2 posts tagged fiction
It’s maybe seven or eight years ago and I’m at a diner with this kid. The lighting in the diner is yellow and the walls are mirrored and we are reflected endlessly against the mauve vinyl seats. Four years prior to this moment, so eleven or twelve years prior to my typing this, here, he was my second kiss. (The first, a sycophantic Rivers-Cuomo-type I met on makeoutclub.com, didn’t count: I just knew I had to get the whole kissing-someone thing out of the way to get on with my life.) So he was my second kiss but my first “real” one, but I can’t remember anything about the exact moment. Maybe there was no kiss. Maybe I made it up. Maybe this is fiction.
We are two of the only ones home for the summer and have found each other again, in his parents’ basement with pea soup green carpet and cheap vodka. Two years ago, my best friend lost her virginity to him, and here I am doing this now, even though he was my first kiss two years before that. Of the three of us I seem to be the only one bothered by this, and that’s what I’m doing in this diner, having some sort of meltdown over it. I don’t even know what I’m saying, I can’t keep time straight and I’m biting my nails, I might be crying. He interrupts me.
"There’s a difference between history and past, you know," he says. "Past is just what’s happened. History is what part of it you carry around."
He is this sort of person, prone to this sort of interjection.
I don’t know why he’s saying this but I nod and probably light another cigarette. Or maybe I don’t: I forget what year they banned smoking indoors where I grew up. Even after they banned it we always sat in the smoking section anyway.
It’s not actually seven or eight years ago, of course: it’s right now and I’m typing this on my phone on a bus in the dark. I am feeling laughably nostalgic and listening to music to encourage that: walk around this town like we own the streets, stay awake through summer like we own the heat.
There is a specific humidity to the air here which triggered this, a specific heat and a sound of crickets. Specific heat, I think. A chemistry thing, if I recall: the amount of energy to raise the temperature of one gram one degree, right? The specific heat of memory.
I have specific and very beautiful memories of this summer seven or eight years ago: Speeding north on an empty highway after a closing shift at the café where I worked, windows down and New Order’s “Ceremony” as loud as it goes, wind in my hair, sixty seventy eighty five north. Watching fireworks in some nearby town with kids I met on MySpace, their friends and their house party, the same tattoos and septum piercings as kids in my hometown, warm vodka in a Poland Spring bottle. Sitting on the dock of a lake in our damp underwear surrounded by fireflies glinting orange off the near-black water. The Pixies blasting while I sat in the back of someone’s car behind giant knockoff Chanel sunglasses, trailing my fingertips out the window to feel the heat rising off the pavement. Things so ordinary. Things so specific.
But what about that is even interesting? Is this compelling to other people? How can you tell the difference between actually interesting and personal? What’s a good story and what’s just reality and what is a better story than reality? Because this isn’t reality.
I press one hand flat against the window and the other hand flat against my chest. Whatever, I think, watching the still-familiar landscape slide by. It’s okay. It must just be history.
He took me to Momofuku last night but he has texted me again, asking to meet this evening, he has friends in town, they’ll adore me, please come.
"He’s fucking clingy," Jonas says, skeptically, ashing his cigarette into an empty beer can. We are on the floor of Fallon’s East Village apartment, tenth-between-a-and-first, which I’m house-sitting for the Christmas break. "You met him what, four days ago? Who goes on three dates in four days?"
I had plans to go to the movies with Jonas, can u do this weekend instead, I text him back.
bring him too then, bisous
I show Jonas and he shrugs. “As long as he’s paying.”