Outside it was Sunday morning. I dug through my back pocket, found my packet of Marlboros, lit one, and stuck it into my mouth. I had no idea where I was. I walked for blocks towards one sunlit direction, then walked down another block. The buildings were low so the brightness of the sun hit hard. I finally found some street signs, Bushwick—the hell was Bushwick? I clambered into a subway with my lit cigarette, blowing out smoke in a muted sigh of relief. I didn’t know what spooked me; maybe the apartment, Jason looking unrecognizable in bed, or maybe how vulnerable he was. I looked through my bag and spotted the rolls of toilet paper I took from the club. Jason’s messy apartment, and my bargain-saving stealing, both made it clear that something like love wasn’t for people like us. That’s why I skedaddled, and why I didn’t recognize him in the morning, because morning after-sex time is strictly for couples, for making plans, for embraces, confessions, whispers, caresses, all things that I wanted, but nothing that I could share with Jason without a large degree of faking it. I don’t think Jason wanted it with me either, so he looked unrecognizable because he had a different face, colder, sober, and—yeah—vulnerable. Before Jason woke up, I stared at the top of his head, a weird thing to fixate on but it was a rare sight, and I smelled last night’s hair gel on him and I looked at his scalp, and I wanted to run my fingers in it and have a Hallmark moment, then he ruined it by looking at me.
I checked my phone and found Jason’s name there with his number. At some point during the night he must have given me his number. It must have been during the long and silent subway ride, I vaguely remembered the awkward drunken exchange; can I get your number? Sure it’s xxx-xxx-xxxx and then he didn’t bother asking for mine, and I took offense.
His name was in my phone, what an exhilarating sight. What if I texted him? What if I took back my skedaddle and made plans with him, then caressed him, confessed to him, whispered to him. My face smiled without my willing it. Jason, of course, would not text back, would not want to be caressed, or to be whispered at, nevertheless the idea, the hope, was enough for me. I listened to Love Is Sweeping The Country by Ella Fitzgerald, which was on the nose. I felt buoyant. Despite all of that warmth, and all that sweetness, a significant part of my soul still fucking hated Jason.