Updated: Dec 31, 2019
It’s 7:05pm. I’m not nervous, but I’m focused on my breathing, in and out. Maybe that indicates that I am indeed nervous; but I’m trying to convince myself I’m not. I’ve done this before. I’m going to be fine. I don’t actually know if I feel any emotion right now. I bought a new phone case today. It was an impulsive decision. I can feel the unnatural heaviness in my hand. This isn’t the only thing that’ll make me feel unnatural tonight. But I’m trying not to think about it.
I’m in the taxi. A strange song is playing on the radio. I can’t understand the lyrics because it’s in Chinese, but it’s distracting me. The taxi stops. I’m here. I’m focusing on my breathing again. Reapply my red lipstick. Smile. Breathe. I’m ready. Introductions went fine. I couldn’t stop staring at your teeth. They were crooked, and that’s me trying to be polite. I remember you asking me what I did for Christmas the night before. “I just went to sleep.” I answered. That made you happy. You continued by saying that you too, had no plans. You too, were lonely. I nodded. You asked if I was alright. “Just nervous.” I replied.
Afterwards, I walk to the nearest 7/11, to grab another taxi. Its windy, it has been pretty chilly the last few weeks. Actually, it has been chilly since you broke up with me. It’s time to go home. It’s only 8:30. I conclude that it wasn’t a waste of my time. I look at my phone. I have missed a couple of calls from you. I video call you back. “Why are you out?” you asks upon noticing my attire and once heavy, now smeared, makeup. “Oh, the usual.” I respond. “You can pay your rent.” you say full of support and excitement. “Yes. I can.” Instead I immediately spend the money on an overpriced bottle of wine, and I go to see a movie with you, and other friends. I still haven’t opened the bottle of wine. I just stare at it, resting on my kitchen counter. I need to rest too.
We’re in an elevator. We have to travel 3 more floors. “How’s your week been?” “I haven’t heard from you at all.” “Pretty short- boring, nothing special.” I’m making conversation before the movie starts. You notice that I’ve been absent, that I’m still absent. I must reek of duplicity. “How’s the German?” “We’re fine.” I say when the door opens. “He’s only coming back in 2 weeks.” I reply. I notice the shake in my voice. “I miss him.” I add. And I really do. I didn’t lie, I was lonely on Christmas, you weren’t there. I was bored. I needed a distraction. I needed a diversion. To escape this mental distress. I needed you. Your touch, the way you soothe me when I cough. I’ve been coughing for more than eight weeks now. You’re so gentle, even though I encourage you to hurt me, you stay gentle. You stay pure. “I need to use the restroom, I’ll be right back.” I stay there until the movie starts. People don’t have to talk when seeing a movie in the cinema. I like that.
After the movie you pull me aside. I can practically feel the authenticity in your voice. “You have to be honest with him. He deserves to know.” “I know.” I say. I promise that I’m done with it. And I mean it. I mean it when I promise I won’t attend to such nonsense again. I remember what my horoscope warned the previous day “try not to become dead inside.”
In the taxi ride home, I look at my phone. I have a new notification. I won’t open the app. I promised you. Instead I try to focus on the skyscrapers out the window. The lights are so pretty. I wish they were distracting enough. They only make me think of your pretty eyes. My phone keeps buzzing. I pick it up but I’m used to the feeling of the new cover now. It feels normal, it feels safe.
The taxi driver isn’t very pleased. We were almost at my apartment when I commanded that he redirects the route. “It’s innocent.” I say out loud. He cannot understand me. To him I’m just mouthing gibberish. I get out of the taxi at the destination. It’s unknown, but the neighborhood seems okay. This is the last time. I need to pay rent, I remind myself. I look down at my clothing. It’s nothing special. Black pants and a white sweater. It’s cold outside- it’s cold inside too. Introductions develop fine. You’re tall, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your teeth. There’s not an elevator in the building, so I walk up the 7 flights of stairs. “Why are you not talking?” “Are you OK?” “Yes. I’m fine, just nervous.” “Don’t be nervous. Is this the first time you try it?” “Yes.” You’re so desperate to believe me.
I’m on my way home, I had to wait for a taxi. It’s late. Or early. Depends on which way you look at it. I feel like I wasted so much time. I’m tired. I want to sleep. When I enter my building, the landlord is sitting on the big sofa in the lobby. “Can I pay my rent now?” I type into the translation app on my phone. I pay my rent, get into the elevator. I think of calling the German, but he probably went to bed already. We haven’t spoken much, a goodnight text here, a picture there. You said you like it when I send you selfies. I hate it. The varying time-zones won’t allow me to talk to you.
Instead I take a shower and get into bed myself. The sun is hot in the sky already. Hotter than usual. Or is it me? Am I getting sick? I’m still coughing. I get up and close the curtains. My room is darker now. So am I.
Tomorrow I have to go to work early. I have a slight headache. I hope it’ll be better by the time I wake up. I hope everything will be better by the time I wake up. As I dive off, I can see my dreams form before me like I’m watching it unfold on a movie screen. It’s the same as every time I fall asleep. I dream of you. I don’t want to but I do. I always do.
I wake up to more notifications. It’s dark. I should’ve deleted the app. I paid my rent. I have no excuses, no reasons, no motivations. I should go back to sleep. I have to be at work early tomorrow morning. After the arrangements have been made, I walk to the 7/11 around the corner to grab a taxi, again. It’s the only thing I can do to keep myself sane. The only thing that keeps the thoughts of you away. Introductions go fine. I’m headed for another sleepless night.