I want the bottle to land on Jason because kissing him will help me forget the things pressing in on me all the time, like finding my father in the bedroom after school and thinking he’s an angel because his feet are off the ground, his body floating high above, and then I see his purple face, neck tied to the ceiling rafter, fat tongue sticking out.
Got anything to eat, Jason asks, and I go into the kitchen to make sandwiches. I take a spider from the Ziploc in my pocket, plop it near the top crust of a sandwich and smash it into the peanut butter with another piece of bread. Then I layer the sandwiches on a plate with the spider one on top and hand the plate to Leslie, take one and pass it.
Spiders aren’t the only bugs I slip into food – beetles, crickets, cockroaches, ants. I like the quiver of repulsion this ignites in me, the rush of knowing they are there.
Leslie stares at her sandwich with withering blue eyes and puts the crust to her lips but never opens her mouth. Melanie takes itty bitty bites she packs into her cheeks and I watch them swell like tiny balloons above the sharp blade of her jaw. She will spit it all into a napkin when she thinks no one is looking. Jane chews a sliver into soup and then slinks to the toilet to rid her mouth of the rotting mess. I watch the rushing highway between her thighs as she walks away.
We all pop black mollies to keep our heads swarming and remind us that we are not dead.
Jason eats his sandwich in slow, deliberate bites, his dark eyes on me as he sinks his teeth into the soft bread, pulls pieces between his fleshy lips. I watch his mouth with fascination. I want to crawl onto his tongue and sleep in the warmth there. He spins the bottle and it lands on me and soon we are tangling our tongues together while traces of peanut butter slip from his mouth into mine and I try to forget that at night sometimes I dream I am eating my father’s body, hot tiger teeth ripping into cold blue skin.
Spin-the-bottle turns into seven-minutes-in-heaven and I am finally alone with Jason in the bedroom, our bodies unfurling in darkness. I try to lose myself in his musky boy smell and warm staccato breath, try to forget that for weeks after we found him, I’d wake in the night to my father in my room, on my bed, hands gripping my neck. I was sure he wanted to take me with him, but the night would crawl into morning and I was still there.
Jason moves his tender wet mouth between my thighs, flicks his ruby tongue into me and I try to forget that we are on my mother’s bed where she wraps her legs around the blubber of our pock-faced neighbor Pete, try to forget the crisscrossed ceiling rafter like a holy cross above, try to forget that my father did not leave a note and that he made me pancakes that morning, eat up, he said, try to forget my smoldering hunger, how it stays like a daytime moon, the dome of my longing, and that I can be this close to the bone and skin and eyes and lips of someone and still feel so alone.