page contents

FICTION / We Are Us and Then There Are Other People / Tai Farnsworth / Writer of the Month

steven-su-41lEjOFxALU-unsplash.jpg

I met her online, at a bar, at a café. She worked at a co-op, was a screenwriter, a singer. We talked, had drinks, read and ate breakfast. I met them at a dog groomer’s, at the grocery store, on a hike. They worked as an animal trainer, as a protein drink promoter, on a reality TV show. We shared pictures of our pets, ate vegan pizza, toured Hollywood. I met him in Chicago, at a sushi restaurant, in a museum. He worked as an actor, as a life coach, for a landscape company. We went bowling, walked around the park, considered tattoos.

            She said -        I like your style.

                                    I’m thinking about kissing you.

                                    I’m going to write so many songs about us.

            They said -      Let’s make love on a star.

                                    Your mouth and the way you look at me are distracting.

                                    My mind has been captured by you.

            He said -          You are so powerful and beautiful and sexy.

                                    You make me ridiculously hard all the time.

                                    I feel strong and alive in your arms.

It was a Saturday. She took me back to her house for a party and I didn’t leave till Sunday evening. Her roommates were drunk when we arrived – they draped their arms around me, welcomed me, made me feel like I belonged. Where did you meet her? they asked. Online, at a bar, at a café, I said. One of her exes introduced herself to me over the bean dip. Instead of listening to her, I drowned out her words with the crunching of chips in my head. Later I went to the bathroom and my date followed me upstairs. Why do you have another date here? I asked. She’s not a date. You’re my date, she said. When I kicked my shoes off at the foot of the bed, she tucked them away, perfectly straight, in the closet. When she kissed me, it was hard. When she slipped her fingers in me, the sweet warmth between my legs could have drowned us.

It was a Friday. They invited me over to play games and I didn’t leave till Saturday morning. Their roommates, swimming in the pool or lounging on the couch, nodded their ‘hello.’ Where did you meet them? they asked. At a dog groomer’s, at the grocery store, on a hike, I said. During the card game, their cheeks pinked with frustration, disappointment at losing so soundly. Later, once they’d beat me at two rounds of HORSE, they accidentally hit me in the face with the basketball. I was going to win that round, you didn’t have to cheat, I said. It was an accident. But you weren’t going to win, they said. When we took a bath that night, they made galaxies in the golden bubbles, told stories of tiny worlds we ruled over. When they kissed me, it was on every inch of my face. When they fucked me, it was with the bed pulled away from the wall.

It was a Tuesday. He invited me over to run lines and I stayed with him every night that week. His roommates told me about their upcoming projects, played me some music, gossiped about their love lives. Where did you meet him? they asked. In Chicago, at a sushi restaurant, at a museum, I said. Before he showed me the script, we went to Target, kissed over distressed sweaters, tried on mauve dresses and Sublime shirts. Later, we played darts at an Irish pub by his house and snuck out to the back patio to smoke stolen cigarettes. Be careful how sweet you are to me, I’ve fallen in love for much less, I said. Could you stop yourself if you wanted to? he asked. When we walked, we kissed at every stoplight. When we finally made it to the car he climbed a tree, swung like Tarzan. When he held me close he whispered about water and stars, the potential to wrap ourselves in each other, the desire for feelings with weight.

            She said -        You feel nice.

                                    We are writing our own fairy tale.

                                    I love how our bodies and minds and hearts mesh.

            They said -      You excite me so much.

I long for your touch, your voice, the feeling you give my entire body.

I love the way you suck and stroke me.

            He said -          You smell and feel like heaven.

                                    You know my body and my cock better than literally anyone.

                                    I love you.

That night her friend was having a show at a library themed bar downtown. All the drinks were named after famous authors. With each sip of Hemingway, each mouthful of Walker, each smooth taste of Hurston, we sat a little closer, laughed a little louder, kissed a little deeper. Once we were properly drunk, we walked down the street to a burrito shack. While standing in line, she texted me I’m high on you. She texted me You have my heart. She texted me You’re a queen. That night we lay in bed and told each other secrets. Lifting the veil between ourselves, we gave each other permission to have hurts and fears. Then we kissed all the fractures of our hearts, used our lips as sutures, and breathed promises into our skin.

The next morning they came with me to my parents’ house. All afternoon we lounged by the pool. With each splash, each glance, each passing cool breeze, we kissed a little deeper, felt a little warmer, loved a little harder. Once we were properly burnt, we walked the dogs to the park. While hiding in the slide, they texted me You’re a queen. They texted me I love filling you with my come. They texted me My mouth loves you and your mouth. That night we took mushrooms and watched the night sky change colors above us. Lifting our arms to the stars, we opened ourselves to the depth of the universe. Then we kissed all the goose bumps on our skin, used our hands as parenthesis, and climaxed in purples and greens.

The next afternoon he took me to the ocean. All the beach bunnies were trapped in their offices. With each passing hour, each eager touch, each fiery lungful of weed, we loved a little harder, smiled a little faster, died a little slower. Once we were properly high, we walked along the shore to the crab shack. While waiting for our order, he texted me My mouth loves you and your mouth. He texted me They’re playing our song. He texted me I want to spank you and tease you. That night we drove up the coast and watched the sun share the heavens with the moon. Lifting our shirts above our heads, we trusted each other with our bodies in every way. Then we kissed all of our scars, used our words as blankets, and dissolved into the world around us.

            She said -        I want to repeat last night a thousand times.

                                    You’re a dream.

                                    I will hold you down and make you take my cock from behind.

            They said -      I love the way you love me.

                                    I long to be back in your arms.

                                    I want to massage you, kiss you, fill you.

            He said -         You make me feel so good.

                                    You deserve to be cherished.

                                    I’m so grateful for our passion and joyful love.

She asked me if I remembered the day we met. On the hike, I said. And then we went bowling and had drinks, they said. I thought we toured Hollywood and considered tattoos, I said. We did. We did it all, he said. Can you just love me forever? I asked. He pulled me close to him, crushed his mouth to mine. They raked their nails down my back, held my sides. She licked her palm, ran it over the head of her cock. With my legs wrapped around their back, I closed my eyes and let myself sink into him, gave myself permission to be weak with them, told myself it was okay if I loved her more than he would ever love me.

            She said -        Thank you for seeing all of me and not looking away.

            They said -      Thank you for seeing all of me and not looking away.

            He said -          Thank you for seeing all of me and not looking away.

            I said -             Thank you for seeing all of me and not looking away.

previously published in Homology Lit


Tai Farnsworth is a mixed-race, queer writer based in Los Angeles who earned her MFA in writing from Antioch University. Her work can be found in 'The Quotable,' 'CutBank Literary,' 'The Evansville Review,' 'Homology Lit,' and 'Sinister Wisdom.' She's presently shopping around her young adult book about a girl discovering her bisexuality in the wake of her boyfriend's death. She was also a 2018 YA Mentee through We Need Diverse Books.