It’s Friday evening and I’m on a flight to Philadelphia to visit my brother. Cheap Spirit flight for a weekend trip. Window seat and the sun is setting and the sky is so ethereally gorgeous I have to take a picture. Last night you texted me: don’t forget the good stuff if you ever write about me. And now that wifi and cell service are obsolete — well why not.
I called you “day-nuh” and you told me it was pronounced like “Donna”. Might be an Israeli thing. I don’t know. Anyways, it was a Friday night like two months ago. We got cocktails at the Speakeasy lounge I bring all my dates to. To enter you have to punch in a code at a back door of another bar. This gives me like 0.0001 cool points. It’s a charming place with good lighting. Overpriced drinks but what can you do. The lighting though – if someone doesn’t find you attractive in that lighting and setting, they never will.
Sure you were attractive in that lighting but you were also attractive at sunset on the beach, at the pho spot, in the morning, everywhere. You were kind and you made me laugh. Transparent and introspective. It never seemed like an act. You were hot but didn’t have the whole hot girl facade personality. You spoke with this sort of off-kilter cadence and you had these vocal inflections that I thought were so impossibly cute. You asked me questions and genuinely wanted to hear what I had to say. And I wanted to hear what you had to say. On most dates girls give me monologues, trying to be impressive or cool. I have to pinch myself to keep my attention. Not you though.
After the second drink I closed out the tab. I kissed you at the bottom of the stairs because it felt right. We kissed and you were surprised but you liked it. We walked to the new tapas place where the bartender knew me. A recently divorced guy sat next to us and asked us how long we’d been together. Three months I said.
He asked how we met.
I made up a ridiculous story: I said I was dancing at a beach bar, you threw some singles at me for a tip, I picked up the money and bought you a drink. Happily ever after etcetera etcetera. He laughed and you rolled with it convincingly, grabbed my arm and you kissed me. He nicknamed us DJ because of our first names were Dana and Jordan. I went in the bathroom and you got the tab without me knowing. Hot girl shit. We made out in the street while that new Drake song “Massive” played before your Uber picked you up.
One day you texted me: You’re so different I love it.
You say this now, I replied.
Early on I knew it had an expiration date. It wouldn’t work but I didn’t care. Sunset picnic on the beach. Cooking spicy rigatoni with you. Bringing you to an Animal Collective concert and joking to my friends that you were never going to talk to me after it — hilarious in hindsight. As everything is. Meeting your friends. Watching that new Ben Affleck movie. Beach cleanup on a Saturday morning. Trivia night at the bar. It all felt wholesome to me.
But then that Sunday. I can’t tell if I’m happy or if I hate that I showed you this. You finally got me to crack and I showed you this stupid website. I let you read this story. We sat on the couch and you started crying and you hugged me. I know you said you’re emotional and you cry a lot, but still. Seeing another human’s reaction, raw and genuine and real — it meant so much to me. More than I was willing to admit at the time. I am self-deprecating and I often probably never seemed like I had emotion. But that.. that made me feel whole.
That night, I let you take my favorite sweatshirt home. It has sentimental value. It’s comfy and I wore it when I was having a bad day back in medical school and wanted to lie around all day. It’s just one of those things. And I had just retrieved it back from another girl. Sure you can take it as long as this isn’t the last time I see you, I said. We both laughed then we kissed.
You once said you couldn’t ever see yourself getting mad at me. We agreed that if you did get mad at me, it would be because I said or did something incredibly stupid without realizing it. Well life finds a way.
Can I have my sweatshirt back.
This new you is so raw and it’s so good. You’re on a roll right now mate. Don’t stop
Hi. I found your writing through your anki deck two years ago. Then I discovered your real writing and I loved it and wished you’d come back some day. Thank you for doing so. You could write about watching paint dry and still be entertaining. You have a gift. Too bad for Dana.
I am back so keep checking back. Thank you.