the book of embraces, chapter Renate

She was the meanest girl he ever went out with. Mean as a snake. He liked her for it. As mean as she was he missed her long after he’d forgot a lot of other girls. He wrote too many songs and poems about her because of that. He wrote her a letter once after they broke up saying he was full of regret. She wrote him and suggested that perhaps it wasn’t regret. He put that letter in a new envelope titled: Never read. He read it again four years later when he forgot what the hell he was talking about with that Never read business. He’d never been so mad in his life. He tore it up that time to save himself the trouble of remembering the combination of sentences that a girl could write to make him so goddamn fucking mad.

One time she was sitting with him and his absurd friend. They all lived in the dorms.

The friend had a big stick and said to her, “I’ll give you five bucks if you take this stick, go to my room and hit my roommate in the face with it. He’s asleep. The door’s unlocked.”

He said to himself, Dumbass, she’ll do it.

She said to the friend, “Okay,” took the stick from him and walked away.

He shook his head at his friend. His friend was being absurd again. This girl had once ordered a box of Satanic Bibles and passed them out on campus. She was absurd too but in a different way.

She came back in a couple of minutes and put the stick down and sat down in the grass with them. She didn’t say anything. It was uncomfortable for him.

The friend said, “Did you do it?”

She said, “The door was locked.”

The friend said, “That’s horseshit. I just left it open a minute ago.” He went to go check. When he came back he said, “It was locked.”

The friend thought about it and he wasn’t licked by a long shot. The friend took out his keys and said, “Here are my keys.”

She was going to take them. He couldn’t take it. He said, “Enough!” And wouldn’t let her have the keys or the stick.

He still misses her sometimes.

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