So, I’m dating Marilyn Monroe. We’re living together, actually. Right now, she’s sitting on the white couch with the black stains, watching me write this. What are you writing? she wants to know. A love letter, I say.
She’s eating grapes. She’s really into them right now. One by one, she sucks them into her mouth with a little pop, crushes them between the whitest of teeth with the gentlest of violence. What’s the opposite of fruit? she wants to know.
I don’t know, I say. Meat? She purses her lips, considering. No, she says. I don’t think there is an opposite of fruit.
We are both girls, true, but it’s like saying that a nectarine and a watermelon are both fruit. She’s a little tart rolling over the tongue, creamy; I crumble in the mouth, wet and rough.
She skips over to the bed, almost invisible with her cream skin on cream satin, hair the color of headlights at night. Do these sheets make me look fat? she asks. She’s serious. How do you know if you’re beautiful? Are you only beautiful if someone else thinks you are? And what does it cost? She almost only ever speaks in questions.
Last week, she was obsessed with cantaloupe and Eartha Kitt. As I got ready for work, she jumped up and down on the bed, singing, I Wanna Be Evil. When I came home, she’d tried to dye her hair black. The dye was spattered on the walls, the couch, the floor, sticking to everything but her hair, which shone like a canary in a coal mine. It didn’t work right, huh, she asks. Do you hate it? Her face crumples. I hate it, she says. I rubbed toothpaste on her hair until it was back to blonde, and we ate cantaloupe in bed, gently scooping the calm flesh into our mouths.
Stop writing. Come talk to me, she says.
It’s hard being dead, she says. I never look any older. I want to know what I really look like.
I can’t fix it for you, I tell her. I think that this is love but it feels just like helplessness, I say.
What is the opposite of helplessness? she asks. What is the cost of death? She takes the phone off the hook. A recording plays: If you’d like to make a call, please — she wants to know, if you leave a phone off the hook, how long does the busy signal play for before the line goes dead? She drops the phone receiver on the bed. Is there a time limit to how long you can be happy for? The phone blares its staccato call through the twilight. This is always the last thing I ever hear, she says, as we taste the fruit and meat of each other’s mouths, as I dissolve into her kiss.