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Abigail George: Perfectly Lonely Grace Kelly Drinking Orange Juice

Guys (the guys I like, the guys I fall for, the type I go for), especially older guys, guys in the family way (who have a history with women, who drink, and carouse with the best of them, with the mothers of their children). These guys love pretty girls and fast cars. Pretty girls in various stages of undress. Now I’m too shy to go to the bathroom in front of a man, and all I want to eat is a salad. I don’t go on dates. What a waste of my time, and his. I just want to get him into bed, hold him close, feel his breath on my skin, his warm mouth on my lips. Hello. Goodbye. He’s saying hello. He’s smiling at me. I’ve cried enough tears.

Want to play this game, he says. It’s Sudoku. The Rubik’s cube for millennials. The one that Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness solves in the amount of time that it takes to take a cab ride downtown. And I tell myself I will be loved. Flashbacks to warm nights. Now there is only the Sylvia Plath Effect to keep me warm at night. I’ve never really believed in love. Now I am finding it impossible to keep my eyes of handsome men. Oh, I’ve known love. And I’ve been envious of Ian McEwan’s, and Michael Ondaatje’s and Hanif Kureishi’s style and technique when it comes to their writing. I want it all.

Now I can think of better ways to spend my time. With friends, but please, please act normal around me. Don’t weird me out. Don’t tell me you like me, walk me home, and then disappear completely out of my life.  All the men want is the girl. To fuck her into oblivion, and then go home to their wives, make a baby. I guess, their heir apparent. Something like that. Now I’m back down to earth from out of space missing the Major Tom in my life. And most of all I think of my paternal grandfather, and grandmother and how much I’ve missed them. I want someone to love. Someone to care for me for. I’m not looking for revenge.

Someone to say nothing at all. Someone who will fulfil every fantasy I have. My imagination says, leave other women’s husbands well alone. They’re taken. They have the ring on their finger. I want to like someone first. But there I go again. Being too forward, rushing in like a fool and a coward. The men don’t understand why I do this. I have to make up for lost time. So much lost time! I need love like I need air. I need the cool vibrations of meeting new people, finding a novel love, and I need to build up my reserves, and my storage space. Creativity, hard work, and imagination can only take you so far. I digress. Just listen.

It takes a girl so far. I did love you. But you never loved me back. Not in the way I deserved.  I said from the start it is just going to be physical between perfectly lonely me and you. We’re on the run. Running away together from our future. In this moment I am lying in your arms, watching you sleep. You’re the assassin. The father with a son and daughter. You don’t tell me anything. You don’t tell me a thing. I think I know in a way you’re still with someone. I’m messed up. I’m so messed up. Who thinks I’m beautiful, wanted and loved? I’m alone. On my own again. Flying solo again. I’m frightened. Thinking of running away again.

Nothing to do but fill up the hours with activities. The men they move on. I keep standing still. Solitude standing, pretending not to care when they leave, but I do, but I do, but I do. They have babies with other more suitable women. I think of all the platonic relationships I’ve had. No one made the first move, and I know that men are shy too (about everything, same as women). Oh, I know that a man isn’t going to save me unless I save him right back. I can’t be on my own anymore. Men are vulnerable when they open themselves up to you, when they love you, they don’t have to say it. Men show you. Men show up.

They show you in a thousand different ways just how much they care for you in a day. One day, I tell myself. They return your emails. They make you smile a thousand times a day when you’re sad. Men are awesome. Men are amazing. All men. Period. And women make their share of mistakes too. Believing in Superman. Believing they are superwomen who can do everything. I can’t survive without men. I can’t survive without male writers, male poets. And every man’s eye is a lens. It’s primarily focused on every woman that they meet in this game of life. And every man is a photographer. I love the ballet, to dance.

Men and women both have wounds. Men and women are both left searching for purpose and meaning in their lives. I’m so tired of being on my own, of being a daydream-believer who watched video in her teens. Yes. I’m vulnerable. Walked away from love, friendships, men who desired me, wanted to marry me, but that was a long time ago. In youth, men and women, their development is somewhat quietly arrested, left waiting in the wings for the person who will awaken them to truth and reconciliation. Desire, love find me.

Boys and men, and men and boys make me think of fireworks. Just being in their presence, pretending not to notice their physicality, or how highly intelligent they are, or how married they are, or when they make me laugh, or when I inhale their second-hand smoke, I think of having sexual relations with them. Nobody has ever loved me. I have confidence. The men have swagger. Sometimes I feel unworthy, as if everyone around me is watching for my reaction, waiting for me to say something. About how I feel dead inside, exercise until my outside matches my inside. I’m looking. I’m looking. I’m looking at you. Talking to you.

Are you perfectly lonely too? I make people laugh but inside I’m really crying. Inside I’m as cold as winter. Inside I only see what my eyes want me to see. I’m a lepton. My heart, my lungs are made of ice. I can be your Agatha Christie or Sharon Stone. I’ve loved men my entire life. I’ve worshiped, admired, and adored them for simply forever. I don’t care about money all that much, just a roof over my head. Perhaps he will have children, which will take all that responsibility away from me. You know, about having to explain about not eating (the eating disorders bulimia, and anorexia nervosa), exercise is healthy I tell myself.

But not the ways in which I do it, yoga, Pilates, ballet, and afterwards a plate of slap chips. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I think my body is a temple. Have you been kept waiting? Have you been kept loved, and cherished by the woman of just half your dreams? Tell me about your desires. And I’ll tell you mine. My editors (all male) are the men that I am the closest to. I want to feel lightning when our eyes meet. I want to feel self and ego when trembling in his arms. I want to be a married woman. Feel his chemistry for the rest of my life, his hands on my hips, caressing my body, kissing my open mouth. I want to watch him sleep.

Watch my ignominy. I touch his hand and I feel fireworks. I’m on my way to being burned again. My heart goes up in flames. I burst into tears. Knowing I’ll never see him again. Knowing I’ll never see him again because he’s with her and she’s with him. I tell myself that he is in America. Watch my fall from grace. It is complete. She is near. He’s gone again. Every time it is the same kind of girl. I watch the role they play with exquisite ease. Oh why, oh why can’t he be mine. You know that secret feeling. He’s thinking what you’re thinking. Secretly you do this dance. See. Taste. Touch. Smell. So, I cry into my burnt toast. Missing love.

Feel your way through it all using your bright spark intuition. All you want to do is kiss the boy madly but he’s taken. I tell myself maybe the spell will be broken if he kisses me back. Dreams and goals and plans aren’t on the cards for me. They’re not made of gold. Always leaving me perplexed.  He spoke to me like a father, then a friend, and this is the part that perplexes the Goliath out of me. Then he spoke to me like a boyfriend when he already had a girlfriend. He professed his love to fragile me, called himself a friend, called me out on the side-lines to go down with him to the basement. Whatever love means, it is not this.


Photo by Anne Lambeck on Unsplash (modified)

Abigail George
Abigail George
South African Abigail George is a blogger, essayist, short story writer, screenwriter, novelist, and poet. She briefly studied film in Johannesburg. She has two film projects in development and is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. Her publishers are Tendai Rinos Mwanaka (Zimbabwe, Mwanaka Media and Publishing or Mmap), Xavier Hennekinne (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books), and Thanos Kalamidas (Finland, Ovi). Her literary representative is Morten Rand. She is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net nominated, and European Union Poetry Prize longlisted poet. Her poem “The Accident” was Identity Theory's Editor's Choice for Spring. Ink Sweat and Tears chose her poem “When light poured into me at the swimming pool” as a September Pick of the Month, and she recently made the shortlist of the Writing Ukraine Prize 2023. She is a poet/writer who believes in the transformative, restorative and healing powers of words. Her latest book is Letter To Petya Dubarova (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books). Young Galaxies (a poetry book) was released in 2023 from Mmap and a memoir When Bad Mothers Happen is forthcoming. “Clarissa, Hector and Septimus Redefined” was recently published by Novelty Fiction in Kindle format.

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