i met somebody loud and beautiful two nights ago smoking a cigar in the parking lot of a hibachi place. i said “be right back,” pretended like i forgot something in the car and took a break from the party to watch his breath. he exhaled spider webs, hands all pink like raw meat. when i told him that he said “we’re all just sacks of skin, aren’t we?” and laughed like a sparkler fuse. he used to be a philosophy major but switched to business because you gotta earn a living.
i drank some wine last summer, stripped down to my underwear and lay on my front porch like a sugar cookie in the oven. cars whooshed by, some real slow. my shut eyes swam with colors and i started to feel like hot meat. my neck was a mosque and the convex of my belly was a stained glass cathedral. the pick-up trucks that honked their horns were playing it hymns. my thighs were skin and tissue stretched out over the gray porch. my thighs were all mine. when the neighbor boys came out sweating from their jugulars with basketballs tucked under their arms like tiny planets i considered the possibility that i am nice meat. for some reason it didn’t matter that day at all.
the business major peered at me through shattered glasses. he was cool but reminded me of a small animal. he belonged in the hundred acre wood. he needed a christopher robin to love him. his breath was unreal. i think he was stoned.
he started confessing all these personal things about a girl named emma who never listened when he wrote her songs on the guitar and i know i should have listened to make up for emma’s negligence but i could not stop staring at the enamel on his teeth. it was streaky, like he could maybe benefit from a crest white strip, or was i somehow missing a larger point? did the business major want his words to unwrap themselves from imperfect packages?
on sunday i ate a man’s body and drank his blood. so did the whole room; then we all shook hands and wished each other peace. the body is an imperfect package but what about the blood? when i cut my legs shaving i stick band-aids on them and they become civilized. blood is made of wine and holy spittle. bodies taste like wafers. they are civilized. jesus is a hemophiliac. he has been bleeding for over two millennia.
i sat in your favorite bookstore in a square of sunlight the size of a fist. i never saw you. i read a book and inside my stomach there was a windmill powering every turn of every page. you kept crawling out the corners of my eyes then turning into strangers.
every person is an animal and we are all scratching at doors for each other. we act like we don’t want anyone to notice— our breath so supersaturated in the cold that it could float balloons over buildings on command, but we do. we want them to.
what it means to be sensitive:
evidence you’re human
You have to go to the doctor soon, you accidentally veered into a stranger on the street carrying all his laundry and caused him to drop his briefs and a sock, peanut butter made you break into hives so you’re not sure if you’re allergic now or what, your cuticles are in pristine condition, your stomach hums like a refrigerator, you respond to bells and deadlines, you wear socks to sleep.
You are not a dragon, you do not have webbed feet, you do not change colors with chlorophyll, you do not photosynthesize, your body does not produce apples, web MD convinces you you’re dying about once a month, there are people who remember you as a bobbed little apple kid doing cute and disgusting baby things, you jump into wild mental trysts with people you meet on public transport, you miss someone often, your hair grows, there is skin over your bones, you are not a washing machine, your belly does not wash clothes, you are not made of metal, you are not a lever or a pulley or a simple machine.
Your lips are chapped, you’re worried about the global economy and the families being bombed in Gaza and that the cheesecake you ate yesterday is going to make you fat, you have been put in a box by gender norms, you got to climb up into the driver’s seat of a fire truck when you were five and at the time it struck you as an extremely cinematic moment, you are yielding in regards to pizza topping divisions, you want to be included in things, you do not want to seem like you want to be included in things.
When you’re tired your views on life turn blue gray like a water damaged kaleidoscope, you worry we might not all see colors the same way and if so what does that say about perception, you might be married already or someday, you feed bread crusts to ducks, you are not a duck, oil does not slip off your back, you do not spread new species to freshwater regions, you either are or are not in love, you like movies, you like avocados, you have kids, you are teaching them how to dance, you hope they end up like you, you hope they don’t, you don’t hope for anything but the shows you recorded on HBO.
You take pictures of yourself, you’re lulled to sleep by rain, you are biochemically affected by stormy weather, you are attracted to someone or no one or most people, you are terrified of natural disasters and of your loved ones dying suddenly in some kind of freak car accident or house fire, you can’t sleep when you think this way, acid reflux sometimes burns your mouth like floor cleaner and changes the taste in your mouth, you institute five different philosophical belief systems per day, you fiddle with your watch, you scratch your left arm, you get restless legs and run alone at night til the sky slips over your head like silk nylons, you go to the bathroom, you close your eyes when you think about heaven, you listen to music, you sit on your bed with both feet stretched under your laptop, you sit in interviews and explain who you are in riddles while both hands form a tepee in your lap.
You start the crosswords as your tea cools then give up half way through, you are related to someone, you snore, when you stretch one hand it can fit over eight to ten piano keys, you can do a head stand, you can cope with loneliness and anxiety, you kiss with your eyes closed, you’ve gone snorkeling, you can make lists to forget, you can drink to forget, you can forget by accident and lose points on the test, you can be reminded years later via cologne at a men’s store or a note in a library book that looks like it was written by someone cool.
You want to be Madame Curie or Derek Jeter or discover the right way to fold hospital corners, you are a day older than you were yesterday, you haven’t located the fountain of youth on linkedin or twitter or mapquest or clinique or maybelline or in any recreational drug, you are not an evil queen, you do not walk with a peg leg, you are not a cartoon pirate, you’ve never been forced to walk the plank, you cannot fly over cities, you do not have six extra video game lives, you can taste your tears, you can lie on the witness stand, you can lie on the altar, you can lie in your bed or in your lover’s face and you can tell the truth any time you want, you can look someone straight in the eyes and feel for a moment the alarming enormity that exists outside of yourself, you can revert back to safe unthreatening selfishness, you can scream, you can chop up mandrake roots to make herbal remedies, you can place a cake in an oven, you can summon the muscles around your mouth into a smile, you can breathe continually in and out, you are not a robot, you are not made of metal, you are not plastic or perfect or undeserving, you are not impervious to outside influence, you do not wash clothes in your belly, you are not a washing machine, you do not have webbed feet.
It’s okay to believe in God, or Zues, or a benevolent life force that whistles in the wind or a large pink anglerfish with eyeglasses if that’s what gets you up in the morning. Maybe you believe in John Wayne, and cowboys with creased lips who charge in to save the day every time you lose your car keys, and that’s okay. It’s okay to sit on the squeaky stool in your kitchen eating hot pockets out of their cardboard coats and thinking there’s a chance you might not believe in anything, not even “tomorrow.” It’s okay to have a manifesto, and it’s okay to update it every time you’re staring out a window or walking down a street. It’s okay if no words are clacking out of your keyboard heart because you feel like a total child in almost every social interaction and want a little praise and glory sometimes just for showing up.
It’s okay to speculate on what an esteemed movie critic might say about your life were it an independent film – “A comic and relatable heroine,” “absolutely honest and slaying depiction of human nature,” “a poignant coming of age tale of one admirable young woman’s brave battle with the droll constancy of day-to day-adult life.” It is okay to feel like a self-indulgent numb nut for thinking these things. Maybe the very fact that you have allowed such repugnantly self-involved bullshit to infiltrate your brain cavity causes you to experience actual shame and put more hot pockets in the microwave, and that’s okay. It’s okay to be bad at calculus. It’s okay to dream in color, or gray scales, or kaleidoscope or French or Cyrillic. It’s okay to fall asleep on the shoulder of a stranger on an airplane, or to stop and pet dogs as they patter down the street chained to their owners’ wrists. It’s okay to still believe in strangers.
It’s okay to think girl thoughts, or man thoughts, or terrible offensive politically incorrect thoughts or cat thoughts or thoughts you don’t even agree with, because everything you think belongs entirely to you until it leaves your lips. If you confess a thought to an empty room, it begins to take on the shape and smell of the room and then it starts to belong to it too, so I’m just saying it’s okay to have a secret. It’s okay to let it kill you. It’s okay to wonder whether I’m just saying everything you do is okay to validate you and not because these things are okay at all or even remotely acceptable and possibly I am mocking you as has everyone you’ve ever met and all your inner deficiencies are instantly evident in the loosey goose dead-fish quality of your handshake which consequently reveals you to be a morally bereft, environmentally unsound degenerate who doesn’t even try to reduce her carbon emissions and was peer pressured into stealing sunglasses from Claire’s once in the fifth grade.
It’s okay to spend an hour watching dead tree branches flirt with sunlight. It’s okay that the time got away from you. It’s okay to love someone, suddenly and un-ironically. It’s okay to initiate contact, and it’s okay to avoid opening that whole can of worms because I’m sure you have your reasons. Life experience has taught you about the apparent inability of any human being to know the secret thoughts of any other, but that will not stop you from always trying. The crime-solving savant on Psych could testify that micro-expressions give you away every day in a thousand tiny ways, exposing you for the honest-to-God anomaly of primitive science that you are. It’s okay to be made of bones and skin and full of flaws and lustful and jaded and not nearly as cool as your various social networking profiles let on. It’s okay to sleep on your stomach. It’s okay to sleep in a ball at the end of your bed. It’s okay to sleep with any kind of person you want to sleep with, as long as they want that too.
It’s okay that a reference went over your head. It’s okay that you forgot to wear deodorant. It’s okay to be bad at mingling. It’s okay to love someone, inextricably and un-ironically. It’s okay to ask, are you okay? and it’s okay to lie or tell the truth in your reply. Most people move through the day thinking thoughts that belong wholly to them and will remain wedged in their heads like gum on the underside of a high school cafeteria table until they confess bits to their lover or therapist or best friend or spouse just to watch that embarrassing shamefully honest shocker of a thought get pushed into public domain the way the sun slinks up every morning over the tops of buildings and instantly changes the way the world works. I’m just saying you can look out for people, whether or not they claim to be okay in conversation because we’re all breathing in and out in the same general respiratory fashion, and maybe it doesn’t feel like it when you read about all these massacres and school shootings on the news but there you go. Some things aren’t okay, and won’t be for a long time, and we know that now.
dress shopping w/ satan
The first thing the devil makes you do when you get to hell is, she makes you take her prom dress shopping. It may not seem like any big shake for a scummy serial killer mass murderer blows his nose at the table on a first date type to escort somebody in making a minor purchase, but you don’t know anything about it so shut up. In the car on the way there she makes you drive a stick across these terrifying intersections where, and I shit you not, every single light is busted and there’s all this roadworking being done with majorly unhelpful redirect signs plastered everywhere so you’d be a little frazzled from the get-go even if people didn’t drive like speedy asshole maniacs in hell, which obviously they do.
Then you have to parallel park next to the Macy’s building and I swear if you didn’t already have the biggest migraine of your life the devil is at this point telling all these elaborate stories about people from her high school I guess, named like Stef and Paul and whatever how are you supposed to even know who these people are? and she’s just going on and on about her personal life and whether she should call this dude back and all these emotional breakthroughs she’s been having and asking for your opinion and I don’t know man, it wears on you after a while so you almost flip out on her and tell her to shut her goddamn mouth for a split second so you can park the goddamn car but you think better of it because, okay, you acknowledge she is Satan incarnate and all she asked was that you listen to her feelings. It just gets worse from there, though.
When you get in the Macy’s the devil starts getting on this high and she’s like, jumping from rack to rack talking her head off in this terrifying manner that you’re starting to recognize as something akin to pathological excitement. So first she asks you if any dress jumps out at you and you point to a random one, okay, in hopes to get out of here faster but then she’s all like “red? are you kidding me? i’m red. my horns are red. do you want me to look like a tomato?” so you’re like “oh sorry I thought you could change shapes or something” and she looks at you like you just said THE STUPIDEST THING IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF ANYONE EVER TO ENGAGE IN CASUAL DRESS SHOPPING DISCOURSE WITH SATAN EVER and goes “do you think I have to change shapes to be pretty or something?” in a voice that means you should probably start backpedaling fast if you don’t want to get put in some corner of hell reserved for especially belligerent a-holes, so you’re all like “no no you’re so pretty the way you are please don’t ever change you’re going to look so pretty at prom oh my god” and thank pete it placates her for a little bit but you know that all it’s gonna take is one more tiny misstep before who knows what will happen to your family back on earth.
So at this point the devil has gotten all of her options together if you will, and she makes you sit on a little bench outside the changing room that’s made out of cheap Ikea wood and wears on your butt something awful and she comes out all gussied up in the dresses, which are pretty much the same, objectively speaking. Maybe one strap here, one strap there kinda difference. Maybe one of ‘em has sequins. Nothing major, you know? I mean the devil is an ok looking girl, a little beety faced and the forked tail doesn’t help or nothing but not bad looking — it’s just after three hours of this, and hell time goes three times as slow so think nine hours — you will buy her whatever she wants just to get the hell home and get rid of this mall headache. You learn quick though not to show any sign you’re bored including nose scratching or wiping your brow or even glancing down at your wrist pretending to itch it but actually sneaking glances at your watch because she’s extremely sensitive and picks up right away on that kind of thing. She’ll be all “oh are you bored? is this not fun for you? well guess what, maybe you shouldn’t have killed twelve people.” and you know you lose, that you’re toast, that this is what it’s gonna be like now.
You were strong all your life up til now but it’s just when she gets out her Debit card and hands it to the register lady and says sure she’ll sign up for a rewards card, that’s when you break down. It’s a little embarrassing, you just standing there sobbing and sobbing and the Macy’s lady’s gandering at you with her jaw all unhinged and the phone up to her ear and the devil looking at you like “what is wrong with you stop being so mortifying” but it’s like this force you can’t control. Like, suddenly you’re totally sorry for every shitty or even unkind thing you ever did even unintentionally and you’re all like “I’M SORRY. I REPENT. I REPENT” and sniveling snot all over the devil’s blouse til she pushes you off and goes “ok ok welcome to hell. you pass initiation, ill take you home now.”
in this starbucks there is a tiny baby in jean overalls dancing along to garth brooks or whoever is blasting on the speakers. his mother just told another mother that he’s eight weeks. she said “why evolutionarily do we wait for so many weeks to get the first smile?” it’s a good point she makes; he has such chubby cheeks. it’s like another butt atop his face. there is also a book club meeting behind me wherein six middle aged women are discussing “the girl with a dragon tattoo” only not really, they’re actually just thumbing through the books with their hands discussing tetris shots.
tetanus shots? do they mean tetanus shots?
or maybe it’s a new shot that makes you really really good at tetris?
new development: kayla may or may not have contracted lyme disease from the nature walk she went on in school in spite of the long sleeves she was goaded into wearing. they are all now postulating on the potential risks that school-mandated nature walks may pose to children. could they sue the school? could they sue the tick? could they sue kayla?
there’s another woman near me talking on the phone. her daughter is sitting next to her reading a book, and the woman keeps being all nicey nice and placating whoever she’s on the phone with, like, “oh shohhh, of coasss you did. well whaddelse were you spose ta do? but you knew what you had to do! awwww yeah i know you did, i know you did. because that’s what you had to do! of coass you did!” and then she hangs up and goes, “what a nut. she’s a total nut, i’m telling you. way over in lefty left la la land.”
"lefty left la la land."
update on the baby: they are putting starbucks cups in the baby’s teeny red fat fingers and taking pictures pretending it’s drinking coffee. i mean evolutionarily, why does it take so long for the baby to start caffeinating itself? it just seems like a necessary adaptation for human survival. if my face looked that much like a butt i for one would definitely require a kick to get out of the crib in the morning.
i need to do work but my surroundings are clearly just way too enthralling.
I believe hearts can be shaped like Valentines, or cauliflowers, or anything they feel like. I believe in waking up just on time enough to stop for coffee on the way to wherever I’m going. I believe that the only way to Nirvana is to occasionally dance at funerals. I believe crowd-surfing is a bad idea and if something is probably going to kill you, you shouldn’t do it. I believe in casual back-rubs and kindness, and kissing, and that sometimes things hurt and tea burns your tongue so you must retire to bed early and try to remember the best thing you’ve ever done. I believe you might never remember the best thing you’ve ever done, but somebody else probably does. I believe in holding doors but often forget to. Ditto to table etiquette like using all the right forks. I believe in mind-bending late night conversations regarding topics such as what’s your favorite color? I believe that I do not know my favorite color yet, and I am beginning to believe this might be okay. I believe in chivalry. I believe in feminism. I believe in finger foods and feeding slimy silver fish to the sea lions at the zoo. I believe that the only proper way to eat goldfish is by pretending to be a shark.
I believe that when poetry sticks in your brain it enacts a chemical reaction. I believe that sunflowers are superior flowers because they’re so much taller, but moreover I respect sunflowers because they don’t over-apologize for their distinctions, and I believe that’s how people should be. I believe in relativity, and chaos theory, and cellular respiration. I believe that cut-out paper snowflakes get stuck to the windows of elementary schools around the country every December by magic gusts and grass likes to belly dance and at night some walls get bored and draw graffiti on themselves. I believe that kids start holding hands in the hallway because of puberty, or alien interference. I believe that something is always on the verge of spiraling wildly out of control and all we can do to tame this force is try and keep the world hinged together with a needle and thread. I believe we have complete power but I also believe little elves are in charge of predestination and sorting out moral dilemmas and who gets to be in love with who. I believe in nothing.
My ankles believe in matching socks but my knees disagree. My toes believe all water is the same but my brain believes there’s a difference between swimming pools and sidewalk drains. I believe we don’t know nearly enough about the effects of lunar cycles, or the collective unconscious, or twin telepathy. I believe narcolepsy is almost always the most convenient excuse. I believe that people are basically selfish except when they’re not – a principle best demonstrated on the high-ways, where strangers call each other asshole regularly but sometimes tap each other’s windows to remind them their headlights are off. I believe the bookish lame-os will inherit the earth. I believe in pun warfare, and saying hi, and I might believe in ghosts.
I do not believe in horoscopes or magic 8 balls, except when I’d like to. I do not believe that cleanliness is next to godliness. I believe that cleanliness is next to soap and water which are often cozied up on the couch breathing down the neck of privilege. I believe in a fragile order of one squishy pillow and one firm. I believe that a third pillow may throw off all balance. I believe that different types of cheese can affect our dreams. I believe sometimes you just need to get a haircut because you need to, and all people need love — even genocidarians, theoretically. I believe in the over-soul, and over-coats, and overdrafting. I do not believe a word of any conniving advertisement, except subliminally. I do not believe that Lady Gaga is an actual person. I believe about three quarters of what I’m saying at any given time.
I should tell you I’m not very good at dating, and by dating I mean dating, talking to people, mingling, after-church coffee hours, throwing parties with the adept savvy of a Junior-League vice president, saying things like “oh this grapefruit is simply divine, Marge, where did you buy it?” and “it’s the state of this global economy, i’m telling you.”
Not that I’m stupid, or uninterested in other people. It’s the opposite, I think. I’m so interested in other people that interacting with each one seems almost like learning another language. After a while I get to know a person’s manner of speaking and type of humor and archive of facial expressions and it becomes easier to hang out and talk like a normal human would. I know when to make jokes and when to pause and I know about asking questions. But small talk eludes me, so much so that I was convinced for years I was irreparably socially awkward, like a combination between Rainman and the SNL parody of Michael Cera. I’m so not good at it. I would rather shout fun facts in people’s faces than respond to inquiries about the weather and my plans for next year, especially when it’s apparent that the questions have been posed out of rote habit, or in order to meet some standard for civilized behavior. I psych myself out for dates, parties, college fairs, conventions, interviews, first days of anything. I mean, I’m sure almost everybody does to some extent.
Today my parents toted me to a Harvard info session. I wore a maroon skirt for subliminal messaging points because maroon is a Harvard color, obviously. In the car, they told me things like “Walk up and introduce yourself and say hello, I’m applying” which is something that sounds so cloying and obvious to me that I can’t imagine uttering it without throwing up or developing some kind of weird eye spasm. Because everybody there would obviously be applying. It’s not like an admissions coordinator is going to be like “shut up, YOU are applying?!!! HERE? Well yes, now I see! Your skirt is maroon! Well thank you so much for TELLing me specifically, you beautiful special flower!!! I’m having a slumber party on Friday at my house, would you like to come?”
The session was in this big room with floor tiles and a vacant cookie table and I looked around at kids who seemed like they could kill me in seconds in a microbiology duel. On the parental end, I have never seen so many solemn people in blazers. It looked like what J. Crew’s funeral would have been like, if J. Crew was indeed a real person instead of a mythical figure like Santa Claus or Tony Pajamas. Furthermore, none of them were so much as gazing upon the aforementioned gigantic cookie table, which must demonstrate their status as students of frightening willpower.
We learned about the admissions process and “personalizing your application” and all that, and then the blazer people asked a lot of questions like “Do you accept more than one person from one school?” and “Do you accept more than one person on average per year from the same state?” and “Do you accept people with size 10 shoes or does it help our chances for admittance if we engage in traditional Chinese foot-binding ceremonies?”
Two girls, Harvard seniors, were there to answer our questions and they were eloquent, intelligent, interesting, intellectual. I think they must have been looking at all us scared, intense seventeen-year-olds and our scared, intense parents, pondering how much importance gets placed on being the best in our society. About how rigidly we all seem to have scripted our lives from here, (“…Do you have a med school program that is a track starting immediately from the first day of freshman year?”) and how naive we are, just like they were. We’ll figure out soon enough how flimsy life is. Resumes are only paper thin. In four years we might be awesome Harvard grads or awesome gas station attendants or sad scared college grads with a degree we have no idea what to do with.
People who were once considered uniquely smart or innately good at something; who worked hard and once thought that meant we were supposed to behave in a certain way, and that we were entitled to a future in a snow globe. Those seniors sat there with their Pashmina scarves bobbling over their sweaters, waxed brows furrowed compassionately. They sat speaking about their concentrations in microbiological evolution only they were just as confused as we were, and nobody else at the info session seemed to see it because their confusions were buried under clear skin and an ivy league education.
On the way out my parents wouldn’t speak to me because I had neglected to introduce myself to the admissions director or raise my hand to ask any questions. I’m no good at it. No good at all. ”It’s like dating,” they said, “You have to go up and introduce yourself and establish a connection and then hope to god they’ll remember you!”
But I’m no good at dating either. I suck at all of this first impressions-based stuff. I started crying in the car because what if no college accepts me due to my inability to date the admissions directors? I rolled down the window on the highway and stuck my hand out for some air. The sound was deafening. I don’t want to get a job or become an adult. I just want to write little poems and stories all day or else freeze myself before making any binding decision and wake up in a thousand years like Walt Disney when everything will be different and maybe tall men in hats will make all my life decisions for me. It’s funny because in a sense, it’s the first sputter of the big old engine of MY FUTURE (imagine that capitalized text in big gold word art with flames around it) but in another sense, it doesn’t matter at all. I could end up happy or sad no matter what happens. They never tell you that at an informational meeting.
in most really stressful experiences you’re in army trenches or walking on a tight rope above a pit of fire or having a face-off with a grizzly bear or maybe you’re not sure whether your joke just really insulted your new fiance’s parents because they were too polite to tell you BUT applying to college is stressful in its own way because everyone is always suddenly referring to your whole future as if it depends completely upon these 19 pages of personal essays you now have to write in a certain amount of caricatures. so, if you’re going to school to learn how to write good words, you can’t screw up all those personal essays or they will think you’re a total idiot and you will not be invited to the metaphorical birthday party that is life/college/success.
but idk how 2 rite nemore and idk ne-thing about myself. my mind has been wiped clean of any knowledge save for early seasons of keeping up with the kardashians.
i fell asleep in the library. i used a goethe book as my pillow. my house is noisy lately and due to its generally deserted status, the backmost adult fiction section of this library is a prime napping place. it smells like manilla and old print. i usually lie on my back around the Fs and Gs with a book on my stomach as if i were reading and took a pause to analyze a metaphor in depth or stare at the ceiling while meditating on the nature of the writer as a social critic or something and then i pass out. it may be tacky but it’s late august and humid and you do what you gotta do to catch a little sleep.
tip: you’ll never get a good nap in the children’s section because it reeks of crayola and there’s always somebody insisting something or forcing someone else into spontaneous headlock. people say the strangest things to their children in the library. i once saw a kid stare out the window at a robin’s nest while his mother cooed, “are you flirting with the birds? are you? are you flirting with the birds?”
i was thinking about this question right before drifting off on goethe. it was scraping through my head in the annoying little singsong way that it was issued. are you flirting with the birds?
i hope i never use that baby voice with anyone but dogs and maybe exceptionally stupid looking babies. some people like to speak to their significant others as if they’re tiny tots but like, i’ve never understood that because when you meet the person you end up dating, i’m assuming you don’t speak to them as if they are an infant, so when exactly does the baby voice begin? it’s hard to go from talking like a normal person into using itsy bitsy witsy wordsies just like that. so maybe to prevent this type of awkward transition phase we should all talk to everyone we are even remotely attracted to as if they are infants. not only would it pave the way for a future relationship packed with similar types of intelligent discourse, but it would also alert them to the fact that you think they’re hot—kind of like a mating call but confusing and weird, just think about it.
i woke up an hour later to a small whispy piccolo voice near my ear. a girl in a Minnie Mouse t-shirt was sitting over by the Es. she looked like she maybe had down syndrome and she was staring at me like i was a portrait of the virgin mother she found carved in a piece of toast.
"what’s your name?" she said.
"kathleen." i said. "what’s yours?"
"my name is mia."
"how old are you?"
"i’m seventeen. what about you?"
"oh. i’m nineteen."
”what do you want to be when you grow up?”
"a writer or something. you?"
"i don’t know yet. were you asleep?"
"yeah, i was. but that’s ok."
"ok. can i say you’re my new friend?"
"sure, mia. yeah."
she smiled at me. big. i put the goethe book back on the shelf.
still so many questions in my head. how would i flirt with a bird?