Author: Salomé Emilie Streiff
When I sleep, memories tend to pop up in my mind like popcorn in microwaves. They show up in groups, chatting about the past and yet haunting the days to come. Sometimes I touch myself and it’s enough to make them disappear. Often, they come back, sassier than ever.
“Happy birthday”, they sang, holding a cheap store-bought cake with already used candles from the nearby mall. They were trying to smile, wanting me to enjoy the 1.30 francs spent per person for this surprise. However, if they were to be honest with themselves, they would have agreed that it should have been canceled as soon as I told them my friend died.
“Hot girls that cry on their birthday are hot but girls that know a week in advance they will are hotter” he said. I wish the number of tears spent over the year could truly give me extra hotness point. Call me vain, I couldn’t care less. I wish I could gain anything in my grief.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”, she asked. Silence. I nodded. With her smart eyes and dancing hair she was too charming to be worried. I mumbled a somewhat mature and philosophical answer about life’s true purpose, its inherent will of moving on, growing flowers out of pain kind of bullshit. She smiled and the lie was worth it. She grabbed the gift papers and tossed them in the trash. We made out that night. The lie was worth it.
“It’s been almost a year, did you realize”, she said. It’s been three, I thought. “Yes.” We broke up two weeks later.
“And what made you come?”, she asked. I kept inside the sex pun that was on the tip of my tongue. “Be honest”, she said with her serious looking glasses and typical tidy therapist cotton shirt. So, I tried to be. “It was the cheap store-bought cake with the already used candles from my high school’s nearby mall”, I said. Silence. “They wanted me to be happy, just so they didn’t waste their stupid money”. “And what made you angry”, she asked. Silence.
And at some point, the flashbacks tend to stop, leaving an exhausting sense of numbness. I then close my eyes and pray to the God-that-never-replies for sleep. “Lord forgive me, I know I should not have touched myself. Could you let me sleep? Amen”. They all wanted me to be happy. I turn in my bed, tired of fighting the irony. The fucking joke was that I tried to be happy. The price of my happiness was 1.30 francs per friend that day. How does everything get that expensive?