Dear Detective Nick Amaro,
Recently, you killed someone in the line of duty and now you’re met with a bunch of emotional turmoil. You know, it’s an atrocity that anybody so beautiful and physically enchanting should ever experience even one single negative feeling in their lifetime. I do believe you’re in need of a delicate, doting listener, and I’m sorry things didn’t work out with Maria, but she was maybe a seven.
Why are you so bummed, Detective? Maria was an anchor, a constant impediment. She’s an embodiment of the clothes that keep your suitcase from zipping and the burden 24 hours before your inspection sticker expires. That girl is the vibe in every waiting room. She’s the lint that accumulates in the dryer, tangled headphones and bananas that are too brown. She’s monotony peering through straight, murky hair that hangs like some foolish adornment trying to escape the existence branded by an old-lady name. So, good riddance and don’t you know there’s a girl quite her opposite who could use some sensitive, brown-eyed rescue like ones you’re prone to performing.
So, won’t you hurry? I’m sitting beneath a fluffy comforter at the end of October, typing in a studio apartment that’s illuminated only by the bluish light of my laptop. I’m waiting for you in Korea, where heat pours through my floor and makes this the comfiest room I know right now. Bits of outside conversation keep leaking through this cracked window, reminding me that I’m exhausted of overhearing words I don’t recognize and of mornings spent watching adults scrutinize their own selfies over coffee. Come save me from the vainest country in the world. Interrogate me while I count every chocolatey hue of brown staring back at me all the way home to Manhattan.
Come investigate this claim and soon we can hang out on a daily basis forever. I’ll try on your badge and you can ask me about the time I ended up at the top of a mountain in Seoul during the wee hours of the morning. And let’s take a quick peek again at your NYPD income. You know, I have dresses upon dresses all dangling from coat hangers and I really am certain we can swing a walk-in closet. I’ve always wanted one, if I’m honest. You’ll have to paint the walls a neutral color and I’ll photograph the process to make it appear as some silly, enjoyable task for all our internet friends. Now let’s discuss your other love.
I can see you’re devoted to your daughter, Zara, and it’s so sexy the way you’ve embraced fatherhood. She truly is lovely, and I cannot wait to dedicate my time to finding her some prestigious boarding school far away in another country. I also can’t wait for pillow talk, filters that perfect our couple pictures, and let’s get a Keurig for the kitchen.
So, off you go, Amaro. I’ll be the yellow haired girl with her eye on the clock and you’ll be the guy who flashes his shiny credentials. Someday we’ll just be sipping our red wine and they’ll say we’re the lucky ones.
The coolest thing happened to us on the first day of high school. We walked into second period to realize both of us had the same gym class together with our other friend Lauren, and that would be the last cool thing that happened to us in high school.
On kickball days, the three of us stood talking at the end of the line just blending in with those big mats that hang on the wall under the basketball hoop. We let all our teammates who made it around the bases cut ahead of us, until one time when Mr. Booke got so aggravated by it and called us up to the front. One out, two outs, three outs, and our team runs into the outfield.
We got jobs that year. Occasionally I snuck phone calls at work when it was my turn in the parking lot. I remember this night perfectly because one customer was the biggest dick and almost made me cry. So I stood pouting adorably outside the local grocery store wearing an orange reflector vest over my North Face and blowing warm air on both hands, when really it wasn’t even that cold. Then I quietly cursed the whole story into my phone and we said we couldn’t even believe it.
Anyways, those complaints were so boring. But my sixteen year-old head spun in circles hearing about Jacky’s photo shoots and runway walks. Hair and makeup and things I couldn’t even imagine, so I absorbed every single last bit, trying to play it all in my head. Then one day she genuinely matched that excitement when I heard I’d be moving to service desk and freed from the carriage duty rotation.
Jacky’s fucking beautiful. She’s been taking trips to New York for modeling since before we could drive. I think we both probably wondered why this didn’t help us get invited to more parties.
She named my first car The Beany Womb, so we referred to it as that while making plans in class and whatnot. It was a 1989 Oldsmobile with a gray top and red bottom. Only one other person in my town had that car, and he was always at church on Sunday mornings when I got coffee. Also, this one time he caused my mom to mistakenly accuse me of skipping class, so I used my bewildered angel voice to explain through the phone about how I was actually so innocently still in school and truly just a victim of some terrible misunderstanding. I LOVED that.
A couple years later we were sitting on the seawall surrounded by people and tan lines and sparklers. It was the third of July in our perfect little beachy hometown called Scituate. We had straightened our hair in my bathroom mirror. It has five lights up above it and sometimes I set up the hand towels to make them look like seashells, the way I learned working at a hotel down the street. The third was a night of wandering from barbecues to bon fires with names echoing through our brains of people we’d hopefully run into. So we lip glossed and halter topped and plastic-coffee-cupped and Bacardi Limóned. That’s when our lives were still running parallel, and they already had been for a while.
Adam was a boy from our town just a couple years older who everyone knew. By the wee hours of our country’s birthday, he had invited Jacky to bring all her friends down sometime to his new apartment in the city. It wasn’t long before we had thought up some stories to tell our parents and I worried the whole drive up about my lacking ability as a conversationalist.
I wouldn’t have believed it then that he’d become one of my very best friends, or that Jacky and I would be standing in the kitchen of that same apartment five years later, just a few stops from my own apartment, baking brownies made with diet coke. They’re almost as good as regular brownies but have far fewer calories because she knows all the weird tricks.
Or that during their wedding ceremony I’d be listening to a band play at a park thousands of miles away, our lives completely unparalleled. That I’d be using a computer screen to see my friends line up in matching dresses.
Before I left for Korea, I told her how much I regretted missing out on her big year, and her response was that this is also my big year. She’s such a fucking wonderful person. I try to be as selfless and gracious but sometimes fall short.
My mom put a letter from me inside their card and I tried not to be too mushy, but they make being in love look like such a friggin blast. When I get home I’ll make the worry-free drive to their new apartment in Connecticut, where I’ll probably lie on their couch laughing so much and telling stories about the park in Seoul that’s covered in graffiti and attracts musicians.
other humans: what are you doing for dinner?
me: I have no idea
me: (yes i do)
me: (i’m ordering take-out)
me: (and eating it in bed)
me: (while watching the two hour “real world/road rules challenge” premiere)