I. When, reduced to incapacitation of “he might as well have cut off my hands and torn out my tongue” proportions, you neither eat nor sleep and get pimples all over your fucking nose.
It is disgusting to miss someone so much that your nose is constantly swollen from crying. Once praised for its sweetness, your nose is now perpetually ready to run over and into your mouth, spilling forth a salt flood of childish regret, making it even harder to articulate how much everything sucks, even though you know your friends, who
“honestly, love you, really, really love you” [7 times a day]
“never liked the asshole anyway; the awkward little bitch” [13 times a day]
and think it’s
“really time you get the fuck over the passive-aggressive loser” [5 times a day]
are right. They summarily hate him though, the one you’re sick with missing, and do not understand why you have so much trouble getting out of bed or why you insist on listening to Adele’s “Someone Like You” on repeat for hours because everyone knows you should never listen to Adele in an emotionally compromised state. They stroke your hair and let your nose run all over their shoulders but they do not approve of your mourning. They do not approve of your refusal to eat anything but grapefruit halves and egg whites and they try to convince you to
“get some protein in your body” [3 times a day]
because you shouldn’t let
“that stupid motherfucker affect your health.” [9 times a day]
But even chocolate cannot stop your crying. You cannot abide by chicken wings or the smell of hot sauce and so you wait until after three in the morning when all your friends are asleep [you are still wide wake and rubbed raw from weeping] and then you throw away the food they leave outside your door.
It is disgusting when you have to quit your stupid but relatively lucrative job because you can no longer stand in the front room of Abercrombie and Fitch and greet customers for five hours while listening to the same six shitty techno songs without starting to cry about how hollow you feel. This opens the floodgates in your fucking nose and it starts running down your face because it is always ready to stream snot across your chin in a very obvious way. Your nose has made your state of absolute despair so obvious that your boss [who can no longer hear the shitty techno music] comes over, frowning, to tell you that asphyxiating in the death throes of a break up is definitely against the look policy. So, because you cannot stop crying and you cannot listen to the same six shitty techno songs about love for five fucking hours without feeling like your heart is about to claw its way out of your pathetic chest and take up residence elsewhere, perhaps in someone who will
“grow a pair and move the fuck on” [11 times a day]
“you never really loved him,” [15 times a day]
you quit. You can’t handle it. It’s disgusting how you can’t really handle anything these days. Even though, after a week, your friends are
“happy to see you’re getting over that fucking douche bag” [13 times a day]
and are happy to see you eating again. It’s disgusting because you’re lying. You hate lying and you hate smiling and you absolutely hate eating because it piles nutrients on top of the bile that hisses up your throat. Only in the absolute back of your mind are you proud of yourself for finally being able to eat again, but now you only eat really, really, fucking spicy food [to match the dust of wings from the moths that hatched when the butterflies died in your stomach] and the tip of your tongue is turning brown which your biology major friend thinks is because your taste buds are dying. You find this to be appropriate, as the rest of you has been dying since he called and told you it was really, really over because he
“can’t go through this bullshit anymore.” [3 times, three week ago]
II. “I would rather be numb than crying. I cannot swell anymore. All my professors are looking at me funny.”
There is also something inherently disgusting about kissing somebody you have absolutely no feelings for. It is disgusting to force your tongue down their throat and into their heart while knowing it means nothing. While you are kissing, your good friend since high school is thinking about you two settling down and he is seriously considering quitting smoking because you hate the smell of cigarettes. You are thinking about the lights behind his head and wondering how hard he’ll let you bite his mouth, how convincingly you can imagine that this particular boy is someone else, and if there are any good clips of The Real Housewives of New Jersey online.
These are the repulsive thoughts that come from kissing someone with bullshit on your lips beneath coral-colored gloss. This is the disgusting, hazy knowledge, the maggot-eaten apple knowledge, that you can change his face with your eyes closed, that he could be anyone, the ex-boyfriend you miss but who
“basically cheated on you for six months and used you for sex,” [3 times a day]
the grad student who taught your class on Shakespeare freshman year, the voiceless void of love you imagine one day actually being with, some dark-haired, faceless poet who would take you home to his parents. You almost gag on the knowledge that there is no feeling behind the little sighs you’re making. And it’s almost a shame that your really, really good friend from high school is fool enough to think this means you’ve changed your mind and that your skin is weeping out passion. It would probably be dignified to tell him that your body is just a creaking machine that sighs and touches his face and gauges when to bite his lips and murmur. He thinks this is a new start. You think your skin might crack soon, stretched so tightly across your face from crying so much, from smiling so dishonestly, from being so fucking disgusting.
III. Experienced Tailor, Same Day Dry Cleaning, Leather Alterations Available
It is disgusting when you wake up on a Greyhound bus, on your way from Brooklyn to Virginia, and for some bizarre reason fate has decided to be an asshole and breathe on your face and wake you up in Charlottesville, where right now he is probably sleeping with the new girl
“who doesn’t even compare to how fucking amazing you are.” [11 times a day]
It’s disgusting when the Adele song that has been playing for thirteen hours and making your eardrums throb is also flooding you with memories you thought you had gotten rid of along with his tee-shirts [6, which you used to sleep in], the photos of you together [dozens], the weight that used to conceal your ribcage [15 pounds]. Now, this fucking Adele song is making all the memories surge up and suddenly you want to vomit. You really, really want to vomit because maybe that would rid you of the thoughts of walking from the bus stop to his apartment to his bed to sex that used to be really, really good. It’s too fucking early, too pale in the morning for you to call your friends so they can tell you that
“you’ll make memories with someone else who is not a total dick,” [7 times a day]
so you sit with your head pressed against the glass and let your nose run down your face, making such a disgusting sound the man sitting in front of you turns around to glare at you while mucus and memories smear across the filthy, speckled window. You sniffle and choke on pathetic sadness all the way out to the highway, where a shitty cardboard sign has been posted, bearing the hastily scrawled words, ‘Experienced Tailor, Same Day Dry Cleaning, Leather Alterations Available.’ For the next 70 miles you think you would pay anything to be stretched and slapped and reshaped into something smooth and beautiful again. You would do anything to put your weeping, flaking, fucked-up self behind you.
IV. “Please be angry. Listen to Girl Talk, get fantastically wasted and dance on a table, write a shitty poem. Just please be angry at that motherfucking coward.”
It is disgusting when you hate someone—really, really hate them—but know that if they touched you, you would bloom like a Japanese cherry tree, pouring petals everywhere, leaking out joy like spinal fluid, tripping on his love like acid, floating somewhere else. It is disgusting to be worn out by loving, stretched beyond your endurance and out of the shape you were born into, out of your loveliness, irrevocably altered into an otherness that has been tailored to fit a lesser person, that pinches in places and stretches onwards and onwards towards emptiness in others. An otherness so constricting, so ill-fitting and all-consuming that you are reduced to sobbing in your underwear and writing terrible, unrhymed sonnets about someone you
“shouldn’t give a shit about.” [9 times a day]
Someone you are, after  days of not washing your face
“actually starting to not give a shit about.” [1 time, this week]
And when you really don’t give a shit about him, when you are less listless, you’ll change out of the pair of jeans you’ve been wearing for weeks, rifle through the phonebook and fish out a tailor to piece you back together, stitch up the gashes that have torn through your dry paper flesh, polish your dim eyes and make you bright again. Unfortunately today isn’t that day and Wednesday of next week won’t be that day, and six months from now, when you’re sitting in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens with the sun on your face, with Japanese cherry trees blooming nearby, probably won’t be that day either. But it will be bright and it will be warm and you will remember why a fucking loser asshole thought you were so beautiful. You’ll remember why someone better will think you are beautiful and clever and the perfect fit for the gap inside their chest, where they were torn up too. You just have to wait until your insides to dry up completely so that your nose won’t run so fucking much.
Until you feel less fucking disgusting.