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By Brown, Rebecca | Chicago Review, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

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Brown, Rebecca, Chicago Review


There are no others. There only was the one.

Well of course there were others, but they were different, they didn't compare, they were a whole different league, a whole different ball game.

The others came only later. After one could walk again and after the eyes no longer glazed, the hands no longer shook, the wrists no longer oozed but only dryly, whitely bore what one could claim were artfully, fashionably cut scarifications. One then experienced multitudes, made, in fact, a project of investigating closely, briefly, nocturnally, penetratingly, both digitally and dentally, first singularly, then in pairs, then severals (many of them are good about this: it has something to do with politics and property, about not owning or possessing) then packs, slews of them.

Those poor miserable gals probably didn't know what hit them, them cracking open this little can of worms and the can spewing out all over them, us, one, that horrible ooze both thicker than water and thicker than blood, that stuck to us, that sticks to one, that sticks the guts together, that cements the brain, that chokes one in the dreams. Those poor decent gals didn't know what hit them; they signed up for a diddle but got a baseball bat instead. They are, one must say, a sympathetic lot; they never, nary a one of them, had one arrested, eviscerated, hauled to the bin. They merely covered their faces with their arms and showed one the door with instructions to never return, never show the sick pathetic perverted brain-fucked little face in their bed, town, hemisphere, whatever, again.

You never told me to get over you. You never told me to forget. I didn't. I remember you.

There were the others, many, some, enough, alike, and many others different, good or kind, with better spirits. There were, indeed, rich, handsome ones, and gentle, wise, intelligent ones. There were compassionate ones and passionate. There were cute, delightful, darling ones. Among them even sexy ones.

Why didn't I attach myself to one or another or several of them?

Why did I only attach myself to you?

Why did I tape and glue and mucilage and superglue my skin, my bloody flesh? Why did I nail my hands and feet? Why did I swing by a rope from the thought of you? Why did I push-pin, thumbtack, staple - both hand-held and power-gunned - myself to you? Why did I tack and stick myself? Why did I drain my carcass, shellac my skin, cram myself into a pendant and hope you'd wear what I had been around your neck? Why did I like a sucker, like a lamprey a limpet a barnacle an octopus, suck my pathetic greedy sucker against you and not let go? Why did I attach my mouth, my tongue, my teeth, my fingers, my wrists, my arteries, my quivering throat, my quivering messy jugular, the chambers of my poor, misguided, dumb and bloodied, messy, messy heart to you?

Because you told me, limp and naked, barely capable of speech, the mouth having been previously, and very happily it seemed to me, occupied, you loved me.

You said you were my twin, my self, my other. You said that I was who you might have been. You said there were no others. Well, of course, there were others, there wasn't something wrong with you, you were certainly desirable to others, but not like this, not like me. The others, you said, were trifles, slight, mere entertainments or obliged. They were different, they didn't compare, they were a whole different league, a whole different ball game.

You said this more than once to me, you said it to me knowing. You said it when the mouth the tongue the teeth the tongue were otherwise unoccupied, when, it seemed to me, for I was young, there was no reason to say anything unless it was the truth.

Now I am no longer young. Now I can say with the experience of the intervening years, with the perspective I have gained, having learned and grown and at much length reconsidered, that if one could go back, if I was given half a chance, I wouldn't hesitate, I would do it all again. …

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