THEORY & EXPERIMENT ON UN-FALLING IN-LOVE
despite latent feelings of nostalgia or love that can be dredged up by looking at a photo of an ex, one can lessen or halt these feelings by incrementally assigning negative feelings to a previously positive image. after being shown photographs of their exes and asked to describe a hateful feeling towards them now, test subjects reported that their feelings of longing for the person in the photograph had diminished the second time they viewed it.
the photograph is part of the first set i took of us fucking. in it, your head is a blond blur, bowed into my crotch, my thighs clenched and splayed/in the psych-ward i asked Luca if you wanted my hallway-number and he said you hadn’t asked for it/i get out of the psych-ward and my phone’s notifications are a whole bee-hive and you were not even part of that noise/this photograph is of the same week, but a different night. i showed this one to my history of photography class and/my classmates think the subjects of the photograph are fighting/they attempted to guess the context of it/my hand is around your throat and the fresh hickies on your shoulder stand out like two alien suns/that is why “he” (they call you “he”) is bruised and why/i tell them they’re wrong/the anonymous hand clenches the neck-skin so tight/conclude they all have boring sex/i am watching you and Dylan build a futon in the apartment in Philadelphia and/it is raining the whole week i’m in North Carolina so we drink through most of it/i take pictures of your back from different angles at 8AM and delete them all before you wake up/my laugh breaks against the ceiling and you tell me i’m welcome to fucking leave/the photograph is of the first vegan bakery we went to in New Jersey. you are sitting on the white bench under the largest mural/you tell me you wish i was someone else you tell me you wish i was someone elseyou tellmeyou wishiwas some oneelse/holding a bitten-into cupcake and laughing. next to you sits a box of other cupcakes/we leave most of them behind to be picked apart by bugs and wind/Cheyenne asks me why you are not where you said you would be. Alain points out you have never been there. where, i ask? present, they say/this photograph was posted on your Instagram with a caption pulled from my then-favorite song. you are pushing your hair aside, gently holding my arm, which reaches/you tell me i am all talk and no action about killing myself/ from out of the frame to grasp your chin/you tell me you assume you will be my greatest heartbreak/i am getting over strep-throat, and you have made me pancakes. your Instagram caption of this moment/you finally pick up the phone, to tell me i am being ridiculous/uses the word “digesting.” i have thrown up three times that day already and/you wanted to make sure i could hear in your voice how much you didn’t care anymore/the waning sun-light drenches my pores and everyone sees me how you do.
Linette Reeman (they/them) exists on the internet at linettereeman.net