Shortly after we moved to San Francisco, Dylan gave several solemn lectures warning me about earthquakes and how I must act whenever they might happen. He went out of his way to be melodramatic in his speech in order to underscore the urgency. The first time a little tremor occurred, I heard a whole bunch of rapidfire scuffling and struggling, which was more dramatic than the actual earthquake. Then Dylan streaked past shouting, “Run, Nunich, Run!” I didn’t run and instead gazed with vague fascination at all the trinkets and things lightly quivering for some seconds on the room’s walls and shelves. Then I went to the door and saw Dylan standing in the middle of the yard in his underwear. He was clutching a pile of hard drives and a modular synth. I shook my head at him and covered my mouth to cut short a laugh. Dude sure can hustle, no matter how simple or serious the seeming situation, and judging by those hard drives and the modular synth, we get of his priorities quite a good inside glimpse.
I am the most lazy and careless person ever, with my wigs and shoes and especially with my eyelashes. You don’t know how many goddamned pairs of beautiful lashes I’ve lost, wrecked, misplaced or ruined. I am the worst.
I have this mountain now of useless right lashes because often late at night, I just collapse wasted into bed without flossing or brushing my teeth, washing my face, sometimes I don’t even take off my shoes or remove my wig. Dylan, for his part, alternates between energetic speechmaking, passionate instruction, and periodic vehement attempts to heroically perform my nighttime tasks for me. His is a continuity of acceptance, resignation and fondness, with flashes of annoyance, exasperation, failure and despair.
I wake up mornings with a perfect right eye still flawlessly lashed and made up and a completely naked left eye because apparently I sleep with my face violently smooshed against the pillow hard upon my crushed and smothered left eye so the make up there and all my left lashes disappear. Sometimes the left lashes are stuck poetically to my forehead or are lost deep in the folds of my undergarments and hair.
I often afterward find myself wandering lost in supermarkets without still yet having washed my face or showering, looking carelessly like a zombie slowmotion feral woman, haphazardly dressed and debatably sane. Passersby and strangers stare in stupefied horror, children run away shuddering with tearstained faces, while Dylan with skillful effortlessness plucks all manner of random left lashes from wherever they might manifest upon my person. It’s a boisterous and chilling scene.
Now too I still have that mountain of useless right lashes. What’s to be done with all those. Dylan suggested when I’m a famous author sitting behind a pile of books at a book signing, instead of signatures, I should with great solemnity paste into each book’s momentous first blank page a single right lash. Those in the know will know and cherish.
I tell Dylan if I ever go missing or suddenly disappear, all he has to do is follow an exalted and extended trail of left eyelashes. At trail’s end, there he will find me, fully lashed, smiling like the Mona Lisa and ready for the great embrace.
Most people really don’t like getting spammed by massive group promotional emails, so a while ago, Dylan implemented some cool new software that individually messaged everyone with “Hello” followed by each person’s first name, but the software fucked up hard. Instead of a private personal message with everyone’s first name written after “Hello,” each message began with the words, “Hello, First Name.” “That’s hilarious,” I said. “Yeah it’s funny,” said Dylan, “and actually it’s not.” His expression was annoyed and pained. “Haha,” I said. And then I called Dylan “First Name” all day long and mimed telephoning him to exuberantly exclaim, “Suh dude. It’s your best friend First Name,” and “Hi First Name? It’s First Name. Such a pleasure to be on a first name basis.” Dylan treated me to much scowls and grimacing while I gaily made kissy faces at him. Fast forward to who’s laughing now. Every time Dyan drops a track or finishes an album, I’m the one stuck promoting it by emailing over a thousand blogs and djs by hand individually. This most recent batch of emails I’ve been slaving through and sending out since last Friday. It’s been over a week and I’m barely halfway. All these press releases, personalized messages and million hours of work are literally a pain in my poor sore beautiful ass. Dyan doesn’t know how good he’s got it. Despite the endlessness and the agony though, it might be me who’s fortunate, or maybe since we found each other and after so many years we still haven’t killed each other, we’re both lucky.
Walking through artist VIP we ran into Adam who said, “Here, take this. It’s all the rage in South America. It’ll really fuck you up.” Then he placed something small and light into the palm of Dylan’s hand. “What do I do,” Dylan asked and Adam said, “Just suck on it, or chew it a little.” Dylan popped the thing into his mouth and gamely began to suck and chew. Dylan is always down for just such new experiences and I watched him keenly, privately I was disappointed there hadn’t been something for me. “Feel anything?” I asked. “Oh yeah,” said Dylan. His expression was eager and his eyes were bright. “I can feel it in my blood, it’s like my whole body’s racing.” I looked at Dylan closely. Dylan gazed left and right wide-eyed and delighted. Maybe he was already hallucinating, on deck to run around naked and tear the place apart. Adam chuckled. “What is this stuff?” Dylan asked. “A twig,” said Adam, “it’s actually just a twig.” “Haha,” I said. Dylan ignored us and held on an extra beat longer to the earlier better fun of being fucked up on some brilliant new South American drug. One of the many reasons Dylan is lovable is that he is so suggestible. He’s probably the most suggestible person on Earth. If Dylan thought he had just been dosed with many hits of the world’s most wonderful acid, he would act accordingly. It wouldn’t even matter if the acid hadn’t actually happened. Adam grinned. “Haha,” I said again. To this day Dylan insists that that’s not how it all went down. Adam and I don’t argue the point because we know we’re right. We were there. Anyway Dylan was too fucked up on twigs so he can’t say shit.
Once I went to a guy’s house and it was so unkempt and slovenly I was rendered terrorized, disbelieving and confused. I read somewhere that the average single American male changes his bed sheets like 3 times a year, I don’t think this guy had ever done even that. His dish towels and wash cloths also had never graced the inside of a washing machine, not his bath towels either, in the bathroom, I gazed in quiet horror at them, groped them vaguely with hypnotized fingers, and then actually leaned in masochistically for a sniff. I felt an immediacy of deep regret post sniff. It was all I could do not to scream 911 and run, punching through the window glass with my bare fists. I told the story in lavish tormented detail to another friend and when I visited him at his place, he stood proud hands clasped beaming before me and said, “I spent the whole day cleaning, and I washed the towels! Feel free to sniff.” Sweet boy thought my story was a hint and a warning expressly for him. Anyway sniffable towels are obviously preferable to patently unsniffable ones, so the end managed to justify the means. Another time, I broke off with another guy because I didn’t like the shape of his calves. The calves thing I know is pretty brutal, because it’s not like the poor guy could help it. Good thing I find Dylan’s calves terrific.
Most Airbnb places are prettily arranged and carefully maintained, the look and feel falls anywhere between an absent family’s tidy apartment, a boutique hotel, or a bed and breakfast. Usually the host has left little bars of soap and large fresh bath towels upon the foot of an immaculately made bed, the towels are rolled up into logs, artistically bowed or fanned, or fashioned into the shape of a swan. Dylan rarely notices discreet details like this fancy toweling feature. After his shower taken in our latest spot in Havana, Dylan used a small ornamental hand towel to try and dry off, it was the only thing evident and present. Dylan then burst with naked wildness from the bathroom still half wet holding the dainty towel in front of his johnson and exclaimed, “Man, they sure make towels small in Cuba!”
Dylan and I are on some kind of built in Apple iPhone family plan, so our Apple IDs and iCloud usernames and passwords are all messed up. They’ve kind of confusingly overlapped and converged. I get all his cell phone reminders on my phone, which is disruptive and fun. Dylan never updates or deletes his reminders, so shit like “Turn down the potatoes” periodically dings on my phone, for potatoes Dylan was apparently cooking at some point in his life. Also, “I have a meeting with Pete” comes up, even though the meeting with Pete finished probably some time last year.
Dylan has monthly, weekly, and daily reminders too like, “Call my mother” which I find funny, because the “my” I’m sure is superfluous, I mean, whose mother is Dylan going to call except his own.
My favourite reminder that Dylan has scheduled is, “Do something nice for Nunich.” That reminder comes up often, but I can’t say either of us pay it too much mind. The reminder dinged on my phone again recently however, and Dylan called out conscientiously from another room, “I love you.” “Is that the ‘something nice’ you are doing for me today?” I asked, keeping my voice mild. There was a pause. “Siri, delete this reminder,” Dylan, miffed, stiffly said. “Are you sure you want to delete this reminder?” Siri asked. “Yes,” said Dylan. “Ha, ha,” I said.
And dude hasn’t done something nice for me since. Kidding. Motherfucker spoils me rotten. I love my goddamned husband.
Dylan was cheerfully showering so I snuck in quietly and watched him awhile. He was all covered in suds and happily humming to himself while luxuriously massaging his scalp. Dude was acting like he was in a hair commercial, peddling high grade body wash and shampoo, or some shit. His eyes were trustingly tightly shut, all blithe innocence. I hunched down sneaky full ninja, approached him, and soundlessly slid the glass door aside. Then, with a great flourish of suddenness and menace, I grabbed both his ankles fast and hard. Dylan made a delayed reaction loud terrified whooping sound, like a scared and fainting woman, pure blind vulnerability and total fear. His terror and upset were quiveringly real. I wish I had this gold moment captured on film. Dylan was furious when he peaked open his eyes and saw me clutching my stomach from laughing so hard. “You’re gonna get it, lady!” he roared. I waved his words away, still chuckling too enormous and deep to speak. “Ha, ha, ha!” I said. Dylan gazed daggers at me. I was pretty much crying as much as laughing, and for a substantial period. The best romances don’t end happily, and the greatest love stories are tragedies. We might be an exception to this bleak rule, at least we’ve made it this far, we’re still laughing a lot, and we do try. Effort is as important as fate. It’s always much funnier though when I scare Dylan than when he scares me. Scaring me is too easy, scaring Dylan is the bee’s knees. Or ankles. Who knew ankles could offer such an unexpected depth of comedy.
Before his return to Europe, Jason visited a final time and left with us some things he didn’t want to take onto the plane. These things included an ornamental knife and a large economy-sized tube of Astroglide.
“The people’s lubricant,” Dylan said.
“I enjoy this bulk version of keeping your woman moist,” I remarked. “It’s like, ‘Check it out babe, I don’t even have to get you excited. Just slap this onto ya, and we’re off to the races. With this big tube, it’ll be hours of undisrupted pleasure with zero of the usually necessary work and effort!’”
We had afterward some fun innocently placing the big boldly labelled bright purple item in random prominent positions around the house, and were privately amused every time we noticed that someone had without comment changed its location or outright hidden the tube.
When Audrey came over, I tossed the Astroglide at her and said, “Hey, Audrey, you forgot your lube.” The expression on my face was breezy, and my tone of voice was light. Emotions beginning with blitheness and warmth, passing through to bewilderment and perplexity, culminating in repulsion and alarm, flashed all across Audrey’s vivid face.
“That’s not mine!” said Audrey. “I’m not poor.” There was a surfeit of bolds and italics attached to her every uttered word. Audrey thrust the tube back at me, appalled. She said, “I’m not poor” again. I had to bite my lip pretty hard to keep from laughing, and to preserve my neutrality and coolness.
“Look, Audrey,” I said, “No judgment.”
I must mention that I do the biting lip to prevent destructive laughter thing a lot, it’s a wonder how I still have lips. Also I have no idea what did ever end up happening to that big tube of lube.
The cool thing about Chinatown is it doesn’t matter where you are, Chinatown is the same, it’s Chinatown the world over, there’s something wonderful and comforting about that. The ladies that work in Chinatown shops are also rampantly comparable, often they are the wives of the owners, hardworking, middle-aged, and indefatigable. When you enter their shops, they thrust shit at you and trumpet the quality and goodness of their wares with a greatly casual paradoxical disinterest. They barely even make eye contact as they mumble declarations along lines of, “You like. You want. You buy. Very nice. Special for you,” straight ahead into the air. It doesn’t matter what the shit is, or what shit you need, or what shit you might be interested in, to these Chinatown shopwomen, it’s all the same. These excellent ladies put little effort into their statements and encouragements toward purchase, but they always engage, however aimless and inattentive the engagement.
One blustery wintry day, we were in some Chinatown shop looking for a hat for my cold head. It was so terribly cold that day, I was desperate to buy anything warm enough and just put it on, concerns like fashion or cost took a back seat entirely. I considered my options for no more than a second, before the Chinatown shoplady thrust some headpiece at me and said, “You like. You want. Very good hat. I have best hats. Good hat. Special for you. You like. You buy. Perfect hat.” I put the hat on and it was so huge it slipped down over my face and my whole head. I could see through the large roomy fabric the shopwoman gaze briefly at me. With elaborate disregard, she shrugged her shoulders, looked dismissively into the horizon, made a “Hhhmyh” sound and declared, “Small head.” The Chinatown shoplady dexterously washed her hands of the whole affair. The unresolvable freak of nature that was my supposed too tiny head had certainly nothing at all to do with her wonderful hats.
“Small head,” she said again.
“Big hat,” I countered, peeved.
The Chinatown shoplady made another “Hhhmyh” sound and forged on with her dispassionate horizon gaze. She didn’t bother to accompany the “Hhhmyh” sound with a second shoulder shrug.
Dylan and I exited the shop without purchasing a hat. I had to suffer the winter cold and go it alone, my “small head” shrinking even further away and inward. Every once in a while and ever since, Dylan and I sometimes look at each other in unison without planning it, make a “Hhhmyh” sound and declare, “Small head.” Then we grin and chuckle or we laugh a lot. We do a similar thing with the word “vast,” but “vast” is a whole other story. Let me tell you though, it’s these small shared history moments and inside jokes that keep a love going and make a thing real and strong.
Hhhmyh. Small head.
My sister’s boyfriend has a big and beautiful penis. The only reason I know is because one morning I woke very early to go to the bathroom and there he was completely naked gazing at himself while shaving. For some reason he had an erection. It was massive and gorgeous. I was needless to say startled on all points. Later I relayed the news to everyone. My sister was embarrassed but proud. “I guess I was feeling good that morning,” my sister’s boyfriend said. He added, “Plus I really like shaving.” My sister’s boyfriend mistakenly seemed to think we all were more interested in why he had an erection rather than the fact that it was huge and exquisite.
My sister’s boyfriend got up far earlier than we did, because he worked very long and hard every day, and so was in bed much before us, and was thus forced to miss out on whatever fun we might still be having. He absolutely hated to miss out on all of the things.
One night we were giggling in the living room and a few times we laughed out loud. Suddenly my sister’s boyfriend stood partially dressed hectically before us with the world’s most worried expression upon the face. “What are you laughing about!” he shouted. He might as well have been wringing his hands. We paused and gazed at him deeply. Then in unison, at the exact same moment, we looked at each other, threw our heads back with eyes tight shut, and laughed uproariously. My sister’s boyfriend stood there pained. No one told him what was so funny. His beautiful erection was nowhere to be seen. It probably also wished it knew the story or joke, it likely was as sad and confused as he. When no elaboration outside of our loud laughing happened, my sister’s boyfriend hung his head, and went back to bed.
Dylan recently was dealing with a hater and we made the mistake of checking out the guy’s Facebook. Among the many light-hearted opinions and whimsical comments we saw this person finds solace in not being able to lock down a girl who likes to go shooting because then he only has to buy ammo for 1. The guy refers to women as cum dumpsters and feels giving ladies the right to vote is stupid and a waste. He dislikes people who make irksome distinctions between steroid muscle and nonsteroid muscle and offered the naysayers the chance to be punched in the balls by his steroid muscles so the beaten person could resolve whether the pain from the punch was real. There was so much more but we had to stop to catch our breathes. We reeled in fascination and amazement. I kinda wish now I was a politician involved in a political debate just so I can call my opponent a cum dumpster. This is all so wild and unthinkable and ferociously offensive it paradoxically approaches fun. How in the first place was this young man ever a fan?
My girlfriend says, “This girl, she’s a vampire and every time she has sex her hymen grows back and she’s a virgin again.” “Fascinating,” I say, “From what world doth this woman’s rare and diaphanous gift proceed.” “True Blood,” says my girlfriend. Matter-of-fact and with shrug. “That’s quite the plot device,” I say. “I enjoy for this hymen to be so substantial and apparently central to the greater narrative.” I speak in my ain’t nobody got time for that voice, even though clearly plenty of people do have time for exactly that. Regenerating hymens. Who in good conscience could really ask for more.
Back when I used to work at a newspaper assisting homosexuals to make sexual hook ups with greater immediacy and a higher rate of success, a lot of crazy fucked up shit would happen to me, even within the seven minute windows of my many randomly taken breaks for cigarettes and coffee.
I’d stand there at street level blinking in the sunlight smoking and drinking coffee and fielding constant comments and perpetual inquiries from all passersby. Drag queens serving daytime realness would accost me with entreaties to do their make up before their next big show. Cops driving by would honk and either give me knowing nods or subject me to a brief suspicion of passing scrutiny. Rentboys and drug dealers would offer services and products or bum smokes. Homeless people gave me sob stories that I quickly knew by heart. All these encounters occurred with a kind of clockwork consistency and many of the meetings were for the most part amusing, endearing and bearable, usually.
Some passing males however would darken my days with their forwardness and lack of anything at all approaching intelligence, grace, or chivalry. These men seemed to presume I was put on God’s earth literally for their sakes. They also assumed I was “specially equipped” and was just hanging around waiting for business to happen, or to score. In the simpleness of their minds and the thickness of their skulls, even the most faintly attractive stylized Asian female living or dead has got to be a ladyboy.
Put yourself for five seconds into my six inch stilettos and imagine how irritating and absurd it might actually be to deal with these rejects.
One man chatted me intensely up while I monosyllabically offered the odd reply. Suddenly this man leaned hard up against me to closely address my total face. He cocked his head vaguely in a certain key direction and huskily declared, “Listen. I don’t care what you got down there. I’m ready to go all day.” Obviously this man had aims and an advancement of skills to utterly redefine romance and bring things unforgettably to the “next level.” God knows how I found the strength to resist the magical delights he clearly had on offer. Surely I would never again in the rest of all my days receive a proposition that could be more gorgeous and enchanting. Knight in blazing armour, I mean, shit. “Thank you, but no,” I replied, “My calendar is pretty much booked.” Men really are retards flashed across my mind. I gazed neutrally around as I put out my smoke.
Later up in the office it was calling Vancouver time. My co-workers had a special dislike for making calls to BC because the province was overrun with rich Asians who could by all accounts barely speak English. In the din of all those one-sided conversations, I could hear a righteousness of annoyance and exasperation in many of my co-worker’s voices as they struggled to complete business with the Vancouver Asians. Statements were repeated loudly and slowly many times. “God! Speak English!” my co-workers would angrily afterward shout into the uninterested air amidst the sound of receivers being downward slammed. “Yeah!” I’d say, “Jesus. Come to our country, the least these chinky bastards could do is learn the goddamned language.” My co-workers mutteringly chorused casual agreement. “I mean,” I added, “if I went to China, I’d learn both Mandarin and Cantonese in five fucking minutes. Be the least I could do cause like. Go there. Take their jobs. I sure as shit should immediately and perfectly learn Chinese.” Here my co-workers would flounder a bit, losing the thread of wherever the fuck it was I was going.
For reasons including but not limited to the fact that my command of the English language approaches levels of both scathing and awesome, people when they are being racist and slamming “immigrants” for whatever unforgivable faults sometimes forget for quite a while before they notice or remember that at least one of the present company is in fact not white. That person with brutal usualness turns out to be me. Then commences the clumsiness of backpedaling. The more astute co-workers of quicker wit and greater awareness of their surroundings then suddenly cease with the Vancouver Asians Speak English complaining. The bright innocence of the look in my eyes I hoped spoke volumes; the abashed “oh shit” expression on some of my co-workers faces was nonetheless sufficient to amuse and appease.
“Nunich—how did you come to Canada?” one of my co-workers cautiously inquired. Her eyes were wide, her expression eager, and her tone of voice was carefully pleasant. In the sudden clarity of circumstance, girlfriend attempted a feigned interest in my personal refugee’s making it to the land of milk and honey story. “I walked,” I said. No one challenged the claim. “I mean,” I said, leaning forward and with a drop in tonal modulation to develop and deepen the conversational intimacy, “There was a boat of course but I didn’t do well with so much water. All that bobbing. No thanks. So I walked.” The bravery and brevity of my narrative was met with muted appreciation. The silence of the room felt very dense. “Long walk,” I added. Then I grinned with most of my teeth on display. The collective look I received was not comfortable. Nunich 1, Racist Co-Workers 0. Not that I genuinely enjoy “winning” in such moments, but when shit gets increasingly racist and the situation heads eye-rollingly south, it’s important to try for the teaching of a lesson, but it’s also important to still have fun. Winning is irrelevant.
“Apple can suck a bag of dicks.” Someone drunk and moderately famous said that once, right before he face planted spread eagle exuberant upon asphalt outside a sushi restaurant before startled passersby one particularly undomesticated evening. Tomorrow I fly away to be joyously reunited with certain exceptional humans. This group includes the face planter, I may or may not be married to him, and I look forward to saying, “My, my, Chicago, but you are windy,” as I deplane.
This morning I privately messaged a girl on Facebook to basically compliment her great figure and her wonderful boobs. I said I was particularly impressed when I learned that they weren’t fake as they are so beautiful in size, roundness, proportion, and cleavage. Then I said I’d leave things at that since I imagined it was probably a bit weird to suddenly get a message from someone praising you for the niceness of your bosoms. She was, taken aback, embarrassed, and self-conscious, but happy. Night Nurse spreads the love.
I skipped out of the house one night gleefully wearing my badass Yan Zombie tee, Dylan was standing by a waiting taxi ready to immediately denounce me since there he was dressed smartly in the man-sized version of the same badass tee. “Go inside and change,” he commanded, “You’re wearing the same t-shirt as me.” “Oh yay!” I responded radiantly, “How sweet and adorable! We are twins! Everyone will know we are in love and together! How ultra oh my God nice! This is what I’ve always enjoyed in mind, described and wanted! Matching outfits! Deeply in love! Jesus motherfucking shit hurray!” Dylan’s expression held clear the wordless message that only geeks and losers thought in such a painfully lame fashion and uncool way but Masia One was in my corner with her single clap and delighted giggling and so there we were happily dining proudly in public with our Wicked Wednesday group all twinned up seated side by side in our his and hers Yan Zombie tees. It’s true that Dylan’s hoodie was zipped tight all the way up but I’ll get that shit zipped open and totally down, you can pretty much goddamned count on it, what else am I goddamned here for, you’ll love, just wait, you’ll see.
On exiting the basement bathroom at a dark and crowded club, two girls were standing there with solemn expressions on their faces and they gazed at me. I half-smiled and one of the girls made an unblinking extremely subtle head gesture pointing down. In the smoky noise and murk of the environment, I couldn’t quite make out what she was referencing. She had a kind of “Check it out, you dropped something” expression upon her sober face so I kept my half-smile by way of thanks and bent down to pick that shit up. It was a small greyish little fluffy thing so while reaching for it, I managed to convince myself I dropped a mitten even though I sure as shit didn’t wear any goddamned mittens out that night. As I reached for the mystery item, it felt soft and warm and moved in a greatly unexpected startled and sudden way. It circled tinily, nipped me and scurried off! It was a goddamned tiny motherfucking mouse! I went, “Oh fuck” and “Jesus” and “What the shit” and “Eeeek.” The girl’s facial expression said, “See?” I was like, “You’re goddamned right I see! Thanks fucking a lot!” I told the story immediately later to another girl who only halfway paid attention. Then with terrorized delayed-reaction eyes she gripped my wrist and said, “This place has mice!!!!!??!!!!!!!?!!” I was like, “What do YOU goddamned think? I mean. What is this story about!”
One evening at a girlfriend’s house, we were discussing some bullshit in her kitchen. We talked as I watched her fill her dog’s water dish up, carefully pour it out, then fill it up again. She performed this action five times. The maneuverings occured with such an unthinking and measured precision it was almost like girlfriend didn’t even notice what was up. She didn’t skip beats. There was the air of ritual to it and she kept up with the chatting the whole time. When I interrupted to ask her what the fuck she was doing, she said she always did that because she’d bring upon herself “bad luck” if she didn’t. I asked her how deeply had she tested this theory. Like how about some time she didn’t do the whole fill the water dish slowly up, pour it out again, do this five times thing. No way! She said. Did I already forget about the “then there would be bad luck” part. Clearly all that careful filling and pouring didn’t protect her from being a crazy superstitious water-wasting basketcase but of course I didn’t say this thing. The moral of the story is that life is beautiful and people are weird. There might be more morals but those are for you to find and decide. I can’t do everything.