“Just for future reference, don’t use words like “love” anymore. It’s a very sensitive word and it wears out quickly. Romeo barely says it, but John Hinckley filled up a whole journal with it. To put it into your terms, it’s a currency that’s easily devalued. Pretty soon you’re saying it whenever you hang up the phone or whenever you leave. It turns into an apology. Then it’s an excuse. Some assholes want it to be a bulletproof vest: don’t hate me; I love you. But mostly it just means—more. More, more—give me something more. A couple of years from now, when you’re on your own completely, if you really fall in love, if it really comes to that—and I pity you if it does—you have to look right down into the black of her eyes, right down into the emptiness in there and feel everything, absolutely everything she needs and you have to be willing to drown in it, Kevin. You’d have to want to be crushed, buried alive. Because that’s what real love feels like—choking. They used to bury some women in their wedding dresses, you know. I thought it was because all those husbands were too cheap to spring for another gown, but now it makes sense: love is your first foot in the grave. That’s why the second most abused word is “forever”.”—Hot Plastic by Peter Craig
“Let me think. Nobody’s ever asked me that.” How have I changed? “You know what? The biggest change is that I stopped believing in the future - which is to say, I stopped thinking of the future as being a place, like Paris or Australia - a place you can go to. I started believing that we’re all going, going, going all the time, but there’s no city or place at the end. We’re just going. That’s all.”—All Families Are Psychoticby Douglas Coupland
“I’ve been rereading your story. I think it’s about me in a way that might not be flattering, but that’s okay. We dream and dream of being seen as we really are and then finally someone looks at us and sees us truly and we fail to measure up. Anyway: story received, story included. You looked at me long enough to see something mysterioso under all the gruff and bluster. Thanks. Sometimes you get so close to someone you end up on the other side of them.”—Richard Siken
Hey… hey Austen? It’s me. I mean, it’s me, Aubrey. Look, oh god I’m sorry, I’m already making a fool of myself. I hate leaving messages. I sound like an idiot. Shit. You know how much I hate doing this. This is physically painful, but it’s three a.m. and I’m walking down 42nd street without you and the Christmas lights are up and the buildings look so pretty and it’s late, or really early, and I miss you. Shit, it’s cold. Austen, I’m walking down this street and I’m the only one out here and it’s so beautiful and you can see all the trees lit up for blocks down and there aren’t even any cars out and if you look up there are actually some stars. Just a little, but enough to help me remember how small one can feel. Shit, it’s cold. I left my gloves on the subway and I can’t move my jaw. It’s three a.m. and I’m wide awake and I may have had a bit to drink tonight and my heart’s all warm but I still can’t feel my fingers, and believe it or not, I still can’t pronounce the word almond. I went out tonight and realized that there was nobody else in this entire world that I could stand being in the room with. No one here gets it, they don’t understand. They don’t get me, not like you do. Remember that night where we snuck onto the roof of our elementary school and you put your arms around me and told me that there wasn’t anyone else in the entire world that you’d rather be there with? That’s how I feel now, except you’re so far away and I can’t seem to reach you and this may be my third time calling you and I’m also really sorry about that, but I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t live without knowing that you knew how I felt. It’s late and I’m drunk and it’s three a.m. and you’re beautiful and I wish you were here. Austen, I keep thinking these streetlights are moons, and it hurts when I realize that there’s only one, and it must be so lonely being the only man on it. Austen, I, I have our song stuck in my head, and I haven’t stopped singing it since you left. I’m a mess, I’m a mess and the air’s blowing right through me. I want a one-way plane ticket to you. I want a one-way plane ticket to France. I want a ticket to France to get to you because that’s where you are and being here is not being there and… and, God, I’m sorry. You’re going to think I’m an idiot when you hear this. Just ignore it, pretend it never happened. Austen, I haven’t answered your calls because I’m scared of loving you when you’re so far away. You’re so far away and I’m here in this lonely city with its cold buildings and its lack of vegetation and it feels awful. I can’t sleep knowing that you’re there in that beautiful city with the golden lights and smiling to yourself and maybe thinking of me and maybe dreaming and maybe painting and maybe it’s sunny there but it’s cloudy here and it’s just so different and you don’t even speak French too well, but I don’t even mind. Austen, it’s three a.m. and I’m probably going to sleep on a park bench because it’s late and it’s cold and I think I might be getting a little tired and all the taxis have gone to bed and I’m a little far away from home, but I just wanted you to know that I found the song you wrote for me in the pocket of my coat, and I read it until it seared into my mind and I can recite it to you if you want but I think you already know it, too, and I’m just hoping that you’ll come home and play it for me yourself because I’d rather hear the words from your lips. Thank you, Austen, thank you for that and thank you for you and thank you for everything that you’ve ever done for me, because god knows I probably wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you for being at that bridge that day I almost left it all. Thank you for getting out of your damn car and telling me that you loved me. Thank you for being the only one. Austen, you’re the only one that cares and I just wanted you to know that I love you and it’s still really late and I’m getting colder so I’m going to go now but I, I… I don’t know what to say anymore. Maybe you’ve forgotten about me, but maybe you’re walking around and it’s three a.m. there, too, and you’re a little drunk and thinking of me, because my god, you haven’t left my head once. It’s three a.m. and I still love you. I do. I love you Austen, I’ve always loved you. You’re my little almond. Okay, I should go now, this is getting ridiculous. Goodbye, Austen. Okay, okay bye.