.

I laugh. I always try to make light of the fact that everything is here but the love.

“I’m right here.” I trace his fingertips with my thumb.

The clouds are traveling faster than we are. I see a Dali painting in the sky and I close my eyes. I can sense his eyes on me instead of the road.

“Will you ever be secure with any form of happiness?” I could sail a ship on his sighs.

I mutter, “Why do you always question everything? Did you ever consider that perhaps the whole point of everything is that there isn’t one?”

I light a cigarette with a match and he scoffs. His mannerisms are as common to me as my father’s Pink Floyd records. “Well, I refuse to believe that.”

He changes the song and I hope those are his last words about this, but I know they won’t be. All of our conversations lately have been about the things we are losing.

The silence doesn’t last long.

“Happiness betrays you because you betray it. You know that? The world is yours, and instead of taking it, you’re searching for an eruption somewhere else. What if there is nothing else?”

I wonder why he does this. I wonder why he questions my dissatisfaction yet can’t hear his own. He takes the next exit and the car is filled with pink light. Police sirens in the distance and a part of me hopes they are coming for me. Red light. Silence.

I flick my cigarette out the window and light another. He finally breaks the silence, asks me what I want for dinner. His thumb is tracing my fingertips now and I feel a dull ache in my jaw from keeping it clenched for so long. “You decide.”



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