I didn’t know her that well until recently. She says we had a class together in undergrad. I don’t remember that. Most days, I was staring out the window, thinking about what to eat, or which girls were next on my list. It was a miracle I had made it to college. Not that I didn’t deserve to be there, whatever that means. I had the grades-but I also had a huge problem with authority, and experienced some thorny run-ins with the cops while I still lived in New York. Florida was a long way from home, but I ended up loving it there. I made some good friends, and I guess if had I never gone to St. Mary’s I wouldn’t have met her. Turns out, we ran in the same circles. I saw her, yet didn’t notice her. She wasn’t my type back then. For a long time, my type was big-breasts and low self-esteem. She was always with her friend Anthony, reciting Jay-Z lyrics and crying over her lame boyfriend. Maybe her self-esteem was low, but her boobs certainly weren’t big enough. Anyway, once I moved to LA, I got into the artist/writer scene, and that’s how she popped up on my radar. I went to this reading party. I know it sounds a little weird, but people are totally into it here. It was at a Mexican cantina in the Arts District. The flyer said to bring a book, and money for drinks. The “party” was from 12-4. As was my custom, I wore all black. I’m not exactly sure what I’m mourning, but I have been doing it for two years. I can’t get away from it. I don’t want to. I walked in and sat down with my copy of Song of Solomon. It’s been one of my favorite books forever. It makes me feel like I can find my way home.
There was only one other person in the place besides me. It was quiet, and there was lots of sunlight pouring through the windows. A promising scene. A waitress came and whispered softly in my ear, “ Would you like a drink?” I thought for a moment and then asked for a Moscow Mule. I don’t usually drink those, but my ex did, and something about the placid scene reminded me of her. Well into my reading and doing my best to get that horrible drink down, I felt someone move next to me. I looked over, and there she was. Her mouth still permeates my thoughts every time I see that copy of Song of Solomon on my shelf. I can’t believe I let her go.
I was so glad to get out of the house. When I first moved to LA, I had 3,000.00. I know it wasn’t much, but people come here with less and seem to make it. Sure, it takes forever to get noticed by a publishing company without an agent, but it was a risk I was willing to take. Besides, I had a thriving career in tech to fall back on should my manuscript end up in a bonfire, or dumpster. I had a plan. I would work the traditional 9-5 by day, and write for my life at night. I had to do it, no matter what he said. He was the reason I flew halfway across the continent to start a new life. Anyway, with only a few thousand dollars, I couldn’t afford to go to premiers or enjoy the legendary nightlife. I volleyed between the library and the thrift shop. Oh, and Trader Joe’s. A girl’s gotta eat. I found out about the reading party while I was there one day. I always have a book in my hand, so I guess the hipster cashier guy thought I would be interested. I was about to pay for my food when he blurted it out. “Hey, um, I don’t know if you would want to come, but there is a party-“ I interjected. “I don’t do parties. I’m poor.” He laughed, and shook his head. A lady with a baby on her hip rolled her eyes at me. “No, it’s not that kind of party. Here, look this over. I’ll be there, so you will have a friend.” I shoved the paper in my bag, and I took off before the angry lady could run into my heels with her shopping cart.
I got there a little late. I wasn’t going to show up at all, but I was getting tired of sitting in the house every day hoping he would ask me to come back. I put on a little black dress-well, more like a big black dress. It was long, came all the way down to my ankles, and had long sleeves. It was made of cheap material, maybe a mix of cotton and spandex or something. It looked good on me. My starving artist figure was quite nice. I wore my hair up in a tight ballerina bun, and my jewelry consisted of the hoops in my ears. I let my neck be naked, save the perfumed oil I got from Moreesa. I walked in with my copy of Song of Solomon. It was a beat up hard back with threads coming out of the top. I got it at the thrift shop a couple days ago, and it’s been glued to my hand ever since. Most of the chairs were taken. Book nerds are punctual, I guess. I headed for the closest empty seat and slid down. That’s when I saw him looking at me. He had music in his eyes. I ruined my life simply trying to get out of the house.