Xeno Hemlock



What is it about you? Under the noon sun you lay down, and I prop myself beside you. Silence surrounds us as we drift into an expected yet unplanned slumber. The birds nestle on their trees watching us. Their eyes fixate on us like we are some predators feigning sleep that will pounce on them anytime.

When you talk, sometimes you are annoying. I want to shove this cluster of table napkins down that big mouth of yours. When will you ever learn to stop? Perhaps you will if I empty this chili sauce in that soup of yours. You can gulp that pitcher of ice cold water down as tears form in your eyes. Have I told you that you bore me with your thousand opinions which do not excite me at all? Small talk to me about the weather, that’s better than the tripe you’re always spewing.

You’re such a negative Nancy, annoyed by this, annoyed by that. The daffodils bloom beautifully in the garden but you complain that they don’t match the color of their pots. The newscaster mentions the passing of a former President and you moan about the corruption he committed years ago. The waiter serves you sirloin steak with cranberry sauce, yet you whine about the uninspired cut of the meat.

A cat pounces on your lap and you cry foul. What has the cat ever done to you? You need to chill out. Smell the roses or the coffee or even your armpits. God damn everybody knows you stink. They’re afraid to embarrass you so they don’t say a word and endure your reek. Your head is so far up in your own ass. No wonder you can’t tell the smell of shit from the smell of YOUR shit. The clock goes tick-tock, tick-tock and all you ever do is tick. You’re like a walking time bomb ready to explode anytime. There are three letters you badly need to learn. F. U. N.

What is it about us? I sat on fine sand and you roll on it instead. I order tea and you drink alcohol instead. You rock out to Yoko Ono while I blast Beethoven over and over. You like sushi. I prefer curry. You walk slower than a turtle because you look at everyone you pass by and judge their characters from what they are wearing. I walk faster than a hare because the sight of people repulse me. Intentionally I hide in my room, lock the door, turn on the faucet in the bathroom’s sink and let the water overflow. You knock and I don’t answer. You loudly ask what’s bothering me and I yell for you to shut up. You keep on knocking and brag about the bag of cheese curls you are about to open without me. Oh how I love cheese curls! So I turn off the faucet, wipe my hands with a towel and open the gateway to my room. Then a fool I become! The bag of cheese curls is just a magic trick. My appetite goes unsatisfied. You point at me, poke me, and draw a frowning smiley on my forehead with a red marker. I hop on the bed and throw my one and only pillow at you.

Then what is it about us? We talk about jokes and mishaps from the past and they never go stale. Our laughs are so infectious, we cackle in circles. We go for days without talking and we miss each other. When we rendezvous it feels like we never separated at all. We are two peas in a pod yet we are cat and dog. Do the others stare at us and wonder what the hell is wrong? Well, we don’t care and we agree it’s not the right care.

Tell me what it is about us. You look at me, I look at you. I nod, you nod. You know, now I know. You care, I care.

Cover image: I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends by Alexandra Bellink