February 19, 2018
I woke up at a quarter past 11 today because I left the window next to my bed half-open and the breeze kept waking me up. Other than that I enjoy sleeping in. The thought of getting up repeats in my mind. But I do nothing about it, I scroll through my Instagram feed. Until my phone dies.
I heat up the water for my coffee. I sprinkle on cinnamon when I realize I don’t have any sugar or milk. Black coffee will do, I think. I usually find comfort in drinking my coffee out of my “Let that shit go” mug, but today is harder. My mind feels empty. Perhaps it’s everything going on. I hate days like today because I mentally draft out plans of my life in order to feel some security. I move my savings into my checking and my checking into my savings, I mentally fix my budget Excel sheet to make sure that the amount I have will be enough to get me through the time I won’t be able to work. Until I finally give up.
I sit on my bean bag and look outside my living room window. I have no furniture. My roommate moved out two weeks ago, and while it sucks because she took all the furniture, I couldn’t feel more at peace now that she’s gone. Seriously, it’s a long story. My lease ends in a week. My work permit expires in another month. My coffee is shit. I get up and wash my mug as my phone rings.
Whenever my mom calls I feel relief and terror. I let the phone call go to voice mail. I know why she’s calling, and while I love my weekly dosage of chisme, I know she’s calling to tell me about her slow progress in getting back with my father. Not interested. She’s also calling because I haven’t spoken to her since she told me. It’s hard to explain—it’s a combination of feelings. Instead I make my way back to my room.
I need to keep packing, but all that’s really left is a broken dresser, hanging string lights, my laptop, and a couple of books. It’s Presidents’ Day and I have no work, so today should be a big packing day. Instead I throw myself on my bed and consider all the possible off-the-books gigs I can do while I wait for the renewal of my work permit. I google the timeline for my paperwork, I check my case status. I check my case status at least once a day, ever since I submitted it. I give up and take a shower.
Since I wasn’t feeling the whole packing situation, I get ready to leave. I got errands to run, like dropping off my deposit to my broker in fucking nowhere-America-Yonkers. I take a train to a bus. The guy behind me snores the entire 45 minutes; I really try to not lose my shit. I focus on something light like . . . my first apartment. Well, my first apartment alone without a roommate. My first apartment never felt like home, and perhaps this is something else lingering in my mind. The idea of home. I left my parents’ house because my dad was an abuser. I left it to share a beautiful two-bedroom with a person who turned out to also be an abuser. No worries—I was never physically abused. But the amount of negativity and anger was no different than what my father possessed.
My phone makes a noise. Google lets me know I have arrived. I jump out and head straight to the broker’s office. We exchange sad I-don’t-wanna-be-here smiles and agree to sign a lease on Friday, and I leave. I could easily get on the bus back to the train, but I swear if I get another song composed by snoring I will really die. God bless Uber.
Am I the only one who decides by the vibe of the car if I wanna talk to my Uber driver? There’s just a vibe, you know? I decide I want to tell this Uber driver that Yonkers looks nice and quiet. To which he replies, “Oh, you’re not from here.”
Fuck, I’m getting kidnapped, I automatically think to myself, and look at the Uber GPS. Still on track. I get dropped at the Bronxville station, mostly because I’d rather pay eight dollars for the Metro-North to take me directly into Manhattan than sit on another bus. Also because I have to do my taxes. There’s no way my work permit is expiring and I don’t get my refund. NOT TODAY, SATAN.
The Metro-North ride is quiet, and I do a lot of reflecting. I’m kidding, I look out the window and avoid eye contact. My phone rings, and my mom tags me on something. When did she discover the tag feature? Followed by a WhatsApp message, “I love you Amy.” I think about replying when my partner sends me another WhatsApp message: “Sex later? Or are you gonna fall asleep?” I swear, these people!
The train arrives at Grand Central, and I find myself lost and in urgent need of having to pee. Wait, did I eat today? I’ve been so productive I haven’t thought about it. I go pee and buy a bag of Doritos. I’ve been doing my taxes with the same organization for the past three years, and I always secretly hope they give me a discount. One can dream. As it turns out, my return won’t be astonishing, but I’ll take what I can get. I wish I was taught how to do my taxes in high school, or I had a kid this season. I’d definitely save money. Four thirty p.m., my partner gets out at five p.m. and I do want sex today.
I decide to make my way to Chinatown. I love Chinatown! The vendors, the people, the richness in culture, not a big fan of the seafood smell everywhere, but that’s what makes it great. I pick up some salmon (note: I’m allergic to shellfish) and Chinese vegetables. I can’t wait for dinner.
God, I’m so drained and my feet hurt. I just wanna take the train home. But I keep my promise. I meet my partner in Times Square. He’s late, and I’m annoyed. “What’s wrong, baby?” “I’m just tired.” “Are you sure?” “No, actually I’m not.” He looks at me worried and semi-hurt. I simply start laughing. “You owe me tonight,” he says, referring to my constantly falling asleep on him. I roll my eyes, and I negotiate. “Buy me something to drink and I got you.”
I wish I could say that the McDonald’s mocha latte is delicious. But it’s terrible. Shit’s dirt. Don’t get it. It does, however, wake me up. I find myself dancing all the way home only to crash two stops away and listen to my partner say, “Oh, NOW you’re tired.” We laugh. Loud. We’re probably that annoying couple on the train who laugh so loudly. It’s mostly me, but, I mean, he’s pretty funny. We’ve been together for a while. We’re both in our mid-20s and met when we had just finished high school. Our relationship hasn’t been roses and sunshine, it’s been roses with thorns and rainbows after storms. We are crazy about each other. Growing up with each other has taught us a lot, though evolving in front of each other is sometimes hard to watch.
We arrive at our train station when I consider stopping by Metro PCS to change my current phone for another one. He asks if we really have the money to do it. I get annoyed, like, Shut up and let me do it. We argue, bicker, I finally say, “Forget it,” and start walking home. Although we live three blocks away from the train station, it’s during these fights and silences that the three blocks feel like miles. Once upstairs I begin to make dinner. I focus on chopping the garlic and the veggies when my phone rings. It’s my mom again.
My parents had a very different relationship than the one I have with my partner. It was more screaming and beatings. It left me with no expectations, and it did not make me a good communicator. After a solid 20 minutes, he walks by me to open the kitchen window. I hug him. I am not my parents. My partner is not my father. He kisses me on my forehead and whispers, “It will get better.” I try to not cry. Will it get better? After dinner, I clean the kitchen. I look around my empty living room area. I turn off the lights and make my way to my room. I find my partner lying down. We make love. I feel love. I embrace it, and after a long day I begin to believe that maybe it will get better.