Jellybeans by Gabrielle McAree

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For four months, I dream my insides are jellybeans. Not the good flavors, the bad ones. Rotten eggs, smelly socks, dirty diapers, dead fish. If they were good flavors, normal flavors, I wouldn’t worry. When I call to tell you this, you’re in a meeting. You laugh. You always laugh. You say: It’s better than being full of expired sausage or atomic bombs. Or celery.

I agree with you, but I wonder if you’re full of anything. You wear three-piece suits and Rolex watches disguised as family heirlooms. I miss your band t-shirts—mustard stained with swiss cheese holes. I miss your unkept beard, your sweat mixed with cigarettes, the grease in your shaggy hair. That person seems far away now. Past tense.

I’m not sure anyone has intestines at all. Or hearts or kidneys or lungs. Maybe it’s all made up, I say. Maybe we’re just victims of simulation.

You ask if I’m high. You always ask. All of our problems are tied to a plastic bag, overflowed with my drug use. Not yours. Never yours. 

At the beginning, it was hard to tell where I ended and you began. Where we existed outside of monitoring each for using. Outside of sex—the kitchen floor, the coffee table, your brother’s couch. Now, it seems like we’re separated by everything. Oceans, bank accounts, bedsheets, careers, taste.

What’s mine is yours. What’s yours is yours. It wasn’t like that in the beginning.

We were barely clean when we met. Everyone said it was a bad idea. We needed to be with someone good, someone safe: a music teacher, an accountant. Someone with discipline and clean underwear and enough patience to make lasagna from scratch. 

We plugged our ears.

You wanted me to come to your sisters’ wedding, I gave myself the flu.

I wanted you to hold my hand at my father’s funeral, you scheduled a boys’ trip to the moon. You said: You didn’t even like your father. You were right, but I still wanted you there. I wanted you to wear a suit for me. 

Was that selfish?

We were constantly missing each other even though we shared the same address, the same mattress, the same toothbrush. 

I missed you all the time, though I saw you every day. 


When you cut off all your hair, I lock myself in the bathroom and cry. When you get a desk job, I rip off all my nails and put them in a plastic bag below the sink. When you get promoted, I staple my thighs. 

You make friends, your family invites you to Sunday night dinners again. You drink Sprite and chew gum. You join a gym. I get an hourly job at a call center. My hair starts to fall out. I tell strangers my insides are full of unwanted jellybeans. My friends are dead, and you don’t want me anymore. I’m still wearing band t-shirts and too much eyeliner.

When you ask me to leave, I do.


Gabrielle McAree is a reader, writer, and cereal enthusiast from Fishers, IN. She studied Theatre and Writing at Long Island University Post. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Versification, Tiny Molecules, Dream Journal, and Reflex Press, among others. Twitter: @gmcaree_

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