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Home: The Toast

You do not know that I have written him something inappropriate. He does not know it either. This is how I cross the line from friendship into foreplay: chronic limp. A text that reads “I have written you something inappropriate” that once read “Pants: Y/N?”

The currents are sagging. The summer has tethered itself to the sky. We are watching the bucking and praying for rain. I am thinking of a number, a date, a hospital, a pill regimen, a promise of trying again. You have buried yourself in work like a sled dog in the night. The trouble is: you love being alone. The trouble is: it’s never enough. I am too focused on our happiness to bother with my own. You do not know that I am leaving but suspect. You are trying to save us from ourselves. I have a good heart, but we are waiting for it to fail you.

Beneath the flicker, I’ve grown a master to deletion. My eyelids tanned with phone-glow and 18 sleepless nights. “Pants,” I tap. “Pantssss?” I am nudging the last vegetable to see if it’s still warm, eager. But here. We are sweating in the darkness with both our safeties off. We are panting at our feet. You say even the wind is bored with our never fucking and the walls nod in agreement. A door collapses. A kettle starts, is dumped into the sink. You are packing cotton jerseys while my hands explore the stays. You are gone. You have seen it. We are again and again unfound. So much silent leaking — it gets harder with the years. Even now, unhitched. Each day I am alone with the hope of being something terrible.

Rahawa Haile is an Eritrean-American short story writer and essayist. Find her on Twitter at @RahawaHaile.

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