You say you’re in a relationship, that your apartment is the size of a closet, that you see the lights of the museum from your window. It doesn’t matter, you say, it doesn’t matter how little space you have inside when the world is endless.
Sometimes when we’re messaging, you send me pictures of your city, of its different monuments, the random street vendors, of your hands in fingerless gloves fiddling, smoking. I think of your fingers threaded through mine, of them tracing the length of my spine, of them slipping inside me.
My partner thinks I quit, you say. She thinks I quit, but I walk around the city while she’s sleeping and the city begs for me to smoke.
It looks like that kind of city, I say, watching your cherry flame orange as you inhale.
Have you been? you ask, and when I say I haven’t, you tell me I should come. You can sleep on our couch, you say. We can eat wings, drink beer. We can fuck.
When you talk about your partner, she can do no wrong. You tell me about the loft bed you share, of your galley kitchen, of all the spaces you squeeze in beside her–your front against her back, your forearm against her breast, your knee against her thigh.
That’s not what marriage is like, I say.
It can be, you say, and I wonder what it feels like, to be so close to someone that the heat of their skin always wicks off yours, even when they’re not around.
Do you think space is infinite? you ask one night. Do you ever contemplate what it means to be truly endless?
I don’t know where I start, I say, let alone where I end.
Nobody does, you say. Nobody.
At night, my husband’s feet avoid mine, his hands push me away. He has sharp edges. A start and a finish.
Do you think space is infinite? I ask in the dark, and he snorts and rolls over.
What is forever? I ask the next time we speak.
Forever is a fallacy, you say. Nothing is forever.
But you said the world is endless, I say, and I consider the weight of implied boundaries, the weight of my oxygen versus your oxygen, whether there is a difference of scale, whether I would be able to catch my breath if we were together. I consider how far a string, a rock, a thought would fall when weighted and dropped.
Forever isn’t the same as endless, you say, your smoke blurring the screen.