Pouty in black at the hostess stand, freshly tattooed in Velvet Underground lyrics. She wasn’t sure about her boyfriend or whether or not she liked humans with penises, but she was giving them a try. Kiss me, she said. With lip gloss sticky and morning cigarette breath. A month later she moved in because we all needed a place to live and there were rooms to fill. She covered her walls in post-punk flyers and ironic unicorn drawings in suggestive poses. In a “sexy yeti” costume she carved pumpkins in the basement and left the seeds and innards to dry on the floor. One day she was arriving as I was leaving and stood frozen in the threshold with her head down, arms crisscrossed. Hey, I said to her, trying to assess her anxiety. I caught a glimpse of a sweater I used to wear on her body. It was possible for her to have the same sweater, dusty blue with a zipper up its front, pockets for hands and ski chalet details on the shoulders. I didn’t particularly like my version of this sweater and hadn’t worn it in months but was reconsidering as it looked good on her and may once again look good on me. Hi she said nervously edging her way past me towards her bedroom. Later I couldn’t find my sweater along with a few other things, including the yellow dress I’d been wearing for years to feel light and pretty in summer sun and some jewelry my grandmother gave me. I phoned my other roommate and told her things were missing. Things were missing and the things missing weren’t there because our roommate may have taken them. We waited for her to leave then raided her bedroom, unveiling our things hidden meticulously under bed frames and drawers. When confronted she didn’t apologize, but did admit to a problem she had been having all of her life. The problem of feeling things should be hers when they weren’t. She wasn’t sure where this came from, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know. The roots of that specific desire terrified her. 9 years later I caught her in a threshold of a bar, her coming, me going. Her face slightly puffy, the last residue of youth fading from her. For an instant I forgot her name and the memory of her stealing from me. I asked how she was. She shrugged her shoulders, pulled her pants down and walked away.
The Flexible Persona was founded in 2013. We are an independent home for emerging and established writers and poets.