She likes singing along the songs from The Smiths while she tried her best to fuck my brains out. She’d plug in an old Bluetooth speaker and sing along with Morrissey lamenting about passenger seats, double-decker buses, and bigmouths. My brain remained intact in my skull because Morrissey’s drones are a nuisance.
She often changed the lyrics to the songs though most of the time she just changed some of the words into “fuck”. “I was looking for a fuck and then I found a fuck…” she sang while she’s gyrating on top of me as her long, red-colored hair whipped everywhere. She looked like a mop that was used to poorly clean-up a crime scene. I started feeling down because wasn’t I that found fuck?
I never asked her if she harbored any feelings for me. If she did, she didn’t show it. Not that I cared, at least not at the time. She could listen to all The Smiths that she wanted as long as she was there, with me, on that day. I never complained. After sex and we’d cuddle together, she’d replace the song with Phoebe Bridgers or sometimes Paramore—her go-to music. The Smiths was reserved for when we smash. When she’s working on a painting or writing one of her poems, she’d put in classics—Bread, The Carpenters, sometimes The Beatles.
Sometimes we’d talk about our worries and anxieties while Phoebe Bridgers was singing about a dead kid or the need to open car windows. We’d swap stories about our lack of plans in life, our love for books, poetry, ideas for travel—mountains to climb, beaches to swim in, stuff like that.
One time I brought up changing the music during sex. I played some Death Grips, or Sonic Youth, or Alvvays. She found it weird. We still had sex, but I knew she felt different. She was stiffer, hardly made any sound, and I doubt she came.
“Morrissey turns you on?” I asked her, trying to be funny.
“He doesn’t…” she replied. “I just—well, to be honest, I don’t want to talk about it.” And I never bothered her about it again.
“Hang the BJ, Hang the BJ…” she’d sing while stroking my dick and singing to it like a microphone. Her warm breath flushed towards the head of my dick, making it harder. If you think about it, the lines she just sang sounded like some awful BDSM activity. No offense.
“To fuck you on your side is such a heavenly way to fuck…” she’d sing as I fuck her sideways. At this moment, if the lights were off, she’d turn it on (or, ask me to do it for her) and right after Morrissey drones about lights that never goes out, she’d turn off (or, ask me to) the lights.
When we’re not listening to music or having sex, we’d usually trade books. She liked reading books that her circle of friends would say she must not read. She was that kind of person. She’d read Wattpad novels for leisure even though her friends, who were great artists in their own right, declared those novels as trash. I personally told her to avoid books by John Green and lo and behold she bought all of his books. I’d ask her to read what I considered to be the good stuff like the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Milan Kundera, and she’d read them in exchange that I read something along the likes of Diary ng Panget or something that involved incest or Mafia bosses inside a local high school. She did it because she hated the whole bunch of her “artist friends” who’d only read the books that won an award or something like that and not for their actual literary quality. She’d piss them off by writing reviews for novels about millionaires hiring their beautiful housemaids as fiancées that they can show off to outlandish parties or to avoid a fixed marriage.
This went on for many months until one day she won’t reply to my messages anymore. So fuck it, I told myself, another one has left the corridor. I sent her messages and dick pics for the next few days, but nothing happened. No reply, just total silence. I gave up and just accepted she’s gone for what else can I do? On the brighter side, at least I didn’t have to listen to The Smiths anymore.
Then, I met another girl while hanging out in Cubao trying to sell zines and she was very interesting. We talked until the bars were closed and we ran out of cigarettes and then we went to a nearby hotel room and intent on fucking until the morning. And while in the middle of fucking, The Smiths girl started calling and my phone went on vibrating on the bedside table.
“You might wanna get that,” Cubao girl said. She was still under me and I was balls-deep inside her so I just swiped on the screen of my phone, accidentally pushing the loudspeaker button. Right then and there, The Smiths girl started singing:
“I am human and I need to be fucked…”
Cubao girl’s face soured. “What the fuck? Who the hell is that?”
“Someone,” I replied, still thrusting.
“Someone I know?”
I shook my head. I didn’t really want to talk about it.
I never returned any of her calls again. And after a few more days, The Smiths girl would stop trying to reach me. I never knew what became of her, what happened to her.
Cubao Girl and I would go out for a few months, but then even that light went out.
The Smiths girl and I saw each other again at the vaccination center during the pandemic. She was then working-at-home for a BPO company while I was editing college theses of lazy dumb university students or proofreading books-to-be-published. We spoke a lot while at the queue. She informed me that she had given up on poetry completely. She told me she finally ran out of words at the same pace that she ran out of money to support herself, and that when she took the BPO job, she felt, for the first time, some genuine happiness. I have no idea if she’s being philosophical or what, but I guess that didn’t matter.
After our jabs we went to a Mcdonald’s near the vaccine center. I had a quarter-pounder and a large Sprite, while she had fried chicken with rice. We ate like hungry hyenas but none of us spoke. From time to time, I glanced at her, her hair was blue this time, but was still long. It looked like bristles on a toothbrush.
After eating, I mustered up the courage to ask her if she does listen to The Smiths. She nodded and quipped that they would always be her favorite band.
“Even though Morrissey’s an asshole?” I said.
She laughed in the way that I have never seen her laugh before. I genuinely felt that for the first time in forever I made her happy. But I wasn’t joking.
We went outside and she asked me if I was down to fuck her for the last time.
Puzzled, I queried, “Last time?”
“I don’t want to see you again after this,” she answered.
I felt like she just stabbed me on the chest with a blunt end of toothbrush.
Of course I said yes.
We went to her place. She spent a few minutes freshening up. So did I. When I came out of the washroom, she was already naked and lying on the bed. She didn’t plug any speakers. There was no music or anything. We fucked, and all the while she was under me, her arms embraced me tightly. She had never held me like this. I asked her if she was in pain and she whispered to me that I feel so good inside her. So I went in and out while her hands went over my face as if she was a blind woman trying to memorize every nook and cranny of my face. When she came, she yelled out my name. It turned me on instantly, so I went in deep and fast. I told her I was about to come and she whimpered, “Let me have it.” I pulled out and came in her mouth.
I laid beside her, panting. I could hear her swallowing. She took a few deep breaths.
None of us spoke for a solid five minutes. After a while, I noticed that she was crying. Tears were streaming down her eyes.
“What’s wrong? What’s going on?”
She wiped her tears with her fingers. “Nothing, it’s just that, all this time I thought…no, I was sure…I was sure that I was happy. Now I know I could’ve been happier.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. “There are times,” she wiped a tear as she continued. “There are times when I do my best to reason to myself, you know? Something like, everything is temporary and that eventually my decisions will lead to good consequences. The stuff you’d tell to try and convince yourself that there are things worth…continuing.”
Her lips were shaking. I could see that she was trying to hold back on a lot of things. It was something that I felt like I could recognize almost right away.
“I torture myself with thoughts of would-haves and could-haves. It sucks so bad. I hate being like this, but I don’t even like being anything else,” she said. She looked at me and tried her best to smile. “I’m sorry, am I making any sense?”
“Maybe it doesn’t matter. I mean, not everything has to make sense,” I replied. Although I myself have no idea if I believed in what I just said. Things were like that sometimes.
“Zack, I don’t know why I’m asking you this but…” she swallowed. “Do you feel like you know me? Like…really know me?”
“No,” was my final answer.
“That’s because all this time, we’re just car bumpers hitting each other.”
“Bumpers are made for…well, for bumping.”
“Is that a Murakami reference?”
“I think so.”
She nodded as if agreeing with what I said. “But it sucks having to decide, right? It used to be just, you know, making decisions and then living with it. Now all I have are, well, I don’t know exactly what I have. But it sure as hell ain’t what I thought it to be. I wish there was something else I can do to become happier. I wish…I wish there was something else.”
She sighed before continuing. “More than a car bumper, I think I’m riding a bicycle on the steepest uphill ever.”
“What kind of bicycle?”
“A fixie. But both tires are punctured.”
“And the hill?”
“Like a white elephant.”
“So the air’s all out?” I said.
“They let the air in, and then out. It’s simple.”
I took a deep breath, and then placed a hand over her stomach. She looked at me as if trying to discern from my face if I really did get what she meant. She put an arm around me. Her skin was as smooth as ever. Her breath tickled my ear. Then, I felt her lips move.
She proceeded to sing that line from "This Charming Man" by The Smiths where Morrissey was singing about life's complexities and leather that runs smooth on car seats. Her voice was soft, like a melancholic note tiptoeing down a flight of stairs.
She looked at me and smiled, like she was embarassed. From the same song, I sang the line about the absence of clothes to wear. She took my hand and placed it over her chest. I felt her heart beat like an old pop song forgotten now suddenly remembered.