92nd Street Speedheart – Eris Mohr

I know it’s the speed that’s got me head-over-heels, but still, the victory: chain-smoking and reading smut poetry in a bathroom with this girl that I am utterly smitten with. Smoke settles in various swirls. The toilet used as a makeshift ashtray. Outside, sidewalks stretch between trees. Neon daylight slithers up to the window and sweats cement.

“I’m just gonna open up my mind and my legs and see what happens,” she says, looking intently at the space above my head.

I don’t know why she’s crushing on a straight girl; a big fucking dyke is right in front of her. Don’t mind me, just drooling on a cigarette as I wonder if the lack of oxygen is making me hornier than I should be. Like an animal I am.

“Why does it smell like bananas in here?” I ask. A silky layer of sweat is gluing my back to the mint-linoleum floor.

Somewhere else in the multiverse I am an elderly manicurist, unaware of this weak-lunged and indulgent self. Somewhere else in the multiverse I am giving manicures to a line of freckled children I curse for having sloppy cuticles and hangnails that keep morphing into slime eels. Each child wears a Physical Education sweater complete with an iron-on of their high school’s mascot, Satan. I hold the dripping brush of acrylic despair. My hands shake from withdrawal. I take a break. I drink whiskey from a plastic bottle, which is the most unsettling aspect of this reality, since plastic bottles have BPA, which I know is bad enough to not bother researching what that acronym actually stands for. Radioactive glop lands on the hand of one bucktoothed child whose scream sounds like he has an umbrella down his throat. Another child whispers conspiratorially about the buddy system. I finish each hand slowly, daydreaming about holiday-themed malt liquor, what lies beyond the underworld of suburban strip malls, and potlucks where each pot is full of bacon.

Here, slowly suffocating in a bathroom in the Upper East Side-I am a wreck, yes.

“How long have you been a vegetarian again?” she asks.

“Ten years,” I lie. “I can’t take this smoke anymore,” I say, squinting. I throw the rest of my cigarette in the toilet. There’s a second-long pathetic sizzle.

“What? Why now? We’ve been in here for like an hour.” she says, breathing in more smoke. She exhales the smoke she just inhaled plus the smoke from a cigarette that seems to have manifested itself from within the grey blur of my vision. “I wanna finish this.” Exhale. Hiss like a dragon. “So go to my room.” Exhale.

The roar of the train fills up the entire station in a grand ferocity. I feel small in comparison. I crouch into my lap. My stomach burns, contorts in hunger. I look at a girl. My chest feels like a carved out pumpkin. I feel like I’m about to faint, like passing out would mean meeting that complete unconsciousness, blankness, with nothing to be remembered when awoken.

Neither of us has eaten today. We go to Big Daddy’s Diner and order banana pancakes and Oreo milkshakes for dinner. Each dish is a dare since we know each other’s secrets. Neither of us can have a salad or water. No. Real food. Drinks with calories.

She is paranoid that I want her pills. I’m in her room reading while she takes a shower. She bursts the door open, wanting to see what I’d be doing if I thought she couldn’t see. She looks right through me, making sure that I am not taking her pills. It takes a few moments for her to take in that I am not stealing from her. I explain to her that I respect her possessions as exactly that.

Later, she offers me Ambien. I take it and fall straight asleep. It isn’t like all of her stories of blacking out and waking up in the living room with peanut butter all over her face and a missing birthday cake.

In the morning we make out on her bed for hours, spend the day in pink pajamas, fucking with them on, our hands sliding underneath the pastel cotton. She gives me my first g-spot orgasm and her bed takes the result. She has a cat; the cat doesn’t touch where I came. The cat gives me looks of venom, and her, looks of betrayal. The cat is the most emotive I’ve ever come across.

There are cans of sugar-free Red Bull: hers, afraid of the calories of sugar, and regular Red Bull, mine, afraid of aspartame.

She checks her reflection in her powder compact even when we kiss on her bed. Our necks are covered in bruises.

She walks around with me. So beautiful, New York in May. California me is enamored of the noticeable seasons. I like the lush green, the humidity. When we walk by certain parks she stiffens up her posture and quickens her pace. “This is where I used to score heroin,” she says, looking more afraid than anything. I hurry up with her. She died from a heroin overdose, and while she was resuscitated, she suffered a hypoxic brain injury that left her narcoleptic. It’s why she has so many prescriptions.

We realize time is running out until I have to get on a plane back home. She insists I take some of her Dexedrine to not waste time sleeping. She has a stash fit for the apocalypse. She is well-educated and picky about medication brands, so has taken measures to always have the one brand that works the best for her on hand. I take the Dexedrine. It’s intense. Everything I feel is amplified. I feel intensely sexual and amorous in a way that’s second-nature. My body feel electric, on vibrate. I cry easily, too.

I am in love with her. It must be love. She’s in front of me as I feel all these tilt-a-whirl emotions that open me up raw, and so, for the sake of simplicity, I label it love.

We sit in the poetry section of Barnes & Noble until it closes.

We look at the date again and realize we have, in fact, another day together. We laugh but are thrilled. It feels like a gift from our own disregard of reality. We go to bed but don’t sleep, only rest and cuddle and whisper secrets and ask questions with the silly excitement of a slumber party. It’s that giddiness of being in bed with your favorite person who likes the same things as you do and likes fucking you too.

We get out of bed an hour after the sun rises. She has a spectacular view but complains high-rises shorten the day’s amount of sunlight for her. The TV plays the news, footage being show on her street, protests. We watch Al-Jazeera and eat leftover pancakes.

We spend hours getting dressed. Really we are playing dress-up under the guise of eventually leaving the house. We pick at the same bowl of cereal. My mouth tastes horrible and dehydrated from the Dexedrine. I brush my teeth once every hour. Every time I mention an effect of the pills, she nods, familiar with the dry mouth or the pill not kicking in until later. Witness me folding all of her clothes in color-matching piles six hours since I had any pills at all, like a latent 50’s Benzedrine-fueled domestic goddess.

We fuck again that night, again in pajamas. She fingers me with a Klonopin pill. It dissolves as she pulsates with her fingers. I come, feeling like a little balloon inside me just deflated. There’s a warm wet spot on the bed. “It’s like a strawberry,” she says. She plays with my nipples until I am insane. I lick her pussy and fuck her and then we watch Thumbsucker. We spend the night in bed, watching movies, resting, fucking, always somehow entangled.

We’re on the N train. “I feel like I’m going to faint,” she says. I know she has done it before and she has not eaten at all today. I feel woozy, vision all neon-pixelated and fuzzy, but have been too disconnected from such routine essentials as food to figure out why. I give her a cereal bar from my purse. Her hands stop shaking. We go to her apartment and order overpriced health food she is grumpy about spending money on. I enjoy the quinoa. Eating rarely, it only makes sense to choose carefully.

I give her a back massage on the floor but her ribs rub into the tile. We watch porn, lipstick lesbian blondes. She’s turned on by it, I’m not, flinching at the fake nails.

It’s time for me to leave. I grab my things scattered around her room, now a mess in all the energy it was cleaned up in.

We read the dictionary to calm down. So many hugs. We separate eventually, me in the airport dressed in her sister’s shirt that says Warning! I’m Out of Control, and in matching necklaces she bought for both of us in Union Square. We passionately kiss right before I get to the security checkpoint. The guard gives us a dirty look. We are above all else, our pedestal being our insane passion. No one understands. Especially not us.

The plane ride is excruciating. I am still so high. My stomach feels like it’s being crushed by eight legs of a giant spider. I eat some Sunchips and feel different, somewhat better. I realize it’s my posture that’s causing me so much pain, all hunched over and squishing myself.

I have a permanent scar on my leg from when we walked into the apartment late at night and her Chihuahua named Kahlua bit me.

We send each other elaborate emails, seriously beautiful bodies of text. We fight until we are raw. We love again. We make up. We miss each other and then realize why we will never work. Repeat. Repeat. Glamorize the past, but then get sick of each other just as fast. One phone call can encompass an amiable re-hashing of times spent together, and then insults will spring from the old wounds seared open.

Our legs race up broken escalators, our skin awash in glowing neon.