I Want to Be Dirty and Kind by Lara Konrad

When they want me to look at her, I suddenly don’t know how to look at her, because sooner or later the reality of others always becomes the reality of one’s own. I’m alone in my meaning of the world, yet all I want is to explain how everyone wants everyone to be grander when all we can do is live. 

I want to look at her and not need anybody. I want to look at her and think about the places and silences that existed within her, and after her. Not everything memorable needs to result in something meaningful. I want to be many places and remember that everything is dying all the time. Because only then do we turn into places that are valuable places. It’s the temporality of things that acknowledges us everlasting. That’s why the past changes us the most. I want to look at the language of her body and realize I was young once too. The way we pause when we haven’t bared in mind yet what it’s like to physically belong to anyone. Not even to ourselves. 

And maybe none of this actually promises the idea of youth, because in some way I think we’re never free. But I know what it’s like to have felt that type of calmness. This wave of blood that just feels warm and unconditional and here, and maybe that’s the closest we can get to being ourselves. Are we only ever free when we’re ourselves? Am I truest to this self of mine when I’m alone, or in a room full of people? I think the hardest part of living is to exist truthfully, and there are days when I already know how everything ends. 

I want to look at her and remember things that make both of us human. I want to want her without meaning I’m bad, or that the world is bad. Why can’t we temporarily feel something without it forever meaning we’re only terrible or nothing? Can’t we be both, and still turn out just as born? I want to know what it’s like to desire without others defining it differently, or assuming that desire needs to begin all the time with the same type of ending. I want to want her and confirm that I’m dirty and strange, and just like everybody. I want to want her because her body makes my body feel like I should, and because her body makes me start to want my body on its own. I want to want her and remember what it’s like to be capable of making strangers stay behind without realizing they did. What it’s like to be enough reason for someone to forget the matter of time, just because there were times I could. 

I want to remember the summer of third grade when my best friend and I would kiss each other everywhere, because it was fun. And because days in August are so long when we are children. I want to remember her dark blue sheets, the horses outside her window, and the door we couldn’t lock. How I’d climb naked on top of her naked body without realizing that it was fuckable. Just familiar and safe. And how I cared about her because we felt the same. How we were girls and invisible, how we knew nothing. And how I’ll never stop feeling that inexplicable tenderness when I’m in front of something that’s just as alive and living. And how maybe it’s only right here, that very moment before girl turns woman, where life will always seem realest and most endless to me.  

I see how the cat licks the milk, and I want to get turned on while thinking about bodies I’ve knowingly decided to live. Entire mouths have reached inside of me and I didn’t want them to leave. And I think nothing else can confirm this simultaneous space of happiness and solitude. I want my mouth to feel wet and otherwise, and momentarily think about fucking because it’s not about her. It’s about my past. And because fucking isn’t just about fucking. It’s about the way we begin and the way we end. And how all of us are inevitable once we’ve agreed to become part of each other. I want to think about laying down with her because in the past I’ve laid down with women who made me feel like a good man. I want her to want me, because there are days we exist equally. I want to look between her legs and remember what it’s like to be desired by men I’ve loved. That’s the thing with desire, I think it always leads us back to ourselves. 

I want to return to the cat once again and think about the patience of a tongue. I want to think about the first time I read Unica Zürn, how in her book that girl goes downstairs in the middle of the night to see how it feels to have the dog lick between her legs. And how that image is still so beautiful to me, because it proves we’re also able to exist together by ourselves. The first time I masturbated I was 27, but probably 28, and I think it matters in a lot of ways. Where I grew up, all of us stayed children until we were deemed suitable for a man that’d be our man forever. Our future always had a future, and I know elsewhere other things happen too. In the past I often said to people who were friends that I didn’t need to masturbate, because I always had men. All these men, not knowing what it’d be like to be living inside a body that’s the body of one’s own. The first time I came inside my hand, I thought anything is possible, and I think that never changes. It’s not about assuming to have reached some kind of freedom. It’s about the sudden absence of everything. And the gravity of that which feels equally massive and ordinary. I had slept with 12 people, and this was the time I learned that the external world had always been an independent obligation. People think they can and have possessed other people, and I’ve felt owned and entitled similarly. But what else proves more our endless, interchangeable individuality than the ability of our own hands to make us cum, to make us end? I think she and me and everyone will forever be ownerless because no one else can make us remain with the same intention. And that’s absurdly tragic. But I’m also grateful. 

I want to go to bed and return to her in the early morning. I want to jerk off on the bathroom floor because everyone’s still asleep, and sometimes that’s the only reason. I want to think about her crotch and think about home that’s always been a good home. I want to think about our constant state of homelessness once we’ve exited the womb, and how that must be the underlying nature of our daily search for dependence. Because, I promise, I don’t know what else I want and what else I think I need besides settling into another body that wants me to live as best as I could. Every person will love you. But few of them will love you to the point of realizing you’re just better. And I’m not saying I haven’t loved the same. 

I want men to look at her and realize that I’m dying. I want to think about these men, and think I’d do the same. I want people to look at her and not think everything’s ruined. I want to keep wanting her because I think her beauty is mundane enough to love her until the end. I want people to remember that we often see what we want to see, and how we forget that all the time. We don’t leave behind things that are bad things. But I think we look away when we know it’s on the of way of teaching us something terrible about our past, but mostly about our future. Don’t we always just want to become better without changing our nature? 

I want everybody to want bodies and not forget their own. How we’d exist in a much gentler world if it would begin instead of always ending that way. I want to look at her closed eyes and remember it’s the first thing I saw, and the one thing I keep coming back to. I think there are all types of people who want other people to notice the obvious at first. The obvious that they want to find ugliest, but silently always find the most beautiful. I don’t care about the visible possibilities of her, and I know why certain people won’t want to understand. I look at her and she lets me live in peace, because none of this compromises the reality of my internal meaning. I’ve felt certain things merely by having chosen to exist within them, not after them. It’s the absence of her eyes that stays with me the longest, because without the gaze of a stranger, a stranger will always remain a stranger. And I briefly wonder if others have felt the same type of closeness that invites loneliness at its softest mercy. Sometimes I think life is loveliest when we’re able to long for things without getting anywhere.  

I want her to continue existing without meaning that she means everything or nothing. Or that we should pretend to have built another type of history. There are so many things I want to say, and I think it’s especially her calmness that makes her ageless and anybody. I want to think about the course of human desire and feel my mind rotting and sprouting, because only this means I’ll live. I want her to remain inside of me — the human, child and woman who had me pause an eternity, because she could. I want to gaze at her with the gaze that has always been my own, meanwhile she continues to change me because she will. 

I want to forget her, just so I can remember her. I want to remember her and think about all the ugly and beautiful things I’ve said, and I hope my mind never falters. I want her to continue as the nostalgia she is, and above all those endless places my memory decides to go back to. Because all of these places from the past keep emanating a meaningful future that’ll be my future. I’m anxious because of time, yet time is my only hope to live. I want to remember her without women thinking I’m lonely and men thinking I need to change. I want her to continue being the child that we are, meanwhile I’m the woman who decides to live. I want to keep living and not misunderstand the purity of waiting. I want every meaning of her to be equally lovely and disgusting, because only then do we see each other from above and don’t mistake our mind for a mind that’s not our own. I want to be exhausted because I’ve exhausted her, and because eventually all bodies must come to an end. 

I want her to continue being alone inside that room and I want her to continue being aware of the outside world I’m ready to give. And for a while I’ll want her to remain right here, because this feels close to home. 

Lara Konrad

Lara Konrad is a German-born, Mexico-raised writer. She recently released her first book of prose, Mother, We All Have Been Lonely and Lovely Places, by Gato Negro Ediciones (2018).

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