You’ll stumble over the pronunciation of her name. When you ask your friend Aida, who is Puerto Rican, how to say it, she’ll tell you that she doesn’t know and that all Dominicans have fucked up names. Kate Scarpetta
Her accent will make you melt like passionfruit sorbet; you’ll call it “cute,” and her eyes will narrow—she’ll hate that you used that word.
She’ll drink Mezcal—if they have it – tequila if they don’t. You won’t mention stereotypes.
Outside the bar, it will be raining. You won’t have an umbrella. She will smile at you and say “pobrecita.” When you ask, she’ll explain it means “poor thing.” She’ll pull you under hers—she always has one to protect her hair—and she will kiss you so hard that you’ll nearly fall over. You’ll take her home.
Her breasts will be perfect. Your friend, Alexis, who is also dating a Dominican, assured you they would be.
Her ass will be perfect too.
She might be the sexiest person you’ve ever slept with. (She definitely is).
You will always wake up before her.
She will always roll over, grab your arm and hold it to her chest. You’ll be wide awake, but you won’t move. You’ll be as still as you can be, as you smell her hair and kiss her neck.
She will always be cold. You will always be hot.
When she comments on how quickly you sweat, you will feel like a failure—even though it’s July in Manhattan and the windows are closed in the bedroom and she has you under the covers trapped with devoted hope.
You’ll do things wrong in bed, because sex is still awkward for you without drinking.
You’ll lie about why you don’t drink.
You’ll tell her half the reason when she notices the pills on your nightstand.
She’ll claim that your “condition,” that’s what she’ll call it, doesn’t scare her. You know it does by the way her hand falls out of yours on 24th Street.
She will cook for you and you will cook for her. You will fall deeper in love.
She will dump you on the train back from Tarrytown. She will say that she debated going on the trip. You will pretend that you’re not hurt—that this rejection doesn’t just feel like one, but all of the past ones combined. There’s a villian somewhere causing this pain. You just can’t see him.
You’ll get numb and then you’ll get very, very angry.
When you go for a run, you’ll cry. It is really hard to keep running, because you basically can’t breathe, but you’ll do it. Fuck her.
She’ll text you sometimes. Never enough though.
You’ll read Junot Diaz’s “The Cheater’s Guide to Love” over and over again. You’ll wish you wrote it. You could have written it.
You’ll set the filter on OkCupid’s ethnicity tab to “Latin/Hispanic” and only respond to girls who list Spanish as a language. You’ll skim their profile looking for grammatical errors, because this might mean they have an accent. You’ll never admit this to anyone.
You’ll download Duolingo, because you think that reading Neruda in Spanish will cure something that she broke inside of you.
You’ll uninstall Duolingo, because you’ll run out of data.
You’ll go out and you’ll see her at Cubbyhole. Your hair will be done and you’ll talk and dance and she’ll kiss you and it will taste like fresh rain on your tongue.
You’ll ask her to come home with you, but she’ll decline. You’ll go numb again. You’ll wonder what the fuck her deal is anyway, but you won’t say this. Instead, you’ll continue to be too nice. That’s what ruins you. That’s what gets in the way of all the “good” you want.
She’ll text you the next day and you won’t respond. You won’t look at your phone. For an hour—at least—you won’t respond.
You’ll take a nap and wake up and because she’s not there and you want her to be you’ll call. You’ll call and she’ll answer.
Kate Scarpetta grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania and spent her youth playing sports and climbing trees. She attended Princeton University where she studied under Joyce Carol Oates and Edmund White. Her work has been featured in the Brooklyn Review, SpltiLip, Word Riot, BULL and 14 Hills amongst others. @kate_scarpetta, katescarpetta.com