Pulp.net - Boy Meets Girl

The Online Home of New Fiction

November 2008

Mima Simic
Light trickles down on us through the perforated skies—this night is a sieve and I don’t know if it will let us through.

The air by the river tastes like kissing a stranger; delight or a disease, I will not know until I’ve got my fill. The moon will be eclipsed tonight and the unlit river walk is the place we came to watch it from.

‘I want no descriptions, I want dialogue,’ she says. ‘Jazz beats symphony anytime. Your stories bore me. Besides, you’re no writer.’

‘What am I?’

‘You’re a boy.’

• • •

In the morning I changed the sheets, swept the floor. I put all the cds in their boxes, I shaved. My friends tease me about the blonde hair whose curls now fell like feathers onto my bare white shoulders—scissors, scalpel. Mirrorless, I could only touch the back of my head, razor blade slicing through skin smoothly as if it was cheese. When blood wet my neck, gentle and warm like a lover’s tongue, forking behind my ears, softly raining onto the white porcelain sink as I leaned over, I smiled.

• • •

At the river bank her fingers are jazzing over my scraped scull, she is giving words to the melody.

‘I am sorry,’ she says. ‘But I did tell you.’

‘What?’ I want to hear it again.


• • •

She came to my room at 3 a.m. wearing a necklace of teethmarks, showing them off, proud like a hunter. I was writing a story about a road accident in which everybody gets killed on the very first page. Bad plot, I know—but I’m no writer.

She said she was drunk and walked around the apartment leaving a muddy trail, opening the windows and the door, letting some air in so a draft blew the curtain out like a sail. I closed the door, fearing the building might glide away. Followed her. She changed the music on the cd player. Every thirty seconds. When I went over and put my arms around her waist, a simple look shot them down.

‘I can’t,’ she said.

‘You can’t what?’

‘I don’t love you.’

Then we went to bed.

• • •

Now we must walk carefully because the river is on the rise and the grassy bank is even more slippery thanks to the dewy breeze. The half-closed wounds on my head sting as if the air was pure salt, the river ocean, not this little waterway that I could jump over any time, if only I had magic shoes and longer legs.

We walk by the bench where we kissed for the first time, almost. We sat there for hours and talked, the night fell and we went home. Enough for an almost.

‘This city is choking me,’ she says. ‘Even when I’m outside, even when it’s over there, across the river. Then I have to get drunk, it’s cheaper than to travel. And I hate travelling.’

• • •

Last summer a group of us went to the seashore together. While we swam and sunbathed, fished barehandedly and cursed grey skies, she slumbered the days away and was too scared to walk outside during the nights. We’d meet her at strange hours, in the bathroom. She said she would never travel with us again.

• • •

Her moods are as erratic as her taste in music, a continual improvisation. I am learning to decipher; distinguish the hues in her iris and translate them into words. Sometimes there is a tint there that says I can kiss her and she will not recoil—she’ll let me relish her lips, absentmindedly, returning a kiss as one returns an unwanted present. Then I want to bite and swallow, but instead I peruse those colour grains and say her name, over and over again, until she blinks— and I am gone.

• • •

She reads my diary and I sit on the floor by her feet while she complains about its meagre literary value. It is too obviously symbolic, too simple. I also make her into something she is not.

‘And all this water,’ she says, ‘You do know what it means.’

‘It’s just something to rinse my brushes in.’

‘Careful with those ears, baby.’ Her laughter sprinkles over my head like ashes.

• • •

My friends are not amused. In my stories nothing ever happens, and it’s not a device—they are simply weak. Postmoronism, they call it. They also claim I wouldn’t feel love if it fist-fucked me.

What’s this then? I ask.

Bad literature. A love story should be going somewhere. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with the girl, the girl doesn’t give a fuck (or it’s all she gives), boy takes up parachuting and lands on her balcony, breaks both legs, (she is not at home), in the hospital he carves her name so deep into the plaster cast that it cracks, nurses make fun of him, he retaliates by writing beautifully poignant love verse, gets a book published, becomes famous, soon afterwards realizes he is gay, only to buy an expensive sweater in a dramatic finale.

‘Something of the sort—not too predictable and with a sense of humour,’ they suggest.

‘All written in the second person point of view, of course.’

‘Don’t forget—a lot of movement,’ they advise.

‘You don’t know her,’ I tell them.

‘Not even her name,’ they agree.

• • •

Our evening stroll is over. Some joggers pass us by, distant dogs rip silence into shreds. Her hand in mine, smears of lipstick gluing my cuts together, we have circled back to the bench where we sit down, worn into flatness by the walk. The lunar eclipse eclipsed by the clouds, now there isn’t much new up there to look for.

‘Once I broke my leg but it never occurred to me to carve the plaster,’ I say.

She says nothing.

‘I have an idea for a story,’ I continue. ‘Listen to this.’

She listens.

‘Boy meets girl…’


‘That’s it.’

‘It’s not a very good plot,’ she says.

‘But there’s a twist,’ I say.

‘What is it?’

‘I don’t write it down.’

© Mima Simic 2007