Friday September 28 2012


☼ ○ ▬

Getting dragged under a surge of powerful waves. I feel it’s a foreshadowing of what’s to come but I can’t tell of anything yet.

▬ ○ ☼

I open my eyes and hear the rain trickle and drip off the side of the building just outside our window. Aysena is still asleep. I just lie there breathing and awakening my mind. I feel a nudge at my arm. She’s up. Sweet moments. Then she has a sudden realization.

Her: “You’re leaving me!”

Me: “Yes I know.”

Her: “You can’t leave me!”

Me: “I’m still here.”


We arise out of bed and take a shower together. Packing and getting ready. We leave in search of the hostel she’ll be staying at for the next three days by herself. While carrying her suitcase down the steps of the apartment, which I attempt to help with, she drops her happiness right there on the ground. She locks up into a bad mood. We walk down the street a few blocks where the subway is. I try to decipher and inquire but her mouth is shut tight like a lid on a pot of boiling water; the water is definitely boiling inside her. I don’t know how to act or what to say. This is how she acts when something is wrong. She closes up. I should know she’s just depressed about me leaving. We take the L train to its last stop in south Brooklyn. We still have at least 13 blocks to walk and this neighborhood doesn’t feel safe. The load we carry is burdensome – dragging her suitcase and lugging the scooters we can’t ride for the time being.


We finally locate the hostel, which is basically just an apartment renovated into dorm rooms. The place is nice and well kept though. Settling in. Paying the owner. Ays goes to the bathroom and is in there for quite a while. I knock. No answer. She unlocks the door and I find her sitting on the floor in a fetal position sniffling and crying. I’m blindsided by her reaction. I didn’t think it would be this tough.

Me: “What’s wrong? I haven’t left yet.”

She just keeps shaking her head, “M-m.”

I try to touch her head but she turns away.

Her: “Just go.”

Me: “What do you mean? I’m not leaving.”

Her: “Just go. I will stay here.”

Me: “I’m not leaving you here.”

I’m upset. I didn’t want our last moments to be like this. It’s a strange unsettling moment. Eventually we migrate to the bunk bed and talk. I’m upset too. We could have planned this out better so she could come back to Virginia Beach with me for the next few days instead of being here in New York...alone. We can’t cancel our reservation and get a refund for the hostel. “Nothing works,” as she would say.


She manages to perk up, but with a stern face, and agree to go with me to the bus station. But her attitude is offensive. I’m crying too – heavy eyes – runny nose. Let’s just go. We hop on our scooters and get back on the L train. Sitting next to one another. She leans over and apologizes for the complications earlier. I smile back with watery eyes and say, “It’s okay.” She sticks her tongue out for a hot second like she always does when she’s in a good playful mood. I return the gesture.


In Manhattan. I discover one of those fancy foldout fans lying on the ground. I pick it up and nonchalantly give it to Aysena.

Me: “Here. For you.”

Her: “You’re always finding things!”


We’re starving and haven’t eaten anything but a Hard Boiled Egg earlier this morning. Finding a busy café to eat at.

Tuna Melt Panini, Chips, a Smoothie, and Vitamin Water.

Having to find my bank so I can withdraw money her mom wired to me to give to her. Unfortunately the line is too long and we don’t have time so I’m forced to pull out a limited amount from the ATM. This doesn’t sit well with her but I can’t be late for the bus. We move on.


At the China bus station. Nothing feels good. I’m upset. She’s upset.

Her: “Everything today went wrong.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I feel like I failed you.”

There’s just so much emotional distress. Everything is too hurried. The bus is leaving. I’m a wreck. I feel terrible. She reveals a hint of Siberian bitterness. I glance at the bystanders sitting in chairs behind the glass but they don’t seem to pay any mind to our dramatic scene. But there’s nothing unusual about it I suppose. The bus station, train stations, airports, and any place where people depart from and arrive at are places of loss, a place of ending and beginning, a place of goodbye and hello.

I can’t stop my body’s commands to allow these tears to pour out. My lips are shaking like Jell-O. I have no control over time in this moment. The forces of the city are far too powerful. I feel like I did in my dream, stuck underneath that turbulent wave fighting the pull of the undertow. I’m normally stronger than this but even the strongest man cannot contend with a heart of this nature.

I calm down a little bit.

“You’re complex,” I point out.

She nods.

“Do you still like me?” I ask.

She smiles a tiny smile, “Yes.”


The Chinese lady is collecting the last of the tickets. Time to go. We hug one last time.

Ays: “Okay. Good luck.”

Me: “You too.”

Then she turns and walks off down the street. And that’s that.

On the China bus. It’s stuck in tunnel traffic. I’m left to soak everything in. I feel like shit. It was a shame to end on such a disharmonious note. The last of my wisdom teeth protrude through my gums causing an extra discomfort. I’ve decided I don’t like New York, at least as a place to live. This city’s too heavy and compressed. I can’t compete.


Stop at a service station. I treat myself to a Cinnabon Cinnamon Bun with a Coffee. There’s a gross aftertaste but the caffeine perks me up quite a bit. In ten minutes the bus is back on the road. I quietly read The Bell Jar via the light from my iPod because the driver is without an ounce of compromise and insists he cannot allow the lights above our seats to be on.


While engrossed in the most depressing segment of the novel I take a break and glance two seats up. A young Chinese man scans through photos on his iPhone while simultaneously singing pop songs in Chinese. He’s unaware of me watching. He pauses on a few select pictures of a girl, very pretty, probably his girlfriend. The face almost resembles Aysena’s with her long shiny black hair and delicate squinty eyes. I miss her already. I know she misses me too; I can feel it. I’m certain we’ll meet again and continue talking online. It still amazes me how involved we got, how in it I became. I’m still in it. But I worry if time will damage anything, if we will grow apart and be recorded in the books as only a summer of love.


Somewhere in Delaware a back-to-back traffic jam begins. We’re stuck in it for at least two hours. They blocked off a section of 13 for whatever reason. Maybe an accident? Maybe construction? This sucks. I continue reading despite. I can still hear the Chinese guy singing without ceasing in an obnoxious out of tune voice. The other passengers start to take notice. The girl behind me protests, “Can we stop with the karaoke please?” Obviously he doesn’t hear her because he has headphones on. She gets the gumption to get up and tap him on the shoulder. Mission accomplished.


I did it. I finished Sylvia Plath’s only novel. But now I’m stuck with nothing to do and we seem to be driving for an eternity. Finally the bus crosses the Bay Bridge Tunnel after 2 a.m. Darren picks me up at the station and I’m home.

Settling down with a Coconut Water.

Sleep (in my bed) at 4 a.m.

[i] Robert Edward McGinnis.

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