Home > The Pisces(15)

The Pisces(15)
Author: Melissa Broder

“You came back,” he said.

“I did.”

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi. You’re really not freezing?”

“No, it feels natural.”

“Crazy. So I have a question. Do you like Bukowski?” I asked.

“Who?” he said.

“Charles Bukowski; he’s a poet.”

“I don’t know who that is,” he said, treading water. “Why?”

“It’s not important,” I said.

“No, tell me why. Do you like him?”

“Definitely not,” I said. “But I just went on a date with someone who is a big fan.”

“You did?” said Theo. “How was that for you?”

I couldn’t tell if he seemed genuinely interested or if he was just being polite.

“Heinous,” I said.

“That can happen, I suppose,” he said.

Suddenly I felt too…something. I wanted him to know I had gone on a date, because I wanted to see what his response would be. But I didn’t want him to think that I was a complainer or needy, or that things didn’t work out for me. I didn’t want to seem bitter. I wanted to seem youthful and full of joie de vivre.

“It’s okay,” I said. “There’s another possible date on the horizon with someone else. This designer guy. Might make out with him.”

What was I saying?

“Ah,” he said.

Did he look dejected? His expression was so serious that I couldn’t tell.

“What about you?” I broke in. “Do you have a girlfriend?”

“Not at the moment,” he said.

“Boyfriend?” I asked.

“Nope,” he said.

“Really, I’m surprised. I would think people would be all over you.”

I don’t know what I was trying to get him to say. Mostly, I wanted to get us talking about sex and love. But he changed the subject.

“So which poets do you like?” he asked.

“Me, no one at the moment. I actually want to kill all of poetry. If there was no more poetry left in the world I would be fine with it.”

“I hate art too,” he said.

“Really?” I asked.

“No.” He grinned.

“It’s not that I hate poetry. But I’ve been working on a project about a particular poet for a very long time. And I’m having trouble with it. So right now I’m feeling pretty over poetry.”

“Which poet?” he asked.

“Oh, her name is Sappho,” I said.

“I know Sappho,” he said.

“No you don’t,” I said.

I assumed he was being one of those people whom, when asked about a movie they’ve never seen, responds with an affirmation about how much they loved it.

“Yes, Sappho, she’s not exactly esoteric. Greek love poet. Well actually, she was a musician. Of course, most people don’t know that.”

“Yeah, I know. How do you know that?”

“I know a few things,” he said.


“So what is this project about?”

“It’s bullshit, pretty much.”

“Is it? I can’t imagine bullshitting about Sappho. Her words are so beautiful, what’s left of them anyway.”

“I don’t know if it’s bullshit. It’s an attempt to sort of read Sappho through the—nothingness around her. Through the destruction of her text.”

“That sounds interesting, actually. Nothingness is good. Almost as good as filling up every space,” he smiled. “And destruction. Destruction can be sexy.”

I shivered a little bit.

“I guess the gaps are sort of a reminder that, in love, things get disconnected,” I said. “People just disappear.”

“Maybe they leave room for something more infinite,” he said.

“Maybe,” I said. “All I know is it’s not going very well. I’m not enjoying it.”

“But you’re still doing it?” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “I guess I like torturing myself.”

“That can also be sexy if done right, I suppose.”

Was he fucking with me? I stood up. I didn’t know whether to move closer to him or away from him on the rock, so I looked up at the moon, which was a crescent. I thought about licking it or putting it inside me.

“Well, Lucy, I wish you only the best with the self-torture,” he said. “And with your next date.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Maybe I’ll see you out here again?”

“Maybe,” he said.


“Have a good night,” he said.

And with that he pushed off the rock and began to breaststroke away.


When I got home I was turned on. That little fucker. Who was he, even, lurking around in the ocean? I decided to take immediate action. Brushing past Dominic, who sniffed at me suspiciously and growled a little, I took to my phone. It was time to send Tinder Garrett a message.

Hey I changed my mind. Want to meet up after all? I wrote.

He wrote back within seconds:

guess it didn’t work out with the other dude?

haha, I said.

want to come to downtown? i work in a loft down here. meet me on the roof of the Ace Hotel tmrw @ 7

sounds good I wrote, so casually.

Immediately after that message came a text. It was from Jamie.

How are you? I miss you.

My stomach dropped. Claire was right! It was like he could smell that I was out with other men. Now it was raining attention. There was Adam, Garrett, Theo, and Jamie. I wanted to wait to text him back but wrote immediately, of course.

I’m fine. deep in therapy, as instructed

And how is megan?

There was a pause.

She is good

Well, that was that…

She’s no you, of course

Now this was getting crazy. Was I a sorcerer? Had I conjured all of this? What was he trying to do? It was like I was the other woman and Megan was the one he was stuck with. I suddenly no longer felt hurt that he was with her. I liked being the desirable one. Also, I liked playing with him. I was going to ignore him. Already high on Garrett and our impending date, I would be able to do it. This was what I needed—multiple men at all times. Then I wouldn’t need any of them. Put me naked in a clamshell. Let them all fawn around me.


“You’re absolutely glowing! You’re not dating anyone, are you?” asked Annika.

She was standing on the balcony of her hotel wearing a long embroidered caftan. Through video chat I could see the Provence sunset behind her.

“No, I’m keeping to myself.”

“Good,” she said. “Get that kundalini shakti recharged. Don’t go scattering that chi anywhere and you’ll be a warrior by the time I get back. How is the group?”

“A nightmare,” I said.

“But you’re going?”

“I’m going.”

“Let me see my baby.”

I held the computer screen up to Dominic. She made cooing noises and he pawed it, whined a little.

“He looks a touch sad,” she said. “You’re spending ample time with him?”

“We’re thick as thieves.”

“Good,” she said. “Maybe add a bit of coconut oil to his dry food. It keeps his coat nice and shiny.”

“Already doing it.”

“Thanks, and you should cook for him. That turkey, zucchini, and peas dish I left the recipe for out on the counter. He loves it. Vegetables are good for his blood sugar.”

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