I sat in her TV room. I call her Bubba, but her name is Tala. It means “little palm tree” in Arabic. We were both still getting used to the fact that she has a TV room. It is something I associate with adulthood. It was five in morning, still dark outside. She was in her leggings, a sports bra and a tank top. I wore my leggings.
I had bought them from Old Navy for the job I had accepted and then turned down. I drove up to Bend Oregon where I would begin this job. I braved the Mt Hood pass as it snowed and I prayed. Once I got through the pass I called my sister and cried at her with snot sliding down my upper lip. I called the company and told them I would not be attending the orientation the next day. The man I spoke to asked me what was wrong. I told him the job simply wasn’t right for me. Tears eased out of my eyes again. I told him that I would be crying soon if I did not hang up. He wished me luck and hung up the phone. I checked into my Motel 6 room. I ate a yellow curry noodle dish from the local Thai restaurant and watched New Girl in between cheap sheets for the rest of the night. Tears continued to ooze, but there was no more sobbing
My leggings were black and white and looked more athletic than I was. I sat on the couch and Tala did the work out I was supposed to be doing too. My eyes were puffy. She did squats as I told her about the man in Los Angeles who I had been spending most of my nights with less than a week ago. Portland had dragged me away from him with its familiar friendships and evergreen trees.
The night before my phone had lit up with the words “Vh calling.” Vh’s real name is Aaron and he is the man from Los Angeles. Our first “morning after”, I woke up early. I rushed in getting dressed. My head still spun. He woke up as I was standing at the foot of his bed with one arm in my blouse.
“You leaving?” he said squinting in my direction.
“Take my number down. “
And I did saving it under the first two letters my fingers touched.
The first text I sent him was
“Do you have any STDs?”
“Haha, nope.” He responded.
“Are you lying?” I asked
“Why would I lie about that?”
The next night he invited me over and we went on our first date, drinking beers in his kitchen of the house that he owns. We asked questions like
“Do you have any siblings?”
“What would your last meal be?”
And then he invited me out with his friends and they approved. Then we were something more than we were before that.
The thing I miss most about him is his comfort. Not just the comfort of being around somebody I know, but the comfort of being so certain that he wanted me. He sought companionship.
On the phone, the night before sitting in the TV room, we talked about ending our Portland, Los Angeles affair. I no longer had plans of coming back. He asked me why I didn’t want to be with him. I told him it had nothing to do with being or not being with him.
“Edge of Glory” played on the TV as Tala did crunches and I stared and thought. Rain was breaking the silence of dawn outside. Lady Gaga sang and I felt a subtle pang of relief of being with her in a rainy city that did not have any expectations.