Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mia, Myself & I

Mia's fingers are wrapped around the stem of her glass and she's trying not to unravel in front of me.

She doesn't meet my gaze and instead of the spinach bread in front of her, she's chewing on the inside of her mouth. I want to cry for her. But she's done enough crying for the both of us. I haven't witnessed this season of hysterics yet, but I've seen Mia in similar situations before. She's livid. And her anger manifests in tears. But like I said, she's trying not to unravel in front of me. And she's doing a pretty decent job.

According to Mia, the guy she's been talking to is "a jizz hampster." I tell her that sounds adorbs. She doesn't think so. "I mean, how do you share your most intimate secrets with someone and then fuck them without a condom and then bail?" she begs. I reach into my boot and pull out a pack of cigarettes. I light one, lean back in my chair and say, "You're asking me how someone could do that, or how a man who lives in North Louisiana who's still in a three-year relationship with his live-in girlfriend and who you met on Insta could do that?" "Don't be a faggot to me right now," she whines with the onset of tears. "I really liked him and I didn't want any of this to happen." She's unraveling.

Around us on the patio of Artmosphere, couples are passing for psyched or cozy or both. It's nighttime and a nearby outdoor heating lamp is casting a warm glow on a pair of cooing, heterosexual hipsters, bundled together on a wicker love seat. "They're the faggots," I say, nodding in their direction. Mia doesn't look up from her glass. "I'm sorry," I say. "He's an asshole. All men, including me, are assholes. It sounds like he's very unhappy and he used to you fill a void he'll never be able to fill on his own. None of this is your fault. He sought you out." She looks down and squeezes her eyelids shut, pushing out the tears that have been waiting at the ready – one rolls down from each of her eyes. "When will I be old enough to know better?" she asks, her eyes still closed. "I'm so disappointed in myself. And you want to know the worst part? When I didn't hear from him three days after he left, I wrote him a message on Facebook." My jaw drops. "No you DID NOT!" I scream. "What did you say?!" She wipes her cheeks and pulls out her phone, scrolling and tapping before flipping the screen towards me.

"That was brave of you," I say, still shocked. She's humiliated. "He read it immediately after I sent it, see?" She points to the read receipt that confirms this. "I hope he gets dick cancer," I say. "RIGHT?!" she screeches. There's a few beats of silence before a boy in a Merlot-colored button-down and thick, black-framed glasses walks past us and strides onto the stage, which is situated in the corner of the patio and illuminated by lights filtered through pink and blue gels. He says something I don't fully understand. "Something, something, Janky Karaoke, something, something, next up is Woody." A round of very muted applause welcomes a small man with slicked-back dirty blond hair to the stage. He saunters up to the mic and wraps his fingers around it. He looks like he's squinting and he's swaying on the spot. "That guy is fucking hammered," Mia says. I nod. Just then, the roll-down projector screen flicks on. On the yellow field, the song title and artist appear: "Let It Die" by Feist. Woody straightens up when the soft organ music that opens the song begins. Mia and I hold our collective breathe because we love this song, and this guy's about to skull fuck it. Then, Woody starts singing.

"Let it die,
And get out of my mind. 
We don't see eye to eye,
Or hear ear to ear..."
All the hipsters have stopped talking and now they're staring at Woody in silence. His voice sounds like it's been sanded and stained. He croons around peaks and dips into deep wells inside of him. He's begging, and I'm buying it. But the irony of Woody's performance isn't lost on me. I turn to Mia and she's looking back at me, too. I ask her to come closer. She leans in, and I put my mouth close to her ear. "The guy from North Louisiana is clearly fucked up and down. Don't let him make you a meaner cunt than you already are," I say. "Hate him, pity him, and then forgive him."

Just then, I feel a hand on my shoulder. It's John. He sits next to me and asks me how long I've been waiting here. I tell him long enough to see Woody burn the house down. "Who's Woody?" he asks. I point to the guy on the stage who's still holding the attention of the entire Artmosphere crowd. John nods and takes a sip of his High Life, then he looks at me from across the table and asks if I was just talking to myself. I look at him like he's crazy. "No. Just working something out," I say. "Why are you drinking wine?" he asks. I look down and realize I am drinking wine. I take a few seconds to think. "It's been a weird day, bruh," I reply. That's good enough for him.

All of a sudden, Woody unbuttons his shorts and lets them drop around his ankles. The black girl behind us drops her glass to the floor and yelps. He squeezes his crotch and sings the last verse of "Let It Die" to a room of standing, hysterical hipsters. Then John looks at me and says, "Looks like it's gonna be a weird night, too. You wanna sing a Tracy Chapman song together?" And then we do.

The Woody.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Me Happy. You Happy.

He’s fucking with me.
No. He’s really on his way to my house.
I have to call John.
I have to clean my room.
Thank God I didn’t eat today. He’s going to see me naked. I should go for a run, anyway.
He’s fucking with me.
Is someone at the door?
Fuck, I’m not ready yet.
He’s here.
I can’t breathe.
Jesus, he’s more gorgeous than I remember.
My hair’s wet and my skin’s splotchy.
He’s about to kiss me.
He’s so tall. Stand on your tiptoes.
I guess I should cancel my plans tonight.
Why’s he here, again?
This isn’t just about us. He’s going through a break-up.
Be nice. Have sex. But don’t give him everything.
I’m starving, but I’m so skinny today.
I should take him to Agave. I’ll order tortilla soup.
There’s a lot more people here than I expected.
Why doesn’t he want shredded cheese or pico de gallo with his fajitas? Those are the best fixins! That’s not a red flag. Cool your jets, fighter pilot.
He thinks I’m funny.
I’m killing.
Control your smile twitch.
There’s something he wants to tell me.
He wants me to think he's damaged. Don’t we all, baby?
I just want to go back to my bed with him.
I don’t want him to take his hands off me.
He’s making me cuddle with him. He’s a cuddler. I’m not a cuddler. But I don’t mind this.
My back fits perfectly with his front.
It’s morning. It's Saturday. He’s still here.
I should tell him I have a work thing in a few hours. I don’t want him to go, but I don’t want him to know that I don’t want him to go.
Shit. He’s awake.
His kisses last forever. But I don’t mind that.
I want to stay in this bed with him all day.
He’s just using me.
He wants to fuck me. He wants space between him and his ex. He wants me to write about him.
Fuck him.
I’m going to fuck him.
If I feel empty after this, I going to fake an asthma attack and he’ll have to leave.
I’m in trouble.
He can see through me. That’s fine, because I can see the real him, too. He’s sparkly on the inside.
He likes poached eggs. That’s disgusting.
I haven’t texted Wesley or Heath since Thursday. I haven’t even checked Grindr once.
He’s going to break my heart.
I fit perfectly in his lap.
He’s taking a nap. I should kiss him.
I want to remember everything about his face. Even the little brown dot under his left eye.
I guess he’s staying another night.
We should go to Tsunami for dinner.
An hour and a half wait? Fuck this; we’re going to Capital Grille.
He talks more than he eats. He’s so corporate. To him, I’m a broke, brooding writer. I’m a breath of fresh air. He thinks I'm different, and he can't take his eyes off me.
My stomach hurts. I think I’m going to throw up. We need to go home.
He isn’t touching my leg like he did on the drive to the restaurant.
He’s in the shower. I should put on gym shorts. No underwear.
His body feels electric against mine.
This is what falling in love feels like.
I should ask him to say it.
Just whisper, “say it.” He’ll say it.
His arms are so tight around me. I don’t mind that.
This can’t be real. And if it’s real, it’s not fair.
It’s Sunday. He’s awake. He’ll have to leave soon.
He wants to stay.
He can’t stay.
This was my bottle episode. And it was better than the Patrick Wilson episode of Girls.
He’ll get back with the ex. They’ll call me “The Mistake” when they fight about me.
I hope he knows I only let three other guys in my life do what he did to me during sex.
He’s been unhappy for such a long time.
He could be happy with me.
We could make each other happy.
Me happy. You happy.
I won’t watch him drive away.
He doesn’t want to let me go, either.
My heart is ripping in half.
Smile. Slap him on the ass. Tell him you’ll “see him around, bruh.”
He gave me his t-shirt. I’ll keep it until we have a big fight. Then I’ll unceremoniously throw it in the trash can and fuck someone.
He’s gotten into my bloodstream. I miss him already. Don’t watch him drive away.
I’m going to be alright.
That was nice.
I still have a few hours of Sunday left.
There’s fajita chicken in a box in the fridge.
Where did the weekend go?
I wish we had shredded cheese or pico de gallo.
I should write about this before I forget the details.
Maybe I’ll just post a chronological list of my thoughts.
That’s stupid.
No one would be able to follow that.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Wesley’s asleep, but not really asleep, so I tap him on the temple and tell him we have to take a ride.

“Wut tha hell, Rine. I have ta be ta work een three hours,” he says without opening his eyes.

Even though he was raised two hours west of New Orleans, he speaks with the affected accent of a rancher from Odessa, Texas. “I can’t really understand what you’re saying when you mumble, but I need you to please drive me back to Rehab so I can get my inhaler out my car,” I say, slipping into a pair of gym shorts I find on the floor. “It’s either my car or the ER, stud.”

He dramatically throws off the comforter and makes glottal noises while getting dressed. I follow him down the stairs and into his night, staring at his ass the entire way. Less than an hour ago, we were having sex and he told me he loved me. And I said it right back to him.

Saying the first “I love you” during sex is like converting to Christianity in the middle of The Passion of the Christ — it’s out-of-place and probably long overdue. But I said it, and I’m still trying to pin down why.

We drive until we arrive at Rehab (Clementine, Louisiana’s only gay bar) just as the sun’s coming up. I tell Wesley I’ll see him back at his place and he doesn’t even turn to me. In my car, I take a long inhale from my puffer, then put on my favorite Rachael Yamagata song, "Collide," pushing the volume all the way up. This song always reminds me of my exboyfriend, Wit’s End, and I typically only listen to it when the weather’s cold. Like Joni Mitchell and The xx, Rachel Yamagata is best enjoyed during winter. The temperature gauge says 55 degrees, so I guess I’m not breaking any rules. Rachael coos and I pull air into my lungs and push it back out in heavy, deliberate streams. I’ll quit smoking tomorrow and make an appointment with my pulmonologist on Monday.

Wesley’s apartment is dark and spooky. He let himself back in without me — not caring to wait while I caught up. In the bedroom at the end of the hall, Nick is sleeping with Wesley’s roommate. I didn’t hear noises earlier, but I assume they fucked, because neither was sober enough not to fuck. I undress and lay next to Wesley, my back to his, then I grab my phone and jot down a note before I forget:

I'm waking without you, and that's fine with me.
And I'll text you back later, at a time when I'm free.
You can still be my boyfriend, just please leave me be.

In a few hours, we’ll all wake up and we’ll all be late for something. And with socks, phone, and underwear in hand, I’ll leave Clementine with Nick, and we’ll talk about our bravery and recklessness through mouthfuls of McGriddles. Later that night, Nick and I will go out in Lafayette where I’ll meet Nick’s friend from DeRidder, Allen. Then, I’ll wake up Sunday morning next to Allen, never having said “I love you” once.

I don’t know it yet, but this is my future. My present is staring at the ceiling, listening to Wesley snore. And though I'm still, I'm in free fall. Since Heath moved away, life seems to be barreling on top of me. The days unfurl hastily and force me down rabbit holes and trap doors. I'm nineteen again and men are not men — they are mountains to climb, claim, and descend. I don't even bother to save their numbers anymore. I feel myself nearing impact with the ground and my body jolts, briefly waking Wesley and sending a shot of adrenaline throughout my body.

I’ll quit smoking tomorrow and make an appointment with my pulmonologist on Monday.