Chloé Cooper Jones
A’s chin has hairs that can be felt, but cannot be seen. B says, “Are you listening to me?” and A nods, but A is just pretending. B is saying something that A does not want to hear so A tries to find something hideous about B to look at. A stares at bald spaces on B’s face.
A gives no apologies, leaves B’s house, but doesn’t go farther than the car A came in and A sits in the car, which is A’s car, and remembers a time when A talked B into eating a pickle late at night. They had come from a bar. They were drunk and laughing. They sat on the couch and both ate pickles and then it was time for bed and in B’s bed B said to A, “Let’s try to dream of what we want for breakfast,” and they woke the next morning, both wanting hash browns.
Now A and B stop making dinner together because they no longer like each other, or they break-up, find other friends, move across town, move to separate cities, have conflicting schedules.
A and B see each other on the street, but pretend that they do not.
A thinks, What do I even know about B any more?
A does not know if B still lives in the same apartment B used to live in when A and B knew very much about each other. A does not know if B still has the same job, the same friends, the same car, the same bed.
But A, immediately upon seeing B on the street, knows one thing. A does know that today is B’s laundry day. A knows this because B is wearing the laundry shirt, the shirt that B chooses last, the shirt B chooses only when there are no other shirts to choose.
A knows that tomorrow B will wear that black button-down that is B’s favorite shirt. A knows that B had cut that shirt—B’s favorite shirt—apart at the seams and sewed it back tighter so that it would fit better and A knew this because A was with B when B bought the needle and thread and A was with B when B got the shirt in the first place and A was with B when, later, B used the same needle and the same spool of thread to mend a broken zipper on a pair of brown pants and A was with B when B had broken the zipper while pissing onto a wall outside of a bar and A was with B in the bar earlier that night and was with B all that day and days before that and weeks before and they had spent months together, too.
On one of those days in one of those months that are now far away, A had been home when B had called and said, “I’m about to come over to your house in new brown pants and will you tell me if they are weird?”
And A said, “What do you mean, weird?”
And B said, “Just wait and see.”
And B said, “I’ll be in your doorway soon.”
And B said, “Don’t say anything before you weigh in on these pants. Don’t even say hello.”