by Meg Pokrass and Rosie Garland

FIRST TIME WE met was at the all night BarBQ when my car had broken down again and it was raining and I was waiting for a ride home and now I can’t forget your face or the time of it: your modish haircut, my oldish haircut, you telling me that you liked my oldish haircut, the sound of ice cracking like thunder.

What I remember is never quite what happened. It may be close, it may be way off the mark. Even when I swear that I’m sticking to the whole truth and nothing but, I slip and slide like a duck on a frozen pond. And always these thoughts of the tired face of my husband, suspicious when not dead-fast asleep.

This back-again-feeling can’t be turned off. We go away but come back again in dreams, our sad roads meeting in the middle. I might have turned away from the dreaming, might have looked the other way and not driven to the all night BarBQ but then you said, I want to see your oldish haircut again.

You were young once, you say, the next time we meet. It is raining again and we’re wet and suddenly so much older and I look down and I think I am the one who has aged more than you. You in your haircut and jeans and me in my haircut and that weird out-of-place-on-the-edge-of-things sweatshirt. We make out and drink from plastic champagne glasses, wearing our worn-down coats.

I want to give you something, I say when we kiss. But then we have this fight about my sleeping husband and I can’t think of anything to give you. You are already upset. I know the pain of a bad kiss when I feel it. I want to say I’m sorry but I can’t remember the way to say it. I feel flustered and sad and drunk and out of place. This strange unspoken pond of my life.

Our legs were always slipping out from beneath us, forever cracking our tailbones, ending up sprawled on our asses. The bench we were sitting on at the BarBQ would soon bend and break. I got out of the dreams without saying good night. You wouldn’t come back this time, wouldn’t meet me there again. And besides, I didn’t know what to say.

oOo

Meg Pokrass is the author of seven flash fiction collections, an award-winning collection of prose poetry, two novellas-in-flash and a forthcoming collection of microfiction, Spinning to Mars recipient of the Blue Light Book Award in 2020. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, Washington Square Review, Wigleaf, Waxwing and McSweeney’s. She is the Series Founder and Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.

Rosie Garland writes long and short fiction, poetry and sings with post-punk band The March Violets. Her work appears in The Guardian, Under the Radar, Spelk, Mslexia,The North and elsewhere. New poetry collection ‘What Girls do the Dark’ (Nine Arches Press) is out now. Latest novel The Night Brother was described by The Times as “a delight…with shades of Angela Carter.” In 2019, Val McDermid named her one of the UK’s most compelling LGBT writers.