Minutes past

Hello, readers.

Ten minutes to eleven. It’s been over a month since I’ve written anything. It’s been over a month that I’ve read anything that doesn’t talk about Biostatistics or healthy public policies. Life has become a whirlwind that seems to stand still. Like going for surgery, disconnecting from the world only to wake up and find that the world has gone on without you. It has changed and so have you. And it’s not one of those emotional improvement changes, it’s a visceral/physical change.

Two minutes to eleven. Grad school is everything and nothing like I expected. Everything and nothing. I’m happy. My hands digging into the doughy bits, there’s no mold just the shapes your hands can make. And it’s liberating to feel that control, to grasp it firmly in your fist in a show of victory.

A minute past eleven pm. I miss my friends. Life has gone on without me, as it should. And in a few short weeks we’ve reorganized ourselves into new dynamics. It’s an exercise in anxiety management, these worn paths of friendship suddenly diverging. We’ve become many small roads, instead of a four lane highway.

Four past eleven, time flies. I miss the quiet moments. The not doing anything with someone else. I miss my wife, passionately and profoundly. Like I carved out my heart to make space for new knowledge. Like I was put under and someone scooped it out without my consent.

I close my eyes and panic a little because I didn’t know this would happen. I panic because I should’ve known. This heartache of missing people that are there, feeling whole in their embrace and shattered in the knowledge that you’re the one that’s unavailable.

Eleven past eleven. Make a wish. I wish you were here. Not so quietly playing The Sims, while that annoying Kim K soundtrack plays on your tablet.

Thirteen past eleven. I wish I could take you for granted again.

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Alphabet Soup: W is for Wife

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Happy Friday, readers!

I hope you’re all doing well and getting ready for the weekend! My version of that is to stay at home studying all day because tomorrow I have my grad school admission test. Wuuuuuut?! Terrifying stuff, man. I haven’t taken a math class since high school. So, I’m hoping the cram session will do me some good. And what am I going to do afterwards, you ask? I’m taking my wife to Disneyland! Nah, I’m too broke for that. I’ll probably take her out for a beer though, or something.

W is for Wife

People always react weirdly when I say I have a wife. First they assume I’m legally married to someone and also a lesbian, then when I clarify it’s neither they dismiss the whole thing as a trend. And it definitely is a trend, girls saying they’re married to their best friends. It’s usually just another term for best friend though, which doesn’t make it less just different.

When I say she’s my wife, I mean I’d probably actually marry her. The closest I can come to describing it is being in an asexual relationship. She’s the one person I love doing nothing with. The one person I can picture spending the rest of my life with. Commitment with her, in any of its iterations doesn’t seem daunting. It seems normal, almost obvious.

I see her and I think she sees me, which is really all we’re looking for in life, isn’t it? We all want that person who is always there for us. Who gets our jokes, who listens, who is actively interested in what we have to say. That one person who is excited when good things happen for us, whose words are never empty.

So no, it’s not just a trend. I don’t just mean she’s my best friend, although she is that too. The fact that you don’t quite understand it, doesn’t mean it’s something to be dismissed. It’s real and kind of electrifying when you think about it. To have stumbled upon something so solid, so there. She makes me happy, ya know?

She’ll read this at some point. We’ll both be mildly embarrassed because neither one of us has any idea how to deal with feelings. It’s nice.

(By the way hwife, we’re going for a beer date tomorrow after my test. Yes? Yes. Kloveyoubai!)

Until next time, readers!

Alphabet: S is for Side by Side

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

It’s Fridaaaaaayyyyyyyy. #Excitement

S is for Side by Side

It’s currently 1:21am. I’m sitting in front of my best friend, while we sip Hot White Chocolate. She’s on her computer. I’m on mine. There are moments when we don’t speak. There’s music on. This has been going on for approximately 5 hours. And it sounds like we’ve run out of things to do, but this was the plan. She came over expressly for this, this being absolutely mundane in each other’s company.

There’s something to be said for it. Sitting next to her, the silence feels like home. Like making everything else irrelevant. Like understanding what people say when they talk dreamily about not needing anyone else. She mutters under her breath, while I surf the web aimlessly.

Suddenly a song comes on, we start singing at the same time. Bobbing our heads in exactly the same way. Because we’ve danced together enough to get to that place. Enough to anticipate, to merge our styles – my head sways, her fist pumps.

And I can’t help but wonder if our hearts have synchronized. If our breath flows in tandem, a push and pull of the world around us that’s never the same, but complementary. I wonder if the world has learned to grow around us. Covering us in layers of time, fine powders that get into everything. The sands of time settle in the corners of this thing we’ve built. And it’d be so easy to drown in them with someone else. But she’s not someone else. She’s the silence I look forward to. The person that makes the mundane something to look forward to. The one who makes forever seem like not enough.

She’s still in next to me. Skyping with someone. The hot chocolates are gone. TLC is on. Life goes on, but it goes on better with her. You know?

Until next time, readers!

Destination: Texas

Texas.png

Hello, readers!

Today is another beautiful day in the life of everyone who is in a good mood. Everyone else hates life. And you. Those terrible people. But it’s ok because I will always love you. Doesn’t that make you feel better? I thought so!

I’m trying to move swiftly from destination to destination in an attempt to make up for (what I feel is) lost time. Between the trip and my self imposed hiatus, I’m way behind where I thought I’d be at this point in the challenge. So, at a brisk pace that reminds us exactly how out of shape we are, we move on to Texas!

The way this challenge is structured is meant to resemble a roadtrip throughout the world. Except instead of turning corners we’re turning pages and discovering way more than the best places to eat. For me roadtrips mean the wind in my hair, the excitement of new places, but most of all they mean music. There’s nothing quite like feeling the wind slip through your open hand, trees blurring together, as you sing along to the radio. Your voice gets lost in the sounds of traffic, the too loud music, yours friends’ voices indistinguishable from one another.

I have so many memories of being in the car with my best friend and dancing to music while she drives. People driving by and laughing with us, a fleeting moment of shared happiness. I have memories of being tired, the darkness outside swallowing up mountains, slow music spilling thickly from the speakers. Watching her intently looking at the road. I have memories of being in the back seat, tipsy and unconcerned with the world. Feeling warm and happy, cocooned by voices and nameless pop songs. Often the best part of a roadtrip isn’t arriving, it’s the journey. The ups and downs, the unexpected conversations, the singing at the top of your lungs that happens on your way there.

When I was deciding what to write about for Texas, I started looking for songs and I found this playlist. The guy who made it, wrote something that struck me as particularly true, “All travelers sing – the road demands it.” And I think it’s high time we brought some music into our journey. Here are some songs about Texas, for Texas, by Texans.

Enjoy the music, but most of all enjoy the journey. Until next time, readers!

In the Break Room: Daniel José Older’s Half-Resurrection Blues

Hello, readers! Welcome to another Wednesday in life! You’re living life, I’m living life. It’s all roses and butterflies. Or some other corny shit like that.

My best friend gets back today (finally!) and I couldn’t be happier. I mean, I probably could. Like if she came back with a million dollars that magically replenished themselves. But honestly, it’s enough that she’s coming back. This whole being apart from each other doesn’t work for me. I joke that my strongest relationship is with alcohol, but really it’s the one I have with her. Everything else comes second. Ugh. SO EXCITED.

Moving on.

After I was finished reading The Blind Assassin, I didn’t feel like jumping into anything taxing. I wanted to read, but I almost wanted it to be a non-book. A placeholder while I found something else, something better. So, I picked up Half-Resurrection Blues, which I’d gotten a few month backs on a Book Riot Quarterly box, but had never gotten around to reading. The beginning was exactly what I expected and had been looking for. It felt like a whatever book.

Except as I kept reading, I kept getting more and more into it. It was fast paced and entertaining. Sometimes predictable, but it still sucked you in. And I remembered how good books like that are. They don’t make demands of you, they just want you to have a good time with them. Which is when I realized I was letting my inner book snob be more prevalent than it needed to be. Because I was telling myself it was a non book, a place holder, a whatever book, a guilty pleasure. Except, it’s not any of those things. It’s just a short book that I tremendously enjoyed. A bit like casual sex. Where we tell ourselves the people we’re fucking don’t matter, instead of just enjoying this moment that’s there and gone.

bye-1422635553

The different between casual sex and this book is that, whereas casual sex is usually a one night affair, this book is the first in a series. The second book, Midnight Taxi Tango, comes out on the 5th of January. ( This is not an advertisement and I’m not being paid, by the way. Although if someone wanted to pay me for it, I wouldn’t complain) And, honestly, I’m pretty damned excited about that too. Because I enjoyed myself. What I’m trying to say is, lets stop being snobs and dig into the paranormal, sci-fi, romance, horror books that we mistakenly call guilty pleasures. Admit it, it’s just regular pleasure.

pcabncp

Have a good one, readers!

Alphabet Soup: G is for Guest

Evening, readers!

This is my second post today. No it’s not Christmas, just craziness. I owed you a post from Wednesday, which was the one I posted earlier today. This one is our usual Alphabet Soup.

G is for guest so I asked the author of The Lemming Transcript, and my best friend, to write a guest post because I love her and so should you. For serial. If I were lost in a deserted island and could only bring one thing, it’d be her. As I’ve said before, one of the hardest things about this trip has been the fact that I couldn’t bring her with me. Instead, I’ve had her write up something for us and, a bit selfishly, for myself because I thoroughly enjoy reading her. I hope you do too.

G is for Guest

September 15: Of idle hands and playthings.

This is what happens when your best friend leaves; you lose the little sanity you have left.

It’s a reggae band. Reggae. I promised the bass player I would show up tomorrow. Decision-making skills aside, this has been an eventful night.

I don’t usually do this so blatantly, but here is a rundown:

Thursday, you know what that means, free film (and parking) in the Architecture department. Today they played Barbarella, now I can rate it and cross it off my Netflix queue, five stars. Jane Fonda was a babe. Today is different. I am going alone with no plans of drinking or partying afterwards, no sneaky hookups or kind-of-close buddies to divvy my time with. I told my mother I was coming home early, not to worry. And then I got there.

The last guy I dated is waiting in front of the door to the amphitheater, high. Confused, I say hello, and give him a kiss on the cheek as is custom. He tries to hug me as I peel away, and now we’re caught in this uncomfortable half-hug/half-what-the-fuck-is-this embrace. Just no.

Movie plays. While it develops, he asks me very loudly what the song on the soundtrack is every time a new song comes on. I don’t know any of them. He gets comfortable and decides to lean on my shoulder while he snoozes. On my shoulder. Mine. I don’t cuddle. What even is life?

Movie ends. We leave, he’s hungry and people have texted me to stay and drink. Fine, I eat with him and hang out for a little bit. Things have calmed down, now we talk about films and TV shows and music, and I feel oddly comfortable, almost like I used to before we smoked apples together.

Basket shows up, a buddy/friend/loverperson. He walks me to my car to leave my jacket, we change bars on the way back. We run into Val, we talk until she’s too high to talk anymore. She gives me an in at her volunteer job and she leaves. Basket gets me beer.

Denise tells me she is on her way to Rio, to wait for her. I do and she shows and she gets me a beer, and we split from Basket and we go to a reggae show in Taller. We walk in with beers from another spot. There are roughly six people in the crowd, none of them dancing. We’re dangerously close to a very attractive bearded guy with glasses, my kind, older with flecks of gray coming in at the temples. Denise goes to the bathroom and Drunk Guy stumbles his way to my personal space. I don’t want a drunk-guy-beer, so I smiled and said thank you and moved. He proceeded to kick me out of the place I was standing so he could talk to Hot Bearded Guy. Hot Bearded Guy asked me where I got my glasses; we talked about prescriptions for a good 20 minutes. I didn’t realize he was hitting on me. He left when I turned around.

Denise and I moved bars back to El Bori. The reggae band shows up, they tell us they’re playing in my hometown tomorrow. I’m more excited at the sound of my city’s name coming out of this gorgeous but dreadlocked creature than I am of the gig itself. Reggae all sounds the same to me, so I say yeah, and then I hear the conversation again in my head. I agreed to show up at their show, and knowing myself, I will show up. Shit.

Two guys from California and I talk about cellos. One guy not from California thanks Marx, for never doing hard drugs. I ask him why Marx and he says because he’s no god.

On the way to the car, two gay guys ask me when the train starts back up again, it’s 5am. I ask them which train station they’re getting off in, they say Sagrado. I offer to drop them off there. I walk back to my car with two strangers, and run over an entire sidewalk because they have closed the parking I am in. I drop them off, and then drive home. My mother has waited up.

This is what happens when your best friend leaves.

There’s something about aging that makes departures seemingly definite. Even if there are all too severe return dates and you’ve memorized them, it’s this subconscious recognition that the arrival will prove you different. There’s dust on their shoulder, their shirt is no longer crisp the way you remember it. Has your nose always been crooked? It’s been four years of this.

What do you do when all that you lurve jumps on a plane in the opposite direction? I never knew such flagrant codependence. Conversations seem pointless if I have nobody to make a face to to express my true feelings about it. Why, no, I do not think multiple choice exams with both an option for all above are correct and another for none are correct should be legal.

Why, yes, you make a good case out of your incompetence.

What do you do? There is no disconnect, this is the 21st century and we are millennials, what do you do when there’s only absence? When it’s not just her frame that is missing within all this, when it’s a balance that is being messed with? In the face of it all, it can only do to occupy your fingers with trivialities. The act of creation isn’t much without the cycle of sharing, but it can sometimes benefit from a lack of distraction. Destitute manufacture patching up the unraveling fabric of your time, no longer engaged in the tragic retellings of our past travels in a desperate attempt to relive them together. It would’ve been so much better with you there. My hands take to the needle to weave new stories of ephemeral love and everlasting loss, new levels of understanding abound, another quilt to cover ourselves up with in the cold when you come back. We’ll drink toasted marshmallow hot chocolates. The effervescence of our early 20’s quickly fizzling away, little truth bubbles sticking to the side of the glass when it doesn’t feel like you’ve gone yet, but you know better. The unspoken promises we’ve made with the other every time we felt found shaking in their boots with anticipation.

Will you be the same then? Will I?

No, this is what happens when your best friend leaves.

Everything keeps going the way it would, some say the way it should. Nothing stops. Things feel slightly different, like moving everything in your room two inches to the right, it all looks identical, but you will miss every time you drop your keys on your nightstand.

And, this is what you do. You write, affix lips to wound and hope you’re strong enough to gouge the other dry. You write new endings, different ones, to the things you’ve always done in the same way, you empty yourself out on stacks of paper to anchor down the other side, the one she used to fill, and you hope you both still read the same way, left to right, when you’re back.

This is how you mind the gap, making bridges out of worries of the breaks, crossing them to seal the spaces in between. You go to reggae shows to drown your sorrows, and you ignore the fact that maybe the reason you’re crying is not your impending loneliness, it’s the fact that all these people have dreadlocks, it smells like coconut oil in here, and I swear this band has been playing the same song for hours.

No, this is what you do, this is how you mind the gap: you tell her to have a nice trip and you mean it.

This is a journal, to help me through.

When in doubt, travel.

Well, everyone, it’s official – I booked my trip to Europe! I’ve been slowly convincing myself to take this trip for the past few weeks and I finally decided to buy the plane tickets. The plan so far is to land in Scotland and from there head out to different countries. Not gonna lie, I’m insanely excited! It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Europe and I’ve never been there longer than a month. So, this trip is going to be a whole new experience in more than one way. I’m already looking for places to go, what I need to survive the winter months, where I can find the cheapest beer (let’s be honest, this is the most important one!). Continue reading