Issue #: Theme | # words
Title of Piece by Artist
I still really like parts of her. The same things I liked—I loved—when we first met.
She had this way of seeing the world
like nobody else did.
I think that’s what I’ll miss the most. Not the sex. But it was great. Even before the wedding.
Sometimes I just wish we could be back there—like normal people, putting rings on.
Knowing what we’ve done to each other. We can’t go back. . .
. . .because once you’ve felt what someone else has felt, and they’ve felt what you have too, and then you’ve deprived them of that because it never felt natural. . .
. . . with someone else’s consciousness swirling around, picking you apart.
It’s like someone flying a silent drone inside the cloud that hangs over your head. You know it’s there, but you’re not sure where. . .
. . .because it’s inside you. You know this person better than anyone because in a lot of ways you are her, and she you.
I guess I should be happy we signed the prenups when we were still us. Giving up a car or a house is so much easier than giving up part of who you are.
Once we were on a hike in the mountains. It was spring She stopped us and pointed to a branch with beads of water, hanging.
She said, “look at how we’re reflected.”
I couldn’t see what she saw and she flowed into me with this warmth and awe and I’d see what she could see, our face, reflected back at us, in these tiny spheres and I couldn’t help but wonder what made me me.
I no longer knew the meaning of self-reliance. I don’t know if it mattered.
Every time we swapped bodies I felt like a stranger all over again. Sometimes I couldn’t tell which face we wore. Couldn’t tell who we were—who I was, without her.
We shouldn’t have brought others into our bodies. When we used mine, she wanted me to take control. She wanted to see and feel it as I would see and feel it. But I couldn’t let go. I was with another woman with my wife. She didn’t hold back when we used her body.
Was I not enough? Was that why we brought home college boys and businessmen? Let them fuck our body while both of us were only half there, the other halves in the recesses of our mind lighting each other on fire with synaptic bursts.
I didn’t even think about it. Even though I could feel my wife there, I could tell from her flow inside us, she was asleep. I don’t know why she didn’t wake up. Maybe because I acted on such impulse. Maybe because I needed something that was mine and only mine.
Our marriage turned out to be like an old-fashioned one, with rings, anyway. I guess when you become one person it doesn’t change the fact you can’t ever know yourself. Not fully.
We’ve locked ourselves away, both living in different parts of the same brain. This is a desolate place. Full of jagged edges and sharp self doubt. No matter who we were together, I couldn’t be better than who I’d been before. She couldn’t see we were better off alone.
I bought a book on Transcendentalism. It covered Emerson, Thoreau, etc. The peak of irony.
He was the guy at B&N. Checked me out—not that way. Rang me up. I don’t have any non-suggestive ways to put it.
And he invited me to his book club because they read a lot of transcendental work, he said.
I didn’t know much about the transcendentalists back then. Maybe that’s why we’re in this situation.
But even with what’s happened, you can’t believe how good it feels to have a Merge-Wedding.
You can’t imagine what it’s like to feel so strongly for someone and then *snap* become part of them.
At first there’s a tingling, like someone’s left the window open during winter, but it’s not cold. And it isn’t just your back and arms.
It’s inside you. It’s your heart swelling up like a balloon full of love—and when it’s happening you think. . .God, you think. . .
. . . my ribs will surely burst and soon there will be pain. But it never comes.
Then you know alone and fragile this other person is. You wrap them up and keep them safe and they do the same for you.
There were no secrets. Some people say the mystery is exciting, but sharing a body with your lover, your love, is something else entirely. Sometimes we’d use my body, sometimes his. We mixed and matched in every possible combination. If you’ve never been Merged you won’t understand. That’s okay.
I can’t remember who had the idea to bring other people into us.
We didn’t invite others into our mind and heart. Just into our body.
Maybe the thought had surfaced in the ether between us.
We found a stud near the college. Thought he was a midnight cowboy by the end of it. But by then more than half of the pleasure for us was cerebral, between our selfs, swirling around and cloaking each other in safety and love.
We tried it with his body a couple times, but never with the same results. I wonder if that hurt—if that’s why we’re being torn from each other.
When I found out what he’d done—how I hadn’t woken, I don’t know. He must have gone to her place. I never found a sign of her in our apartment.
I couldn’t be in the same body as him after that. I thought I’d known everything about us. I thought there were no secrets. How could he feel neglected when we’re the same person? Why didn’t I see?
But I didn’t. And now I’m here. We’re here. I’m ready.
Rip us apart.