Mixed Firsts, or How to Eat a Heart
by Doug Sullivan, 3.24am November 10th 2021

First time I snorted a Vicodin to get high was also the first time I watched Magnolia on VHS while I ignored calls from this Lebanese girl who was out of my league but only partially sure of it, who eventually showed up at my place and wanted food, first a pizza then for me to make her a grilled cheese then nothing at all as she laid down in the middle of my apartment floor taking off her large, buckled belt so she could, and her skirt hovered just above the appropriate line as my hand fell to rest on her thigh, both of us tucked up together on the floor, sunlight powered through the main window as the pills curled her scent around me, the deep of my low-slung eyes refracting in the endless glow of hers, and what was I to do?

Kiss a swelling tide, like the time I waded in the ocean and a wave broke over me, spun me, drove my face into the sand. Hours later, wrapped in a towel, my nose suddenly drained saltwater into my lap like a popped balloon. No swelling no blood, just an act of
violence and a reminder soon after the pain was forgotten.

She wasn’t dangerous, though; her father owned a gas station, her brother’s temper ensured he’d one day own it too. She called me by the length of my first name and the way it broke across me spun me, drove me towards irrationality, towards I know how we can live forever:

I’ll sell these leftover pills and on a couple hundred bucks we can ride out, and I thought of how this moment would taste at the edge of a sunset, vodka in our lemonade, her hand through my hair, the curve of a soft coastline beckoning as the sea birds return to shore for supper, and I thought of magnolia on VHS; the force of Anderson’s dolly moves, hard push-ins and tracking shots, the way John C. Reilly wears his loneliness, and I remember walking to the VCR to switch tapes when part one ended on an Aimee Man song asking to save me and I sniffed up another line thinking about this Lebanese girl and why I couldn’t eat her heart before she did mine.