Notes from the Year of Eros
Laura Jean Moore

I am surprised to learn that he has moved out of the city. It never seemed like him, to be a man who did things like hook a worm or replace a garbage disposal. Cara called him an “urbansexual” which distinguishes itself from “metrosexual” by involving more baseball caps and fewer hours logged at the gym. He was not comfortable in spaces with too many trees. I always found him most attractive in low light, at a bar filled with stock brokers (for comparison), and a bit of Stella on his breath.

Drew: You are exactly the same as you were in high school.

Me: I have an ex-husband now. That seems significant.

Drew: It might have been.

(At this moment I hate him.)

On Saturday morning I get up and toast a cinnamon raisin bagel, the kind of bagel that comes from the bread aisle and needs toasting, and I spread cream cheese on it before it has cooled so that the cream cheese melts and makes a mess.

I like messes in my mouth.

Afterwards I take a walk and I am proud that I do not smoke, even though it is cold outside and smoking seems like one of the vices people use to stay warm. The others being liquor and sex.

I run into no one I know. Crossing Broadway I do not watch where I am walking (I am watching a black woman pushing a stroller filled with a screaming white baby) and I trip on the opposite curb. Maybe I should be embarrassed, but there is no one who cares (they are all tripping too), so why should I?

I see a picture of Cindy Sherman with plastic breasts and a baby Jesus and I wonder if my breasts will feel like plastic after I have a baby and nurse him or her (it?).

Cara meets me after work at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. I love ordering gin and tonics and fried calamari and pretending like I am a woman of a certain station, even though a woman of a certain station would never order fried calamari.

She is wearing a diaphonous copy of a DVF and she makes skinnier women look like men. Sometimes I wish I could kiss her when she is talking, like when she says the word “through” but I have never told her this. It is good to have friends who don’t know you want them.

“I am tired of going to auditions,” she says to me when she arrives. “Done. Through.”

Michael catches me in the kitchen when everyone else is in the living room watching a movie. I have the refrigerator door open and he comes up behind me and grabs my breasts in his hands as though he is holding two communion cups in front of the altar.

I turn and we meet with tongue on tongue and then lips and we try to be quiet while he tugs at my clothes. We pull away, catching our breath, and I remember that there is a block of manchego in my right hand, a truth I am grateful for when Lindy appears in the doorway and says with cheer: “More popcorn!”

“I’ve got the cheese!” I say, and Michael turns and opens the cabinet door. The unpopped popcorn is on the shelf.

I popped my cherry with a souvenir tiny-sized Louisville Slugger when I was 14.

It was lacquered and I only bled a little.

He emails me three lines from his new place in Jersey:

“I never got to tell you that it isn’t healthy how you want to be worshipped. I can’t do that to anyone. I miss you.”

He told me five times, actually, but I don’t blame him. He never remembered the ways that he hurt me.

Drew: Sweet tarts.

Me: No one’s pussy tastes like candy.

Drew: I never tasted no one.

Me: Liar.

My first kiss happened in the woods near my boyfriend’s house. I was 13 and he was 14. It was spring and a storm was coming. The birds were quiet. The trees rustled. He leaned down and kissed me, then pulled me to him.

“Well, that sucked,” he said.

In February, James texted me at 3AM, Whatcha up to?

I replied, I am in bed.

Then I waited, and I said, Come over.

He said, 10-4.

Naked he looked like an albino seal. I wanted it doggie style so I wouldn’t have to remember that he wasn’t my husband. He’s an ass man anyway, so it worked out.

The oldest man I ever slept with was 22 years older than me.

I slept with an almost-man who was 9 years younger than me in the same month.

They each had various qualities to recommend them.

I imagine he is having a bad week and blaming his new girlfriend for not understanding enough. I do not miss being responsible for his bad weeks, even though I do miss being credited for fixing them.

Cara is mad because she just got a new version of her script for her Monday sitcom audition only 24 hours ahead of time.

“Who do I have to blow to get ahead?” she asks.

“I don’t think it’s that easy,” I say.

“You’re so literal,” she says.

She is probably right.

Most days I wake up and wish I was Beyoncé.

My mother once walked in on my husband and me having sex and then she closed the door and laughed.

“Breakfast is ready!” she said.

I was on top.

He emails me again at Christmas. He says the view of the city is beautiful from Jersey, but he’d rather be seeing me. I never respond.

Not responding is a kind of resolution, the way that not making a decision can still choose a path.

Laura Jean Moore has written for Publisher’s Weekly and the Brooklyn Rail, and her work has been featured on KBOO Portland and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Reed College. She is suspicious of most things.

Photo by Keith Moul