• Wednesday was stressful. After work, I went to H Mart because I impulse shop when I am upset and I bought snacks and a milk tea latte. I remember crying on the drive home. My only comfort that day was drinking the milk tea in bed. The rest of the week was better.


  • Rachel McKibbens’ “letter from my heart to my brain” is a poem I’ve been thinking about. That poem is everything I have felt over the past two years when I was in an abusive relationship, but I didn’t know it at the time. It was easier to tell myself I deserved it. There are so many harmful thoughts about myself that I’m trying to unlearn.


  • It’s okay to lock yourself in the medicine cabinet, to drink all the wine, to do what it takes to stay without staying.


  • I can’t say it, but one person knows and he didn’t think I was stupid for doing what I did that night. He just told me that all this was going to take time, that I was going to be okay and I believed him. I mean, and I don’t trust anyone these days.


  • My mother’s homemade hot chocolate is one of my favorite things about the holidays. She makes it the Peruvian way and the taste brings me back to my childhood. Which is just a cliche way of saying I feel joy in that moment. Nothing but joy.


  • Show: The Sinner
    Book: Maryse Meijer’s Northwood
    Song: A Perfect Circle – Thomas
    Film: When Animals Dream


  • On my morning walks on the weekends, I am alone. This is important to my sanity. I put my headphones in and notice the colors of the dead leaves beneath my feet, the sunlight on water. I wear the bomber jacket my ex returned to me, the one I spent $500 on as a gift. I don’t call it “his” anymore. It’s mine, which feels good to say. On the back there is a drawing of a skeleton man walking his dog. It keeps me so warm.


  • Money, I guess? I’m earning it now after a five-month lull of unemployment, and every now and then I treat myself to beautiful things. I deserve this, and I don’t have to remind myself of that.


End of Summer

Ever since being let go, this has been the first summer vacation I’ve had since my early years of college. While applying to bigger companies in the NJ/NY area, I let myself enjoy the empty days. I cook, I take walks, I binge on murder mysteries and horror films and I visit my sister often to spend time with her and her kids. Lately, I’ve also started meeting new people.

Anyone who knows me well enough knows this: I am in an exclusive, long-term relationship. He is a little awkward and withdrawn, but so very tender and warm and loving. He is also a certified workaholic, which means we rarely see each other. It means we haven’t been on a date since last March for my birthday.

What this also means is much of our communication happens through text or email. He is an IT manager by day and a studio musician and audio engineer by night. His nights are always booked until the early mornings, somewhere between 3 and 5 am. Weekends he commutes out of state for Sony, sometimes to Philly, Virginia, Boston, Delaware or Long Island. He doesn’t get enough sleep. He runs on packs of menthol cigarettes and hazelnut coffee.

The last time I saw him was in July, a day before I flew out to Peru. I remember us lounging in bed, his hand in mine as he talked about the anticipation of seeing his dad later that month, for the first time in nine years. I remember asking him if anything was wrong because he was so quiet at first, and I glanced up to see his eyes were closed and a smile had spread across his face but he said there was nothing, that he was enjoying the moment of being with me. Maybe I should have stopped trying to count the minutes. I didn’t want to fill the space with too much talk even though there is so much about him I want to know. I grabbed my stuffed moray eel plush and brought its felt-toothed mouth to his cheek to kiss him. I was laughing. He asked if he could have a kiss from me instead.

In the shower, he embraced me and kissed my shoulder and I lathered soapy water into his scalp.

I don’t know how much longer a relationship can sustain itself like this, on so much absence and “wishing you were here.” I don’t know when or if his day job will pay him a livable wage, enough for him to cut his hours at Sony and allow him to devote time to other things. Things like friends, family, self. And me. I don’t know how any of this is going to change.

My own friends are scattered throughout the country. We are lucky if we see each other once every six months. Loneliness used to make me do harmful things when I was younger, but now it makes me sit with and listen to it.

Maybe that is one way I can learn to be gentle with myself these days. I listen for planes, for the cicadas buzzing up the morning. I touch the sleeves of my love’s hoodie that hangs from the canopy of my bed. Sometimes I slip my hands into the pockets. I balance a stray hair on my index finger, a piece from my rabbit who died two weeks after I came home from Japan. And I remember she was here with me, once. And my love was here, too.


Because the president of my company bought me a flight to Japan, I am going to Japan and staying there for two weeks. He is the only person at this company who likes me. Sometimes, on the way to speak to the HR manager, he will smile at me and say, “Good morning, my little chickadee.”

The older white women gather in their offices and talk about me in voices so low, they think I can’t hear them.

On the bright side: My itinerary is done. I’m giving myself enough room to be surprised or to just wander around most days.

Some things to look forward to: a cooking class in Osaka. Going back to my favorite bar in Doyamacho where I sit among salarymen and watch horror movies and listen to heavy metal. Conbini food. Hiking and cherry blossom viewing in Mt. Yoshino. Falling asleep on the shinkansen while listening to Emarosa’s “Heads or Tails? Real or not?” And sunshine. So much of it.