• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 10
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When you told me about pigs

At lunch today, there was talk about how much water there is in some bacon you get at supermarkets. I was the veggie outsider, the voyeuse. A role I slip into and out of in life, and which I suspect suits me. I thought of pigs swimming in the soft, balmy sea, little trotters whirring away under the surface like windmills you blow as a child, the papery ones on sticks. Noses wet and delicate. A grunt, a quiet oink. Bodies full of water. Earth full of water. Life of liquid, fluid, free. Connected to everything, even when you bleed.

We were in a happy place, when you asked me about pigs. We’d spent the Saturday driving around in your car and listening to Melissa Etheridge and Amy Ray, debating which was cooler. We staggered around Formby, through prickly green heat and scratchy squirrels and ice-cream with blue sherbet that we tried to get giddy on, but we were already delirious from the sun. We stumbled on the cusp of the dunes, legs itching with sandbugs. We gave up and drove home, blaring out Indigo Girls through open windows. We made cookies from a packet.

Sunday we trawled the Arndale, eye-grazing on posh chocolate and bathbombs full of glitter and two-for-one books, trying to find the half-decent queer ones. We ended up in the posh home store, the one that we could never find when we wanted to spend money, but always did when we didn't have money to spend. We drooled over pottery, matching sets of bowls in turquoise, navy, coral; mugs with rainbow polka dots and billowy petals and silver, wafer-fine butterflies. I dragged you away from the candles, you dragged me away from the rugs, from the woven blue and silver that I knew would match the aesthetic of our room.

“Our room has nothing in it but a lavender plant that is dying,” you said. “We should get a purple rug.”


When you told me about pigs

I knew purple wasn't right, though I couldn't explain why, except to say, "You know, me." And you shrugged and smiled and you knew, me. You took my hand in your sweaty, perfect fingers and dragged me to the little statues of animals, and I admired a plump stone hen.

I was born a year away from the Pig Year. I am Dog. You are Tiger. I feel like there is more cat in me. You said I was the loyalest, noblest hound you could wish for, to warm your feet at night. We whispered about this, me holding a hen, surrounded by posh people shopping for photo frames.

You glanced around, like a spy, then swallowed. You said you loved me. You asked if you could compare me to a pig without breaking me. I thought about the years of fear, the months of starvation, the nights of binging, and I looked into your eyes like just-still-alive lavender, my lullaby, and I said, "Yes.”

You told me about pigs that swim in the ocean.