I cancelled my date with Ashleigh because I didn’t want to shower. The idea of putting effort into myself on behalf of another person seemed as repellent as the cavalcade of odours gentrifying my being. Easier to keep rotting awhile than resort to self-esteem. I texted to tell her I wouldn’t make it again, I’d had a mild emergency, some family trouble, a soft sell she returned by telling me to go fuck myself with firm creativity. I spent the night wallowing in the pit I’d dug, a bad choice made right, and never did have that shower.
Running elbow to wrist, clinically straight but raggedly hewn, faded though it was the scar always confused. ‘I did it to know I could,’ he told me once, ‘after that I knew I could do anything.’ I was jealous of his relentless confidence and experimental certainties. ‘Life is a trick,’ he went on, ‘it’s not about what anybody thinks, their reality is irrelevant. Despite our ability to share, create, and converse, we are all in our own way forever isolated. You’ll only ever be you, so striving for something other is pointless.’ But I still wish I was him.