Perfection Can't be so Easy
By BooBoo Glass
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Perfection can't be so easy.
Author: BooBoo Glass
"Do you want my coat?"
Calham put his arms protectively around my waist as if that one action
would provide all the warmth I needed.
"No..." I said, politely wriggling out of his grasp. We were walking from
Golden Palace, back to the apartment. Our apartment was oddly located:
too close to take a bus, but far enough to feel tired by the walk. I
prefer walking. I have always thought that walks have a charm of their
own, mostly because bus rides nauseate me.
Dinner had been better than expected. Chinese food was my favourite
kind, and the restaurant was exceptionally good. Our waiter that night was
around our age. K-e-v-I-n. Written in black against white, supported by a
safety pin. We had struck up a friendship with him that was as intimate
as a customer-server relationship could get. The envy in his eyes as he
casually chatted with us was unconcealed, for Calham and I played the
role of a happy, young couple immaculately. We looked affectionately at
each other as we ordered our food, we mouthed the words to the cheesy
instrumental version of 'Michelle' and when Calham told the waiter we had
'our own plans for dessert', I widened my eyes, and exclaimed "Calham!
HONEY!", while shaking my head at him in mock dismay. When I looked up at
the waiter, I felt the molten pink of his heart reflect in my cheeks;
his obvious envy gave me a strange sense of pride.
We even looked the part that night. In the 4 months we had been
together, it was the first time our wardrobes were in synchrony. It was as if a
Hollywood stylist had assigned us our outfits. Calham wore a short, black
shirt with a pair of grey trousers, made of some sleek material I
didn't recognise.I had dressed in a black dress that fell modestly to my
knees, with an enticing V-neck and slit sleeves. My hair was left
loose-every strand perfectly in place,-and the only jewelry I wore was a
crystal pendant that resided contently above the cleavage I refused to
show. When Calham had told me I looked 'stunning', I calculatedly blushed, and
thanked him as I lowered my head shyly. Jean Baudrillard had been right
about life imitating simulacra. Calham had been right about me being
obsessed with postmodernism.
"Are you sure..?"
His question didn't make any sense to me. I was still thinking about
dinner and how surreal it had been. It felt like an enactment of one of
those letters in women's magazines, where the author gushes about how
perfect her boyfriend is and how perfect their relationship is and how
perfect it made life, and how everyone should just have faith and
patience. But now as I walked into the cleansing London air, my mood had gone sour. I
wanted something more. Something I couldn't quite describe. Perfection
couldn't be so easy.
"My coat. Are you sure you don't want it? Pause. "Allie, are you okay?"
"Oh, I'm sure. Thanks."
I casually ignored the latter half of the question. In truth, I was very
cold. I crossed my arms, rubbing my palms on them to produce some
warmth. It wasn't a very cold night, but the wind was murderous. It forced my
previously obedient hair from one side of my face to the other. I tossed my
head to re-adjust without having to use my hands, and in the
process, brushed lightly against Calham's arm.
"You look so cute when you do that.."
Even though I couldn't see his face, I knew he was smiling. I stopped
walking, let the wind molest my hair, and looked up at him.
"Why'dju do it, Cal?"
"Kiss her. Why did you kiss her?"
"Whom. Not who. Who.. MMMM."
"I can't believe you're doing this..."
An alien sound escaped my lips. Laughter gone horribly wrong. Fangs had
sprouted from my subtly painted mouth as venom dripped frigidly. My
neck, my dress, my calves, my sandals, my toes, all tainted with grotesque
"I'm not doing anything...I..I don't know what you're talking
about, even. Honestly..." He put in hands in his pockets, nervously standing up on
his toes and then coming back down.
I started walking again, as fast as three-inch heeled, cruel sandals
would permit me to. Partly to escape the chill and partly to enhance the
drama of the ongoing situation. Calham ran a few steps to catch up with me.
"Listen to me...Slow down. I would tell y..."
"You know what? I don't fucking understand you. We were having a NICE
time, in a NICE restaurant, being fucking NICE to each other. And YOU...what
is wrong with you?"
I stopped and kissed him lightly.
"I wish you loved me. Simple."
"I do..." He took a deep breath." Angela? Are you talking about her?"
"NO! I understand the whole 'best friend with benefits' dynamic you had
with her. That has nothing to do with me at all. Unless you.."
"Don't say it. Look, I asked 'cause I couldn't think of anyone else I'd
kissed that you even knew. Unless,of course, you were talking about
Jessica from 7th grade. I kissed her because it was cool to kiss blonde girls
at the time. And then there was Kate from next door, and I kissed *her*
"Oh very funny, Calham" I smiled despite myself.
"Just tell me so I can ease your mind. I'm pretty damn perplexed about
this whole thing. At least tell me who you're talking about, so we can go
home and forget about this."
"I..I don't know."
"I don't get it.."
"You mean to say you've never cheated on me in the past 4 months?
That's just not possible."
"I love you."
"Oh,*VERY* smart. Avoid the question, why don't you? Say the three magic
words instead! What do you expect me to do? Say your name
breathlessly, run into your arms and kiss you passionately while fucking violins
Drip Drip Drip. I leaned against a parking meter and sat down on the
pavement. Then, I took off my sandals and flung them into the vacant night
so I could comfortably hug my knees. Calham hovered above me, presumably
waiting for me to say something else. I didn't. I buried my face in my
lap, humming 'Always Look on the Bright side of Life.' I had no idea where I
would spend the rest of the night. It was a Saturday. My friends were
either dancing themselves senseless in a club or drinking themselves
senseless at a bar. I contemplated going back to the apartment in about an
hour - Calham would be asleep, and I could sleep in the living
room. However, I remembered that the keys were in his coat, and my copy was lying
somewhere among scrunchies and coverless CDs. Strangely, no tears were shed
even though I felt terribly queasy. I decided to walk to the bus stop
and go to campus; someone was bound to be around. As soon as I raised my
head, I realised that Calham was still standing above me, his hand
stretched out to help me up.
"Let's go home and get some sleep, okay? You're going to catch a cold."