The Make It Or Break It! Campaign© was the worst thing that happened to him. She was on billboards. YouTube commercials. Cereal boxes. He saw her in other places, too, in brunettes sitting on the bus, just out of view. He was tired of seeing her, sure, but those were the consequences of dating an athlete: Sometimes, they made it. He wondered if she had changed their tattoo.
The Make It Or Break It! Campaign© was the best thing that happened to her. An unreal rebound. Still, money couldn’t stuff her ears to block out the odd voice in the crowd who sounded like him. That taxi driver. The Doctor. Sandwich Artist. She said it was like hearing a ghost. Heard him in a real way when her iTunes landed on an old recording. She hadn’t erased them, and belted out songs that followed them with serious enthusiasm. She thought that she was getting better at dealing, except for the time she played one on repeat after a bad date. The one when he tried to freestyle over the intro to Girls. She had fallen asleep to it, woken up to it in the morning.
Hadn’t changed the tattoo, but was really considering it. Really. It wasn’t fair. Life wasn’t fair. School wasn’t fair. Society wasn’t fair. He was always waiting for the bus, and it was so cold. Make it Or Break It: What Do You Choose? You had to think that your ex’s were worse off than when they were with you. Had to. You had to believe they were incomplete disasters without you: You had to know that they would never again have good sex. But they did. And you knew it. Somewhere in the cracks of your I Am Superman logic, you knew it: You understood that you were replaceable, as her ex-boyfriend had been. You didn’t like to think about that. You didn’t consider the implications of comparing human beings. You waited for the bus. You waited for the bus. Your friends objected to your eating of her cereal. You said, I cut her face out the box.
She was still alive and had gone on living, winning, breathing, and feeling things after you stopped seeing her, talking to her every day of the week, at home, the bar, the gym, her father’s house, that café where the waiter knew your orders. Two eggs- over easy, rye toast, coffee. Two eggs- scrambled, white toast, OJ.
Everything is going to continue on, said her allies. Just a process, everything will be fine.
Fuck is that supposed to mean, she rebutted. Everything is never fine- Sean cheats on you, you know.
Lost a few allies, sure, but met others. New entourage, new house. She had achieved her dreams: She broke the records. She had had a good season- a great season. And she had a second date.
He thought it was a good time to surprise her. He needed to replace the airbrushed and bleach toothed image with somebody real.
People like you for your style on the court. You should take it as a compliment: L’Oréal is no joke.
What about Lexus? What about Bud?
I didn’t know you liked Bud.
She closed her fridge.
He was outside. Talk about the perfect man: Undone just enough buttons on his shirt to show a tactical amount of chest hair. She loved his chest hair. He knew that was for sure. He’d had his second thoughts, alright, even returned to the bus stop, but a YOU CAN DO IT BRO text had him back in her lane, looking at her new house. He liked the roof.
You can do it, he said.
He walked toward the house, up the lane. He stopped by a side window to check his reflection, imagined her face upon seeing him again. He’s doing so well– look what I’ve lost.
You can do it bro, he whispered.
The light flashing on inside turned his reflection into the view of a bedroom with fresh, red paint. And there she was- hair messed, tired- undressing another woman. She still had the tattoo.
colour by Pink Glove
words by Liam Lachance