Previously: My bestselling YA novel.
Some guy came over for terrible, casual sex. We had sex. It was terrible. Afterwards we rolled into fetal positions facing different directions, not making eye contact, because of these modern times we live in, with Candy Crush.
“Don’t even think about trying to connect with me,” I said. “I hate connecting, and also marriage.”
“Oh, me too, for sure,” he said. “It’s my least favorite of the institutions.”
“For sure,” I agreed. “All institutions are terrible but marriage is the most terrible.”
No one had any orgasms, for sure.
“This family has a lot of issues,” I said. “Let’s talk about them for forty pages, and then go on a vacation where nobody has any fun.”
“Our daughter’s on pills,” he said. “Just a bunch of pills. And you’re too busy texting to notice.”
I met my girlfriends at the bar. We hated each other so much, but we had similar drinking problems and all of our schedules coincided, so it worked out pretty well.
“I’m unhappy,” I said.
“Me too,” Sinara agreed. “Let’s do drugs.”
“But unhappily,” I said.
“Oh, for sure,” she said. “Let’s do drugs, but not feel any better after we do them.”
“I don’t like anything.”
Sinara threw her two-year-old out the window. “Parenthood is a prison,” she said. “I always hated that baby.” That’s the only way to reject institutions, sometimes, is to throw a baby out of the window.
“We have so many things,” Teklas said, “but we still find ways to be unhappy. I think that’s really interesting. Don’t you think that’s really interesting?”
We all did.
“Let’s all throw our babies out the window,” I said, “and then talk about what things were like when we had babies.”
We all did.
Then it was drugs time.
“I’m so lonely,” I said.
“I love you,” he said.
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Let’s have even worse sex than the sex we had before,” I said.
“As long as it represents something,” he said. “Bad sex has to represent something.”
“Okay,” I said, getting started. “This blow job represents Syria.”
I wonder what it’s like to be a housekeeper. I bet it’s really interesting and authentic, probably.
“Let’s go to a party and be mean to people we want to be nice to,” I said.
“For sure, let’s go and have a terrible time,” he said.
“It’s complex because parties are where you’re supposed to have good times, but we never do,” I said.
“Yes,” he said.
“Uuuuuuughhhh,” I moaned, and then all of my bones fell out because of alienation, and I flopped to the floor like a fish, and I went “uuuuuuggghhghghghghgh again.”
“Bluuuuughhhhh,” he agreed, and he was so alienated that he disappeared and stopped existing. What even is the self.
The natural progression of time is happening to me, and also to my parents, just like it has happened to everyone and their parents from the beginning of recorded history, but this time it’s different. My father used to be strong and bigger than me but now he isn’t, because of old age. He used to love institutions, and look where that got him: old.
“Why don’t you do the things I did,” he says to me. “Houses and jobs and institutions are good.”
“Houses and jobs and institutions are bad,” I think but don’t say to him. “I love you, Dad, even though our relationship is fraught and we can’t understand each other but really who can understand anyone else and do you really need to be understood to be loved,” I also didn’t say.
“I just don’t like being married at all,” he said. “Not even a little bit.”
“Life is so gray,” I agreed.
“Let’s not be married to each other any more.”
Nothing happened, in great detail.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.