“u up?” or something along those lines

This is not a drunk text. This is an invitation to the universe. I am opening myself up to possibility—that was my New Year’s resolution—and right now possibility is regrettable 3 a.m. sex with the first ex that popped into my head. We never dated, but she’s an ex all the same. I remember how she looked at me, how I looked back. But details are for the sober.

I am a respectable drunk. All evening I’ve only had Pinot Noir. And weed. I won’t say how much. Nick and I watched “Sense & Sensibility” and drank every time Kate Winslet cried, and every time Alan Richman stared solemnly after her.

I have wailed for lost love.

I have watched her leave me without a glance.

It’s funny when it’s someone else.

The text leaves my keyboard, morphs into a blue bubble that breathes life into our once-extinct conversation, of stale niceties, when we thought we really would keep in touch. I am waiting for a heartbeat.

Nick drools on the couch, leaving a set spot under his chin. I can tell by his splayed legs that he’ll be asleep until tomorrow afternoon. His flushed cheeks are still, his chest rises and falls in slow, silent sighs, shaking a wisp of hair hanging over his eyes. He won’t notice I’m gone.

It’s a pandemic but it’s still Saturday night. She’s awake, thinking of me because I’m the ex who texted. Of long hair she never got to properly rough up. And if she really has forgotten me I’ll pretend I was checking on a friend. That I was not thinking of how her lips parted slightly after she finally kissed me, leaving me staring at the small black eye of her mouth, a hint of her peach Chapstick on my tongue. Not of her furrowed brow when she left town the next day. Not of her Facebook post from two weeks ago, declaring she was back. I will tell her I was thinking of her dog. How is Max?

My phone dings and Nick doesn’t stir. I wonder if it’s better to not check, to exist longer in this limbo of the unknown, without reward or rejection. Where my desire breathes wildly inside me, undampened by the truth. No—fuck that. I grab the phone greedily.

“Hey, it’s been a while,” she says. “What are you up to?”

But enough about me.

Blake Richardson is a writer based in the Washington, D.C. area with a background in journalism and an affinity for fiction. She is a 2020 nominee to the Best Microfiction anthology.

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