I Control Your Lego Heart

You’re sitting on the bed across from me. It sits low and is covered with a blanket. Moments ago, my naked back rubbed against its flowery texture as your naked front embraced me. I look at you. There are words coming out of your mouth and light hairs on your mocha skin.

I’m sitting on a black chair, it’s your computer chair. You are wearing sweatpants, I am fully clothed. While fucking, you said “I love you,” I didn’t respond. It must have felt like love making to you then.

“It’s not that I don’t love you,” I want to say out loud but I refrain because the chorus is always the same. We’ve repeated these steps a hundred times these last five years. You felt compelled and asked me to come, so I did.

When you met me at the door, it was like you felt my presence. I didn’t have my phone and the call button to your apartment doesn’t work, but you knew I was coming. That I would be standing there at that moment waiting for you to let me in. You always let me in.

I just let you in. You ask, “do you regret it?” I look away. To the right of me there is a bookshelf, on it, there are books. I say I try not to regret things in life. That interrupts something in your mind. No human being should live a life without regrets.

Maybe I’m not human. I look down at my hands, they are are still hands. You continue to speak, I turn in the chair and face the hallway. Slow tears start to flood my eyes, but I fight back. I don’t want to cry, it doesn’t solve anything. You are you and I am me.

You’re sitting on the bed across from me, being you, and I on the black computer chair, being me.

I get up slowly and walk to your bathroom just outside the door. I keep my arms to my sides, I don’t wipe away the few tears that I couldn’t strangle back until I’m standing on bathroom tile, alone. I can feel the cold through my socks. I push the door closed behind me, then I turn the knob at the center of the handle and it locks like a whisper. The bathroom is a brief sanctuary that I don’t exactly know what to do with. I do know I’d prefer to keep my tears to myself. What tears? They’re gone now, just dry eyes and smiles in the mirror. See? I breathe. Smile. I flush the toilet so it seems like I’ve done something and use the short roar of the flush to hide the sound of me blowing my nose with toilet paper. You’re right there sitting, just being there. I imagine it in preparation. I toss the thin bunched up sheets into the toilet and watch them spin, spin then disappear. I wash my hands.

I come back into your room smiling. I know it’d be better to just come back straight-faced, even, regular, but it’s like I’m trying to use my face to trick my head into feeling something it’s not. You have the decency to not ask, “what’s wrong” although I can see the question on your face. I settle back into your chair and kick off the ground so I slowly spin on the swivel.

“Come here,” you say. And for a moment the idea disgusts me. Then, the idea of being disgusted by you, when only a couple of familiar moments ago the space between us was negative, makes my throat hot again. I feel my sinuses flare. I smile. I miss the bathroom. I stand and walk back to your low standing bed and I fall back into it beside you.

My body starts to sink into the mattress, I feel like I’m floating. For a moment I think I’m headed somewhere far away, a place where our reality doesn’t exist. Your body heat interrupts my fantasy. The warmth escaping from you rubs against my arm, it’s tugging at me, saying words we both want to scream.

“Why did you come?” Your eyes don’t meet mine but I feel them searching. I want to throw something, anything. Why do you always skip to the obvious to avoid the inevitable.

“You said you wanted to talk, so here I am.” So talk God-damnit, talk. My skin is growing tight, goosebumps are crawling on every inch of my body. I’m angry. Your right arm is doing something, in one swift motion you’re pulling me in. “What are you doing?” There’s no answer. I stiffen.

“Why is this the version of you I get, huh?” Now your voice is softer, loving. It wants to love me straight.

“God-damnit, what do you want from,” I push your hand away, “me?”

“Oro, I don’t want anything.” Your voice is soft, but this time it’s stern. “I told you, I don’t want to put any pressure on you. I understand how hard this is for you.” I breathe in. “I want you to live, whether or not that is without me is up to you.”

Something compels me and I feel my legs jerk my body up. I see the computer chair; it reminds me of the bathroom. Should I return there? I can leave though; you’re not kidnapping me, I can leave. Right now I’m just standing there. You’re still sitting on the bed. Nothing about your composure has changed. I’m not sure who has the upper-hand here.

“Sit, let’s talk.” I start to pace instead. The black rolling thing is only a couple of inches away from me; all I have to do is settle in it. I keep pacing.

“We’re not in the same place, Micca.” I hear your heart stop. You know where this is going. “You’re here and I’m there. We have yet to catch up.”

“I’m right where you are.”

“No, you’re not. This is the point in your life where you should be married, have a family, and all the other bullshit that adults do. You shouldn’t be sitting around night after night, stagnant, waiting for me to catch up. I’m not ready.”

“I’m not asking you to.” I’ve said too much already.  You don’t understand. You never will. Time can’t be commanded. Society is not a lego city. We are powerless. “I just want you to keep me in mind.” You’re always on my mind, but we aren’t right. We just aren’t right. I didn’t feel myself walk, but I’m back in the black computer chair, staring, trying to see my way out of this life.

I’m thinking about all the things I’ve done and know that would crush you. I don’t want to break you. Still, the idea thrills me in a way that I’m ashamed of. The way you feel, what you feel, and the way I know I won’t hurts then it just becomes the way.

“But you are,” I say,

“What am I asking?”

“You want me to be in a place I’m not at. You want me to pretend something into existence.” I can tell I’ve cut you. Usually it’s the only way. I’ve watched you, as I’ve hurt you before. I know what your pain looks like and I’m sorry every time we come to the part where I have to choose between me or you. I never choose you anymore. I feel the things you want me to, but just not for long enough.

“Okay,” you say, that’s you licking your wounds.

“What, I’m just not going to pretend for you.”

“Okay,” you repeat.

Pulling away
@hausofmontgomery (Instagram) “Remember the first love that we made You said that you couldn’t sleep ’cause of me Told me I caught you off guard And then when you saw I felt the same You pulled away started acting like being with me was too hard This is what it feels like” “Untitled” (2017)

I hope Costa Ricans don’t speak their Spanish as fast as the Flight Attendant

“How do I get it to work on airplane mode,” he says to me pointing at the curved lines on the top left of the iPad.

I have been sitting an empty seat away from him for about two hours while I finished The Farming of Bones quietly, taking short moments to cry then wipe my tears away.

“It’s not you, we don’t have access to wi-fi on this flight.”

He smiles and takes a breath before responding with a grainy voice. I wonder if he’s an expat, one of those Americans who has come to find solace in a foreign land because the place we’ve claimed as United is much like the break terror takes when its hand grows tired from the sling of the whip.

“You young people know how to do these things better than I ever could.”

“It’s not you,” I remind him. We smile at each other as the flight attendant announces that we’ll need to fill out two immigration forms.

This is my first solo trip. It is also my debut as an American and I have a dark blue passport to prove it. Earlier this morning when Lorrie, my adoptive Florida mom, drove me to the Tri-Rail station I was quiet with nerves. I mean, I am super pumped — it’s my first solo trip out of the country by my damn self. But it’s also scary. Last night, I stacked a first aide kit on top of medical tape, praying that I won’t have to use any of my precautionary items.

I am excited to use my grammar-less Spanish.

I can’t wait to wander into small-town markets and local museums.

I want to reward myself with the legs of mountains as I stare down at a small town from the top of a volcano hike.

I look forward to my words thriving — I write best when god and the universe converse quietly with me in my travels.

I am grateful to be millennial rich, the kind of affluency that allows for Airbnb rentals, day trips and a few days on an island in Panama for the price of a hammock.

Right now, sitting in my window seat with Beyonce singing in my ear, I am proud of myself. Happy to know that I am the kind of woman who will challenge herself to live outside of comfort. The kind who searches for humanity in new lands. It’s what we were meant to do, you know, rather than capture, kill, rape, and seize (sorry, it’s hard to quite my justice brain).

Anyway, come back here over the next couple of weeks, I plan to share my journey with you.

Helpful nuggets on day one:

  • I am spending my first full week with Gabriela; it cost me only $183. I could have stayed in San Jose for much less or much more. The reason I decided to go with Gabi’s place is because it seemed to have a homey feel (and it delivers!) and other women who had travelled alone left her outstanding reviews. Within moments of contacting her, she responded and has not let me down since.
  • The immigration line is efficient, I moved through it in maybe 15 minutes.
  • When you arrive at the airport, you get access to internet for free so let your family and friends know you’ve arrived safely. If you’d like, you could also purchase an internet card for a couple U.S. dollars. I decided not to because I heard there is wi-fi everywhere is Costa Rica — so far, that holds true.
  • You can “cambia plata” or exchange money in the airport. I exchanged $40 which made out to a little over 19,000 colones, enough to cover me for a couple of days. Most places seem to take U.S. currency though.
  • When you get outside the heat will hit you immediately and you’ll be met with dozens of people standing with signs. There will also be a hoard of (unofficial) taxi drivers ready to bargain with you; all men. One offered to take me to Los Yoses for $30 and another quickly added that he’d take me for $20. After giving him my location, I realized he was not an official driver in one of the orange-red vehicles so I turned him down. I suggest not telling a random man in a foreign country where you’re going just because he has a sign that reads “TAXI.”
  • I took the public bus. If you don’t know where to find it, ask airport staff; they’re quite helpful. It cost 1,000 colones. Once I arrived in Los Yoses, San Jose, I took a taxi for less than 3,000 colones. I knew where to go and how much everything would cost because Gabi sent me a detailed email four days before my trip.
  • Once I settled in with Gabi, she explained the neighborhood to me and showed me an incredible map that she designed herself. I’d describe the map and accompanying directions as a marriage between your maps app and Yelp. Using her map, I was able to make it to “Automercado” successfully, but did get lost on the way back a couple of times before finding my way (to no fault of hers).

Thank you for reading about day one! I’m off to write up my itinerary for the week. See you back here tomorrow.