Bethany Serino – She


She accumulates 42 years of bad luck within half an hour. The argument’s about songs and films and poetry and people that I don’t care about.

And I don’t care about her.

The next day I do my make up in the extractor fan and go to the shop and come back to a fire in the kitchen. She’s left the hob on.

The fireman asks for her number.

She says she wants to be ‘successful’ and goes to work and I sit and watch jeremy kyle in my exes t shirt and she calls me, says she’s hurt her wrist having a thumb war.

The hospital reminds me I will die and I tell her I want a baby.

We go out and everyone I think I could fall in love with falls in love with her instead. I tell her ‘they all prefer you’ as she falls on to the floor of the taxi. She’s lost one of her shoes. Then I realise they’re mine.

She cuts out old lovers and friends from photographs and I pick their faces out the bin when she’s not looking. She realises and she shouts, wakes next door up. They paddle round in dressing gowns and he looks at me like I can do better. I lay on their sofa and count the cracks in the ceiling, analyse the pattern, come to the conclusion that the structures weakness lies just above my head so if it would give way, it would give way over me. I dare a spider to climb in to my mouth when I’m asleep. I feel my arm under my head aching from the weight and let it carry on until I can’t feel it anymore. He comes downstairs, peels a condom off, makes a cup of tea and turns yesterday’s jeremy kyle on. I tell him the one in the white t shirt is the dad and he looks at me like I can do better. He tells me there’s always a reacher and a settler in relationships, I tell him I’m neither and he doesn’t believe me.

He gives me a pill and it takes me by my neck and slides me in to its back pocket. I wake up 7 hours later with a lump in my throat and I think it’s the spider.

She says she wants her glutes to ‘pop’ and goes climbing and I sit and watch loose women in my exes t shirt and she texts me, says she’s broken her leg.

The hospital reminds me I will die and I tell her I want a baby.

She says she wants to kills herself. Asks me how I’d do it. I say I would jump off a very high building. She says she’d stick a knife in her chest.

She throws up in to a washing up bowl. She tells me she can’t commit suicide in case she goes to hell.

She misses the first time, on purpose.

The policeman seems impressed that I’m not on the dole. He smiles at me. Like, I’m something. Her pleats are creased. ‘She is quite charismatic isn’t she?’ He says. ‘Yes’, I say. I watch him become another moth clambering at the flame. I tell him I hate everyone I know. Then I change it to ‘dislike’.

‘What about her then?’

She burns me alive and she puts me out and rubs my split ends between her fingers and tells me I’m fine as I am. She dents the extractor fan with a thrown lamp and distorts me, snaps the arm off my turntable, sucks the arm of my sunglasses, chews it till it’s raw. She brushes her teeth till her gums bleed and spits red froth in to the sink, writes haikus on the mirror with lipstick from poundland, slaps me, tells me it’s all my fault and I need to change.

She knows how to shut me up. She knows how to pinch my hips when I fall asleep. And jab the spaces in between my ribs. And bruise me, and whisper in my ear.

Drinks my whisky, smokes my fags, pulls me by my jacket, puts her tongue in my belly button and makes my ancestors heave. Recites passages from revelations and laughs at me getting wet from underneath my own umbrella. Washes shampoo out my hair with a measuring jug when I’m ill. Eats the scabs off her knees and shouts in her sleep and points out faces in the artex on waking up.

And she does not impress me.

And I cower as she devours the last fire from the cricket in the corner. And I tell her she’s a goddess. And she falls on her face and splits her lip and I lick her clean and she doesn’t believe me.

She doesn’t miss the second time. She gets it spot on.


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