Picture Us

Picture us at Tano's apartment. The light inside is blue from the images on his computer that recombine themselves incessantly. The light outside is orange from pollution. Tano says it's worse in Mexico City.

On Friday, I meet Tano at his apartment at 7 p.m. We are in bed by 7:15 because we haven't seen each other in so long. Tano gets hard. He holds my head in his hands, and he looks in my eyes and I am thinking this will be the moment he tells me he loves me.

I don't tell him anymore because when I tell him I love him he says he's sorry. So I put my hands on his butt, and he puts his tongue in my ear and I moan and he moans.

"Shit," I yell. "Shit. Shit."

"What?" he says, "What? What's wrong?"

"I left my diaphragm at my apartment."

Tano kisses my neck.

"Don't kiss my neck," I tell him.

"I have condoms," he says.

"I hate condoms," I say. "You know I hate condoms. Why do you have condoms?"

Tano lies on the bed and sighs.

I say, "The problem here, is that I say MY diaphragm, which makes you think you have no responsibility to keep track of it. From now on, I'm calling it OUR diaphragm."

Tano says, "I have an idea. We can have the diaphragm if we sleep at your apartment tonight."

I get out of bed and put on my clothes.

Imagine Tano and me and in a Honda CRX. Black on the outside, white on the inside. Only imagine us in different CRXs because neither of us wants to be anywhere without our own car. We trail each other from West Hollywood to Santa Monica which is a half-hour drive that I'm sick of. When we get to my apartment it's 8 p.m. While Tano is unbuttoning his shirt, I tell him if I don't get something to eat right now, I'll get grouchy.

Now we're at the Indian restaurant. The one with pink tablecloths and brown waiters. We get great service because Tano's Peruvian complexion looks Indian in an Indian restaurant. I say, "If we saw each other more often, then fucking each other wouldn't be such a high priority that we have to kill the whole night chasing down our diaphragm."

"What are you saying?" he asks.

"That I can't tell how serious you are about me. I mean, you only want to see me two nights a week and that sucks."

"I need time to self-reflect."

I squash spicy potatoes with the back of my spoon.

Tano wipes his mouth with his pink napkin. "What do you want?" he asks.

"I want you to be excited to see me."

"I am excited."

"I want you to be so excited that you can't control yourself and you give up the rest of your life."

Tano wipes his mouth with his pink napkin.

"I think we would feel comfortable spending more time together if we spent more time together because then we could get stuff done, like phone calls and errands and reading, because it wouldn't be so special to be together.'

"I thought you wanted it to be special."

"If you could tell me you love me, then maybe I wouldn't need to see you so much."

"It's too soon. I told you."

"Tano, it's been three months. You told Sabina you loved her after two months. You told Madlyn you loved her after one month."

"I spent more time with them," he says.

We go back to my apartment and have sex. Picture pink. Bright pink, brighter than you'd think because when I come I pee on the sheets, and the bright spot is too wet for sleeping. So I tote the sheets down to the drier, and Tano gets tapes from his car.

When I get back to my apartment, Tano's head is in his hand and his elbow's on the arm of the chair that's just to the side of the acoustically-perfect place in my apartment. So I lie down on the floor and concentrate more on my body—stomach down, splayed legs—than on the book in front of me.

We don't move for a half-hour. Tano is not noticing my legs, I think. He is noticing Stravinsky, or at least his notes. In between movements I ask if something's wrong, but it seems sad to ask if something's wrong when someone's just sitting, and thinking.

"I'm not thinking," Tano tells me, "I'm listening."

He says he can't think because when he thinks he's overwhelmed with the possible combinations of his most recent collection of video clips. He says he puts a couple together on the screen for a while, thinking he'll know if he likes it or not. But he never knows. He waits until the computer turns itself off.

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