Monday, October 31, 2005

improv and boners, new york-style

Mom goes to New York twice a year for various conferences, and I take the train up to meet her so we can shop, take in shows and generally abuse her various expense accounts. This weekend was no exception. I occasionally feel mildly guilty for going to New York only to completely ignore the various museums and cultural opportunities outside of Broadway. However, when we stumble from the first of several West Village boutiques laden with bags full of clothes I cannot afford to buy with my own money, or emerge from yet another fantastic show, that's all gone and done with. Besides, we have a damn good time. I feel really lucky to be able to be friends with my parents... that's a rare thing.

Sometimes we pick clunker shows, but not this trip. Light in the Piazza was stunning. The music was lush, utterly gorgeous and more operatic than one usually hears in a Brodway show. They really got the lighting right, too-- there was one scene in particular that perfectly captured Florence, a few blocks I specifically remember on the east side of the city. As the cliche goes, writing about music is about as useful as dancing about architecture, so I'll just encourage you to go see it. It's at Lincoln Center, which I'd never been to before, so that was an extra treat.

The second show we saw, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, was beyond funny. Two solid hours of laughing. Of course, it didn't help matters that I unwittingly wound up as part of the show. It's a musical about a spelling bee (duh), and I had read reviews of it that mentioned audience members being pulled up to play spelling bee contestants. We got to the theater way too late to sign up for this, not that I (or my mother) ever would have. However, it turns out there's another part an audience member plays.

One of the characters is eliminated fairly early on due to... the distraction of hormones. Again, I knew this plot twist was coming from reviews. However, I didn't realize that his inspiration would be an audience member. Another actor had already pointed to our row to indicate his "family," but then this actor pointed right at me and said "Leaf, is that girl in the tube top sweater your sister?" Next thing I know, there's a spotlight on me, this actor is calling me "Marigold" and singing a song about how I gave him an "unfortunate erection." At one point he gave me a bunch of juice boxes. Bear in mind that this was a thrust stage in a U-shaped theater, so the entire audience had a truly fantastic view of me as he performed this hysterical number. You really had to be there. Of course I totally played along with it for the rest of the show-- I kept on winking and waving little waves, and blew him a big kiss at curtain call (he was no more than two feet from me at bows-- this is how close we were sitting).

We lingered outside the theater waiting for Kisha to meet us. I exchanged conspiratorial chitchat with the audience members who'd been pulled onstage to spell and was taking a photo for a large family from Indiana when the teenage son asked me "Hey, were you that tube top sweater girl?" I said yes, and he responded "Well, there goes your boyfriend."

Sure enough, the actor was walking out the front door with a group of friends. I'm not entirely sure what possessed me to do this, but I called out after him "Hey, you said you would call!"

He turned around and took a second to distinguish me from the creepyish people who usually wait outside Broadway stage doors. I took advantage of the pause to have more fun with him. "You men are all the same!" I yelled in mock bitterness. "What am I supposed to do now?!"

He broke out into a huge grin. "HEEL!" he shouted back. "You guys have a good time tonight?"

"We did!" I replied. "Thanks for a great show. You all were hilarious."

"Good!" He waved goodbye and disappeared down the street with his friends.

Mom and I waited a few more minutes for Kisha, but she never showed. My fault-- I'd left my cell in Washington and hadn't called her to confirm. We walked out to 50th and Broadway to get dessert and drinks, still laughing about the show and my brush with greatness. As we turned the corner, I heard someone yell behind me "GOODBYE, MARIGOLD!"

We turned around to see the actor half-leaning out of a cab idling on the corner. "I'll think of you always!" I cried back.

"I love you!" he shouted.

"I love you MORE!" I yelled back. He cracked up laughing and slammed the door of the cab, speeding past us towards Times Square.

Ten years of acting classes, kids. Knew they'd pay off someday. And, though I doubt I could ever live in New York, why I love visiting her.

Now the only question is, "Can I put 'Marigold Honeybear, Original Broadway Cast, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' on my resume?"

Friday, October 28, 2005

Bugger this for a lark, Mommy and I are off to New York.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

ay carumba

Um, how did I become a member of the Mexican Young Professionals Society? I'm suddenly getting all these Evites in Spanish. V. confusing.

Caught Nicole Kidman filming yesterday when I got off the Metro at Foggy Bottom. She is indeed beautiful... beautiful like the Stepford-robot wives in her crappy remake. She's so Botoxed she's got James van der Beek Forehead going on:

See?? You could project movies on those noggins!

I have my first actual sports injury! Pulled right hamstring from slipsliding into second base during kickball finals. Is it silly that I'm crazy proud of this?

It. Needs. To. Stop. Raining. Now.

I need to not do my reading for class in Starbucks. While working on Sunday morning I couldn't figure out why this woman kept giving me dirty looks until I realized they were directed not at me, but at my beat-up copy of George Nash's The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. I agree, OK? McCarthy was bad!

Look, it's really great that M.I.A is getting exposure and shit, but come on. Is it already time for her to sell out for a Honda Civic commercial? This is exactly what happened with John Mayer in 2000. One minute he's a nice singer-songwriter whose pleasant music worked with all moods and backgrounds, and the next minute a freshman from your floor is calling you to say "Omigod, I'm waiting in line in a hotel lobby to blow John Mayer! This is the coolest thing EVER!"

Three days until New York. Ten days until opening. Four weeks until I can go out again. Five if you don't count a Midwestern Lutheran bridal shower as "out."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

scenes from a weekend

It's Friday night and I'm in a formal gown in a Dupont apartment. The lights are low and strangers and friends alike are circulating around the small studio, glasses full of wine and dressed in varying states of classiness. I thought I would know only two other guests, but people from my freshman dorm keep showing up-- it's a little disconcerting, and like I do every week when I run into familiar faces, I bemoan how small this town really is. Having arrived at 7:30 and skipped dinner, glass number six is about to do me in. In the meanwhile, I'm talking with Ben, a truly hot asshole. I'm a sucker for those.

"So, Ann Arbor," he sneers. We've been talking college football, and it suddenly turned into a conversation about sex. "How old were you? Was it at one of those parties you townies all went to? Was it a hockey player or basketball player?" He's positively leering right now. Coming from everyone else, those words would make me drive my spike heel directly into his instep. However, he has really powerful eye contact and a grin that somehow makes this conversation seem less jackassish.

"Excuse me," I say. "I have to go get some more wine." My glass is three-quarters full.

"Fair enough," he smirks. "But it was a hockey player, wasn't it?"

"I won't even dignify that with an answer," I say prissily.

"Ha!" Ben cackles. "I knew it. SCORE."

I whip around to leave, and then do the time-honored half-glare over one shoulder (which works especially well with my slinky party dress). "You know," I say "you're not nearly as charming as you think you are."

Reflexes slowed by the bottle of wine he's drunk in the last hour, he's speechless for a second but then breaks out into That Grin. Urgh... why must the assholes always have great grins?

A few hours later, I'm officially drunk and it's time to go. I've abandoned hope of finding my clutch in the mess of coats and umbrellas, but our lovely hostess has promised to track it down for me and loaned me a 20 to get home. As I stumble out the door, trying to keep my heels from cutting further into my feet, I catch Ben's eye in the hallway. "Bye, Ann Arbor," he sneers, miming a slap with a hockey stick of air. I roll my eyes with as much dignity as I can muster and prance off to the elevator. As I wait for it, I see him grinning at me out of the corner of my eye. I think back to all the guys I've known who complain that women tell the nice guys they know what great friends they are and then ignore them in favor of hot jerks.

Well... yeah. I don't really have an answer for that, but now I've met Exhibit A.


It's Saturday night, and I'm in my pajamas in a stranger's house on U Street. We've already hit one Halloween party, where the first keg was kicked at 10:30 and people were dressed in all manner of insane costumes. Eric and I had left it with a group of semistrangers, skipping down the flithy streets in costume holding hands and singing a tuneless version of "My Baby Takes the Morning Train." This party is themed, but far calmer-- I think it's something about the Metro. I have no idea who the hosts are or why we're here, but they have beer and I've just walked six cold blocks in my furry slippers. We're not going anywhere.

A girl in silver platform shoes and fairy wings comes up to us. "Oh my GOD!" she screeches. "You're a gay guy. I LOVE GAY GUYS!!! What's your name?" Completely ignoring me, she shoves her face into Eric's in a drunken kiss. "GAY GUYS LOVE ME!!"

Her wine glass of beer sloshes around as she yaps about all the gay men she knows. "Yeah, so I was in Guadalajara and I was like, the QUEEN of all the Mexican gay guys. Like, the social butterfly. I'd go out, and they'd be all 'Hola, chica!' Wait, what's your name again?"

Because she's completely ignored me and had asked Eric what his name was at least seven times, I'm free to mock her as much as I want. When she stumbles off, no doubt in search of another gay man to corner, I hug Eric's waist to keep from falling over laughing. "Oh man!" I cackle, "that is bleak. Please don't ever let me wind up like that."

"Oh honey," he says "not possible. You could never be that tragic!" He reaches out and slaps her ass. She turns around, stumbling on her platforms, and throws her arms around him. "I looooooooove you!" she shrieks. "What's your name again?" I snort so hard into my beer that it splashes on my forehead.

"Being loved is like being powerful," I say to Eric later. "If you have to tell people you are, then you're not."

He high fives me. "Bitch, we're dancing!" He drags me into the living room and we do the comfortingly familiar bump and grind. I loves me that kid.

An hour later, I'm done. My cat ears are giving my a headache and I can't drink anymore and still drive home. As Eric walks me to my car, we pass a familiar face walking down the street with a new friend. We exchange hugs and conspiratorial winks.

Another weekend for the history books.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

i promise this is the last post about my underwear for at least a week

Exchange with Blake, our star and my bedfellow, at last night's rehearsal:

EJ: "Do you mind if I leave my skirt on tonight? Because there isn't a comforter on that bed yet and I really don't feel okay just sitting in my underwear in a church."

Blake: "So I'll be up there in my boxers and you'll be fully clothed? Is that what you're saying?"

EJ: "No! I'll just still have my skirt on and...[weakly gestures towards lovely camisole which covers all manner of sins and is actually less revealing than most of my going-out tops]... OK, fine. But can we please make the bed first? I really don't feel comfortable up there with nothing to cover my ass."

Harlene, our costume designer, interjecting: "But sweetie, it's not you up there-- it's APRIL."

EJ: "Why does that not make me feel better?"

Blake: "Because that's Jesus staring down at you from the stained glass window."

EJ: "And he's PISSED."

And later, when the bed was made and Blake and I were under the most flimsy Ikea bedspread ever made:

Blake: "Stick your feet out! Curl your toes!"

EJ: "Oh my God, are you thrusting in time to the music?!?!"

We open in two weeks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

one down, rove to go

schadenfreude \SHAHD-n-froy-duh\,
NOUN: Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

And for the record, even though he helped spend taxpayer dollars to the tune of over $70 million for Whitewater and over $50 million for Monica Lewinsky, DeLay never got Clinton within miles of a mugshot camera or inkpad. That, dear readers, is the difference between money laundering and a blowjob.

Well, that and the gag reflex.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

you LIKE me! you really LIKE me!!

Some Tuesdays really suck. Thanks to an error in Diet Coke-related judgement the night before, I was up until 3 AM alternately reading Under the Banner of Heaven and old issues of Vogue. This meant that when I finally did nod off I was subjected to disturbing dreams that Anna Wintour was going to slit my throat for not properly adhering to the gospel of Zac Posen and encouraging my friends and loved ones to wear Gap. The cat, as she is wont to do, spent the hours between 6 AM and 8 AM trying to bite off my feet, because that is her idea of playtime fun.

All this meant I didn't leap into the shower until 9:00 and failed to slog out the door until 9:30, which is late even by my office's lax standards. I got about four blocks when I realized that my iPod battery was close to dead and I'd left the charger smack in its place on the counter. Oh, and did I mention that I'm officially five pounds too chunky for the leather blazer I'm wearing?

All this was on my mind when I got my copy of the Express and rode the escalator down to the Metro. And then, whilst flipping over to Sudoku, I saw it:

Yep, that's EJ in the Metro Express. Thank you, Washington Post!

I squeaked a little bit. The woman next to me and the man next to her looked over at me with nervous expressions: "Umm... is she going to violate the Metro code of no eye-contact/conversation/touching of any sort?"

I smiled at them, something I rarely do in the Metro or before 10 AM. "Sorry," I said, "but my blog- it's..." I trailed off, since their expressions indicated they A) did not know what this blog thing was and B) wished me to stop talking right away. But even surly strangers can't take away my new-found good mood.

Tra-la, bitches.

Monday, October 17, 2005

i have to sing my tale to the panda

Is that the face of a "Tai Shan?"

I think not. That, my friends, is clearly a Butterstick.

Oh, you know all the zoologists call him that. Don't even front, yo.

Friday, October 14, 2005

friday evening quickie

Many of you have asked me how the play is coming. It's all coming along wonderfully. We're starting to get to that really fun point where people are solid with their lines and coreography and singing enough to actually tell a story. These last few days, I'll be backstage waiting for a cue or out in the house reading for class when suddenly a line will catch my ear. I'll look up and see these great people I've been working with for two months are gone, replaced by their characters. Even though I know the actors, and know what they are going to say and do next, they are capable of tugging at my heart with just a look. Of course, it doesn't hurt that we have incredible material to work with-- I doubt I would be having this much fun if we were putting on Nunsense II or similar.

Busy, busy weekend ahead. Pray for my liver, friends. Pray for her.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Back when our college food court still had a Burger King (and a Chick Fil'A, and a really shady stir-fry station and sushi on demand), we regularly partook of Burger King deserts. Two in particular were especially deadly: the first, a gooey chocolate, Oreo and whipped cream concoction my friend Grant referred to as "Shame Pie:"

I know, right? It's like an orgasm in a cookie crust.

My favorites, though, were the perfectly gooey Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies in the plastic bin by the cash register. They had the ideal balance of crispy edges and slightly undercooked middles, chips a-melting and greasy crumbs making the little red and yellow cellophane wrapper nearly transluscent. Students ate so many of these things that Burger King was forever pulling new batches fresh from the oven, so you could always get a warm pair. I have spent the last twenty-three years on an Arthurian quest for the ideal chocolate-chip cookie, and the Shame Cookie is closest I've come yet.

Before heading to our deadly boring prosem junior year, Becks and I would trade off who bought the Starbucks and who bought the Shame Cookies. You didn't want to go too many days in a row, because Burger King was right off the sushi/salad bar and while you handed over your ID card to purchase 17,000 calories worth of deserts you'd be forced to look at the size 0 freshmen buy their cucumber rolls while loudly complaining how fat they felt and was there such a thing as nonfat soy sauce?

Why all the food porn today, you ask? BECAUSE I'M FUCKING STARVING.

Since getting cast in this show, I've been watching my diet, working out four times a week and trying to switch from beer to wine and/or vodka. Despite all the carrot sticks and elliptical sessions and cookies politely ignored, I've only lost six pounds in two months. Not one of those pounds, I might add, was from remotely useful place. I think my elbows might be skinner, but that's the only difference I could see and then only in really excellent lighting.

There will not be really excellent lighting in the show. Oh, it will be of good quality, but it will be in the form of a spotlight on me in various states of deshabillé. Mostly, though, I'm just really ticked off. All that time and effort for basically no payoff. I could have spent the last two months with an IV dripping brownie batter into my veins and be basically the same weight.

And if I'd done that, I wouldn't now have a craving for Shame Cookies so fierce that in about five minutes I will be joining the crack whores north of the convention center, ready to blow the next visiting businessman who will drive me to a Burger King.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

'dentity crisis

Blogger, despite your best efforts and my total lack of HTML skillz... I WIN. Minor changes are still in store, but for now, this blog is looking much more like something I would be proud to advertise as my own creation.

You'll notice I'm officially EJ Takes Life now instead of Urban Fantasy, so please update your links accordingly. This change was a long time coming. One, it's my URL. Two, I'm getting really tired of having my sitemeter filled by adult entertainment enthusiasts searching for "(Insert Noun) Fantasy." And finally, the concept of Urban Fantasy is simply too universal to be my little blog. Ironically, Urban Fantasy itself is like porn: you can't necessarily describe it, but you know it when you see it. Walking home from Eastern Market last Saturday, listening to the Kings of Convenience on my iPod with a loaf of French bread sticking out of my Actor's Studio tote bag is Urban Fantasy. Telling my mother last night how the theme from All Things Considered on NPR always reminds me of early childhood-- very Urban Fantasy. I think you get the idea.

And we're not talking about the fact that I skipped Quizzo and Afterparty to mess around with my blog. That is not Urban Fantasy, but it is EJ Taking Life, one CSS tag at a time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Am clearly getting antsy with this blog. Am thinking I may have to ditch Blogger entirely. It may be free, but I'm beginning to think Typepad is worth the five bucks a month to have something somewhat unique.

In the meanwhile, I spent the day catching up on reading at Murky and stalking Matt Damon and Robert DeNiro. Yes kids, the crew from The Good Shepherd was filming a mere four blocks from my house all day and yours truly did some truly stellar gawking. Sadly I missed DeNiro, though Beds got herself the stank eye when she had the nerve to Blackberry in front of his trailer. Lucky wench. I also couldn't quite muster the nerve of the paparazzi on 5th Street (or my fellow gawkers with camera-phones) to actually snap a picture of Matt Damon himself, but we did indeed see him. He's just as pretty as can be. Here are some of the photos I did manage to take:

From what I gather, the film is a period history of the C.I.A. This means extras dressed in fedoras and trench coats and streets filled with fantastic vintage cars. DC police and the movie crew cleared four blocks on the Hill and filled them with these antique autos. We watched them drive around in circles for hours as we strained for a glimpse of a trenchcoat-clad Billy Crudup.

Though we never saw Billy Crudup (or Angelina Jolie), we did catch glimpses of Matt Damon running a scene on this amazing vintage bus. It took maybe three passes down the street before we realized that THAT was where they were actually filming, as opposed to the streets filled with vintage-clad extras.

Oh, and the PA had a cute butt, dontcha think?

All the cool kids hang out at craft services.

I debated trying to snatch one of the The Good Shepherd directors chairs, but figured I'd already given up enough dignity for one day by chasing after a bus containing movie stars for a good ninety minutes.

This extra was great. The PAs had to block off the first ten feet of sidewalk so nothing non-movie would get in the shot. The second this woman walked out of the scene she would start doing the Charleston or a little jig, all done up in her dainty early-sixties hat and sensible shoes.

The clothes were fantastic. We all agreed men need to start wearing hats again. I would wear pantyhose every day if I could constantly see men in fedoras.

Nicole Kidman is filming at GW on the 24th-- I promise to get even better photos of her movie. Hopefully by then, I'll have a decent website to put them on.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

it's the little things

Lots of little things kept me from going to Connecticut this weekend. I was supposed to drive to visit AnnaMo, who has been kicking her own ass marketing her candidate and prying cold hard cash from the tightfisted souls of Hartford. As I woke up early Friday morning, unpacked and vaguely hungover, it became clear my trip was in danger.

It was pouring rain so hard my windshield wipers could barely keep up. My driver's license had expired the week before. I had yet to do any reading for Monday's class, and could ill-afford a repeat of last weeks excrutiating silences and the professor's fist slamming on the desk as he threatened to walk out. Work was a madhouse of dozens of tiny tasks. Tuesday starts the Hell Month of truly intense rehearsals-- every night, running through full acts and full shows, off-book. We had our biggest tech day yet on Saturday and I hadn't once stopped by to help paint, build, or even buy coffee.

So there was no one reason I couldn't go (apart from the expired license, I suppose, but I've driven from Michigan to DC with an expired license before and managed to live)(not that this is wise, nor am I in any way endorsing said endeavor, merely stating facts as they stand). Lots of little reasons got in the way, though, and this is why I am not in Connecticut watching the Yale/Dartmouth football game, drinking martinis and speaking in a nasal Westchester lockjaw. Weekend was instead spent watching Michigan humiliate herself (TWO missed field goals? against Minnesota? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?), drinking beer at the Brickskellar and speaking in a British accent with Libs as we swooned over Mr. Darcy, Part the Second. Verbs are essentially the same, but apparently geography possesses its own unique nouns.

I sit here in my ratty Scrubs scrubs from the NBC studio store, watching The Thomas Crown Affair for the eighty-fourth time and wishing that my wardrobe was entirely Celine by Michael Kors and that I was the kind of woman who could pull of wearing sunglasses indoors. Sadie is rolled over on her back next to me, paws in the air and spine contorted in the shape of a question mark. She's giving me a look that clearly says "Woman, is there a reason you're not rubbing my belly right now? Is that not what I keep you for?" Maybe I'll cook something ambitious for dinner-- maybe something with the jar of hoison sauce I bought over three months ago when I went grocery shopping after a couple of cocktails.

I still have reading to do, but not right now. Right now, I'm going to roll around in having a whole day unexpectedly free. Wrap myself up in it and marinate in it. Whole. Lotta. Nuthin.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"she let him put his hoo-hoo-dilly in her cha-cha?"


Christ almighty in heaven.

Actually, "L. Ron psychotically buried in a volcano" or similar. What happened to the "no sex" clause of her contract? Joey, Joey, Joey, my heart is BREAKING HERE.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Here's a fun game! Identify which of the following quotes are George Bush talking about Harriet Miers and which are Tom Cruise talking about Katie Holmes:

1) "I could go on and on."

2) "People ask me and I’m going to be honest about it. She’s such a good person and so genuine.”

3) "I will forever with this woman be jumping on couches, dancing on tables and hanging from chandeliers.”

4) "I know her character. She's a woman of principle and deep conviction."

5) “It’s just like, 'Huh? Wow, man. Wow. I was looking at her (and thinking), ‘Man, you are so cool.’"

6) "She shares my philosophy that judges should strictly interpret the laws and the Constitution of the United States and not legislate from the bench."

7) "I want to celebrate her, she's a very special woman."

8) "A pit bull in size 6 shoes."

9) "I picked the best person I could find."

10) "I'm really, really, really happy, and I can't contain it. And I'm not going to pretend."

11) "I know her well enough that twenty years from now, she'll be the same person."

Answers: 1) Bush, 2) Cruise, 3) Cruise, 4) Bush, 5) Cruise, 6) Bush, 7) Cruise, 8) Bush, 9) Bush, 10) Cruise, 11) Bush

Monday, October 03, 2005


I am very very tired.

I got nuthin' more. Just tired.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Note: I published this, then took it down because it just felt too personal to have posted on a website. Still, since all involved read it in the time it was up, might as well keep it there anyways. Here's to brutal truths.

I rounded the corner of the stairs to head up to the bathroom, when I saw him outside. I'd stuck to my time-honored tradition of flat-out ignoring him all night, and it was just not working. It was awkward and painful and hard on all our friends. Still, the alternative-- actually talking to him-- just seemed too much to bear. He saw me hesitate at the top of the stairs and turn around.

"Em..." he called after me, "do you have something you wanted to say? What are we...?" he trailed off, not sure how to finish.

I laughed in a rueful, bitter kind of way, even though there was nothing funny about this. "I dunno," I said, staring at the wall and not at him. "I mean, do you know what it's like to want to punch someone and hug then at the same time?"

"Well," he replied, "yes, actually."

"So then you know how I feel."


"I really was sorry, you know. You can't imagine how much I tortured myself afterwards, asking if I'd done the right thing and knowing I didn't do it the right way."

By this time, we'd moved to a bedroom down the hall, where we saw the steady parade to the bathroom through the half-closed door. Geoff, our host, was the only one who saw us back. He appeared in the doorway, full of the kind of emotional sincerity that only comes after the first eleven beers.

"Look," he slurred "I dunno what you guys are talking about, but I really like both of you. Like, I really love both of you. So if you could..."

Matt and I both laughed, the first genuine laugh eithout agenda or attention to audience I'd laughed all night. "Yeah, yeah, OK." we said.


"Why did you end it?"

We'd been upstairs talking for over an hour. I'd told him earlier I didn't need to know why. Clearly, I was full of shit.

"Do you really want to know?" he asked. "I don't know how to say it really. I thought about writing you an email once, but I--"

"Try." I interrupted. "Please, you owe me that."

He told me. It was what I expected to hear. It was what I'd been coming to realize, mixed in with his own stuff I'd guessed at. And it hurt, and I cried, and he cried.

"I was so afraid you'd tell me you loved me," he said. "I knew I couldn't say it back, even though I wanted to so much."

"I know. I almost did say it a few times, but it wouldn't have been true." I paused to catch my breath, because I need strength to say what needed to be said. "I just was so... proud of myself. That I could be someone's partner, that I could need someone and he could need me. I had been so scared that I wasn't capable of really being with someone. And then you came along, you were there already and it felt easy and right and it didn't matter that I knew we weren't right for each other because I thought if I worked hard enough then we could be--" I broke off as he put his arms around me.

"I'm so sorry" he whispered into my hair.

"Me too."


We lay on the stranger's bed in a familiar pose. I curled myself into that crook of his shoulder as he wrapped his arms around me, tracing an abstract pattern on my shoulder. Hot tears squeezed through my eyelids as I tried to commit this feeling, this moment to memory. I knew it would be the last time we would ever hold each other like this.

"Should we go downstairs?" I whispered.

"Do you want to?"

"Not especially."

"Me neither." Pause. "We were really good at this part."

And at that, I cried a little more.