This is A Story Told With Pictures/How To Butcher Someone’s Self-Esteem In Four Easy Steps – J. Bradley

“Take it off,” Miranda yells, “you don’t deserve to wear that fucking
shirt.”

For my twenty-ninth birthday, Miranda bought me a Radiohead t-shirt from one
of the concert merchandise stands. When I put it on for the first time two
days later, I felt the difference between child labor and actual labor cling
to my torso.

I didn’t recognize Matilda in the alcove at our regular hang out later that
night. I paced far away, watching Matilda fill Miranda in on the Jack and
Coke gaps of the night I almost took us apart.

The t-shirt burns in the parking lot, full of spilled wine and wine glass.

Natalie says “Merry Christmas” when she hands me a fat, sealed envelope. On
our first date, we reenacted some of our favorite horror film moments
involving our exes over peppers filled with cheese and sweet chorizo.

“I didn’t want to get you the same shirt she got you,” Natalie says as I
hold the shirt in front of my chest, modeling it for her.

“Will you burn this if you get mad at me?”

“I promise that if ever decide to burn it, I’ll make sure you’ll be wearing
it when I do.” My right eyebrow cocks a little before we start laughing.

How To Butcher Someone’s Self-Esteem In Four Easy Steps

Step 1

One morning, you will awake and stagger into the bathroom as you always do
and when you turn on the light and look in the mirror as you always do, you
will see the following sentence on the mirror:

“If only I had fallen down the stairs.”

The picas in each letter will have your eyes, your smile, your cake smeared
cheeks.

Step 2

Someone hot will hit on you and you will give that someone your phone
number. You will mouth ‘call me’ and hold your thumb and pinkie like a
receiver. That someone will call you and you will hit it off and agree to
meet at a cozy a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant the next night. When
you show up to the restaurant, there will be a homeless man waiting for you
holding a sign that will read.

Bobby,

I’m just not that into you.

(insert name of hot someone)

You will wait an hour before you walk home, your feet encased in the cement
block of fact.

Step 3

You will write a love poem to that someone hot who stood you up. You will
ask me to provide feedback about your love poem. I will tell you to add
this stanza:

When I look you, I get fossilized.

Discover me with your paleontology.

You will not add this stanza but you still invite that someone hot to an
open mic to talk and read the poem. They will come, out of guilt, to the
open mic. You will read the poem without the suggested stanza. They will
leave right after. You will trust me from now on, implicitly.

Step 4

When you see someone else who is hot wading in a lake of hotness, I will
tell you to dive, head first. You will have pick up lines I’ve written for
you on a napkin:

– Make like the Tea Party and vote me into the congressional office…of
your pants.
– Life is like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book and I want you to turn
open my bedroom door like a page.
– With the way you leave your mouth open, you can catch my fly easily.

In the morning, you will awake and stagger into the bathroom as you always
do and when you turn on the light and look in the mirror as you always do,
you will see the following sentence on the mirror:

“If only I had fallen down the stairs.”

The picas in each letter will have your glassy eyes, your scowl, your red,
swollen cheeks.

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2 responses to “This is A Story Told With Pictures/How To Butcher Someone’s Self-Esteem In Four Easy Steps – J. Bradley

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