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  • Writer's pictureHailo

Net Neutral on Wes Anderson

On Friday, I stayed in. Got a text from someone the next morning who had “wanted to see me,” but I don’t even know if I “wanted to see them.” I love the past and present tense mixing in writing and I think that the mixing of it in text messages is manipulation. I’ve been so many people in the past year. A breakup will give you one. A new city another. I stayed in on Friday but I barely remember what I did because all of the projects sort of melt into one another. I think I played music, both big keyboard and little keyboard and acoustic on my bed. I stayed up too late, probably. I always do. 

I had meetings all morning and afternoon on Saturday. I was late to the first, wearing a “dump him” tee. I made it when I was still in a relationship. Called it a cultural reference. I wanted him to tell me to not wear it. He wanted me to be louder in my compassion. Saturday afternoon I went to the theater straight from meetings. I had a little bag with my planner and the next two months of the planner inside of a small notebook. I add a new month so that I usually only have two at a time, bound together by thread. I pencil in things that are far ahead and I write down things that happened in pen. I write the days of my cycle, but I always forget to finish it out. I had lip tint and a couple of sticks of gum and a few business cards.

I carried a third of the trial by Kafka under my arm because it wouldn’t fit in the purse and because it’s falling apart. Page 114 is over on my desk. The first sixty or so on my shelf. I went to the theater to see Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was one of his favorite movies and I expected to cry. But I am not a son. I understand why he loved it. It gets him in ways that I never did. Don't live in a hole. Don't marry someone who makes you someone you're not excited by anymore.

I went from the theater to a reading underneath this art gallery. Two people who don’t know each other invited me, so I figured I might as well go. The stairs into the basement were practically a ladder. A man in a chiefs hat scooched down them. It was one of those downtown events with chic looking older people in leather and a bunch of young people with nervous eyes. I was the only Black woman in the room. The photographer took a picture of me because she liked my “whole vibe....Wired headphones." She called me pretzel hair. I froze as she took the picture. Whenever someone takes my picture I am suddenly seventeen again. And I am scared what people will say when it goes somewhere for people to look at. I started to smile and then I didn’t. I had to pretend to smile a lot growing up. Now I enjoy shaping my mouth like a growl. Or just holding it open. She showed me the picture briefly — all curls and faded pen on a cheap white tee. 

As the room grew silent and the readings began, I realized that I had a pencil in my hair. She called me pencil hair. Put the pencil in my hair because it didn’t fit in my bag and I needed it for my planner. But I like sticking things in my hair. Full flowers. Pencils. Ribbons, clips. But once someone draws notice to it, I feel this little rebellion. Like I must declare THIS IS NOT A COSTUME, THIS IS WHO I AM

I left the chatter after the reading to get groceries. I’d had too many coffees and kept imagining someone closing the trap doors above the stairs. If I'm being honest, I think all literary work should be read alone. In your bed in the morning or evening. On a couch in the afternoon. At a cafe you can't really focus at. I listened to a playlist titled “grrr” with a cover photo of me barring my teeth. I bought a full artichoke, even though I don’t know how to make it. I went to a bar with my friend and was charged for a club soda. I went to a lounge with my friend and ate two and a half cookies. I saw someone from college on the couch. He was a senior when I was a freshman. I don’t know what version of me he remembered. I didn’t know how to hold myself. My friend and I watched a man chug two espresso martinis and get kicked out. 

When we left he was laying on the concrete outside, trying to put on his shoes as his friend shook his head over him. I went home and stayed up until five playing instruments in my bed. Debated staying up until the sunrise and then remembered the clouds. I told my roommate about the other alumni the next morning. The first thing she said was that he looked like my ex. 

I didn’t really like Fantastic Mr. Fox. I’m very tepid on Wes Anderson. I don't like a heavy aesthetic. I like a story that writhes in its own skin. He'd love the downtown writer events though -- they are very curated. And they always have the same amount of Black people that he does in a cast. We saw The French Dispatch together in Chicago and fell asleep in the little chairs with gin and tonics in the cup holders. Me and my ex. Each outing felt like an adventure in growing up together. I saw it again by myself in Princeton. With twizzlers and a cup of coffee. I fell asleep in the beginning, but I caught the end that time. I cry at the end of most movies, but never his.

I didn't cry for weeks after the end of us. Just a single tear on the flight back to the US, and then more once I had a new job and an apartment and felt like I could properly fall apart.

I don’t really know what to do with the fond memories as I look back on a version of my life and a version of myself that is so different from who I am now. I am an ex girlfriend. I am a black cat. I am I am. I love my bed and my bedroom and I resent anyone who is in it who isn’t in it forever. Just a little bit. It feels like a sacred space where anything is possible. I am afraid that I can’t be in love with myself my passions and someone else at the same time. I am afraid to be cold. I like being cold. It hurt to be warm. To be warm, in the past tense, in the past. 

The person who wanted to see me on Friday wants to see me on Wednesday. I am not the same woman he knew last summer. I was not the same person I was the fall before, or before the fall from first love.  And now that I am writing, I don't want to see him.


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