Thirteen

My dear,

Thirteen is such a beautiful number. A one and a three. Look at this amazing geometry: 13. Look at the complementary shapes, the way they curve and cater to the line. Alternatively, it is ten and three. So what people would give you and then what people would give me, respectively. I was called a seven and a half once. I like to think you would have told them off.

That’s the problem with me, my dear. I like to think a lot. More often than not, these are thoughts that run so wildly, so untamed, and are so flawed in their very existence. I fail to see that; instead I latch on to them and after a while they are rooted in my brain like centuries old trees.

In my ninth letter, I wrote to you and said that I want to see you smile again. I said I wanted you to be incredibly handsome in your inner peace, with a smirk to match that beautiful mind of yours. I believe you’re happy now. I believe you laugh and you live and I’m pleased. Your name comes up in my head sometimes when it’s hit four am and I can’t sleep at all. I think of your voice, the way it folded down from your tongue. I want to kiss your voice when it flows from above me down onto my breasts.

I’ve been hurting recently. I’ve been aching in the pit that is my bed, this abyss of hopelessness that you once put a lid on for a couple of hours. I’ve been sinking quietly and I manage to pull myself out enough to breathe. I like to think that if you could, you’d hold me when the nightmares get to me, or when the loneliness gets too lonely. I like to think you wouldn’t hurt me like this and I like to think you’d smile when you look at me the first thing in the morning.

I like to think one day I’ll find you again and I’ll grab your face and tell you that I love you and that we should definitely go for a drink. I like to think about our wedding and how drunk we’d both be, pretending for the sake of both our fathers who would skin us if they knew. (They will.) I like to think about your eyes, the way they sparkle when you talk about something you care about. I like to think about your chin on my shoulder and your smile next to mine.

I like to think I won’t be lonely tonight, but as it is with everything else, I’m wrong about this as well.

I hope you’re happy and devastatingly handsome in your happiness,

More love than lust,

Jo.

Splinterville, night blogging, and a potato.

I sat on the edge of my bed and thought about what I should do with this information. The first thought was a Facebook status, then a poem, then a series of haikus, a vignette, a poem, a poem, no Jo fuck’s sake, not a poem, but Jo, no Jo, shush. Blog. There is a blog I have two entries in. Great, excellent. So, blog post.

Hi. I have a splinter in my thumb. (And a stick up my arse, some would add.) Well, I think I do. (The splinter, not the stick. I like to think I’d know if there was a stick up my arse.) Right, let’s take this back a bit.

A couple of weeks ago capitalism got the best of me and as I was wiping a little wooden stick from Starbucks (why I did that is beyond me) splinters got through two layers of skin to settle in a new home. Some tree somewhere in this world grew from a little leaf through years of rain and sun and hardships and various animals pissing on it only to be cut down and processed and processed again and created into a little flat device that helps you stir overpriced coffee for a total of twenty-two seconds and is discarded. Your sugar still won’t be melted and if you’re me – ouch.

Of course I didn’t do anything about it until much later; okay, until the next morning, when I woke up with a hangover and a throbbing thumb, ironically wanting a Starbucks latte. Bleary eyed and with shaking hands (hello, hangovers) I managed to squeeze the little fucker out from under my skin and I thought that would be the end of it.

Insert having a horrible time in Romania and wishing you could put the splinter back in because that would be more exciting and a lot less shit. Ah, the motherland feels are strong with this one at two in the morning. Fucking. Right. No one knows how to queue, okay? Fucking anarchy. You have to pay for something and you’re the third person in line? Panic. Panic now. Try to find ways to sidestep the others, to get in front, to get into a fight. Push me. Push me hard, man. Make me know who’s the boss of the queues. Yeah, man, I love it just like that, when you stand so close behind me I can feel your breath on the top of my head. So I pretend to lose my footing and step on your toes. Sorry, yeah.

I digress. It is now a couple of weeks later. Capitalism has returned to fuck me over yet again. I want this to be a heartfelt story of a single mum splinter who sacrificed herself to allow her baby splinter to live on in their new home. I want the baby splinter to grow strong and work hard and stay in the school I imagine is happening under my skin. I want it to start its quest for revenge layers deep and work its way out until it’s free to hopefully decompose. I don’t know what happened, to be perfectly honest. But sudden pain in my thumb; this on the same day when I caught the same two fingers in two different doors. After scraping my knuckle and cutting the inside of my other thumb with a butter knife while cooking fish at two in the morning. Oh, there it comes now; a bit of a bump that hints at the baby splinter. I should stop being patronizing, I imagine they don’t have a long life expectancy, what with being inanimate objects and all that shit. I wouldn’t want to upset the young adult baby splinter.

Stephen Lynch has this song about sticking a gerbil up his arse. While the thought occurred to me briefly, no, this is not the solution for the pain. Unless it’s emotional pain. Probably not then either. It’s difficult when your parents didn’t love you. Don’t stick a living animal up your arse. Don’t stick a dead one either. Okay, let’s try this again. Stephen Lynch has a song about sticking a gerbil up his arse. In the second part of that epic tale of wonder, he says “I tried crowbars, I tried wires / I almost had him with a pair of pliers”, and I feel I know that man’s pain now. Well, not living-soon-to-die-gerbil-in-arse, but close.

This naturally brings Google into the story because I am not going to call my mother at some insane time so she can pour homemade wisdom about homemade splinter removing techniques. Splinter with skin healed over it, of course. To make it interesting. I probably would have called my mother to ask her about that regardless of the time, but I just really don’t want to talk to her. To Google.

How to remove a splinter

DON’T APPLY PRESSURE! DON’T SQUEEZE! DON’T TRY TO USE YOUR NAILS!

Great, anything else I shouldn’t do that I’ve already done? Premarital sex? Shit, man, if only I’d known. But it’s cool, it’s not premarital if you never get married. Ah, shouldn’t APPLY PREASURE TO THE SPLINTER AFFECTED AREA OKAY THEN SORRY RANDOM HOW-TO PAGE I’M SORRY OKAY.

With that out of the way, here come the solutions. Needles, tweezers, nail clippers (???), baking soda, onions, some magnesium phosphate powder that could very well be drugs that I don’t have and kind of want. The powder. For the splinter. Not the drugs because some members of my family are reading this. (God, I love making myself laugh. And I love quoting myself: “I have to make myself laugh or I’ll die.” “You mean cry.” “No, die.”)

I tried all of the tool-relying ones. None of them worked, as expected. I have no baking soda, no one in my flat does. Okay then. I have some baby potatoes. Cut a bit of potato and put it on the affected area and leave until the splinter is removed. A year at least. No, I bullshit. Overnight ideally, but generally however long needed.

Which brings us to the reason for writing this. Other than having deadlines soon, obviously. I brought a baby potato in my room and stood there awkwardly looking at it. My thumb was throbbing with some dull pain. I didn’t bring a knife. I absolutely cannot walk the six feet to get one. Conundrum. Jesus take the wheel. Bring a knife instead.

So I cut a potato in half and then in smaller bits with the blade of a pair of scissors, on my desk, found some tape and painfully slow in my moves, I stuck it to my nail, went over the bit of raw potato, failed miserably and started again, eventually managed to tape it in place, all the while a Bobby Vinton playlist in the background.

I typed all of this with a bit of potato sticking out timidly from under the tape. I don’t know if this will work, but I fear this tape is here to stay on my finger. A part of me is sad to let go of the splinter if this works. Another part of me is in pain because of this splinter and hates it to fuck and back.

Lonely, man. I’m Mr. Lonely.