You cry every time you hear Monchy y Alexandra, her favorite. Your friends begin to worry about you, and they are not exactly worrying types. K., you tell them, but with each passing week the depression deepens. He was pinned under the burning wreckage for what felt like a week, so he knows a little about pain. You breathe non-stop, like a marathon runner, but it doesn’t help. But (a) you ain’t the killing-yourself type; (b) your boy Elvis is over all the time, stands by the window as if he knows what you’re thinking; and (c) you have this ridiculous hope that maybe one day she will forgive you. It’s like waking up from the worst fever of your life. ), but you can stand near windows without being overcome by strange urges, and that’s a start. You put away all the old pictures of her, say goodbye to her Wonder Woman features.
You cut it out with all the old sucias, even the Iranian girl you’d boned the entire time you were with the fiancée. Takes you a bit, but you finally break clear, and when you do you feel lighter. She’s a big girl with skin like you wouldn’t believe, and, best of all, she doesn’t privar at all; actually seems . You must have needed it bad, because once you get into the swing of it you start running four, five, six times a week. You run in the morning and you run late at night, when there’s no one on the paths next to the Charles. The running is going splendidly, and then six months in you feel a pain in your right foot.
K.: you get numbers, though nothing you would take home to the fam. Her name is Noemi, Dominican from Baní, and you meet at Sofia’s in the last months before it closes. She’s a nurse, and when Elvis complains about his back she starts listing all the shit it might be. You used to run in the old days and you figure you need something to get you out of your head. pushes with his thumb, watches you writhe, and announces that you have plantar fasciitis.
You give her the passwords to all your e-mail accounts. For a while you haunt the city, like a two-bit ballplayer dreaming of a call-up. White people pull up alongside you at traffic lights and scream at you with a hideous rage, like you nearly ran over their mother. Before you can figure out what the hell is going on, they flip you the bird and peel out. Security guards follow you in stores, and every time you step onto Harvard property you’re asked for I. Three times, drunk white dudes in different parts of the city try to pick fights with you. I hope someone drops a fucking bomb on this city, you rant. Why all my black and Latino students leave as soon as they can. He was born and raised in Jamaica Plain, knows that trying to defend Boston from uncool is like blocking a bullet with a slice of bread.
Almost on cue, a lot of racist shit starts happening.
One minute you have to stop yourself from jumping in the car and driving to see her and the next you’re calling a sucia and saying, You’re the one I always wanted. The ex, as you’re now calling her, always cooked: a turkey, a chicken, a pernil. That night, you drink yourself into a stupor, then spend two days recovering. It feels like you’re being slowly pincered apart, atom by atom. Elvis sits shivah with you in the apartment; he pats you on the shoulder, tells you to take it easy.
You keep writing letters to her, waiting for the day that you can hand them to her. Thanksgiving you end up having to spend alone in your apartment because you can’t face your mom and the idea of accepting other people’s charity makes you furious. During finals a depression rolls over you, so profound that you doubt there is a name for it.
(they went to her), your mother won’t speak to you (she liked the fiancée more than she liked you), and you’re feeling terribly guilty and terribly alone.
Kisses you at the door as she leaves; it all feels too chaste to you, too lacking in promise. Two years later, you will run into her in Dudley Square but she will pretend not to recognize you, and you won’t force the issue.
She is immensely sad on that beach and she walks up and down the shining sand alone, her bare feet in the freezing water, and when you try to hug her she says, .
She stares at the rocks jutting out of the water, the wind carrying her hair straight back.
You wait, what, a week for the bad energy to dissipate and then you start dating. Minuses: she’s always working, and she has a four-year-old named Justin. One of those hot moms, and you’re excited for the first time in more than a year. She’s probably had a lot of bad experiences with the hit-and-run types. But it galls you that she gave it up to some thug with no job, no education, no nothing, and now she’s making you jump through hoops of fire. she asks when she next calls, and you almost say yes, but then your idiocy gets the better of you. Where was that guard when she let the banilejo fuck her without a condom? Besides, it only happens when you’re not looking for it. When winter rolls in, a part of you fears that you’ll fold—Boston winters are on some terrorism shit—but you need the activity more than anything, so you keep at it even as the trees are stripped of their foliage and the paths empty out and the frost reaches into your bones. Every time you think about the ex, every time the loneliness rears up in you like a seething, burning continent, you tie on your shoes and hit the paths and that helps; it really does.