Five dates.

Dear J Waves:

Right now I am at Skylight Book Exchange, watching a Jamaican man in a suit and a top hat try to find the correct place to spread his wares. He’s been strategizing for a half an hour, and Dennis has not acknowledged him yet. Dennis is in a terrible mood today. In fact, Dennis just slipped out the back door to go to the bank. I do not think the man realizes he’s not going to sell any used books today. If you were here, you’d most definitely be watching him. He is arranging and rearranging, waiting in vain for the proprietor to come and compensate him for his organization and presentation skills.

I have not been very good at socializing the last few days. I have been doing nothing but drawing pictures and only half-listening to the world around me. I’m not trying to be rude. I just have nothing to say. That’s okay, right? You get like this too, right? I depend on our text message wars, which are more and more frequent, to keep me occupied. I depend on these texts and on the ill-fated communicado between me and the little California boy/friend who seems to make you jealous.

Fast forward two days. I am at Hell, working day shift. My only customer is Mr. Rojas, and I would try to talk to him but he is not very good at English and he gets frustrated with himself when he tries to speak it. Therefore, I have to ignore him, which is rude, but at least he stays comfortable. It’s a trade-off. My only other customer today was Huck, of course, because it is Wednesday. We played pool and talked about his parents’ Disco Bathtub and crazy people and thrift-store answering machine message cassettes. Then he left. So fucking easy. Every single week it gets easier and easier to do these things without thinking. I trust that it will continue like that until there is nothing left but the present, which I’m sure he thanks god for.

My little pixellated Cali boy/friend, you know, the one I was chatting with when you and I were playing Rock Band the other night, he sent me a picture of himself and his ex-girlfriend at the Bjork Wanderlust Video premiere in LA. He sent it to me in order to show me that he was wearing a Lush pin, as if to confirm and prove that he was a fan of the band. I’m not sure if he sent it to me to show me the pin or, in fact, to actually show me how hot his ex-girlfriend was, which is completely human and acceptable. It does not matter. I adore him anyway.

I am just now remembering that you and I have absolutely zero pictures together.

You know that night I saw you at Local 506? You were on a date. My friend Sean was in town. He is a photographer though he won’t call himself that. Publicly, he regards himself as a regular dude with a fancy camera. But really, he sees things in his surroundings that no one else sees.

I tried for at least an hour that night to catch you alone so Sean could take a picture of us. Because there are none. The other night, with your face smashed in the pillow and me wearing a threadbare Abercrombie t-shirt and staring at the ceiling, then at the cuff in your jeans, then at your wife beater, then at your face smashed in the pillow, you asked me if I remember that you were at the 506 that night. Not only do I remember, J Waves, but I was trying all night to document the fact that we actually know each other.

Isn’t it funny, the sort of connection we have.

No one is even remotely aware we are friends.

This is because the sides we show to each other, they are sides that no one knows we have. So no one can see, on the surface, that we can actually relate to one another. No one knows you play with my hair or that we’ve never slept together. They either assume you’ve never been anywhere close to my hair or that we’re fucking on a regular, emotionless basis. They are wrong on both counts. Fuck ’em.

So fast forward two hours. I am at Orange County Social Club, being anti-social. There is a girl here with very short shorts on. There are twelve guys rockin’ full beards. There are seven mustaches. I counted.

And I sincerely apologize for calling your mustache ironic. You had it before Burt Reynolds, even. Know what I think is funny? That Microsoft word knows to auto-capitalize “Reynolds.”

Wish you were here. But I know the next time I see you will be serendipitous at best.

Xoxo, thighs facedown in the Murder Mart parking lot,

Mandey.

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