So I was part of a great reading series show last night called Inner Monologues at Mo Pitkins. Sometimes it's just nice to perform on a non-stand-up show, ya dig? Thought I'd post my piece here in case anyone wants to take a gander...
The subway is my pickup spot. Now don’t get the wrong idea; I don’t go trolling around down there exchanging blowjobs for crack (seriously, when you have a dayjob, who has that kind of time?). And I’m not one of those people that goes “Excuse me, ladies and gentleman. I am here selling candy for my high school basketball team.” (Although, that’s really only because I’m too short to play well.)
But I have struck up friendships through waiting for the train. And I met a former boyfriend on the subway. He asked me for directions and we got to talking. And then he followed me home. What can I say? It was love at first stalk.
But what I find most interesting is that I always run into people from my past on the subway. Like it’s my very own little tunnel of horrors. And since it’s a confined area, if someone wants to “catch up” there’s not much you can do to stop them.
It was a Friday night and it had been one hell of a long week. All I wanted to do was go home, cry a little (you know, to get the angst out), and get ready to throw back a trough of alcohol with some friends. As I stood on the platform I heard someone yell my name. My whole name. I mean really, what are the chances of two “Emily Lauren Epstein’s” waiting for the same train? So I turn, and I see a tall lanky fellow rushing toward me, rolling a suitcase behind him.
“Oh, man! I can’t believe it’s you! I haven’t seen you since we were like 13.”
And I knew he looked familiar. But I just couldn’t place him.
“Remember me? Matt? Matt Hacking? We went to camp together.” And as the last words rolled out, the little rolodex in my mind found the right card.
“Wow. It’s been a while. How’s life?”
And we caught up on the last 13 years. Apparently he had grown up, went to college, was living in Florida but was looking at law schools in New York, thus the suitcase. I filled him in on my end. We took roughly a minute for each year. Then we ran out of things to say, because after 13 years, you’re pretty much strangers. That’s when he pulled out the awkward trump card of the year.
“God, I just can’t believe you’re here. I mean, you were my first kiss! I was yours, too, right?”
For the second time in my life, I was speechless. Whore that I am, I couldn’t remember if he was my first kiss. (Incidentally, the first time I was speechless was when I found out that my mother had been married before my father. They got divorced because the man was gay. She didn’t feel the need to share this with me until I was 16, but that is a whole other strange encounter.)
Anyway, I started thinking back to my first kiss. I was thirteen and I was definitely at camp. I’ve always loved to talk the talk, but was never much of a walker, which was probably why I was quite stout at that age. And so of course, I told my boyfriend at the time that I was a sexual buffet on legs. That’s right people, I said I’d gotten to third base. Twice.
And yet, I’d been dating this guy for like two weeks, which is roughly 20 years in camp time, and we’d done nothing more then snuggle. I guess he was shy, and I was shy, so he decided to make things happen: It was time to trade some spit. So he did what any teenage boy would do. He challenged me to a game of Truth or Dare. Except it was just the two of us.
“Truth or dare?” he said, smiling mischievously.
“Dare?” I said tentatively, trying really hard not to make some inappropriate comment.
“Okay. I dare you to french me.”
“Okay.” Titter. Titter.
I lean in for the kiss and I realize I have no idea what I’m doing. As I feel his breath on me I stop.
“Hold on. You know how I said I got to third base? Well, I actually only got to second.”
“Okay,” he said, as he leaned in for the second time. He lifted his hand to brush my hair out of my face and again I intervened.
“Actually, I’ve only gotten to first.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, looking more determined as he leaned in for the third time.
“So, here’s the thing,” I mumbled. “I haven’t gotten to first base. I actually have no idea what I’m doing. I’m so scared.” And I curled up into a little ball.
Which is when he said compassionately, “so are we going to do this thing or not?”
And I nodded, cause it was time. Time to kiss a boy and get all angsty over it. And somewhere in the middle of that long, saliva-y kiss, I realized he probably hadn’t ever kissed anyone either, because he not only shined my tonsils with that tongue, I think he also cleaned my kidneys.
And it was after that little flashback that I realized, that was a long time ago. And that boy definitely wasn’t Matt Hacking.
I looked up at Matt. He just looked so damn expectant. And I figured, what’s a little white lie amongst camp friends?
“Yup,” I said. “That kiss was sure something. You have a very long tongue. And from what I remember, you were such an animal it felt like you turned into a totally different guy.”
He beamed from ear to ear. Just call me the sexual libido fairy.
And thankfully, that’s when the train came. And that’s why I now stick to the bus. After all, it’s always good to have an escape hatch of the above ground variety.