How We End: Fictions
How We End: Fictions was exhibited at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space in NYC, from July 15 - August 7, 2016, with a public reading held on Friday, July 15, at which selected stories were read by the people who “inspired” them.
“Breaking up is hard to do.” – Neil Sedaka
It starts with a need to understand. How do you explain what went wrong? Which moments sum up a relationship? You tell the story once and it becomes just that—a story. Sometimes you tell it to make yourself feel better, or look better. Other times, you’re more honest about how it went. It depends on the person you’re telling. It depends on whether you’re hurt. Sometimes it didn’t hurt at all. Sometimes it was just funny. Those stories are the easiest to tell because you’re not looking to get the facts straight—you just want the punch line to land.
You tell the story and certain pieces always fall right into place—his stupid shirt, the sesame seed stuck in your teeth, the alcohol. They don’t explain how you grew apart, but they are the things you cannot shake. They are the details that you come back to, when you’re telling the story for the third time in a single night because everyone wants to know why you came alone. You try to be clear and true, but every time you tell the story, a gap forms between you and the person you’re telling. They see their own version of things and never yours. The memories feel like small rooms in your mind that no one else will ever be able to walk into.
You and your friend decide to line the stories up, to pick the moments apart and make sense of them. You call each other and text each other and FaceTime. When you’re on the same coast, you sit in kitchens late at night. The two of you process the grief and shock and confusion and amusement the only way you know how. You make a book about it. You think the book is funny, but everyone says you’re wrong. It’s a sad book, they say, but that’s not how you meant it.
You call up your exes and ask if this is how they remember it. They almost all say no, but they’re so much nicer than you remember. That’s why I loved you, you think. You ask them to come to a gallery and read the stories you’ve created about them. You wonder if the stories will still sound true when spoken in their deep voices. You call the exhibition How We End: Fictions and you hang prints on the walls. The prints show those strange little rooms. You’re inviting everyone in, or at least trying to. You were alone in your misremembering for too long. You look at the nice faces of the men you’ve kissed and feel like you’re shoving something into their hands. Here. This is for you. This is how it ends.