by Pierce Nahigyan
I built this awful time machine to fix my awful relationship with you. I understand that this will come as a shock but we really weren’t making any progress and despite the year – yes, year, I know, year – spent broken up all the listless dates in southern California could not mend the place where you’ve riven my heart. There’s a chunk that absolutely needs your neediness and now that it is empty there is an exponential neediness that needs so necessarily that it absorbs wants wantonly and not even simple desires can escape its event horizon. Things like cookie dough ice cream and the last little trim behind my neck at the barbershop were consumed and crushed into an infinitesimal crumb of garbage. I developed apnea because sweet dreams and regular breathing were canceling each other out.
So I built the time machine and I went back and I locked myself in a closet last February when we were at your mother’s, despite my protestations and, not having spent the last two days dealing with your hypochondria, I did not mix up your herbal supplements, I did not ruin dinner in my exhaustion by telling your mother that if she had spent a little less time turning her daughter into a bubbling cauldron of neuroses and aimed the circumspection outward unto gestalt we could make it through dinner without a crying episode, and I did open the door for you when we drove home and I did tell you how my day was instead of grunting.
But I forgot that I’d locked myself in the closet and your mother had a cardiac episode. That did not sit well with you.
So I went back to last December and locked myself in a closet and did not get absolutely hammered and take off all my clothes and run around the block and get chased by the neighbor’s dog and force you to improvise my alibi for the cops. Instead we had two glasses of wine and I found the classical music station and you fell asleep on my shoulder. But I managed to work my way out of the closet and ran naked down the street and was arrested for public indecency and didn’t need that on my public record.
So I went back to last September when you moved out the first time and I locked myself in a closet and did not throw your dishes on the pavement. I waited for you to finish packing and I sat on the steps and I asked you, calmly, if we could talk. And we did. And you were on your guard and you were mad that I wasn’t mad but I listened to you and then I said, without pressure, that I wanted you to reconsider, because I had reconsidered. In fact, what I said was, “I’m not very good at loving you because I’m more worried about myself. I’m worried what I’m doing with my life, I’m worried it’s not making any difference, and I’m insecure about what I’ve accomplished so far and I’m upset, sad, that I’ve wasted so much time worrying. I can’t love you the way you should be loved but I do know what that looks like, and while I steer myself through this rough place I want you with me, because when I come out the other side I will be better at loving you, because I will finally love myself.” But then I broke out of the closet and attacked me on the doorstep, just when we were on the verge of a truly sensuous reconciliation.
After much screaming and after I had knocked myself out with your dishes, I awoke on the front porch where the two of you had left me.
So I went back to the day we met and this awful time machine has finally broken down on me and I don’t think I can make it back to the future. I would appreciate it if you see me later today that you just keep on walking. I’ve played havoc over our relationship worse than an adactylous pianist and I’ve finally come to the conclusion, here at our introduction, that my chronological cleverness can’t substitute for compromise and consideration. After all that hopscotch I’m finally ready to be an adult. Unfortunately, now that you know that, I no longer exist.