The Lost Kids
I stopped feeling lonely when I remembered to check in with Hemingway. It’d been a long time, and the bastard hadn’t texted or called. But he’s just the type of friend that reminds you you’ve got people despite the ostensible. I had just finished up with some business on the Upper East. Stranger things all the time with these narcissistic art people. One day it’s Warhol and his movie of couples macking it, and the next it’s a guy planning to recreate the film starring himself. Well, to be honest, I didn’t mind co-starring, considering the money. I had found the dude online, looking for a girl to come make out for a hundred bucks. I’m no whore or anything, but money talks, and I’ll be damned if a college education wasn’t enough to teach me that a hundred bucks for twenty minutes of my time is a higher rate than the ten fifty an hour I’m getting downtown at the restaurant. I took Economics; I know about high risk-high reward. That is why I went with a pair of scissors in my bag.
When I got to the place, I wasn’t entirely sure about the high risk part, but the address was to a brownstone, so I walked in. It was a fancy neighborhood. And yeah, I know about facades, but don’t forget about the high reward part. So I walked in, and I smelled weed, so I knew I was probably at the right place. Sure enough, this scruffy artist emerged from the door up the stairs when I knocked. If you’ve ever met a stranger like this, it goes like “hi”/ “yes, hello..”/ “come in”/ “thank you…” and then the door shuts and they offer for you to put your bag down, and you think about your scissors and locate where the person’s kidneys must be before you see the person’s Shiba Inu in the corner and decide it must be okay and surrender your bag to the offered chair back.
I looked around at his posters, wine bottles, shiny floors, and furniture. Must be nice, I thought. I mean, the dude wasn’t young. Maybe by the time I’m fifty, I won’t be needing roommates either, but that depends on how far I can get in my career before I lose my shit. A guy at the bank today was asking me if I was a chef at my job, and I was too hungover to smile when I said no. Everyone assumes you’re the head fucking chef. I should’ve asked him if he was the owner of the bank. Anyway, this artist shows me his idea for the film, shows me the windowsill where our makeoutery will occur, shows me his nice filming equipment, etc. And I’m there like let’s do this thing, because I have a date and I need time to brush your saliva and my guilt out of my gullet beforehand.
So we make out in three different takes. It’s awkward because I’m tiny and he’s tall, awkward because I haven’t kissed a man in over a year, awkward because it was at once the longest kiss I’ve had in a while and the worst. I wondered if he agreed it was terrible. Or if it was his first kiss. By the end of the last take, I did start to contemplate whether I would sustain post traumatic stress issues from it, but there was this healing moment when he handed me the hundred dollar bill. I was like, well that’s what that bill looks like. And then I got all socialist and divided the money amongst a number of bars downtown. No trauma was sustained.
So anyway, I woke up the other day feeling all crappy and alone in the world. I got out of bed and walked to the corner for a bagel, and Ishan finally stopped questioning me on my untoasted bagel preference. It felt OK to be accepted on that end, but being a regular at the bagel shop wasn’t the sense of belonging I was looking for at the moment. I bought a scratch off and lost. It was one of those stupid crossword ones. I used to win them sometimes–fifty bucks, once. But anyway, when I went back up to my apartment, I saw something my cousin posted on Facebook about France, and I thought of Hemingway. I love the guy, but I think moving to Paris after college was a douche move on his part. Look, I hate America too, but New York is easily as good as Paris, and either way you slice it, Ebola will get to every country eventually. So maybe I’m a little bitter that he left. But we have our adventures overseas from each other, and when we compare notes, it’s more of the same shenanigans.
I hadn’t checked in with him in a while, so I pulled up my last email to him to see where I left him. It read,
How’s that Paris life treating you, you fancy fuck? Come back to New York so we can sit in bars together and talk about the merits of butt sex when we’re sitting next to people who are clearly on their first date! I miss you. I’m finally settling into my new neighborhood, and I think it might be a secret lesbian Mecca. I’m not sure yet, so I’ll keep you posted, but I’m seeing a lot of butch haircuts and Birkenstocks. Oh. And there’s this lady who rides around town in a scooter for disabled people with a parrot on her shoulder. A goddamn parrot! They don’t write this shit in the movies.
I had the weirdest night last weekend. Remember I told you about the girl I went home with from that 80s party? Well I ran into her at this bar the other night, and it was awkward, because I left her that fucked up haiku about sorry for falling asleep in the middle of it, and it turned out she was straight anyway. Total wannabe bi girl, but straight as an arrow. On the bright side, she let me crash on her couch after the bar. And her roommate offered me coffee and a phone charge when I woke up like it was some four star hotel or something. I’m not making this up. And we got to talking about beer, and she gave me a bottle of her favorite brew. I’m pretty sure I’m ok with free beer from kind, cute strangers. Unfortunately, I don’t think she was hitting on me, though. Everyone wants a big butch these days. I don’t get that. I made this horrible mistake of eschewing the institution of categories, and it’s not working out well. Someone called me a chapstick lesbian, but I’m thinking I’m more of a “needs chapstick lesbian.” Real talk though, this weather is drying out my lips like a motherfucker. Maybe that’s the issue.
How are you, though? I feel like I only get random snapchats from you all captioned, “Don’t drop the baguette!” from various raves you’ve attended. You really need to come up with a catchier phrase. Haha..catchy…I think I’m punny. Speaking of, how are the boys? I’m guessing they love your American ass, but who knows. I’ve heard Parisians can be bitches. I want to hear about your life!
He had responded,
“Gretchennnn! I miss you more. Calm your horses on this meeting people thing. It sounds like you’re getting enough for us both. And what the hell with these nice people inviting you into their homes and offering you free beer in the morning? Was there a turn down service? I don’t understand. I’ve been kicked out of people’s flats here. Like “OK, this is not a thing, bye, I’m going to bed, go back to whatever arrondissement you came from.”
Still, though, I have been having a lot of fun. I finally straightened shit out with my work visa, so I can finally get a job. I don’t want to work, but I’m down to my final Euro, and I’m getting a little partied out, too. These French people can hang! Like if you and I thought our blood was made of a 30% wine solution, I fear for the vampire that tries to feast on the Parisians.
You’re done with “don’t drop the baguette”?! It still gets me every time. Unclear why. Ughhh wait so this is so annoying, but I think all French toilets are low-flush. Everyone has a toilet brush for deuce-dropping purposes, and it freaks me out. I think as soon as I get rich, I’m gonna get a fancy, American style toilet in my place. It’s awful.
Oh, I actually do have a story for you. So I met this guy at a club, and we left at like two in the morning, which is pretty early still for me these days, and we went to buy some blow. We each do like two small lines, go back to the club, dance our asses off, and then leave to go back to his place. And at this point, we were starting to come down and we bumped some to keep going (he was going to skip work). So we’re walking into his place, and this tiny little old lady catches me grinding my teeth a little, and she grabs me by the arm (you know that intense old lady grip–like rivaling Jack and Rose in Titanic). She looks me in the eyes like she knows what’s up, and then she says in this raspy French, “can I get some?” I died. She had to be like 90 years old. I absolutely did not give an old lady coke, but nonetheless…what is my life coming to?
Alright, well I have to go, but we should Skype sometime. I know our schedules never work, but you know…one day.
Bye, bitch (haha my phone always auto-corrects it to butch! It knows!)
What a guy. Basically the male version of me, but not at all. I thought about booking a trip to see him, but I was pretty damn sure I wouldn’t have the money until tax returns come in. I mean, with my luck, I’ll owe money back to the government, but whatever. I hate thinking about the government. Just the other day, my friend, Jen, was telling me her family was all on her dick to vote. And I didn’t vote either. The way she saw it, her parents were Republican for money reasons. And she has Democratic values, but she’s also not making enough money to give a shit either way. We decided we are definitely fucked either way, so fuck voting. At least until we read up on what exactly is going on. We are pretty sure no one really knows.