Nonfiction from Marisa Crane

Photo: Victor Garcia

Predictions for a Skeptic

you will watch romantic films & witness couples dancing in the kitchen or living room or even in the bathroom & you will shout DO PEOPLE REALLY DO THAT? & the actors will stop what they’re doing, turn around, bend over, & moon you & you will slip into your navy joggers & blackout on well whiskey at the local lesbian bar where you will meet dozens of women who hate women & don’t even realize it & the forgetting will feel even worse than usual.

in the morning you will have a text from a recent divorcee saying come on, one date won’t kill you & you will type then erase, type then erase until you turn into one giant thumb you will use to hitchhike back to before the uncertainty began. the driver will look at you in the rearview mirror, eyes so frightening they sedate you, & introduce himself as the devil & you will say if you’re the devil then prove it & he will say I don’t know how. you just have to believe me & you will say jeez, you sound suspiciously like god & he will snicker then drive off the road & into a ditch.

when you come to, you will find yourself in a booth across from someone you wind up forcing yourself to love & you will figure it is as good a time as any for a beer & french fries with big delicious globs of ketchup. you will drop ketchup on your hoodie & marvel at how alone the wrong company can make you feel & this loneliness will inspire you to kiss her but you will have your wrong mouth on & your wrong mouth will make you pull away & say my father’s favorite part of photography is editing all the people out of his photos & she will take a sip of her vodka soda & nod for you to continue & you will say don’t you think it would be nice if life worked that way too? she will say I don’t know what you mean & despite not wanting to, you will kiss her some more & wonder who’s really calling the shots. she will come away with fistfuls of your stuffing.

the truth is, you will never know what you are made of, just that you were poorly made & this will create problems you could learn to ignore if only you had the gumption.

the next four years will go like this: you will be hogtied by depression without your consent. gag in your mouth. blindfold over your eyes. a thrashing that soon dies down. you will begin to resent the submission you’d previously desired. you will dissociate on your bedroom floor & the view from above will be uninspiring. you will clean the cat box. you will put the cat on a diet. you will listen to the cat scream & hiss all night. most nights you will sleep elsewhere & when you come home your roommate will tell you to stop reinventing the pillow & you will make a drink while she plays Bioshock & requests that you learn to mutate. you will lay your head in her lap & ask if she has any more of that molly from the other night. she will stroke your hair & steady your trembling hand.

you two will orbit around each other until you get sick of the almosts.

after a few months of this you will move to the beach & your cat will leap out your window, determined to become an outdoor cat. your best friend will nickname you outdoor cat & you will act accordingly, slinking through the night & into vulnerable hearts. you will forward your mother’s calls & write instruction manuals on how to talk yourself out of suicide & the solutions will read like prayers if prayers were afraid of themselves.

eventually you will find someone you wish you could love less & at first she will belong to someone who isn’t you & you will tear up your instruction manuals & eat the pages. she will hold the best years of your life between the webs of her fingers, only her hands will be somewhere you can’t access them: twenty miles east & intertwined with those of another. after months of swallowing Xanax & whiskey, those hands will become yours to hold. you will marry her on a boat & your five-year-old niece will talk herself out of tears.

back home, long after all the I dos & I wills, you will grab your wife’s hand & dance in the living room, you in nothing but your boxer briefs, her in her house shirt & leggings, & you will shout PEOPLE REALLY DO THIS & she will know exactly what you mean. the dog will groan because you’ve been playing your wedding song on repeat ever since it became your wedding song & you will slowly slip out of your doubts & into yourself. you will turn around, bend over, & moon the neighbors. & what do you know, they will be dancing too.


Marisa Crane is a lesbian writer whose work has appeared in Jellyfish Review, Pithead Chapel, Hobart, Drunk Monkeys, Ghost Parachute, and elsewhere. She currently lives in San Diego with her wife. You can find her on Twitter @marisabcrane.

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