by Megan Martin
Because the pizza was sour. Because the warm eggs, bread, and milk were sour and because soap foam and water in the morning is always so warm and so sour.
Because I spent all morning washing and stretching Mrs. Beck’s trousers and because her legs are swelling still. Because Mrs. Beck has leg-veins like dead, grey worms.
Because stitch, loop stitch, her breath is diseased. Her worn, yellowed furniture is diseased.
Because I don’t like outer space, among other things. Because she is having another spell.
Because sometimes when I go out each day, as I feel I should, Bill Orange is sometimes out there, too. He doesn’t wash his hair with water, either. Or anything. I love him because his hair looks original, like melted plastic.
Because Bill Orange asks if I’ve ever been to Holland and asks if I want Dutch soup. I know it isn’t really Dutch soup and that he hasn’t ever been to Holland either, but in his soup I taste his version of Holland. Also it’s my version because I asked for the Dutch soup cold. In this way, Bill Orange and I make something together. It isn’t any good, but we made it. In my mind I go around town saying: Bill Orange and I made bad cold Dutch soup together that we learned to make in Holland.
Because Bill Orange gets concerned when I want to eat cold things on a cold day. But he does not really get that concerned and lets me eat the cold thing anyway. In his own way, Bill Orange grants all my wishes without knowing it.
Because Bill Orange understands that my joke about barricading the house so that Mrs. Beck, who I do not love remotely, can never come in again, is not really a joke. Because Bill Orange makes his own joke where he threatens Mrs. Beck with his finger and with police and gives me a fantasy wherein Mrs. Beck no longer exists except in a cell. I can appreciate Mrs. Beck when I imagine her locked up; in this way, Bill Orange is the only thing on the planet that allows me to appreciate Mrs. Beck.
Because Bill Orange will never do huge, exciting things; because he will never do awful things, either. He will never diminish me with any of his accomplishments. But Bill Orange has imaginary plans.
Because Bill Orange wears his apron every day, has worn it every day since he was thirteen. Because his whole life he has refused to express what he is afraid of regarding mustard; in that he gives me an overwhelming sense of wonder and curiosity.
Because Bill Orange is also sour, but he has a heightened, delicious sour taste. Bill Orange tastes like lemonade although he does not believe in drinking lemonade. Because Bill Orange’s taste is not remotely sexy and therefore unthreatening.
Because everything else was sour so I am in love with Bill Orange. That is why anyone loves anyone else, isn’t it?
Because Bill Orange is my mild meal, my beige cream.
No—you go, you both go!”
“Goodbye!” Bill Orange called softly.
Because there is yet another side of life that no one can seem to express.