The Body of a Superhero: An Almost Love Story

by Roxane Hudon

It’s important to realize that I possess no skills of worth. I can’t play an instrument, I can’t draw, I am fiscally irresponsible and I’m not good at any sport of any kind. I speak two languages, but I can’t master either. In fact, I can barely speak either. I can string words together, but most would argue that I can barely do that either. A man once stated that an article of mine “made a teenager’s text message sound like Shakespeare.” That man was probably right. If I ever do anything above average, I’m too busy wrapping myself in self-loathing to realize anyway.There is only one thing, really, that makes me tap myself on the back and think, ‘wow, that was pretty good, that was a notch above mediocre, how did you do that?’ and that, my friends, is the way my inebriated self always finds her way back home.

Lately, we haven’t really been getting along. There’s a point in the night where she decides that we are now entering the Blackout Zone and that I must leave as gracefully as I can, because she wants to have a good time. That’s fine, our relationship is built on compromise and honesty and the importance of personal space, so I happily make myself comfortable, tuck myself in for the night. But, you see, I can be a light sleeper and the Blackout Zone is not soundproof. Sometimes, I pop my head out and feel the need to ask her to stop, to think twice, to remind her that she will regret this in the morning and that that last thing, oh boy, that last thing was just plain embarrassing to her and everyone else involved.

We lost our dignity a while ago, if ever we even had any, but I’d like to maintain a “fun” kind of image, and sometimes there’s a very thin line between “fun” and “very annoying.” She claims to be independent, but I know she needs me to point at that line and let her know she is dancing all over it, smudging it out of existence. She is quite foolish, really, but you can’t control who you love, opposites attract, every rational being needs a little bit of passion, I can’t live with her, but I can’t live without her, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, and so on. I am from Mars, she is from Venus, la di da.

There are things I’ve seen that I can’t unsee, and there are others that I wish I could see, because I can judge she’s been up to no good  from the bruises on my body, from the knowing stares from strangers on the street, from the whispers and the pointing, from the derogatory ah-yes-we’ve-met-befores, while I stare blankly at this person’s face, begging her to help me remember, while she laughs and chucks the straws and fruits out of her Cuba Libre, because those are for sissies and if there is one thing she is not, it’s a sissy, or so she claims. I can’t stay angry at her, I know she doesn’t have any bad intentions, what she does, she does out of a deluded sense of brilliance, propelled by booze-fuelled confidence that makes her believe she is being very clever and “wild,” and worst of all, possibly “seductive.” It’s quite endearing, really, it’s part of what makes me love her, but, you know, love/hate, thin line, again.

But I can’t always chastise her, punish her and say mean things. To make this relationship work, I have to look at the pros and cons, think of her good sides, or else we’ll become one of those nasty duos, harbouring only hate for each other, but staying together, because we’re comfortable. Yes, we are comfortable, this has become a pleasant little routine, well pleasant, as pleasant as a repetitive adult contemporary song, like The Counting Crows’ “Mr. Jones” or something. Sha la la la la la la. She fucks up, I wallow. So, let me say this about her, she always finds her way home. In our last apartment, in Montreal, there were long, winding stairs to get to the apartment, and for months and months, the light was out in those stairs, yet she always made it to the top, managed to find our keys, feel her way in the dark for the keyhole and drag her way to the bed, without falling down those stairs. It was an impressive feat. There are nights where I have vanished for hours, leaving her without the capacity to make sentences, see clearly or know where in the world she could possibly be. Yet, every morning, I wake up, often fully dressed with my socks on, sometimes even my shoes, without any noticeable scar, with all my teeth still in place. Sometimes, I think she must be like a superhero; despite all odds, she always makes it home, always makes it to my bed, always tucks me in and she hasn’t killed me yet.

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