Fight, Hate, DGAF
It’s more of a concrete basement than any sort of den but it’s not like we’re gonna plan any revolutions when we’re comfortable, and that’s a direct quote from Levi Randolph Robinson III, aka Lev, and everyone takes everything he says as gospel because god damn it, he’s always right.
“Ivy,” Josh whispers next to me. It’s our first time here. I don’t want anyone (especially Lev) seeing anyone whispering to me, much less Josh. “Look at this tweet.”
I put one finger in the air, not turning my head. Lev is showing us a map painter-taped to the concrete wall, following strings where this march will coincide with the city council meeting. There are strings attached to pins and I imagine it took a long time to set the pins against the concrete and then tie on the strings. It just seems a bit Hollywood for us revolutionaries. A sharpie would have worked. Or spray paint maybe. A woman my mother’s age nods her head and murmurs “Mmhm.” The revolution will be motherized, I think, and I stifle a laugh that turns into a cough that turns into a coughing fit and everyone is watching me. The mom gives me a paper cup of coffee, not sure if it’s hers or a fresh one, and she’s just so motherly that I feel compelled to sip.
That night, I lie next to Josh and watch him scrolling through Pinterest with the iPad propped up on his gut. He’s looking at bougie protest signs, but I think I’m more annoyed by way his finger flicks at the screen to scroll. I try to think like a scientist: how many annoyances of each caliber category (current system: eye roll, fight, hate) will I need to measure and in what period of time before divorce is triggered? Too many variables. I need a control. I need control.
“I don’t want to go back there,” Josh says.
“What?” I sit up on my elbows.
“I just think I could do more effective things with my time. I think we could both do more effective things with our time.”
“Like what? Make a Pinterest board?”
“I mean, like, we can go to the marches and stuff, but they don’t need us to organize with them. We can spend the hours of those meetings calling reps and writing letters or articles or something.”
Eye roll, fight, hate? Lab notes: new category: DGAF.
“Whatever,” I say. It comes out completely non-bitchy so I add, “Those signs are dumb.”
I wake up in the middle of the night and hear Josh jerking off in the adjacent bathroom. I place a hand over my belly button. He hasn’t touched me in months. My revolution will not be motherized.
Eye roll, fight, hate, DGAF? Lab notes: new category: I will never be happy.
Josh never decided on a poster design so we show up to the march as the only people without witty signs, including the people who made witty signs that are self-aware of how insufferable the sign game has become. I walk as close to Lev as I can, and he’s wearing this dark green jacket with shiny gold epaulettes and it looks real sixties. His sign just has their insta handle which I respect as non-witty. The revolution will be utilitarian.
“It’s Ivy, right?” he asks.
“It’s a beautiful day to chip away at the machine,” he says.
“The revolution will wear sunscreen,” I say.
Lev laughs, and I’ve never felt more powerful. Josh doesn’t laugh. Eye roll, fight, hate, DGAF.
Lab notes: new category: get away from me.
That night I don’t think about the protest, or the march, or the revolution, or even Lev’s shiny golden buttons on his shoulders. I think about how all the new categories are diluting my table and the overall effect is nudging the data further away from the empirical trigger of divorce.
My phone rings. No caller ID. I answer because it’s easier than dealing with a voicemail and the accumulation of guilt with each day I don’t call someone back.
“Ivy, it’s Blake,” my sister says.
“Yeah,” I say, not wanting to talk to her but it’s not like I can hang up now.
“I need you to bail me out,” she says. “Not like, figuratively. Can you come down and get me out of the slammer.”
“Oh my god,” I say. Who calls it the slammer when they’re in the slammer?
“I got arrested for possession at this, like, after party after the protest.”
“You were at the protest?”
“Nah, just the party.”
The revolution will be stoned.
I’d wanted to pick a good divorce-worthy fight with Josh tonight but now my sister is here, staying on the couch. Josh is making a midnight snack in the kitchen and making way too much mess and eye roll/fight/hate/DGAF/get away from me? Hate.
I’d wanted to be a mother one day but not with someone I can’t look at when he makes vegan nachos.
I’d wanted to change the world.
I go to the next meeting alone. I sit by the mom and sip my own paper cup of coffee. Lev is angry about the police bust, he’s angry about the party, he’s angry about the city council vote, he’s angry at all of their witty signs. I don’t think he has the social capital for them to fear him but he’s trying. The mom drains her cup and plays with the rim until it unrolls into a moistened paper furl. I drain my cup too, in one large swallow that hurts my throat.
The revolution will be inside me.
Julia Dixon Evans is author of the novel HOW TO SET YOURSELF ON FIRE, forthcoming in May from Dzanc Books. Her work can be found in The Fanzine, Paper Darts, Pithead Chapel, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. She is an editor and program director for the literary nonprofit and small press So Say We All in San Diego. More at www.juliadixonevans.com or on Twitter @juliadixonevans.