Yes, the Living Thing by Amanda Dissinger

The flaws of a person are easier to put your finger on than his perfection. Still, after all of these months, I find myself wondering why exactly I’m sitting here and why I’m planning on pressing my mouth to yours in just a few minutes and giving you the ultimate satisfaction of knowing you were right.

I live precisely one minute and 20 seconds away from your swanky apartment building on Irving Place. You doubt my intelligence so much that one time you asked me if I knew who Irving Place was named after. Walking over to your apartment and standing on the other side of the sidewalk, I watched the red hand of the stoplight quickly flash to the lit up white pedestrian and back to the red hand again. I should have seen this as an omen. Don’t walk. Stop. Go home. Watch TV. Do anything but see him tonight.

I walked into the lobby and past the doorman to the first elevator bank. I got lost on my way to your room and ended up in the deluxe health club and pool that you can use as a tenant of your building. I should have seen this as an omen. I wanted to get lost. I wanted to stand you up and stay out of your already tangled web.

I finally found my way to room G16. I knocked on the door and heard a few minutes of shuffle and clanks and you opened the door with your usual aloof smirk on your face. You let me in and shut the door abruptly behind us. You told me to make myself feel at home, which instantly made me feel the opposite.

You went to fix yourself a drink and I focused on the light in your bathroom, which flickered on and off repeatedly.  On and off. On and off.  I noticed the mirror by the bed, which was entirely too large for the room and the books on the bookshelf. They showed how smart you really think you are when you’re really not. I asked you about Rousseau, Plato, Borges, and you replied that you had never read any of the books but that one day you might.

You led me to the bed because you knew what I was there for. The bed had a black velvet comforter and the rug was a brown paisley design that was so ugly it hurt my eyes.

“Would you like a drink?” you asked.

“No,” I answered.

You got up to put on some music and I heard the sound of your ticking kitchen clock, tick tock tick tock, counting out the moments until. We are sitting in darkness save for the flickering of the bathroom light and your voice comforts me and puts me over the edge.

“Would you like to talk?” you ask, undoubtedly the only talking we will do before we start.

And say what? Tell you what I really think, finally? Tell you that this city makes me feel alive sometimes but that I am so detached that I am not here? Ask you to tell me if you think I’m beautiful and if so, why? Tell you to hold me because I know that you won’t and will never want to?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Instead, I reach over and grab a book off the bookshelf. “I imagine that yes is the only living thing,” I say.

And you, framed in the flicker of the light of the bathroom, tell me that I will never imagine and that I will never say no.

And you move over and let me climb into the big, cold bed which will never cease to be cold, even when we are both lying in it.


Amanda Dissinger works with all sorts of music in Brooklyn. She enjoys 80s pop music, kickboxing, watermelon and the library. She has written for this site before.