12.27.2012

All adventurous women do.

L--

I've thought a lot about what I would say today. I've thought about it for a year. If you want, we can do this in a list, just like last time.

1.  The weirdest part is that it itches. All the time. Of course I mean my scar, the one I have on my arm that I will likely die with. Sometimes it hurts, and I am still incapable of having my blood pressure measured on my left arm.

2. I've spent a lot of time over these months trying to become myself again because I spent a few years as someone totally different. This blog was a huge part of that. I can't believe it Lisa, can you? I mean, how did I live without this? Now it seems crazy to me, as does the idea that I would ever, ever give it up simply because some man--any man--required it to date me.

3. Wow, it's been a really long time since I posted. 12 days. Thankfully, 12 days now qualifies as a long time, as I went almost three years without posting and finally ended the radio silence with a letter to you, exactly a year ago. Today.

4. Last year after Chase was arrested, I slept fitfully on and off for a day. Then I texted Woody. "I'm kind of in a pickle, Wood," I said, "and I miss you." I asked him to fly out to see me. He said he would. I didn't see him until the following May when I flew to my fair hometown and spent half of my trip naked with him even though I was there to see a different boy. I always was a sucker for my exes.

5. I went to Planned Parenthood a couple weeks ago. Don't worry, it was just for an annual, but it was so weird being back there and surprisingly overwhelming. Last year my one visit to Planned Parenthood turned into a seven-week ordeal involving several different tests, meds, and many a white knuckle. This year was totally painless. "Anything else you'd like to note?" my nurse practitioner asked me, "and are you still happy with your IUD?" No and yes, I answered. My vagina seems fine these days and I love my IUD, getting it might be literally the greatest thing I've ever done for myself.  During my pelvic exam she checked to make sure that it was in the right place; that the strings were still there and nothing had shifted improperly. Everything was a-okay, she said.

I thought I learned a huge lesson back then, Lisa--about who I should be sharing my life with and who I should be sleeping with how to respect my vagina--and I remember those things from my twenties, from before I met Chase. I missed her and wanted her back so desperately that sometimes I forget that I've learned some valuable things in the last few years, too. Things I don't want to let go. And I forget that no matter what I try to revert to, I'm still a different person than the girl who drove that giant orange Penske truck from SF to Seattle when I was still just barely 27.

What I'm trying to tell you is that my period is now five days late.

And in a broader sense I'm telling you that 27 year old me and 32 year old me have vastly different ideas about pregnancy. Specifically about what to do should it occur in my uterus.

Thankfully, five days late for me is still two days early for normal women, but wouldn't that just be so me? Meet a perfect boy, have to leave him far away, and then accidentally get pregnant by a different one  in a matter of weeks?

I love old me, I do. But new me just can't fucking do this. This is crazy, Lisa. It's irresponsible. And yeah, I've had sex all of once since I've been home, but just this fear, this uncertainty--the fact that this whole situation seems exactly like something I would find myself wrapped up in--it belies a notion that it's ultimately my fault, or at least my responsibility. I mean, I'm the only common denominator, here. And I don't want this. I don't want this to happen.

Thank you Lisa. Thank you for my blog, because honestly, I don't know how else I would have processed the last week, let alone the past year.

I love and miss you.
So much.
XOXO--M

12.15.2012

La Petite Mort.

I was asleep when my plane was approaching Melbourne, but when the wheels of my 737 hit the tarmac it jarred me awake immediately; I woke so suddenly that my heart pounded stiffly in my ribcage and my eyes flew open wide, but the adrenaline wore quickly and my face broke into a wide smile when I realized where I was. That's it, right outside, I thought to myself while peering out the tiny window, out there is Australia, and you've finally made it here. It's weird to think of this now, of what I thought it was going to be like before I'd actually been, because although I was far from disappointed, the fantasy I had of Melbourne and the reality of being there were nothing alike.

I'm home now, and by home I mean that I'm in New York, which is the closest place I have to a home anywhere. It feels like home here, and when I'm anywhere else I usually can't wait to return. I tend to get complacent in smaller cities; I fall into a routine of ease and let myself go inside the luxury of time and a slower pace and I don't really like who that makes me. It's like a little death, letting go like that, and I always hate myself for, even briefly, giving in to the fallacy that the slow security of my hometown or some warm southern metropolis is something I need in my life. I don't. I spent over three years chasing security, found it in the strong arm of the wrong man, and coveted it to a fault. Trust me: I'm better off insecure. I do bolder things when I don't know what's happening next.

I’ve been searched before going through customs. A long time ago in my early twenties I was stopped, albeit randomly, in Cancun. I wasn't allowed to leave the airport until they had removed everything from my entire bag and lined its contents up on a long table right beside the aisle where all the disembarking international travelers queue through. There was no judgment from the immigrations officer, but I heard more then a few snickers from other passengers as he pulled several generous handfuls of condoms from my zippered front pocket and began to pile them in a multi-colored mountain right in the eye line of every passer by. Even he couldn't help but releasing a small titter; he looked at me and shook his head just a little bit and smiled.

"It's spring break," I said, shrugging my shoulders and giggling, as if that explained why I needed almost 100 condoms for a week’s vacation in Playa Del Carmen.

Getting searched in Australia was far from a giggling matter.

"So I'm finally right about to leave customs, I mean, I can see the door, and the agent who takes my declaration form suddenly gets a stick up his ass because all I have with me is one small backpack." I'm telling this story back in New York, just a few days ago, to Noah upon his return from Florida. I had been laying sick in his bed for almost two weeks in his absence, and while it seemed weird at first to be sleeping in his bed with him gone it was suddenly odd to have him there. Home. In his own room. Lounging on his own bed with me.

"So they searched you?" He asked me.

"And interrogated me. Like 'what brings you here' and 'who do you know here' and 'oh is this Thao guy your soulmate' and all this business. It was crazy! They took every, single, thing from my bag. They unfolded and read all of my receipts. The counted my American cash and asked me how much money was in my checking account. They took my laptop and read whatever they could find in a couple of hours. Then they handed me my phone and asked me to enter my password."

"Why, I don't get it. What did they do with your phone?" I laughed when he asked this.

"They looked at every picture and read all my text messages. And then they came across one I sent to you a couple days before I left. They were, like, infuriated. And were all: 'who is this Noah?' and 'how do you know him?' and all of this stuff. They completely flipped out. I had no idea what to say."

"What? which one?" He then reached for his own phone, curious as to what I could have possibly sent to him that was so incendiary in the eyes of Australian customs, but I beat him to the discovery and refreshed his memory. It was a picture, actually: I had sent him a photo of a single Vicodin. One. Solitary. Vicodin.

"Oh, shit. What did you say?"

"What was I supposed to say?" That's not a lie. I mean, what was I supposed to say? I'd been dreaming of coming to this country for the vast majority of my life, and now I was walking a fine line of being granted entry or immediate deportation. Had I done anything wrong? Well, actually, I had forgotton to declare a few ounces of Chinese tea that I had acquired during my brief stint in Shanghai, but that was an honest mistake that they didn't even care too much about. No, the tea wasn't a big deal. Rather, they were very intrigued about who this man was on the other end of the oh-so-illicit Vicodin text message.

"Who is he?" They asked me. When I related this story back to Noah, I guess I just let him believe that I said something dismissive and simple, but the truth is that I was already a couple hours into being questioned and was starting to lay myself completely bare. I feared telling a mis-truth, more even than I usually do, and equated any omission to my possible deportation. Put simply I was starting to panic, and some kind of undeserved guilt was building up in my chest that was feeling tighter and tighter with every minute that passed.

"What do you mean?" I asked the small blond agent, who was at the time holding my iPhone in her latex gloved hand.

"Who is this Noah? Who is he to you?" I swallowed hard when I heard her repeat the question.

"Who is Noah to me?"

"Yes, it's fairly straightforward."

"Straightforward?" I countered, "You think that question is straightforward? I've spent the better part of this year trying to answer that question, and you think I'm suddenly going to know, now, after having spent the last two days traveling here all the way from Brooklyn where I left him; you think now I'm suddenly going to be able to tell you who Noah is to me?"

It's been over a month now since that day entering Australia for the first time, and I'm apparently no closer to answering that question. Things changed for me overseas; my plans changed. I'm supposed to be in Florida right now, but instead I'm waiting around till at least Monday to interview for a job I'm not positive that I want as part of a plan that I'm not sure I want to pursue. Everything is so up in the air. But this is my wheelhouse, I tell myself when I start to panic about my current state of flux, this is what I do. I figure it out as I go along. I go big. I live boldly. But sometimes the mantra just isn't enough.

After finally making it through customs I spent a huge portion of the next 24 hours wishing I was back in New York. I felt disenfranchised and tired; but halfway through Saturday I got a message from Thao beckoning me to come to the bar that night. Part of me didn't even want to go--Australia wasn't turning out like I thought it would and my yet only friend had already gone to Sydney that morning while I slept--but I agreed, eager to turn things around.

I met Ryan that night.

So you could say that things definitely turned around.

It only took another day or so for "I want to go home" to turn into "I never want to leave."

But I did. Leave, I mean. And then I was sick. And I spent long days and nights in Noah's bed trying to figure out what I was going to do next but only hitting the hard wall of lingering illness. And then Noah came home, home to New York, and, suitcase in tow, found me still lounging about in his bed upon his return.

It's weird to think of this now, of what I thought it was going to be like when Noah came home before he actually came, because the fantasy I had of how I thought I would behave and the reality of what happened were nothing alike.

I had been in New York for almost two weeks, but it suddenly felt like home with him framed in his bedroom doorway, him with his perfect fucking beardface and careful smile that I know so well that I hadn't seen in so long, and I wrapped my arms around his neck and felt the welcoming little death of security.

"So, good times then?" Ryan asked me the next day about reuniting with Noah.

"
I guess so. It's complicated. But I'm glad he's home this week," That's not a lie. I am glad he's home this week, but it's not exactly like I took the time to explain to Ryan that the little death of embracing security was nothing when compared to la petite mort of embracing Noah. I omitted the rest unconsciously feigning that it didn't matter anyway, but since then I think I've started to panic, and the layers of my decision have begun to unfold, and some kind of undeserved guilt has been building up in my chest and it feels tighter and tighter with every minute that passes.

But this is my wheelhouse, I tell myself, sometimes I am rashThis is what I do. I figure it out as I go along. I go big. I live boldly. 

But sometimes the mantra just isn't enough.

--M



(P. S. -- This piece is the result of a request from Julia. You are similarly always allowed to make requests of me if you have a favo[u]rite story of mine, and I will most likely indulge you. Also: VANESSA, if you are reading this, and I hope you are, email me at M@MirandaMoure.com. I didn't get to say goodbye before I left The Disco for Northcote.)

12.09.2012

The Scale of Things.

Last winter I spent hours and hours in bed trying to stay warm, trying to figure out what I was going to do, and dropping pounds ferociously. This week feels nearly identical.

On my last day in Melbourne I found myself drinking cheap champagne on a way-high-up balcony overlooking the Melbourne CBD. With me was Gina, whom I had met on my first day staying at The Disco, and Raz, who joined us after a hot, arduous day at work. A couple sips into my first glass I started to feel a little lightheaded. I had just spent the majority of the day drinking a bottle of bubbly on St. Kilda beach, so I assumed that maybe I'd just had a bit too much alchohol and exposure that day. Or something.

Raz and I took a seat inside for a while. It was still easily 90 degrees outside, so I welcomed a cold pint of ice water and a healthily rotating ceiling fan indoors, especially since I had just narrowly avoided fainting outside.

"I'm so sorry Raz, I feel so weird and I don't know why," I said, apologizing to him for steering him away from what was essentially my going away party, "I mean, the last time I fainted in public I was..."

There was a long pause. I froze. He froze. And then, silently, I raised my left index finger to him as if to signify that he should hold on for just a minute, then retrieved my phone from my bag and immediately opened my calendar.

"Are you okay?" he asked me.

"Well," I answered, looking my three-week-love full in the face, "this is awkward, isn't it?"

Don't bother freaking out. I got my period before even reaching New York, but the symtoms prevailed. By half-five last Saturday I had left JFK and made it successfully to my former lover's empty bed in which I was soundly asleep by six. When I woke up at eleven I was feeling even worse. My sinuses had turned into a solid brick and my temperature had climbed at least a couple of degrees. Sick. Really sick. And I only found out exactly how bad it was as the days have gone on. If you were wondering, I'm still in bed.

I had thought I was feeling better and went out briefly on Thursday. I had thought that I would go to the grocery store, run a couple errands, and then hightail it up to Greenpoint for dinner with Sally, but after just a couple hours of verticalness I started to lose feeling in my fingers and toes. I shook my hands violently in hopes that my digits would pink up again, but then all the blood ran from my skull and my vision filmed over in a pointillist swirl of red and green, and I took a deep breath just before my knees buckled and I fell, in a heap, on the concrete floor of my storage unit.

I was there looking for, among other things, my nail polish remover.

I never found it.

I decided against dinner with Sally, but bought some food on my way home and ate it in bed. I threw up an hour later.

My very favorite dress is a sheer pinstripe number that I picked up at Urban Jungle in Bushwick over the summer, and right after purchasing it I returned home only to promptly hack a foot from it's length. The combination of ultra-short and sheer is extremely revealing, and I generally reserve it only for wear over my bikini. I wore it my last day in Melbourne, and when I put it on that afternoon I noticed in the mirror that I was missing and inch or so from my waist that I swear I had when I left New York, and I remember thinking that I would definitely have some explaining to do when I got back stateside. Now I'm so thin that I actively fear getting on a scale which I will have to soon, most likely, as I'm now eight days in and still can't keep anything down; I'm going to starve to death if I don't see a doctor soon.

I knew long before I left Melbourne that my plans for this winter would change. I planned on fucking off until March on the sunny beaches of Florida and maybe even a stint in Colombia or California. I knew things would be different, but I never thought I'd be shackled to New York by some unknown illness, incapable of so much as feeding myself.

At least if it was pregnancy I'd know what was going on, but it was likely easier to relate to Raz that I was sick rather than pregnant, especially since he's so very far away.

"Well that's good then!" Raz told me after I told him the news, "Although, we would have had a pretty hot baby. Especially if it had your face, your body, your arms, your legs, and my thumbs! I have great thumbs."

Last winter I used to return home to the solace of my bed after closing at Studio with Noah. I'd strip down to my knickers immediately after walking in the door and I'd lie there, in pain, noting how my undies stretched across my hipbones without touching my stomach. I'd splay my fingers into the divets in my chest created by my protruding rib bones. I'd think about eating and taste the bile in the back of my throat. I'd fear having to return to the doctor and step on the scale again.

This week. This feels nearly identical.

--M

12.01.2012

Sixteen Hours.


[I finished this about 12 hours ago on flight MU538 to JFK from Shanghai. Enjoy.]

This isn’t fair,” I said, “this isn’t fucking fair.”

“No, it’s not. But it’s going to be okay.”

R—
At first I was just in shock, the first half hour or so. And of course I mean the first half hour after I stood on your front porch and raised my flat right palm to you as if to say one last goodbye. It’s weird that we parted this way, don’t you think? I mean, I’ve done this before—these boys and airplanes and all of these goodbyes—but I think this might be the first time where I was the one left on the inside of the threshold a few hours before I climbed aboard a plane.

Actually, I’m on a plane right now. A giant Airbus jet that is shaking so violently that it feels as if we’re going to fall out of the sky. I’m not scared of flying; I don’t actually think this plane is going to crash, but goddamn. Wouldn’t that be ironic? It took everything I’m made of just to make myself get on this flight, maybe I shouldn’t have after all. But if you’re reading this that means I landed safely somewhere, likely in New York as scheduled, and that I am currently spending or about to spend a long weekend in South Brooklyn alone and trying to forget that I posted this letter, and I’ll be hoping that someday soon will be the day that I wont look for you when I wake up in the morning because it feels like fucking torture every time I wake up and you’re not there.

Let me clarify that: it’s not so bad that you’re not there, I mean, we did that a handful of times in Melbourne, the scant five or six nights that I spent there but not in your bed. I just mean to say that it’s not so much that it’s bad that you’re not there, it’s that you’re not going to be there, and this will continue for the near-future forever, some kind of indefinitely, and when I wake up the memory of this hits me in waves and my breath catches in my throat and tears well in my eyes and now I’m on this goddamn plane and I can’t sleep; I’m on a 16 hour flight from Shanghai to JFK and I can’t just go the fuck to sleep because I can’t bear waking up again only to slowly realize that you’re gone. It feels horrible, and yeah, I’ve done this before but not like this. Not with oceans between us. Not with passports and visas and over a day of air travel that costs a month’s wages; not with us being two different nationalities. This just isn’t fucking fair.

I spent last night in Shanghai. When my plane from Melbourne landed there yesterday it jolted me awake and I realized that I was alone, in China, again. I realized that you were gone and it was cold outside, that I had to go through Chinese customs, that it was dark, that I couldn’t call you, that you were gone, and that it was a long way on two slow trains to my hotel and that you were definitely gone. The only thing you assuredly need to travel smoothly through customs in a mildly communist country is a smile, and it was the one thing I couldn’t quite muster. They pulled me aside immediately, double-checked my itinerary with the airline, and then finally sent me on my way. I went straight to my hotel, locked myself in my room, chain smoked the last of my Champion Ruby, and fell asleep under two beds worth of blankets that I had spread across just one.

I had drawn the shades before I went to sleep, so when I woke up I didn’t know if it was early or just dark, and for a split second it felt exactly like being in your pitch-black bedroom at noon. It didn’t feel weird to be alone, it just seemed like you had risen early for work and left me sleepy and naked in your bed. But then my eyelids slowly parted, and the far wall seemed just a bit too close, and then it was clear that this was not your guitar-laden bedroom but rather was the stark Chinese hotel that I had fallen asleep in the night before, that this was nothing more than a very early, very lonely, very rainy morning in Shanghai. It was 5:23, my flight to New York wasn’t until almost noon, but I got up anyway and stood still for far too long in a hot, hot shower, then picked up my clothes from the bathroom floor that I had just removed and put them all back on. Down the street, at the All Days Grocery, I spent the equivalent of about five Australian dollars on four packs of Double Happiness tailor 20’s, and I returned to my hotel and shoved them in the top of my backpack before making the long trek back to Pu-Dong International to catch my flight to New York.

A couple years ago, was it on Facebook? Thao put up a picture of a message arranged on a refrigerator in those magnets that you give to kids to learn their letters but that never actually hold anything up properly. It bore a bunch of your names, you and your friends I mean, and I remember seeing it then and giggling. “It’s weird though, because now I’ve totally met you guys,” I told you, “I mean, I’ve put some real flesh and blood faces to a list of names.” You just laughed, noting that the really weird part was that you had, in fact, helped to make that sign.

I wish I was there right now. It’s about half-midnight on Saturday night in Melbourne, and if I was there we might have sat outside together and drank tiny bitter beers, and by now we could have retired to your bed to look at my train map on my phone. I could show you everywhere I’ve lived again; the L Jefferson, the M Knickerbocker. The R 45th. The G Nassau. I would show you where the F splits from the rest of the orange line and stops right in front of Gallery. Then I will scroll up and show you Harlem, Yankee Stadium. Down for 14th street, the East Village, The Financial District. Over to Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

“These are like fairy tale places to me,” you said when I first showed it to you, “I mean, you live there. In New York. And this is your train map.” Yes, yes, that is all true. I live in New York, and I’m dying to lift that veil of New York for you, to make it real and static, to show you all my favorite places just as you and your friends have done for me in Melbourne.

Is that what we should have done? With our sixteen hours? I just assumed that I should use that time to come clean—that if we were purposefully putting off some kind of conversation until a designated time then it should be less about saying all of the things that I had been scared to say and more about doing the things that I fear doing. Like make plans. Hard-fast plans. Plans to show you about my fairy tale town via unlimited Metrocard and a train map. But that would require months of planning, of foresight, are you feeling me? Doesn’t this totally scare you? I mean, I’m not going to beat around this one, let’s get straight to it: what if you buy a plane ticket, to The States, and start dating someone else in the meantime? What does that mean?

I’m desperately in love with Melbourne. It’s dethroned both Berlin and Mexico City as my favorite city that I’ve ever been, and it’s pretty obvious why. It has the educated populace and freneticism of New York but those narrow palm tree-lined streets and fierce bohemia of San Francisco. It’s both port and beach town, it’s downtown and uptown and suburb and fast trains and up all night and sleep in late on Sunday. It’s literally the perfect city for me, and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to go. But then again, maybe I went at the perfect time: me, a single Australiophile, and you, having just missed your flight to Brisbane. But now I’m having a hard time divorcing the two from each other—you and Melbourne—and I want both so badly that I’m not sure which one I actually want more.

It’s not fair that it has to be like this. I mean, fuck. Don’t I deserve you? I deserve to be able to date you, don’t I? Like normal people do, because we could be the best daters ever. If we lived but a few tram stops away from each other we’d be dating famously by now—we’d have kept a few more secrets from each other and I wouldn’t have to be on this goddamned plane right now—In fact, I’d probably have just seen you tonight for the first time after you were away playing that festival last weekend, and I would have worn a bright red dress and smiled broadly when I finally saw you out back at the bar, and I would have greeted you with hugs and asked you how your show was. That’s what normal couples do, you know. They hang out on weekends and the occasional Wednesday; they definitely do not live together immediately and then part citing that one of them has to fly home to America. But then again, they are also not usually as lucky as we to have had a perfect three weeks. Perfect.

“I want to see you again. Like this. I mean, I’m not sure what I mean.”

You assure me we’ll see each other again, and I believe you, and I even believe when you tell me that the time between will find you comparing every woman you meet to me, because I think I might just do the same.

It was Saturday…morning, right? When you missed your flight to Brisbane to see your favorite band only to find me at the bar later? I used to do that to—fly around to see bands play when they weren’t touring where I lived—I would have been similarly infuriated had I been told I couldn’t board my flight.

Real quick: do you want to hear something crazy? I’ve been on this plane for ten hours, and I’m another six from disembarking. Can you believe that?

Anyway, I’ve done that before. Flown across my country or up its’ coast just to see a band. Many times, actually. And once, very famously in my circle of friends I should add, I flew home from a music festival feeling, for the first time, what it was like to have a boys’ name on the tip of my tongue and his naked body in my minds eye and no earthly idea when it might be that I’d see him again. We parted on a street corner in a north Seattle suburb and I took red-eye out of Sea-Tac that night, and after narrowly missing my transfer at Dallas/Ft. Worth I finally got back to Miami the following early afternoon. I found my decrepit Volvo in the Parking garage at MIA, maneuvered her onto I-95, and screamed all the way home while listening to Gomez’s sophomore album louder than my slight speakers could handle. I parked illegally behind my South Beach apartment after I had finally made it across the causeway, and with my luggage still in the trunk of my car I bounded through my unlocked back door and through my kitchen to my desk. There, I switched on my desktop and, on but a two-week advance, immediately bought another plane ticket out west.

I tell you this to illustrate that it’s wildly different this time.

You are 10,000 more miles, 1600 more United States dollars, and six months to three years of immigration paperwork further away from me now than this boy was from me then.

My girlfriends in Seattle might point out, however, that otherwise you are strikingly similar to him both in stature and statistics. If you met them, my girlfriends I mean, they would laugh and note that you are, like him, three years younger than me, a musician, can just barely not squeeze into my jeans, and live far away. But they will delight in all the ways that you do not fulfill this same cannon! You’re name doesn’t start with the same letter as mine and your accent might just make them forget that they are supposed to chide me for having done this before. Been there before. Done you. Boarded planes for you. Missed you and loved you and no, wait. That’s gross. I don’t love you.

I’ve only known you a few weeks.


I watched you sleep for a long time my last night in town. “I don’t want to go to sleep,” I said, and you said you didn’t want to either, but I told you that you had work in the morning so you held my hand in yours and you touched your forehead to mine, and I watched as your whole body went slack and your breathing slowed. It’s not fucking fair.

“Are you awake?” I said softly, and your chest continued to rise and fall as it had been for the last few minutes.

There was no answer. You were warm and heavy and paralytic with sleep, and I was wide awake and too, too hot, and upset.

“Raz,” I said again, “You’re asleep, right?” No answer.

“I love you,” I whispered, and I raised my left palm to meet your cheek, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

We spoke of this, of what would happen now. We spoke of every unhealthy and psychotic thing we would each do in the wake of my leaving: me writing some 3000 words of piss and drivel and addressing it to you and you pouring over all of my social media with a fine toothed comb. We laughed at this! How funny we are that we would not only fulfill every stereotype, but also admit it before hand. The only thing I didn’t tell you was that I had laid the long night in your bed knowing exactly when and where I would write this story down, knowing already exactly what I would say in print; I had already written parts of this in my head even before it came out of my mouth as a whisper.

I didn’t make your bed or fold your laundry before I left. I wanted to, but I fucked off too much and ran out of time. “Quit crying and get in the shower,” I told myself, “you can cry all you want in China.”

I had just enough time to leave you a note.

You are, Ryan. You are the single best thing that has surprised me this year.

And it has already been a very surprising year.

XO—M