I Don't Tell Her

I lie in bed with a girl who pulls out the t's in words like "buttons"or "mittens", pushing out a hard pause between the vowels. She doesn't understand why I keep referring to L.A. as part of the "mainland" and teases how I enunciate each letter with equal weight. We spend the morning laughing at each other.

She thinks the dirty rainbow stamped license plate leaning against authors like Hemingway, Salinger, Perrotta, Yamanaka, is a novelty item on my bookshelf. I don't tell her it is one of the last items of my past, the one the California DMV forced me to unbolt from my car while they initialed my registration papers.

At the end of our lazy Sunday, she paces my living room with her heels on, searching for parts of me I didn't reveal the day before. She doesn't notice the pile of shoes near the doorway and I don't tell her how my Grandma kept empty shoeboxes on her patio to keep our shoes "supa clean" whenever my sister and I went over to visit.

She says she prefers the sunset in Malibu, but only knows the steep ridges of Diamond Head from postcards and the movie Blue Crush. I don't tell her about my favorite beaches, the ones my friends affectionately named after our adventures together, like Honu beach, where my best friend swears she saw a turtle and everyone else told her driftwood looks that way after a few drinks.

She spreads the blinds at my front window and comments on the busy street down below. She says she loves L.A. and how it makes her feel like she's in a movie. When she sees the Hollywood sign from the freeway, she feels that she has finally arrived somewhere. I don't tell her how I search the cars on the 405 for familiar decals. Cut-out turtles swimming across a tinted darkness, a chain of shapes I will always recognize as home.

Talk story

  1. appleblossum says:

    I really enjoyed this. The perfect amount of nostalgia without the melodrama. And driftwood kinda does look "that way" after a few drinks. 🙂

    My favorite tho, was the first paragraph, the first sentence… wonderful character details. Los Angeles is a special place too. If I could have apartments in multiple cities, L.A. would be one.

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