about the author

xTx is a writer living in Southern California. You can find her writing in places like PANK, SmokeLong, DOGZPLOT, elimae, Thieves Jargon and > kill author. She has a free e-book, entitled Nobody Trusts a Black Magician, available at nonpress. She says nothing at notimetosayit.com.

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Climax or Cry


On our coast it is 7 p.m. and on her coast, where you are now, it is 10 p.m. Assuming your plane landed safely (I wouldn’t know, you didn’t call me....) you’ve been there for four hours and I am wondering if she is in your arms right now? Now, as I am sitting here with the dumb TV on. (You are missing Lost, btw. I hope I don’t forget and delete it by accident.) Or, are you in her bed yet? Or, is it weird since you’ve never even met her before? Is she short? Did you hold hands first? At all? Maybe her house smells funny; the lights too bright, the walls too far apart. Or too close. Are her kids there? How did she introduce you to them, I wonder? Did they seem too eager to earn your praise? Did they take your hand right away and ask you to come to their room to see their turtle? Did you have to act like you care about their turtle? Do they even have a turtle? Did you feel her watching you from the doorway, her smile burning a hole in your bachelorhood with the scene she liked in a split second playing out before her? Maybe she waited too many minutes longer than she should’ve to tell the kids “Pete’s done looking at the turtle now. Let’s let Pete relax now.” Did they scamper back to the living room and plant themselves on the couch and ask you to sit between them? I bet that was awkward. I hope that didn’t happen. I don’t have kids. But maybe she left the kids with her ex. Maybe you two are one on one, with nothing between you but air and the sounds that only exist when no television is on. Does it feel okay, I wonder, like when you and I sit together with no talking? Maybe she won’t look you in the eyes and you are feeling so alone and you really need her eyes to see you; a welcoming, a pair of old shoes, something to make this trip feel less like a mistake. I mean, if it’s a mistake. Do you like what she’s wearing? She probably wore something nice enough but with just a little slutty mixed in. That’s what I would’ve done. I have this one purple shirt.... Is conversation dwindling? Have you asked about the TV shows she likes to watch? (Does she even watch Lost?) I hope you aren’t at the point of rubbing your hands together and examining your fingernails and how, damn, you should’ve trimmed them better. You paid so much attention to all the other areas, the ones she probably wouldn’t even see with the aid of a light bulb, (You called it “manscaping.”) but there, in her living room, your hands, so visible, you didn’t even consider them now, did you? Maybe her eyes still aren’t reciprocating yours so you splay your fingers, cutting the coffee table in front of you into triangles. Your uneven nails, the split cuticles; your knobby thumb—was it always so knobby? (Yes, it looks like a fat man turned sideways. I’ve only told you that a hundred times.) Is she busy in the kitchen talking to you over the breakfast bar? I bet you can feel her looking at you now that you are examining your hands. Probably because it’s safe for her while you are safe in the company of your hands. Does she bring you beer in a glass? You never take beer in a glass. You see the bottle back over on the counter; that’s what you want but she has no idea. The bottle, far away, like me. I bet you thank her and you drink because that is what you are supposed to do and because you are polite like that. Is the trip getting longer by the second? Is the floor is a beige shag, stained, old? Are there too many magnets on the refrigerator? Is the TV a square, old, outdated box? Are the I-told-you-so details piling up, building a wall between any chance of you and her? Does she not see it or maybe she does. Maybe she sees it in the way you fidget and stare at your hands, the bottle on the counter, the sides of the room. Maybe you thought this would be easy and that every piece of her would fit with yours, like a coming together. You didn’t expect the hollowness or the looking away or the brushfire of distasteful details. It was so much easier when it was only the words; the e-mails that excited, especially the ones with a paperclip icon on the right hand side. I remember when you asked me if I thought she was pretty, double-clicking the thumbnail making it larger. I remember reluctantly answering yes and giving you the rest of my burrito because I was no longer hungry. I bet you dreamed about brushing her hair back, but maybe now you see there’s gray there, you catch it in the light when it hits just so. Maybe she triple-blinks like a strobe light after she laughs. Maybe her toilet has one of those squishy plastic seats that deflate when you sit on them. Maybe she drinks Franzia and won’t shoot Jack like we do when we play Jenga for shots. Maybe all of these things and if so, this was not the picture you had painted at night when you imagined this visit, hand low, eyes closed, building the promised scenarios. Have you thought of me at all? How I wished you good luck, be safe, have fun? I meant it. But these things, they are the pictures I painted of your visit, at night, my hands down low, my eyes closed and when you get back I will pick you up at the airport and you will tell me about your trip and it’s at that point that I will know whether I should climax or cry.

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