Excerpt from “Primer”
Flâneur extraordinaire: I’m feeling coordinated AF. The gold rims of my Janis-style hippie shades vibe with my platinum jacket zippers (both decorative and functional—a Michael Kors steal, totally Instagrammable) and complement the canary hue in my wrapped-wire, forged-metal bracelet. An evil eye beaded bangle adds color family accents; a dandelion-shaped pendant rests halfway between my diamond-sharp clavicles. Shiny hoop earrings finish off my Midas luster.
I’m willfully shackled to an ouroboros of luminescence. The shade of glitter in my Santana cropped top matches my sparkly flame-blue acrylic nails to a T. In the center of my bracelet setting rests a sky-colored stone. Crystals the azure tint of Lake Huron comprise the remainder of my bling. Faded night-owl-black jeans hug the contours of my curvaceous bod. Keeping it cas, I’m sporting white and aqua Nikes and hidden socks that showcase my slender ankles. A single quartz charm dangles from my chained-fence anklet, and reflects dazzling sunlight. My honey-highlighted hair flows free of product (except for sea spray mist—a must-have for mermaids). Daytime humidity flirts with my natural waves as the wind tousles them. I’m posing like one of Homer’s muses: pure fire.
A sour note, if one exists, is the reminder that Justin and I spent our third rough approximation of a date picnicking at this very spot. Our make-out sesh got hot ‘n’ heavy—Justin made it to second base before the vigilant park moms chided us. Apparently, our salaciousness was unexemplary conduct to display in front of their curious tots’ impressionable eyes. To the moms’ credit, Justin and I were being totally inappropriate; in our defense, we were navigating the stormy seas of seat-wetting. (Even the suggestion of his hands on my skin sent me into paroxysms of undulant desire—my undies were soaked.)
Murmuring filthy promises of intimacy, Justin visibly backed off the physical contact out of perfunctory respect for our accidental audience—but his body language guaranteed an unleashing, reckoning-style, of the pent-up tension necessarily maintained to save public face. When we finally managed to do the deed a few days later, his actions didn’t quite match his words. Such a bummer!
Justin was a selfish lover who always ensured his own pleasure was met before deciding (as if on a whim) whether I deserved equal-ish treatment. One of the traits he claimed to love about me was my enthusiastic libido. However, as our fuck-ship’s novelty wore off, he increasingly turned to the banality of internet porn to keep his tastes from remaining constant.
I would have rather he cut me off quickly and mercilessly than dragged things out to the bitter end and then ghosted me in phases. There are few events more humiliating than receiving silence in lieu of an explanation text, especially when I know how often he checks his phone. (Rarely did he take a shit without it.) I obsessed over the “annoying” habits he claimed drove him to cheat. The way I ate the garnish. How I brushed my teeth. My tendency to well up when I’m frustrated. Eventually, I realized I wasn’t the problem.
After coming (and not often enough, might I add) to the painful realization I’d lost my appeal in his eyes, I mustered up the self-respect to tell him, “Deuces!” without coming across as an embittered sore loser. I didn’t offer him friendship, and he didn’t request it. Occasionally, I flash him the thumbs-up on his mostly inane, seldom canny SM posts featuring surfing or boozing—the sarcasm of my choice emojis are lost on him, but I enjoy my private smirks. That’s the extent of our current interactions (his “liking” of my non-verbal comments notwithstanding).
Do I low-key loathe him? Quite possibly. My roommate Yves suggested I troll him; but smear campaigns are so typical, predictable, totally not my style. I don’t have the inclination to deliberately cause him harm, despite the slow burn he inflicted upon me. Speaking of burn, the beanery I’m currently strolling by is emitting the scent of over-roasted coffee. I decide to take my chances with a matcha latte.
The twenty-something barista once-overs me before drawing a smiley face on my cup.
“Always nice to see Mr. Happy.” Winking at the scandalized server, I hustle over to a super-comfy couch, set my stuff on the Amish-crafted coffee tables, open my journal, and hunker down for a round of single-player “I Spy.”
My vantage point is perfect for people-watching. I observe an odd couple in the reflection of the glass-encased faux fireplace. Russian tongues mingle in between sips of cappuccino and unflavored Propel. The male specimen has already attempted to peacock a future cock-suck from his female counterpart by aiming his cell camera directly from the crotch.
“Check it out!” he seems to say. “Remember this? Dick’s still here.”
Some men are so unreasonably proud of their dangling bits, as if they earned them in battle, like Purple Hearts of Valor or some shit like that. Others are ashamed, having gotten stuck with the short straws. They feel shafted—and rightly so, when they’ve been conditioned to believe the larger the phallus, the greater the power. That being said, I’m not immune to the aesthetic charm of a big dick (especially when I need to get laid), but if its owner’s personality blows, I’m not about to suck it!
Of course, I don’t speak for all women—the curly-haired chick accompanying Camera Crotch approves of his chicanery enough to pour him a dram of water. I half-expect her to tip it directly into his mouth like a shot of liquor. Drawing close together on the couch, heads huddled, they plot the potential assassination of a U.S. dignitary (whoa—been watching way too much Amazon Prime), or discuss the banalities of fair weather . . . one can never tell as long as one remains ignorant of the Russian language.
Kitty-corner to the couple perches a young Sporty Spice doppelganger wearing a tracksuit and a nondescript ponytail. A mug of black medium-roast rests unfinished on the cedar table in front of her; a thick tome, flipped open to a page past the halfway point, silently declares its insignificance as her eyes rove anywhere other than the passage she’s supposed to be reading. Girl, I can so relate!
In the foreground, a wispy-bun-wearing collegiate titters over an Ariana Grande joke her ex-con boyfriend made. Apparently, it’s super-hilarious to have a laugh at the expense of a mega-famous female pop singer who wouldn’t give your generic acoustic serenade the time of day, even if you sent her the YouTube link for three months straight as a DM on Instagram with the subject matter, “4 UR Ears Only!” Ugh.
The white foam shamrock floating atop a thick pad of puke-green matcha has yet to disintegrate, and I ordered this drink over twenty minutes ago. Should I be dismayed or impressed? The evening cargo train rumbles through downtown as Stevie Nicks croons of fearful changes via the cafe’s Bluetooth speakers. Glancing at the side of my pen, I notice its brand name—Jetstream. This is a sign. The universe is never mute.
If only I could decode its message . . .