Heidi Sopinka


We were lying on the roof. He’d taken off my jacket, my pants. Gravel had bitten into my back and legs. It wasn’t that long ago when at parties we would lock the bathroom door, barricade it, oblivious to people banging. We had been wild with happiness. My eyes went to the two small stars that had led me out here. There was a tingling sensation in my legs and arms. I kept saying, ‘Please, please,’ but didn’t know what I was asking for. I’d lost control and I couldn’t decide how to feel about it, about what it even meant now. We lay there in silence after, a distant siren the only sound.

I felt woozy lying down, so I sat up, holding my head as if to steady it. Putting on my jacket and pants, I’d had to lean on him. I wanted to go downstairs to check on you sleeping, five stories below. Just thinking it made my breasts leak a little. The dry palms rattled in the wind, but the air was molten.

When we began talking, the fight crept up again. I felt the hard energy of resentment fill my body. I didn’t want to know what he would say or how much it would hurt me. It was then that I reminded him of our agreement. He became very still, but his face twitched, like a fly landing on a horsehide. I was moving around wildly. Something stabbed my foot, dazzling me with pain. I’d stepped on the green glass from the gin bottle. There was a lot of blood, all that red like an alarm going off. He wanted to take me downstairs.

‘Romy,’ he said sharply, a kind of dark shadow moving behind his eyes. For a moment everything was quiet, things hanging unspoken. There was something different in his face when he looked at me. I was trying to work out what it was. My throat closed up. I felt the blood in my veins. But it was too late. My heart was not in the right place. My heart was a bruise. It was not so much a heart but a fist. He could see that there was something wrong with me. My body felt light as a feather.

I blinked back black. When the world came back into focus, I found myself near the edge of the building in a hot wind, my lips stung. Every experience and image I’d ever seen ticker-taped breakneck right up to you in a drawer and all the people at the party below. There were so many people, but now I couldn’t think of a single person or conversation. I could see all the stars, all the molecules, every single thing. Even the circulation of my own invisible air through my lungs. Billy came toward me. ‘No.’ He moved closer. ‘No.’ I shook my head. ‘No.’

Utopia Heidi Sopinka