Last night you ate curry beside me in your bed. When you finished you said: ‘I want more, I want some more pampadums’ and I laughed, because your intellect is your most prized possession. I listened to you comment on the art direction of Todd Haynes’ film ‘Safe’ – compare your space to the spaces on-screen. You hate the feeling of being cramped, so you construct things – racks, tables, shelves – to harbour items. Books are stacked, or open on your bed.
Sometimes I hear you outside drilling, hammering things into place. You are building a studio from wood at the back of our house. All it needs now is a floor, and a roof. You didn’t approach me or any of our other 5 housemates about it first – you just started building. The agent doesn’t even know.
The other day when we were fighting you stood up and started shifting things, rearranging things, to ‘optimise’ the space. You brought the broom in and started sweeping while I sat on your bed. I said, ‘Please, I know this is hard but just sit down.’
You are always selling or throwing things out. Clothing, shoes, a Perspex box with a hole in its side – household objects with no further use or purpose. When I see your “for sale” posts in Facebook groups I like them ironically. When I see these items around the house I smile, remembering you taking photos of them weeks ago..
You rarely come into my room, but when you do you look around. At the crates of dirty clothes, junk and fake flowers on the mantelpiece. You tell me to move my bed against a different wall – that way I’ll have more space.
You’ve only suggested we sleep in my room once.
‘It’s exotic,’ you said, ‘and I can eat your pussy on the bed.’
When you opened the door to my room you saw my brother under the covers with a girl.
We kissed a lot last night, stopping now and then to watch the film. I nestled into your side, stroked your neck. You did this thing you do a lot which is hold my earlobe between your forefinger and thumb, not rubbing but not pinching either. The best part was when you gave me this look and I asked you what it meant and you said, ‘It’s like when a puppy pokes out its tongue because it doesn’t know what else to do … when it’s happy.’
We lay there naked afterwards and my breath on your back was so hot I had to face the other way.
I was reminded of an installation piece called
‘S=U=P=E=R=S=T=R=U=C=T=U=R=E (‘Trace me back to some loud, shallow, chill, underlying motive’s overspill…)’. It was a series of columns made of light filaments running through glass tubes. They’d fill with light and then empty, like they were breathing. I looked at them for half an hour, shut my eyes while they warmed and cooled my face.
There are things I’ll never understand about light, but I know your moods by the waves on your breath.
We don’t sleep well together. We are always waking, incoherent – recounting some part of a dream before we crash back to sleep. You like space. You like to spread out. I always end up pushing you right to the edge.
In the morning we face each other.
Your hair sticks up at the front like a cockatoo’s, and you reach over and wipe my fringe aside, imagining what I’d look like without it. In the kitchen I am making porridge and you are making toast with honey and I smile and kiss your cheek. You screw a new light bulb into the fitting and place the handcrafted, square paper lampshade over it. You step back, observe, say:
‘It will get brighter once the bulb heats up.’
Romy Durrant is a 21 year old writer from Melbourne. She studies at RMIT and writes at @miseryclit.