Even a tiny footprint is too big
“I believe we should reduce our footprint to almost nothing. It’s more than cycling instead of driving. We should leave no trace of ourselves.”
He was so different to the rest of them. Of course he was. He tended bar near the business college. I came in most nights to see him; to see his hair and his wrists with the leather bands. I brought different girlfriends along, but never anyone I considered more attractive than me.
I wasn’t too into college and decided I would drop out if he was into me, that it would be a sign. He got around to noticing me and nobody else a few weeks in.
I finished the drink he’d made me, a huge pina colada. The instant I sucked the last droplet up the straw he jumped out of the booth, grabbed our glasses and sidled back behind the bar. I saw him furiously wash the glasses, dry them, and put them on the underneath rack, like the drinks had never happened.
When we lived together I watched him wash dishes almost before I was done eating, and stuff our clothes in the machine after we undressed, before we made love. He wasn’t online. He didn’t believe in using credit. We lived without a refrigerator for months. He couldn’t believe I had considered business school, even when I said I never finished as a gift to him, as a statement of support for his philosophy. He wouldn’t believe I truly wasn’t interested in money. I told him I just didn’t hate it like he did. He said consumption would ruin the planet, that there were too many fucking people, too many fucking greedy people.
He grudgingly poured them shots, weaved among them on his bicycle, cursing them and their cars. He kept slim and I loved his lithe body and his shiny, coiled hair. We watched nature shows about unspoiled lands and oceans, and I once saw him cry over coral.
Our first night together, a couple of months before he moved in, he ghosted around my body, surprising me with a breath here and a bite there, and then his fast tongue. He was quiet during sex, but intense. I was the one thing he consumed without guilt.
When I went to the bathroom to clean up, as I swung my leg into the bath, I heard the front door click, and he was gone, and I wondered if I imagined him. But he came back the next evening, and many more, and then he brought his little child-sized case over and filled the drawer I cleared out for him.
Eight months later, when the stick showed positive, he must have seen it in the trash, and I came home from work to an empty apartment. I wondered if I imagined him again.
Look at these feet. These tiny, plump lobes. Look at everything he deprives himself of. When you’re older, you can imagine him as whatever you like. No limits.
Simon Pinkerton can hear you all talking about him, and on top of that he suffers from paranoia. He writes fiction and humor and humorous fiction and the occasional traumatic creative non-fiction and, god help you all, sometimes poetry, but the mucky kind. Recently featured at The Airgonaut, Anti-Heroin Chic, Entropy and daCunha. Please find him @simonpinkerton
Feel like submitting? Check out our submission guidelines
Image: Sascha Kohlmann