(form inspired by the “Sex Diaries” series from The Cut)
1pm I get off work and try to leave, but my car is stuck in the weird ice. I go back inside the restaurant to sit at the bar for a while. Daisy makes me a boulevardier and we chat. She’s wearing black jeans and a plaid shirt, which makes her look like the lesbian version of the boys I crushed on in high school. The whole city is frozen. It’s climate change or just a fluke. I didn’t plan ahead—I should’ve gotten chains for my car. The restaurant is a cavern on Sunday afternoons. The glittery bar looks dusty in the sunlight, but still elegant.
1:18pm I notice my hands have turned a burnt yellow color, like I’ve dipped them in something. I go to the bathroom to wash them—but how had it not come off earlier when I washed my hands a million times? It does not come off even under hot water and soap. I categorize everything that I have touched today. Egg yolks as slick as the inside of a cheek, milk, cream, sticky cookie dough, dry sugar, wet sugar sludge that I stirred carefully with one finger to distribute evenly across the bottom of the pan to ensure a smooth caramel.
1:23pm I show my yellow hands to Daisy. Daisy puts her hands on the bar in front of me like cool bartenders do. I had juiced lemons, peeled oranges. Flour, marsala wine, dried currants. I ask should I go to the doctor? Is it jaundice? Daisy laughs in a way that’s supposed to be comforting, I think. She grabs my hand across the bar and smells the tips of my fingers. Tart, she smirks. Tart like grapefruit, yogurt, sour cream.
5:17am I wake from a dream where I have jumped too far into a depth of water. It takes me so long to rise to the surface that I’m afraid I’ll run out of air. I shouldn’t have jumped when I feel so heavy and tired.
6:02am I start a batch of gelato. I watch my hand stir the slowly thickening mixture of milk, egg yolks, and sugar in a gentle vortex with a silicone spoon. I remember what a man said once—a man I wish I could excise from my mind—that you should only stir gelato in one direction. Every time I remember this, I have an urge to switch directions.
6:49am On my morning coffee break, I stand behind the bar and pull a shot of espresso. Daisy is already here, getting a jump on the day. She stands at the end of the bar, juicing a giant tub of green and yellow and pink balls—citrus fruits.
4pm Even after my shower, I am still coughing flour from all the pie crust I made today. I rolled it out, flopped it into tins, and wrapped it in plastic to sit, raw and empty, in the walk-in. I wrap myself in my long coat and sit on my stoop to get some sunlight before the night comes. I have dinner plans with Cassie, my best friend. I don’t want to see her, but I’ll go anyway and feel better.
11:18pm Lying in bed, I check Tinder. What do I expect to find on this abysmal app? A man I went on a few dates with some time ago has sent me a message. It’s a picture of him, lounging naked on a mattress in dusty sunlight. His penis is short and fat, gleaming pink. How strange that I ever held it in my mouth and in body near my guts. I feel contempt, even though what I really feel for him is nothing.
2pm When work is finally over, I sit at the bar because the lunch rush is ending. Daisy makes me a Negroni. She asks how am I, do I like the drink? She used special kind of vermouth. We talk about abortion bans and rising rents. Dave, a line cook I like ok, sits beside me and asks us if we want to get a drink at the Local Dive (which is the actual name of the bar.) The place we used to go—the Morrison Grill—is disappeared. In its place is a sleek steel building called The Katherine. I feel complicit, I say, and they laugh.
4:28pm The three of us move to the Local Dive, which has gotten very bougie. I order a batch-made Sazerac. We sit in the covered patio around one of the little fires, and Dave smokes a cigarette. He hands it to Daisy, who takes it and sucks on it like it’s giving her life. I am a little drunk, so I think it’s a beautiful gesture.
6:08pm We order fries and they come in a little cone. Daisy orders a burger. Myoglobin and mustard run down her hands as she eats it.
7:34pm We move to The Standard which has darts and pool tables and infused whiskeys. I am very good at pool. I feel Daisy slipping away from me and I am devastated and furious, which is a dangerous combination. They play darts. Daisy goes to pick up the darts that hit the board and fall on the floor. She bends over deliberately and slowly. Dave walks up behind her and laughs in her ear and stares at her ass.
8:05pm I order a whiskey at the bar. A man with a beard says, oh, so you’re a whiskey girl. He’s impressed. They are always impressed. He is very tall and broad and wearing a white knit sweater which looks raggedy in a grungy way, not in a rich-guy way. He has curly red hair that sticks out from under his beanie. I wonder what it would be like to fuck a man that big.
8:45pm Daisy and Dave kiss me on my cheeks before they leave together. The big man buys me another whiskey and grins down at me from his swaying head. Swaying like a big, bracing tree.
9:49pm At first, it’s fun. I show him my bookshelf which is in my bedroom. He stands behind me looking at the books and wraps his huge arms around me. I think you’re really sexy, he says, which is honestly heartening to hear because I’ve been wondering.
10:02pm After he comes inside me, he groans and lays his floppy head on my chest. He holds my hand and I am trapped under his giant, warm, strange body. He falls asleep with his head on my chest and my hand in his. I’m itchy and sticky; my leg is tingling. I let him sleep for a few minutes, while I stew silently, looking up at the gooey white ceiling. Desire is like this—it comes on really strong and leaves as soon as things get tactile. I wonder if I’m a bit depressed again. I wonder how Daisy’s night was. I squirm and thrash until he lifts his head and I say get off I have to take my contacts out.
10:30pm I kick him out and slip under my sheets. I always have sex on top of the blankets so I can press my body into clean, dry sheets, alone to sleep.
11am I meet Cassie at the park for a day-off stomp around. We haven’t done one of those in forever. We smoke a bowl together at the smoking bench (the one tucked into the woods on the north end of the park) and then we walk along the paved paths, enjoying the way the sunlight comes to us broken up by leaves. When Cassie first moved here, I took her to this park after we ate an edible (back when I was still making my own). When we got to the park she stopped, threw her head back and said, look at these treeeeessss, all drawn out and spacey. The trees here go up to the sky.
1:30pm We’ve been lying in the sun, so we move to the woods around the pond to cool off. We sit on the edge of the water and dip our toes in. There’s a mallard in the pond and he stares us down. That duck is being a real creep, says Cassie. I tell Cassie how recently I lost some weight, and now men stare at me everywhere I go. She nods ponderously. Men are so basic, she says.
1:45pm Cassie tells me a secret and it is this: sometimes she pretends that her favorite book characters are watching her life like a TV show. Jane Eyre is scandalized by her sex life but loves to watch her go grocery shopping, because of all the choices. I think this sounds awful. If someone is always watching your show, you have no way to hide.
2:20pm We get tacos for lunch. I haven’t thought about Daisy until just now. Cassie says I’ve got myself flipped—I only make moves on people I don’t care about. I tell her I’ve decided to just let it go. I’m happy being single. Cassie rolls her eyes at me.
6pm After a nap and a shower at my apartment, Cassie goes to buy us popsicles at Fred Meyer. I sit on my stoop with my cake notebook and watch the sun getting lower and more intense. A boy, who looks about ten, zips by me on a weird hovering disc that’s powered by a single, spinning wheel. He loops the block again and again and I’m gripped with nostalgia for summer evenings when I was a kid, even though we never had anything like that.
3pm I wake up from post-work nap—one of those weird, almost lucid, stupor naps I’ve been having recently. The last dream image I remember was myself in a bathtub with stacks of plates that kept breaking. I kept having to fish around in the bathwater for pieces of plates, trying not to cut myself. I wasn’t worried though, I was calm. It was just one of those things. I have a half-thought in the moments between sleeping and waking that I am coming into a greater awareness of my own delicate, tender, devious body.
4:50pm I get a text from a woman named Lana who I’ve been on two dates with. On the first date we got the blankets all wet, even though I was nervous because it had been so long since I’d slept with a woman. After she left, I got into the dry sheets and slept better than I’ve slept in a long time.
6pm I go for a run in the hovering sunlight. I breathe in deep, thunderous breaths of warm air.
7:15pm I walk over to Belmont to meet Lana for a drink and a round of pool. I have my headphones in, but even so a squirrelly looking man calls to me as I walk by. I’ve let my hair grow out and it’s blowing in the breeze and I’m wearing cut-offs and a black tank top, so I look hot. Which is by design, of course, but not for him. He says, I’m just digging your whole look and asks if I want to come inside and smoke a bowl with him. When I say no, he shakes my hand.
7:30pm I make Lana laugh when I tell her that story. I think about another story I told Daisy once, a similar story, because these stories are everywhere. Daisy said, what made him think he was entitled to your time? Lana says, you look pretty pleased with yourself, when she sees me blushing. Does that make me a bad feminist? Was I supposed to be mad? Lana says she likes a woman who is unpredictable.
9:15pm Lana walks me home because I have to work the next day. If someone were watching my life like a TV show, maybe they would see us come inside, hover around the kitchen with water glasses, gravitate together, kiss and kiss and kiss until we are sweating on the slick leather couch in my living room. Wouldn’t that be something to see.
6:15am I make meringue buttercream for the special cake tonight. When I’m making buttercreams, I cannot stop myself from eating it. A meringue is fluffy, slick, glossy white like clouds seen from an airplane. When I was a kid I used to imagine rolling and oozing around in airplane clouds like Greek gods in Disney cartoons. Meringue is like that. I want to cup my hands in it. Bring it to my mouth, roll my tongue into the sweet fluff, let it take up all the space in my mouth. When I add the butter, the fat gives it weight and slipperiness.
7:45am Lana texts me, woke up craving blueberry muffins and thought of you ;) I feel a balloon in my chest. I am going to fuck this up.
5:15pm I take a very long post-nap walk. I let my hair dry as I walk—it’s getting so long it blows behind me like an elegant scarf. In the evening sun the people in the park are doing couples yoga, jogging, watching their dogs run in joyous circles with their tongues out. I like to feel my muscles working as I walk. I feel keyed up and alive. I walk all over the east side until the sun goes down.
9:20pm Lana takes me on another date. We want to roll around in our desire for a while before we go back to my apartment. We order three cocktails each throughout the night to stretch out the yearning. Or is it because I’m afraid of being tactile? We watch the bartender froth egg whites and gin together into a liquid-solid for us. It’s a fancy bar—every so often someone spills a cloud of liquid nitrogen on the floor. The clouds bounce and flounce away like ghosts. Back at my place, the sensuality reaches a breaking point. It’s too warm for the cream-colored duvet, so we pull it off the bed like we’re unveiling a painting. Like egg whites, we fill each other’s mouths. We fill each other up with fingers.
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