If you were here with me, we’d make out in the sad mall while the bass-heavy speakers played “Escapade” by Janet Jackson. And we’d laugh because we didn’t kiss much anymore and you’d accidentally head-butt my mouth and I’d pretend it didn’t hurt. For a few minutes it would be like I hadn’t moved across the country without you.

Once, on New Year’s Eve, you invited people over and insisted you could make martini glasses out of lightbulbs. Only you couldn’t figure out how to get the tops off without smashing the whole thing, so you went through most of our lightbulbs while I hid a box of three.

In the end we made martinis in coffee mugs. We were both tipsy and high when you said that even if you hadn’t been at this party you would have been at this party. You made me feel comfortable with inevitability.

You always wore leather bands for bracelets, the ends unfinished and frayed. They were never perfect circles.

It wasn’t the first time you said it. That addiction was a sickness, and that people could be addicted to pain.

Now I’m passionate about how fucking asinine and helpless it was that you couldn’t buy real bracelets, or at least take the time to fix what wasn’t right. You couldn’t make me happy, but why couldn’t you save yourself?

We didn’t have any of those plastic light-up glasses on New Year’s Eve, but you still had some from the fourth of July, and I watched as the battery-operated fireworks fell around your ears. I saw them glow and spark while you talked with our friends. I didn’t know what you were talking about but you pretended to fall down, holding your stomach because you were laughing so hard. You flipped the fireworks on and off with a switch.

Red neon soared and shattered around the corners of your eyes. The fake sparks shot up and obscured your face.

I want you to come here and kiss me.

That’s all. Kiss me in the sad mall.

Get on a bus. There’s a stop by the drugstore. I’ll wait for you by the broken fountain, the one gone dry. Just get on the 6 bus and transfer to the 3, and don’t get off downtown, because the last time you did, you never came back.

I won’t ask you to stay.






Erin Lyndal Martin is a creative writer, music journalist, and visual artist. Her fiction has appeared in Cease, CowsAtticus Review; and Whiskey Island. She’s on twitter at @erinlyndal. She can be found online at erinlyndalmartin.com.