two minute thoughts

i haven’t been able to concentrate much, a few things haven’t gone as I’d hoped, and it’s thrown things off kilter

been reflecting a lot on the past couple years and where i am now and where i want to go

haven’t felt like talking to many people, sometimes i feel like i’ve forgotten how to speak.  i think i empathize with Raskolnikov in Crime & Punishment; is that something I shouldn’t even admit?

is this what the next chapter feels like?

what’s next?

what do i ever want to do? how come i have no idea what is in store for me over the next 10 years? even the next 5?

who will i meet in the future? is that future coming up soon?

why do I still think about him sometimes? it’s been so long

how does the state of my potential (in its rise or fall) fit into my yearnings, my frustrations, my goals?

am i still bitter? am i never not bitter?

the next couple months will be strange.

why can’t i be better when i recognize where i’ve fallen short? i’m selfish, self-interested. i am conflicted, embattled. i’ve forgotten words, perhaps from the lack of using them.   i’m going far away very soon but for a very brief time, and i don’t know how i feel about it. i guess i feel anxious, i’m not sure how to process it… i don’t how to make myself feel less guilty about it. i don’t know how to balance this need to relax with this stress of doing everything.


Budget 2018

I realized there are 3 areas I want to budget better this year: clothing, dry cleaning, and dining out.

GOAL: Spend only $1,500 TOTAL on shoes and clothing (less than half of what I spent in 2017)

How I’ll do it: Ideally I have most of the pieces for my wardrobe that I will need, and will only need to replace a few things here and there.  I don’t buy a lot of clothes and instead, I buy quality clothing that I will wear frequently and for a long period of time, so I’m not worried about buying too many trendy things.

2017 Clothing – $1812
Abercrombie silk camisole – $80
Abercrombie mom jeans – $40
Aerie underwear (x10) – $40
ALC dress – $240
Babaton camisole (x2) – $80
Babaton pants – $110
Iro jacket – $700
Kit and Ace grey turtleneck – $22
Kit and Ace pants – $100
Vince blush sweater – $180
Vince yellow sweater – $220

2017 Shoes – $1714
Alexander Wang Gabi boots – $1200
Rag & Bone suede sneakers – $154
Reiss heels – $180
Y3 x Adidas sneakers – $180

2018 Budgeted Items – SO FAR SPENT $300
I can’t put a price tag on these prospective items because if I find the right pair, then I will buy them
New pair of black work appropriate leggings (one pair has a hole)
New pair of work appropriate jeans (no holes) – BOUGHT – Rag & Bone jeans – $300
New pair of tall boots (depends how bad my current pair of Mulberry’s continue to get)
Another work jacket or blazer
Summer sandals (not flip flops)
Work bag
New suitcase?
Continue reading

mama told me to knock it back and swallow.
you’d never seen a whiplash so elegant
told me this pride is slowly killing me
and i act like it’s not burning my nose
my throat’s still intact
this acid reflex is old news
i do this all the time
with a smirk on my face

the words flow out of me like i just rinsed my mouth and this is what’s left. this was everything that tried to stay inside me and i forced it out,
viscous, easy,
smells just like me,
sounds just like me,
so much swagger that it’s got to take it’s time
to circle the drain

recently i realized that all my poems are about heartbreak
never written about family
never touched the ocean for the hell of it
never learned to surf
never learned to properly drown
never recounted the miserable life of a bus driver
never arranged prose about men
only about the boys
one at a time as they left my life

would i even know how?
this is no rhetorical question.

i wrote a poem
after olivia gatwood.
all the teenage girls are gone
i called it
and sent it to a magazine.
i haven’t heard back,
i’m not supposed to yet
but i felt like it fell flat
like i wasn’t talking about what i know
even though i was once a teenage girl
even though i still feel like i am
and by that i mean i haven’t figured out who i am,
i want to be everything to everyone
but this has been reduced to some shadow self
i don’t feel like i’ve grown up yet
i don’t feel assured enough in my own skin
although i’ve started finding role models who are

but all i know are writings about the men
who left my life
and what a sad circular story that is
with enough of them
maybe their stories will blend together
maybe that’s what gets it to hurt less
that you can’t remember where one ended and the other began
like you can’t find where the story cuts to an abrupt end.
you can’t find me in the stories
because it was always about them,
never about me.

I feel like I haven’t written in so long, and have so many thoughts swimming in my head.  I am at this fork in the road, that’s how I feel now.  I am at this fork in the road because I have moved forward enough that I have to figure out what my next step is.  I don’t know what I want to do with my life.  I know I will do something, but it’s not clear.  I think I have this narrow, short-sighted view of what is in store, but I don’t really know.  Here’s what I do know:

  1. I can’t ignore my creativity. I am just too creative of a person to do something boxy, even if it’s challenging.  It’s like… it gnaws at me when I’ve starved it for too long, and lately I find myself doing a lot more creative writing or taking photos, editing them, trying to explore new things like organizing gallery openings. I don’t know.  It’s like this proclivity that can’t be written off as some phase, some aspirational hobby.  I want to draw again, dance. I don’t know.  I’ve been contemplating taking French conversation classes but the schedule didn’t work out this semester and I still have some shit to get together when it comes to my finances.
  2. I want to go back to school… eventually. Like within the next five years. Is that too long? I ask myself this all the time.  What do I want to do? Well I have some programs in mind, I have some cities in mind, I have some idea of what schools would offer me the network and prestige that would help me get the positions I’d like.  But I feel rather boxed in to choose one position when there are so many things I want to try out.  Is that weird? Am I foolish?  Do I know what I’m doing? At all?
  3. I want to move to Los Angeles. Every time, it comes to that.  That I want to move to Los Angeles even if some dingy box in the valley.  There is something about the cruelty of the city washed out with sunlight, this superficial happiness about it that draws me in.  I want to go again, and I want to stay.  How do I do that? What point in my life would and could I move?
  4. It has to pay well. I realize that from my upbringing, I couldn’t take some super steep pay cut to live my life, because I don’t have anything to fall back on, I don’t have an adequate safety net unlike a lot of people who pursue their dreams.
  5. I like to write.  That has to be part of the job.
  6. I don’t know at this point if I would enjoy managing a team.  I like managing myself.
  7. I remember in a career-searching workshop, I listed prestige as something I wanted out of my career, and the coach said that was a superficial thing to want.  Yes, it is, but that’s what drives me to do so many things in my life, and it’s not something I can rip off like a band-aid.  I need a job that I would be proud of doing, moreso than what other people think, but still, there rests the opinions of others and I still value them.
  8. I would only get my MBA if I enjoyed my existing job and wanted to lead others.  I would not do it for any other reason.

Book List 2018

OK I technically finished The Canterbury Tales in 2018.

  1. A Visit from the Goon Squad – Do you believe that certain books come into your life at the exact right time?  I needed this book, devoured it, slowed down and reread beautiful passages, drove my car between sections and confronted how the goon of time has robbed me.  Is it ever too young to think this? That this is fleeting, that oh to be young and careless, and be invincible?  It’s now. Now, now. now.  And soon, it won’t be no more.  I feel like those days are long past for me, and in some ways, I’ve missed those moments in college where I drank and laughed recklessly.  Of course I did have fun nights out, diving headfirst into all the whims and trials of life oblivious and deceptively omnipotent, but I think the book did such a good job at romanticizing youth, of living carefree, of showing what could have been as what was, and how you, dear reader, are far from those glory days.  Do I think my best days are behind me? No.  But I do feel the nervous ticking of the clock of youth, its sand spilling down into a pool of morose, ? Yes.  Overall, the character development and writing were so good.  I could picture every scene, I felt like I was in the room with Jocelyn when she went to visit Lou on his death bed, I felt like I was there in the room when Rhea and Alice sat in Alice’s bedroom, looking at her old uniform, trying to fill the awkward silence, trying to make an unfamiliar friendship work.  Time is ticking, I understand that.  I found the book heartbreaking, I found the book gnawing at me, at what I hope to achieve in my mid twenties that will careen me into the person(a?) I want to be when I am in my mid-thirties. It made me think of whether it is ever too late, ever too early, how much success is entwined with class and systemic factors, how much I want to move to California, how much I want to get my shit together and not at the same time.  Because getting my shit together means that I acknowledge that my youth is over, that I’m an “adult”, that I’ve fallen behind on being an adult.  The writing of this book was so beautiful, and quite inspiring when it comes to sentence structure, prose… etc. Loved, loved, loved this book.  I didn’t identify with any of the negative reviews… I’m not even sure how you could hate this book, but I know some people did.  But I loved it.  I loved it so much.
  2. The Financial Diet – I’ve learned a lot more about saving, budgeting, and investing over the past couple months out of necessity of where I see my life heading. So I’ve started investing, and am now thinking about investing more actively and just holding some stocks… we will see. I really liked this book, I follow Chelsea Fagan on social media and really like her.  I enjoyed the recipes in this book and it was encouraging that I should cook more at home and try out new recipes.  I think I’m doing pretty well saving right now, but I also feel like I won’t have any money leftover once I use that money for this goal that I have… I thought the book was very well illustrated, and a great guide for a beginner like me to get good with my money.  I want to start budgeting this year, because I examined my wardrobe spending last year, and honestly, things need to change!
  3. Crime and Punishment – I finally, finally, fiiinallyyyy finished this! It was an ordeal, let me tell you. I really liked it, but it really requires your full attention, and there were so many times that I was willing to read but couldn’t focus.  I found certain aspects of Raskolnikov in myself, like how headstrong he is, and how his strategy for the old woman’s murder was basically “figure out the first couple steps and then figure the rest out as I go along”.  I could see how his social isolation prompted him to live inside his own reality, to disregard social norms for his motivations and actions, to consider himself to be law and order.  He’s not a completely reasonable person, he is driven by emotion especially that of contempt and hatred although he seems still conflicted about his obligation and love for his family, and I see a lot of that in myself.  I liked that this book explored psychology (how a cat and mouse game between an investigator and a murderer works, and how it was one of the first books to use psychology to deduct motivations or the order of events, especially that with Luzhin when he tried to frame Sonya).  I liked the ending, I liked that he was on his road to redemption. I found the characters that I was supposed to care about so endearing, touching, and poignant; I wanted Sonya to live her life, I wanted some shred of hope or change of fortune for Maladov and Katerina Ivanovna. It made me want to visit St Petersburg. I reada  lot of analyses on the themes, motifs, symbols in the book.  I liked the dreams…. I like that the bridge is a turning point in the plot, that the significant of heading to the bridge or crossing it symbolizes characters’ need to progress… that many of them stand by the bridge and something happens in their lives that catapults the story forward.  It’s a really brilliant book, although I feel like I fell into a dark spell with Raskolnikov, because I too had been isolated for a while on my own accord.  I enjoyed my first Dostoevsky!


Fire and Fury

People Like Us

Death by Sex Machine – Poems

Kurt Vonneguht’s Short Stories

and he is everywhere on the walls,

no one can see it but me.

like a ghost that haunts,

only sensed when my heart breaks

stomach plummets

and I breathe deeper.

you write any poems that aren’t for him?

they ask and i just cackle.

you think I write for him? i sneer

i write for me.

i write because i have to.

i write so that one day, i can purge him

so he can haunt only some photo i’ve forgotten to delete

like an exorcism through poetry.

What a miracle, they’ll say.

the softball question

We played a game of softball Truth or Dare at your house while waiting for the sun to go down, letting the lazy evening sweep us away.  There were six of us -you and four of your friends who considered your house a regular haunt, and me, the only girl, like always.  We were sipping vodka Sprites casually on your large grey couch lining the white walls of your living room with its signature vaulted ceiling, with nowhere to be since it had been another sweltering day in the San Francisco Valley that August, but it was a Friday.  And since it was a Friday, we all quietly felt like we needed to go somewhere in order to preserve some measure of social standing, like some perennial Millennial internal panic.  I had always found the house an anomaly -a long bungalow in the Valley with a looming living room in the back that made the whole thing feel a lot bigger even though the two-bedroom house was made for a bachelor.  You loved this house, because it now bore your history all over the walls: art that you’d collected over the years, and nicks on the wall from drunken minor mishaps.

E tapped on his phone to show the next instruction in the virtual card game, and he looks at me.  It’s my turn.

“Oh this one’s a good one,” he muses and reads the instruction aloud.  “Say something that will make us all uncomfortable.”

E had always been somewhat enigmatic for me in a manner I found hard to explain.  In general, he was an open book: always down to share whatever salacious and wild story had happened to him from the night before, always unfiltered and uncensored, game to talk about anything from his kids to his cordial yet strained relationship with his kids’ mother, to the women he was currently sleeping with, to his shortfalls, to private details about his work.  He could always make fun of himself even on the most damaging points,  he was always the biggest flirt. He wore his demeanour -the smoothness of a laid back city playboy – on his sleeve rolled up for all to see; sure, he was over forty now and shouldn’t be partying so hard, sure he should be a better father figure to his kids, but this was his life and to hell what stuffy prudes with a stick up their ass think.  And it worked -people loved him, you most of all since you looked him as a mentor, the person who believed in your work when you were nobody in this sprawling city.  What is a god if not simultaneously revered, feared, and resented?  Yet there was always this feeling at the back of my head that his closest held secrets were impenetrable, that his refusal to apologize for anything and change his lifestyle bordered on a refusal for self-reflection, a quiet sign of denial of brewing conflicts in the undercurrents.  And because these latter suspicions kept coloring the way I viewed him, I always kept a calculated distance from him.

My eyes go cold for a moment but nobody catches it in the moment they swivel their heads at me. And immediately, I am on; I’m smirking my signature smirk, glass in hand, sitting straight with my hair tousled neatly behind my shoulders.  Everyone in the room is your friend, and by extension, my friends of course.

“Okay, give me a moment. I’ve got to think of a good one.” I say playfully, and pause to think. “Hmmm… okay… I got it.”

Y’s eyes light up.  I never disappoint with the uncomfortable and controversial in games like these.

“All of you want to fuck me.” I announce steadily and draw out the consonants as my lips curl up in another mischievous smile.

All the boys burst out laughing.  No one denies it. You chuckle.  There’s a flash of bother that crosses your face, but it’s fleeting and it wouldn’t have been noticeable to anyone else.  And even to me, it was not of concern.  After all, it was true. It’s the elephant in the room but obviously not the greatest and most pressing one, and it’s all in good fun. Everyone in this room is easy going; you most of all, and you never disappoint.  And the game resumes with I’s turn and we don’t think it about it again as the words dissipate into the air and up into that high ceiling.  Because they’re all in love with me and all want to fuck me.  And we act like and tell ourselves that we’re okay with that.


We met at S’s house party in LA four years ago, a few months after my break-up with the boy who shared the same name as you albeit a different spelling.  I was on my ongoing crawl out of rock bottom, having finally made strides in kicking a decade-long addiction to cigarettes that started in my rebellious teenage years as well as ending a brief bender of self-destructive behaviours to help numb the pain of my recent breakup.  I almost hadn’t come to S’s party in large part because LA was so far from where I was working now and I didn’t know any of S’s friends except one (whom I also didn’t consider a friend but more of an obliged acquaintance), but S had been a kind soul when I met him -it had been so easy to talk to him the first night we met, and I thought that even if nothing grew out of our handful of run-ins at parties, he was a friend that I wanted to keep.  So there I was, on a Sunday night in a beautifully and eclectically-decorated West Hollywood two-floor penthouse, paying my friendship dues surrounded by people I didn’t know, whom I didn’t look like, who certainly shared no interests.  I recall vividly the ocean of black bomber jackets, skinny jeans, and bright sneakers, daring haircuts and hair colors, stunning multi-pierced ears and detailed tattoos bumping around me, constant five second scenes of hugs and drunken rejoices as I shuffled awkwardly around the party, confident that I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew, but also desperate for someone to say hello and divert my attention away from my dizzying discomfort.  I hadn’t run into S yet to say hello, but given the number of people who were squeezed into this penthouse amplified by the fact that I wasn’t exactly a go-to friend to say hello, I knew S would probably have to bump into me in order for me to have the occasion to say hello.  When I’d wandered close to the kitchen, that was when I caught a break.

“Hey, you wanna play beer pong?” A tall wiry guy with wavy blonde hair and of course, a black and white silk bomber, yelled at me from a table tennis table that he had been refurbished -at least for tonight- as a beer pong table.  When he realized I was startled by his greeting, he laughed, and nodded, “Yeah, you, the one who looks like a lost deer in headlights.”  And as I gingerly walked over, he had instructed that I be paired up with you, the scruffy brown-haired guy, clad in black skinny jeans and a black novelty shirt, with tattoo sleeves laughing to his friend -not about me, you were too caught up in the moment talking to him over the loud music to notice your newly-assigned beer pong partner.

Someone had put us on the same beer pong team, but we were a poorly matched pair.  You missed almost all your shots while I made most of them, which hobbled us to victory by slim margins and I constantly rubbed that in.  Fuelled by the increasing amount of alcohol in my blood, I spent a great part of the night loudly complaining to everyone about how bad you were at the game and that I deserved a better partner.  And every time I complained, you would shrug over your shoulder, palms open, and smile at me beer in one hand and ball in the other.  The smugness pissed me off, but in my drunken stupor, I laughed, took the ball out of your hand with playful force, and would begin the next round.  There was something startling about you, but I refused to think about it so I wouldn’t start digging myself something that resembles a well, so I dismissed it as an annoyance about your character.  You pestered me with constant quips about my competitiveness in that game, where you tried to make the argument that this made up for how devastatingly bad you were, and silently I didn’t want the night to end.

“Never trust a pretty girl with two different colored eyes”, you whispered in my ear, once I missed a shot that I had loudly and haughtily announced that I would sink.  I smirked and wouldn’t look at you, like some hapless attempt to save face when my heart was already lost and somehow dangling in your hands. And how right you were: I couldn’t even trust myself.

I went home with you that night.  We both saw it coming and I just let my feet sweep me away.

I was 22.  You were eight years older.  You woke up from the sound of my slamming your cupboards looking to make breakfast, and complaining that you were so much of a bachelor that you didn’t have basic breakfast foods.  I see eggs and bacon in the fridge, but where’s the toast? Where’s the cheese?  Mushrooms? Avocado? Come on, you live in Los Angeles.  How do you not have a single avocado in your house?  You didn’t like my questions but you were amused.  Later as we sat at your table munching on the eggs and bacon, me visibly defeated, we laughed over our mutual agreement that it was a decent hook-up and that we should do it again.  And before I knew it, I flew across the country two weeks later to see you again.  That time around, I brought eggs, milk, and cheese so I could make myself an omelette in the morning, and you thought it was the funniest thing ever when I carried that grocery bag into your house.  But I didn’t care.

Actually, I did care. A lot.  But I couldn’t tell you that.  I didn’t know what to think about you: you were charismatic, effortlessly humorous, amusingly and kind of alarmingly immature. I tried to convince myself that I held all those qualities against you even though we had that in common.  Yet I knew deep down you were kind of, sort of everything I’d ever wanted in some manifestation that I hadn’t anticipated.  We hooked up casually for almost a year and fell out of it for a while due to busy schedules, and the situation felt like the childhood game of holding bubbles in your palm: now you see and feel it, and next, you don’t feel anything at all.  The high would last for a night, and then afterwards for a fortnight, we would claim there was never anything there except some remnants of chemistry that you could wipe off your hands and onto your shirt to be forgotten.  And we laughed and I acted like it didn’t start to hurt every time the morning came around, like how can you hurt when you weren’t supposed to feel anything at all?

I vividly remember the one time I tested the waters, and instead, just dove head first into the sharks.  We went to Dave and Buster’s, one of your go-to casual haunts for a typical meal, and I insisted it was a date.

We’re grabbing dinner and you took me out for a night of fun.  I said.

Yeah, but a date requires both parties to agree that it’s a date. And we’re at Dave and Busters to eat because I like the food.  We’re not here to play games so therefore it’s not a date.  You retorted.

No it doesn’t.  You can accidentally go on a date. You chuckled at that.

Fine.  I replied.  Let’s ask the girl working the prize counter.

I laid out my case for both parties’ amusement, and she ultimately agreed with me. I bought us 20 tokens.  On me. I said gleefully, looking back at you.  You shook your head and smiled.  We used all of them on a basketball game.  You won only because I’m atrocious at basketball.

You naturally lit up every room you walked in.  You could start a conversation with anyone so effortlessly that I would feel a small pang of resentment.  I’d watch you from afar at our mutual friends’ house parties and it never ceased to impress me how everyone could fall for your sneaky concoction of easy-going California cool, a red solo cup in hand, and a smile that would spread to your eyes.  It was an open secret that we were hooking up and it was not at all exclusive, and I played it off as though it were an afterthought for the both of us.  Because I too was supposed to be cool.  I was what Gone Girl would call a Cool Girl, except I wanted so badly to convince myself that she were real, she was me, that I had somehow defied the laws of physics and wholly embodied the girl who could drink beer and hold her liquor without gaining any weight, who could laugh with the boys, who didn’t treat anything too seriously.    I wanted to be cool among your friends, who were all jet-setter creative types who always knew what the next big thing would be.  They were underground Valley royalty, whereas my only LA childhood connection was a smattering of years growing up in Brentwood.  You could tell that I was a kid from the Hills (by some liberal means of naturalization, I suppose) from a mile away.  I never really fit in.  In hindsight, I’m not sure why I had even tried.

Eventually it caught up to me though, because like Gone Girl’s Cool Girl, she doesn’t exist. And when you feel like you’ve been living a lie on weekend nights for a full year, it breaks you the instance you let your mask slide and are forced to confront the truth.  So I said I needed to talk to you on a Wednesday afternoon out of the blue, and I know it must have been a strange message to receive given the nature of our usual conversation.  I asked for 30 minutes of your time; I needed to talk.  I would fly home afterwards.  Please. I pleaded.

You know I’ve never actually visited your house without sleeping with you.  I muse as I stepped apprehensively into your bungalow.  We were both standing awkwardly, too stoic for this to feel familiar or natural.  Not sure where to keep our hands, how to stand, where our feet should go. How ironically comical this all was given that down the hall from your foyer in the enclave of your bedroom, we had never had that problem.

First time for everything.  You said curtly.  There was silence that we both didn’t know how to cut or fill.  I think you knew what was coming, but thought it was ludicrous that I would bring it up now.   You had been working that morning, clad in a black hoodie and flannel pyjama pants, hair dishevelled, stubble out to play.  It was heartbreaking to see you dressed like that -it would probably be the last time I’d see you so unfiltered.

I told you that I couldn’t keep doing this.  I told you that it was fun at the beginning but I slowly realized I liked you too much for this to be nothing.  This had dragged on for a year and I was kidding myself. And if this was going to end, I’d rather have the Band-Aid ripped off in one go than have this prolong itself into something that felt like self-torture mixed with false hope, to endure this game knowing I would never win.  I cried and told you not to hug me.

No, just let me go through with this.  It’s not you, you’re a good person.  You’ve been nothing but honest about where you saw this going. I said.  I don’t hate you.  I just… I just needed to do this, and I’m going to cry but I’m going to be happy after this.

I smiled weakly through tears.  It really wasn’t your fault.  I just needed to be honest with myself.

About a month later, you asked me for lunch and I knew that it was futile to fight the urge, so I said yes.  When I got on the plane, I kept telling myself that I was crazy to fly across the country once again for some remnants of false hope that I still had left in my heart.  I was apprehensive when my car pulled up to Chateau Marmont, slowly walking to the back restaurant with thoughts racing through my head about whether or not this was a joke.  When we sat down, exchanged platitudes, and ordered our food, you asked me if I wanted to go to Dave and Buster’s afterwards.  You know… like a date, you said.  And your smile curled up and reached your eyes and I felt my stomach drop and my heart break once again.  And immediately, I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or a pity gesture or I was dreaming this.  I felt a lot of things, but I was feeling so many things at once that it was difficult for me to compartmentalise and lay out exactly what I felt.  I don’t understand where this is coming from. I told you, rather bewildered. You told me that you had thought about our parting conversation quite a lot over the past month, but not by choice.  I would pop into your head as you were doing other things, and you began to realize that you kind of, well, missed me around your house, in your car running errands with you, and going to Dave and Buster’s.  Specifically, you told me the amusing and grand classic story of how you had gotten a blonde into your bed and it was going so horribly for so many reasons that you knew this would make a great story. So you had started to laugh and turned to the right to tell me exactly that, except I wasn’t there on my usual side of the bed, and there wasn’t going to be me on that side of the bed any longer, and in some strange twist it started to feel lonely in your bachelor house without the usual plus one.  And I laughed sheepishly at the story and told you that I didn’t find it that funny at all, because I actually still really liked you and frankly, this story wasn’t really helping any cause.  So you digressed, and said you acknowledged that it wasn’t executed well since you hadn’t fully thought how you were going to tell it but just that you needed to tell it when I got to lunch.  And I smiled, I said I understood.  I said that whichever way this story goes from here, I would not win.

And despite all my reservations, I went with you anyway to Dave and Busters after that lunch.  I went home with you that night just like clockwork except this time we didn’t punch out.  I was just shy of 23.  Your birthday had recently passed.  I hadn’t said happy birthday.

I had a reputation for jokingly charging my friends $1,000 exclusive of travel and accommodations as a wedding-date-for-hire because I knew all their mothers and peers, and was a good conversationalist.  I also loved going to these weddings because it almost counted as crashing them.  I’d done about 14 before you asked me in the car while we were running an errand if you could hire me as a wedding date for a family friend’s wedding.  It was three weeks after the Dave and Buster’s Official Date.  Your parents along with your extended family would be there .  You said you’d throw in an extra $2000 if that would convince me to come.  You were nervous asking me.  It was the first time I’d ever seen you nervous and uncomfortable.  I smirked and didn’t look at you so you could save face just a little.

For you, it’s free.

And when I said that, you kept your eyes on the road and didn’t look at me.  And you were trying not to smile, but I could tell.  It was settled then: it was another date.


When E had said “Say something that will make us all uncomfortable”, I had immediately thought of something else.  The thought came naturally to me since I’d been thinking about it for a long time although I had never told you.  It was something that I knew would have won me the whole damn game, ended the game, cleared the room.  And it was a sore topic, frankly, as its forms came up in more and more often as you had gotten older and your parents had been insinuating that they were hoping you were going to settle down and have a family soon. But I did’t know how to bring it up without it seeming like a terrible omen.

You see, it would be World War III if we ever broke up. 

That was what I had really wanted to say.

It would shatter us.  We would never truly recover.

Everywhere around us stood the signs that we won’t last, but neither of us would dare touch the topic: how your friends have kids but aren’t married anymore (or never were), how you still travelled for work, how I had gotten approached about a civil service opportunity in Detroit but haven’t divulged it to you.  You would have been so proud of me in some alternate universe or some universe that existed two years ago, but not in this one.  Because it is unsaid that I would eventually move to LA and we would live together.  And that expectation is supposed to come to fruition soon, if not yesterday.  But it is complicated and you hate this topic getting brought up in social situations and with your parents, so we pretend that this arrangement of my living in New York and visiting you almost every weekend like in the nascent days is working fine, like we are still hooking up with nothing to lose.  But obviously the most hilarious part is that it wasn’t, but no one wants to point out the omen until the omen has consumed everything.

And that’s why we’re here now, in this living room with its vaulted white ceilings that now seemed to cave us all into this roomy glass-pocked prison.  The sun is shining bright and bathing everything with light.  E has brought his legs all the way up on the couch, lounging comfortably like he owns this place; no care in the world.  It’s not like he would put his legs down if any one of us called him out on it anyway.  And I am the only girl in the room, with thirty articles of clothing stashed messily in the right side of your closet like I live here every once in a while.  And the game continues.  And we all sip our drinks.  And the elephant stays in the room and grows larger each day, but it’s a big airy living room, high ceilings and all.  So it can grow larger than most elephants can.  It’s an anomaly that it can grow so big and show no sign of bursting just yet.

And he taps the screen.  Another instruction shows up.  It’s not my turn.

I never disappoint with the uncomfortable and controversial in games like these.

I say it. Out of the blue.

I got a job in Detroit.  I think I’m going to take it.

And then the elephant disappears.  But the room doesn’t clear like I imagined it would.  The boys are still here and one of them looks up and nods as a polite gesture and gets his head back in the game while the rest are waiting for O to come up with a good answer.  But your eyes train on me.  Because you understand the ramifications of what I’ve just said.  Your head is now completely out of the game and it feels like it’s just me and you in the room.  We looking at each other.  I breathe in.

I have so much to tell you.

and in many ways she was exactly how i had pictured her, the girl you loved when you were 17. wealthy, put-together, working in fashion, beautiful, thin, white, auburn red hair, tall.  nice smile. ambitious.

kept thinking about what it was like when you were 17. what you looked like. what you sounded like. what you feared. what you didn’t know to care about just yet. how serious was this.

do you still talk? ever taken her out for dinner? ever reminisced about young love? ever laughed about it afterwards? spoken about growing older. spoken about life in LA.

what does she think about what you do.  what does she think about the fact that you never quite grew up but somehow still found a way to grow so self-assured and unapologetic. what do you think about yourself in the context of your 17-year-old self.

that in some ways i forgot,

had finally learned to unlearn my ways,

stopped wondering where you were, how you’ve been, what you’re thinking about right now. that in so many ways, I too had forgotten about you long enough to forget why I needed to.

because maybe it’s time that i write limericks for amusement for newspapers that want them, and stop sending you free-form nonsense silently begging you for a glance.

with you, i was always, always sure.