Tuesday, July 12, 2016



When you texted me that it was over, I was having dinner at Juan’s Flying Burrito with Brian and Anna.

I read what you wrote and then I looked at my phone like it was trying to hurt me.

Anna asked if everything was okay.

I turned to her and said simply, “No.”

Behind me, someone laughed and I imagined smashing one of those large glass margarita goblets against his head.

The food arrived. I ate, but with every bite I grew more anxious to throw up when I returned home.

Brian and Anna assured me that I was misinterpreting the message. “He says he just wants time to sort things out. He’s not ending the relationship.”

I knew better.

Because I know you.

And it’s exactly what you would say — so you didn’t have to tell me the truth.


I wish I could remember the last thing I said to you.

But after you told me, “I just need some time,” everything went black.

At some point in the night, I deleted the text thread and erased your number.

I’m sure I responded, because I always need to have the last word.

But it doesn’t matter.

I lost anyway.


I feel embarrassed wasting my words on you.

But I can’t stop myself.

The worst part is that, I can’t stop giving to you — handing over huge chunks of my time and my most vulnerable emotions.

Watch me stumble away.

A disfigured corpse of someone who used to look just like me.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Just Me

I would’ve been content just lying with Jaime in naked, wordless company all night, but then he says, "I want to know everything about you."

It is 4:37AM on a Monday and Jamie Saracino's plane leaves for Mexico City in exactly three hours and twenty-three minutes. I pull him away from my neck by shifting my shoulder around so we face each other. But we are so close that I can only see the crest of his cheek. My periphery fills in the rest of his sleepless, wild face.

Outside, the full moon over Playa del Carmen becomes a dull glow behind the breaking dawn. Last night, it brought Jaime and I (two perfect strangers) together. Now, it’s retreating and I feel weird asking the moon to stick around a bit longer. But in this light, I can see everything I need to see.

First, he asks about my family and then he asks about my biggest regret, which I find to be an unusual follow-up, but I answer honestly, anyway. Then it's my turn.

"What scares you the most?" I ask, feeling the platitudinous nature of the question while still aching to know his answer. "I'm afraid of being alone," he says, eyes trained on mine.

"Everyone's afraid of being alone," I say. "Yeah," he whispers. "But I'm really afraid of being alone. Like not just dying alone; I'm afraid of being alone right now. I can't stand the solitude. I have this trainer, you know? He's this giant, blond monster and he's ripped and he's gorgeous as fuck. But he's the stupidest person on the planet. And my other friends don't understand why we spend so much time together outside of the gym, and I can't just come out and confess why. It's because he's always available. We have nothing in common and he couldn't hold a conversation at gunpoint, but whenever I'm hungry, he's always down to meet me."

After a beat of silence, he leans in and kisses me. Mouths dry from hours of this same repetitive gesture, I know this kiss should feel like two mannequins pressing their plastic lips together, but I deeply savor him anyway. "Go on," I tell him. Jaime exhales and whispers, "I've never eaten alone in public. I can't stand the idea of it. So when my real friends are tied up, I text my stupid trainer or my vapid hairdresser or whoever will have dinner with me. It's better to be with someone I'm indifferent about than to be alone with myself. It's too painful."

Outside the window, a rustle of palm fronds underscores this highly vulnerable moment, so I pull him in tightly. His head fits perfectly in the valley of my collarbone and shoulder. Here, I tell him I understand his fear because I rarely publicly eat alone. "I like going to the movies by myself, but restaurants are a whole different thing. After waiting tables for seven years, I have a sensitivity for people who dine alone. But it's not pity. Maybe it's my own insecurity that I can't do the same. They've got something I don't."

We sit here in this moment until it lapses into other moments; separate moments and the same moment with scattering, reaching edges like a growing heatwave.

And then, it's time for Jaime to leave.

“You don’t have to walk me downstairs,” he whispers into my ear before softly kissing my neck. “I can get to the cabs alright on my own.” We stare into each other’s faces, gathering and hoarding every line and shadow and shape. This might be the last time we have this luxury, so we study each other with intense concentration. Then the edges of his eyes relax and I study this entirely new expression. “I’ll walk you to the gate,” I say. Then I press my body solidly into his and roll him on top of me one last time.

You never anticipate the end of the night or the morning after — when you say goodbye then kiss one more time because that one final, bonus kiss has the power to inspire an entirely new future. When you walk him partway to wherever he’s going and turn to walk back to wherever you came from. When you go your separate ways down different ends of the same street.

In this moment, you are heavy. This moment dredges forward with the cargo of frivolity and fear and insecurity and something about, “easy come, easy go.” This moment is riddled with the lead of a dozen bullets — freshly fired right through your mediocre reality and lodged stubbornly into your heart and your dick and your fingers and every place in your body that knows he exists.

I walk him to the cabs (a half-mile up the road), and then head back. When I arrive at the condo, I turn away from the security guard so he won’t see that I’ve been crying. He’s noticed Jaime and I coming and going and I don’t want him to know things are over. It’s just not fair for one more person to be mopey about this mess.

On my last night in Playa del Carmen, I walk the streets alone, listening to Warm Brew's "Ghetto Beach Boys," which turns out to be the perfect soundtrack for aimless summer night wanderings around the Mayan Riviera. Jaime is long gone, but he isn't far from my thoughts. In my backpack, I carry around a postcard; ready to send to his apartment in Manhattan as soon as I find a stamp, and a mailbox, and the right words. On 5th Avenue, I pass a sushi place with a crowded patio and a completely vacant bar. I haven't eaten anything all day, and Mexican-inspired sushi seems unmissable. "Just me," I tell the hostess, who leads me across the floor and over to the bar. I order two rolls, a bottle of sake, and a Michelob Ultra. The food arrives and I take my time, pacing out each bite and consciously profiling the flavors.

Here I am.

Eating alone at a restaurant.

And then I think of Jaime.

And I completely understand what he meant.

It's too painful.

It's all too painful.