Discover more from Love Letter Day X
The elusive fried peanut, e-bikes and daisies
I could tell from looking at pictures of sushi on the restaurant’s google maps listing that it was not going to be authentic. Peanuts. There were crushed peanuts inside an inside-out roll filled with canned fish. I am cruising local listings in downtown New York through my phone like a debauched tourist who doesn’t get enough in the labor port she calls home these days. I’m going to treat myself to something exotic. Something I can’t easily get in Philly. But that wasn’t it. Not peanuts in a sushi roll.
The Citibike program’s new laptop grey e-bikes are a revelation. I ride from the Knockdown Center in Flushing all the way to Seward Park and feel my body light up like I’m being touched by the graphite in your adolescent diary. You see now? I am the one you’ve been writing about. This body. This body speeding through a city tense with ambition and lust. The color of the bike reminds me of when the ubiquitous whiteness of iPods signaled times—the future was now. It felt so sexy then. I wonder if I had any inkling this color would eventually signify a past.
I walk past Zuccotti Park. The name is all grey. I have to pee and it is almost midnight but I stop to watch a homeless man on the plaza, carousing a trash can with a dance that resembles tango. There are trash cans again. I remember when we were told those were dangerous and one day they disappeared. I was just reading a speculative fiction about the Occupy movement not realizing that there, I would be there. There I am.
I take another e-bike to Greenwich Village even though no one calls it that anymore. I walk past the boutique of a highly regarded fashion designer whose husband is a photographer. I remember around fifteen years ago, the husband-photographer had an affair with a much younger photographer. The young lover was inflamed when he tried to end their relationship, and blackmailed him to continue seeing her. She blackmailed him with…damning pictures. She said she would send polaroids to his wife if he didn’t see her again. I’d found out about this in the most poetic way—having come across a beautiful photograph, learning its taker was none other than the mistress. The photo I saw was not evidence of the affair but evidence of her talent. The person who showed it to me happened to want to publish her work and said, “isn’t this amazing?” It was. I could only fathom what kind of lover she must have been. God. He must have exploded with terror when she first touched him. I am to understand that the husband confessed to his wife to avoid any more embarrassment. Good for him. His wife is a friggin’ rock star and it surely would have been a mistake for him to end their high profile relationship.
Her store was full of handsome women today and the signature style and patterns she is so well known for did not appear aged by trend lines.
I am at a Peruvian restaurant with a dear friend, Yukari Fujimoto. In her name are two signifiers for violet, and there are fake wisteria flowers hanging from the pergola over the restaurant’s sidewalk dining room. I order a purple corn-infused mocktail and there are corn kernels in much of what we eat. She keeps confusing them for peanuts and then tells me of a snack bar in Kyushu that served Taiwanese-style fried peanuts that she loved, but that one day when she went back to that bar, the peanuts were no longer there and she was suddenly wistful.
“The elusive fried peanut.” I tell her that would be a great name for a manga, because the “that’s a band name” trope would likely be lost on her, a comics scholar. She laughs and says it would be a Garo publication. I take this as a huge compliment like my hypothetical manga was actually published.
Yukari strikes me as queer but I have no idea how to ask someone who won’t even let me ask her age what her sexual orientation is. She asks me what’s happening in my life this week and I explain that I’ve been in NYC for two days “being single” because it’s Mother’s Day and that seems the only fit way to celebrate. She agrees, and says this sounds like the most intelligent gift ever. I’m beaming, having made her proud. “One of my students once remarked that most people gift things like aprons and new appliances to their mothers on mother’s day while fathers are gifted things like whiskey and golf clubs.” I am taken aback like this isn’t also a reality in America. I reiterate my gratitude toward a husband who let’s me do this, but I want to emphasize it is a gift and not a permission.
We head into the subway. I rarely take the 6 train but there we are, debating why comic book sales were skyrocketing, while I thought to myself, “I hope she understood that when I said I was being single for a couple days, I meant alone and not like, fucking around.” But I understood from knowing her that she would not care one jot what I did in my private life.
I am in my hotel room staring at an ice bucket full of small white daisies I bought for just the two nights—I needed my business hotel room to bear a touch of nature’s beauty where paper cups replaced plastic mugs and plastic replaced ceramic. They happen to smell lovely, which helps my feet that are now burning from having danced through all of my best intentions. I need this.
I want to be here so badly I can taste the graphite in your notebook all over me.