“They Know Each Other” by Raki Kopernik

June 10, 2015

For the entire month of June RESTLESS is celebrating Pride by featuring work exclusively by LGBTQ writers. Check out the “Pride2015” tag for more.

It turns out they know each other. The one who broke my heart and the one who mended it. From their youth in Corvallis. White girls. Troublemakers.

We saw her, the one who broke my heart, at the café. I told her, the one who mended my heart, the story. How she broke it, my heart, because I loved her too much. Now I love the one who fixed my heart more.

She, the one I love more, told me how they ran together when they were nineteen. How she, the one who broke my heart, was awkward and a piano virtuoso. She still is.

She told me how they loved each other’s girlfriends and then each other. You can do that when you’re gay, love all your friends and their girlfriends and switch around like that. Sometimes.

At the café, the one I love now was eating rice and beans on corn tortillas. I was eating a Swiss Rueben on rye. I always get rye. The one I love more said I like rye because I’m Jewish. We do that, make inappropriate jokes. To show our love and that we can laugh at ourselves. I couldn’t do that with the one who broke my heart. She would get defensive.

I didn’t see what she was eating, the one who broke my heart, because my heart was beating too fast to look. My hands were shaking. We said hello and smiled and then, see you later. Then we got seated behind them, the heartbreaker and her music friend and their pit bull mutts. Outside on wooden benches, like the ones in parks for picnics. Because it turned out to be a nice day even though it had rained the night before.

When they left she told me about their past, about how she, the one I love now, left her, the one who broke my heart, to move to Portland.

The one I love now broke the heart of the one who broke my heart. That made me feel good and then shallow and then good again.

Also because the one who broke my heart looked like she just woke up and her dirty sweatpants were pulled up to the knees. Scabs on her shins. Her dirty blonde hair, dirty from dirt not color. Like she’d just rolled around in a sandbox. Like a little kid. Not like the one I love now, whose shoes are always shined, and whose shirts are neatly pressed.


Raki KopernikRaki Kopernik is the author of the three-part zine, Shut Up and Dance, unavailable anywhere but the bathrooms of random people, mainly on the West Coast. Her stories have been published in Monkey Puzzle, Wilde Magazine, Not Enough Night, and on her flash fiction, dream-inspired blog, Night Stories. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and currently lives in Minneapolis. You can find more of her work here: https://rakikopernik.wordpress.com.

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