Hate to Love the Feeling
They decide to stay in this afternoon and catch up on their correspondence. By stay in they mean they don’t take another five mile walk to nowhere, listening to podcast hosts laugh together over a joke they didn’t catch. By correspondence they mean their Tinder DMs, responding to people they accidentally ghosted two weeks ago when they were not lonely and needy and looking to get lost.
The 4 PM sunlight pushes past the blinds, covering their skin in gold bands that they want someone else here to see. They think they would look beautiful to someone who loves them, or at least to someone who likes them enough to want to get coffee in the morning or pay for their Uber home after midnight. They want someone else here.
All at once they feel too big, too stuck in their body and so motionless, like they hate 4 PM, and they hate this room, and they hate saying sorry to half-faced strangers. They hate when they act like whatever the hell this is. This is not falling apart, but it’s trying to be - it would love nothing more than to break something down and rot in the pieces.
They throw their phone face-up onto the pile of dirty clothes across the room. They won’t sit and watch it; they’ll find better things to do. They won’t wait to be wanted, they tell themself. They don’t do that anymore, they’re in love enough alone.
And then they watch anyway as the screen lights up and goes black for an hour. They try to make themself stop wanting it, but each time the light comes back, something in them reaches, stretching as far as it can without snapping. They hate to love the feeling of the almost break. They hate to love testing how long they can hold out against it.
Meredith Phipps (she/her) is an undergraduate student at Barnard College where she works as a Writing Fellow and as an editor for the English department journal. She bounces back and forth between Manhattan and northern Indiana. She is an experimental work editor for Wrongdoing Magazine. If you want to read her work (she's very flattered), check out her twitter: @merzi1999.