Alejandro Zambra and I are going to make babies out of our words.
The babies will have bonsai trees for heads, and prosthetic arms.
They will be shorter than average.
People won't hang out with them until they hit puberty, when they will become popular and well-read.
Alejandro and I will share custody. I will have the kids during the mornings, Alejandro will take them at night.
They will grow up and mature as we grow up and mature.
At the same time they are maturing they are also growing younger, smoother, and more vibrant.
Do style my hair into a moose. Do style it into any animal of your choosing. Do touch my hair anytime, do take it in your hands. Tie my hair into your noose. Climb up it. Rapunzel the shit out of it. Do style my hair into a symbol. Do braid it into your personal exclamation point. Curl it out. Flip it. Flip out on it. Take my hair into your hands. Style it into a stethoscope. Put it up to your chest and breathe.
Don't let my hair get flat or limp. You can make sure this doesn't happen by keeping your knuckles close to my skull, by lifting at the roots. You can make sure this doesn't happen by keeping your fingertips rubbing at the base of my hair and staying close enough to smell the grease.
The neurologist is French. The women who work in his office are French. His hair is French, his politics are French, and the electric shocks he sends through people's nerves are very, very French. Everything is French it seems, save the girl, who sits on the doctor's cot uncomfortably, a wounded and embarrassed American, wearing a saltine-colored gown and worrying about what is beneath it.
Someone has painted the French office like a Florida seashell: pale pinks and lazy lilacs. Yellowed air conditioning units and sinks with no water in them. The blinds are the kind from old people's houses or offices, long slats that salute and then march forward like an army of shade, keeping the light from the East River out of the girl's eyes. The girl lays there and lets the neurologist insert long needles into her flesh. She watches small moments of blood happen on her arms and legs.
You are braver than most, says the neurologist, basking in his Frenchness, relying on it as a way to make her feel good. For a moment, it does. She wipes her face. She tells him Thank you. She tells him Thank you for telling me I am braver than most. She tells him Thank you for being the first person who has been below my skin in a long, long time.
JUNE 10: Jessica
Levi says if I love God I will learn to love myself.
I already love myself, like, a lot, I say, or sometimes anyway, and he says, If you’re truly able to love yourself then you love God as well.
Levi, I say, what do I have to do with God?
He’s busy fingering the rosary he brought back from his most recent pilgrimage to Africa, it radiates whiffs of street fried patchouli, the silky red tassles sweep against the back of his hand and he hums.
Do you still have the rosary I brought you? he asks. That was a very special one, given to me by a sick monk in Swaziland.
Of course, I say, its hanging near my mirror at home, I see it every time I pluck my eyebrows. And I think of you.
Aw, he says. You should think of God. Think of God and I loving you together.
Do you love me? I ask, Cause I remember when I used to love you, you couldn’t stop talking about that Catholic girl in your seminary class who always wore a nun’s habit. Virginia or something. Was she even a nun?
Victoria, he says, her name was Victoria. And, no, she wasn’t a nun, she just utilized all paths to seek guidance from the Lord. But I’ve always loved you. I just needed time to recover from my sordid past. I was seeking reform in the form of Victoria.
It might be too late to love me now, I say. You might have missed your chance.
He fingers his rosary. There is always the path of forgiveness, he says reproachfully, and besides, we’d have some damn hot kids darling.
And he smacks me on the ass.