There are three that will fill up your rooms with roses. The three you gave your heart to for real.
They were all older.
They all had so much more experience with life than you did. Fifteen years worth, each time.
Years later you think about the karma of things. Who they were, who you were. You think about the way you had finally reached the end each time.
He was the one that you thought it might work out with. He was the one who tossed your little pink shoe around at work. He was the one who insisted he was staying.
“I love that sound.” he says.
The bells of the mission ring softly in the distance as he makes tea in the kitchen. You nod, looking at what he had done to your apartment. He’d gathered roses — hundreds of roses — and tucked them everywhere. It looked like a bower.
At first it seemed romantic. It seemed like love.
What you didn’t want to see was the truth, but you do, years later.
Marriage was something he wanted from you, but he didn’t want babies.
He lied about that. Like the first two had as well.
“See you at work.”
You wander around the rooms full of stolen roses in your tiny apartment. It’s been a year since the one who really broke your heart has gone. You decided to live that year. It was worth it, after all.
“I don’t want to know about it,” he says. “I’m only interested in the present. I don’t want to hear about other guys.”
You wanted to be able to tell him what had happened, but he muzzled you. How easy that was. How easy it was for you to adapt to something like a big ball gag. An invisible ball gag.
She finds your apartment on the hill not long after. She’s crying standing out on the street and her mascara is running.
“It’ll never last,” she says.
It lasts 27 years.
He likes it over at your place. It’s a warm little nest where he thinks he can put down roots.
It lasts 27 years and it’s the longest thing you have ever done, and the hardest. What were you hoping for?
He was married twice before. You had two relationships before. The two of you had many lovers didn’t you?
He’s washing the dishes in the little kitchen and you decide you’ll do it over. It’s your first project together. It’s something you can build upon and all of a sudden you are picking out cans of paint and sticky paper to line the drawers and shelves and you’re buying floor tiles — peel and stick, and you peel and stick and peel and stick and peel and stick until there are whole new rooms and he fits and he’s building you some shelves for the kitchen.
“This is a kitchen, not a darkroom,” he says, wielding tools.
“Okay,” you say.
It’s like this agreement the two of you have, where he is going to take the lead about how things will go from then on.
You’re buying a miniature washer and dryer for your apartment. They’re a relief because you won’t have to haul all your things to the laundrymat any more.
You won’t have to keep buying new clothes. You can just wash them at home.
He’s sitting in the kitchen and the two of you are laughing watching them spin and spin and spin — a trial run.
The darkroom is long gone, packed away. In its place is a new girl. A girl who is taking on a role she was pre-destined for.
White girls get married and have babies.
White girls get married and have babies and they don’t come home as unwed mothers.
“She’s a big girl. She can take care of herself,” he says.
She was outside your little apartment crying on the street. Years later you think about the way he dumped her for you and the way that she followed him around with those sad little puppy dog eyes and the way that he had been a cruel little shit to her and she had really loved him. She had even given up her children and her husband for him.
She didn’t even drive.
He wants to be over at your place where the mission bells toll out over the city marking off the hours with a series of chimes…
“roserooms” — copyright 2011 — Valentine Bonnaire — all rights reserved.