“It’s Just Symbolism” by Cynthia Robinson


Photo by John Heeg

I met her in the ‘F’ section of the bookstore which specialized in extremely tight spaces.

She was doing some clicking thing with her fingernails which I now know is her actually doing “beats” in her head or whatever, but it really just sounds like a bunch of unnecessary racket to everyone else.

I didn’t make the move then.

[”S’ecuse me”]
[slight smile]

It wasn’t until another time when I saw her there and I’m not saying I went again to see if she’d come back – I actually really like that bookstore and it’s right near my house. It’s a convenience thing, really.

But in what hopeful assholes would call ‘serendipity’ or whatever, we actually ran into each other again. This time in the “Erotic Art” section which was undoubtedly embarrassing for the both of us, but I think she tried to brush it off trying to be cool or something, like “this should be incredibly awkward for most people but – haha – I actually don’t mind.”

She did, though. I know her.

Yes, I think it may be true that relationships infamously feed off drama. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I hated those foreign films we used to watch more than anything in the world.
She didn’t even know how to speak Italian. I think she just really liked the way that big-titted blonde lady of the night danced around and was “whimsical” or “spontaneous.” All that bullshit like fucking every girl wants to be but naturally never can really be because their suburban pasts are still so heavily ingrained and their inhibitions will unfortunately always win.

Like, “let’s run up all the way to the top of this building and look out at the city! We may get caught, but who cares!” shutup you know you don’t really want to do that. Let’s just get dinner.

[trying to pull him up stairs]
[“No, this is fucking stupid”]
[Come on?!]
[Failure. Walk stressfully down stairs]

I’d feel kind of bad, though, when I would lash out at her for something stupid like that. And I know she was trying to impress me and all.
And then she would come over crying and I felt bad again at the sort of reverse-like effect since it should have been me, the asshole, to reach out to her.
I’d hug her and then she’d kiss my cheeks a little too much. It’s like we rehearsed it.

[“I made you fucking cookies”]

The way she would yell at the top of her lungs at the bar over the music and I still could never hear her:


Although sometimes, I could, I just thought it was pretty hot to pretend like I didn’t. She’d find out and get mad and sock me in the arm or something. But I knew she wasn’t really that mad. She was kind of charmed, I think. That sock was a kind of token of her affection.

But I hated the way she’d argue with her mom over the phone at goddamn 3 in the morning with the bathroom door all cracked open ever so slightly. Like I couldn’t hear. It was worse than one of those ocean sound machines that’s supposed to make you sleep. She’d cry and argue and
she would argue with the gas station guy about the gas prices—as if he had any say in it

[flings out her hand to attendant]
[“It’s fucking $4!”]

she’d argue with herself over getting parking tickets like the “self” she was arguing with was someone else
[“How could you do this AGAIN? Again?!”)

She would ask me why I don’t buy her flowers when she should know that’s a dumb question to ask me, considering she’s well aware I’m not the flower-buying type. She already knows what I’m going to say.

[“It’s just symbolism….”]


she’d also give me those asinine self-help or spiritual new-agey Oprah books that supposedly helped her “find her center” or something and she thought I needed it since I would get too angry or bitter or talk about how I was a waste of time. I’m sure if there was one thing that was a waste of time it was those goddamn books.

[walking through the bookstore]
[“Here—this helps I swear– don’t hate me”] 

still, it was hard to get over how cute she was sometimes. I hated it most of the time because it made it hard to not answer if she called.

[Looking out at the geese]
[“Look at the ducckkss!”]
[“They’re geese”]
[“Oh, hah, look at the geese, then. The god damn geese!”]




Cynthia doesn’t often write poetry, but she has before for Rascal which you can check out … here


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