well here we are

Went to a party in Brooklyn with a friend. After a day of working too hard for no particular reason.

The party was incredibly fun. It was outside with trees and those big swingy Christmas lights. There were tacos and spicy margaritas, and everyone was super friendly. At one point a couple of strangers showed up, clearly on drugs, and started literally hugging trees. I was entertained until they got too close to me.

It was just nice to be around people who were genuinely friendly.

After the party, my friend and I went to a bar with this man she’d previously hooked up with. I thought I’d be playing wingwoman but instead I mostly avoided dating questions from him.

My friend and I vented to him about how hard it is to be the “cool girl” when you’re dating. You go on the date and you have sex and you feel like you are posing and acting like an unnatural version of yourself. Is this sexy? Am I doing this right? And then that extends to texting behavior and pretty soon you’re not enjoying the flirting anymore because you’re so hung up on whether you’re behaving appropriately.

That’s why I’m doing whatever the hell I’m doing. We are all just trying to figure it out.

Oh my god it is 2 am and I have to give a client presentation in 8 hours. This will be fun. No regrets. It’s worth it.

new year overthinks

Last night a friend M had an NYE fest and he and his boyfriend met A, along with all his calm quiet magic. Oh you really like that one. They both tried to figure him out. Their dog loved him too.

A wished he could have had more time with just ourselves. He knew which door to knock on because he heard my laugh. He brought a deck of Romanov family playing cards in Putin wrapping paper. He wanted to play Mario Kart so he could beat me. He brought a camera and took Polaroids. He fascinated everyone.

We played 2 Truths and a Lie. M announced he’d gotten it right every round. A told stories about growing up in and running away from Russia and my friend’s Russophile boyfriend kept asking questions while M tried to get A drunk.

At midnight we had really nice champagne and A kissed me. My shoes made me a couple inches taller than him.

“I love it. Always be taller.”

We all gave each other one adjective. I was thoughtful. A was multi-faceted. M’s boyfriend was curious. M was, I can’ remember, loud and forward-thinking, probably.

We’re really magic together, M said. That whenever it was just us two going out the craziest things would happen. It was true. M and I have had so many adventures together. And we’ve told each other so many stories. We would go after the same things with different tactics. M would yell at strangers and then I would listen to them open up and pour out themselves. Loud and fearless and thoughtful and effective. It’s a warm feeling to think back about all of it.

When A left, M and his boyfriend analyzed even more. Is this even a relationship? How has he been here so long and not settled down? Etc etc. Always trying to figure it all out.

I told him about how I yelled “I want you to be my boyfriend” during sex once, and he said “Okay” and we talked about it later.

“Oh. Well I guess then it is.”

M said I’d learned a lot from the last relationship and was applying it now to my life and it was working. I guess I don’t even realize what happened because of him, or how it comes out in subtle and obvious ways.

Happy 2018.

What Have You Done

But it had been such a lovely party up until that point. Really.

Nobody realized what had happened, at least at first. Maybe they all heard something breaking and assumed someone had just dropped a wine glass.  Then one by one the room grew quieter. And then they all stared at her.

And she stared at the floor, at that pile of broken glass. Except it was shrapnel, and very familiar to anyone who saw it.

The unbroken version of that same metal wrapped around her date’s wrist. Around everyone’s wrist. He grasped his own band, stunned.

“Why did you do that?” Richard asked.

Tiny red dots circled her now-bare wrist. They dripped.

“Did you hear me? Why did you do that?”

Because she didn’t want it anymore. The tracking turned every second into a metric. She’d forgotten how it had felt before. And now she wanted to know. Plenty of people had lived without the band at one point. Some people had gone their whole lives without knowing their total steps and swallows and blinks and curse words and orgasms. And the world had continued without its brand names holding these numbers.

“I don’t know.” She said. “It was just a choice.”

The pile was not exclusively metal. It lay in a little red puddle, not wine but probably blood. She saw what looked like skin. But wasn’t. It moved. What was it? Something slithered out of the metal and began flopping back and forth. Tiny and finger-shaped. She realized what it looked like—an earthworm.

More of them pushed past the broken metal. They tried to reach into the air, but stumbled and fell onto each other. Each of them tried again. And again.

Her stomach twisted, but at least that disgust wasn’t being recorded.

She wondered if anyone else saw this. Everyone was staring at her, but probably out of judgment, not horror at what was squirming on the floor.

The party hosts had a child, and that child had been sitting in the corner when she and Richard had arrived. He was less than 10, or at least he looked that young. She’d stared at him and he hadn’t moved, or even looked up, instead flitting his thumbs over the keyboard of a tiny box in his hands. And he wore that metal band too.

The hosts (she didn’t remember their names- they were Richard’s friends) had explained that they bought it for his birthday, and they seemed very excited about this. Much more than their child, even.

Now, that child stared at her along with everyone else. Questions abounded, but the room’s acoustics made voices blend together in a vague buzz where only every third or fifth word was clear.

In a few minutes- maybe even a few seconds- she could get out. The room’s attentions would shift. Richard would turn to talk to someone else. And when he turned back, she could be gone.

The worm shapes struggled for freedom. They had lived a comfortable existence buried in her wrist. Now the future was cold and they would probably get swept up and dropped into the trash. She hoped that would happen soon.

Then sudden, loud beeping pierced ears, amplified, and swallowed all other sounds. Every metal band started flashing red. People clutched their wrists as if being burned. Some twisted their mouths and glared at her fiercely. They were closing in. There were maybe a few seconds left, and the door was unlocked.