Here’s How You Do It

Here’s How You Do It

San Francisco. Spend an hour repeating the unfamiliar streets in a Nile green party dress, cradling an unripe pineapple. Get lost en route to someone’s party in Twin Peaks. The pineapple will mark your bare arms with red welts. Breathe quick and shallow in your fervor. What if your ex isn’t there? What if he is? He has to be there.

No one would tell you anything. His muscled arms, his newspaper and green onion scent is like catnip to a girl like you. Your cells will swell with desire. Debasement. Desire.

Your breakups will be mundane; the reunions, spectacular. Like after that fast boat home from the film shoot on Forbes Island, out near the Golden Gate Bridge. Back in your apartment, give a tinkling laugh when your ex topples furniture in his ardor. Pay attention the next morning, in the sun’s buttery light. Imprint it in your brain when he begs you to stay in that light. The memory will sustain you when he doesn’t call.

Los Angeles. Pack for the move to graduate school. Your housemates will have left with all the furniture. It is the last night. The night you should be studying for your very last final of college for the hardest class you ever took. Call your ex at his job to say you are leaving. Fall into the rush of silence that is like a seashell’s tiny roar.

Perch in the corner of the living room floor in the middle of the night, senses straining for the sound of his motorcycle in the drive. The next day, after the test, come home to see the sash of your robe in the shape of a heart on the living room floor. Your rings will be missing, but your kissed-raw mouth, your mild delirium will be worth it.

Salt Lake City. Another year gone, in which you have met and won a good man. Dress for your date with your ex in your flouncy white skirt and your cowboy boots. No underpants. The next morning you are due to meet your fiancé’s family.

At the Spanish bar, remove your shawl. Slower. Watch your ex’s pupils dilate. Inhale green onion and newspaper as he dives for you, helpless so long as you’re the one who’s leaving.

Afterward, kiss him on the motorcycle helmet, to make him laugh. Watch him ride away. Scream his name as you stand in the street.

The next day, feel your ex’s name in your mouth as you kiss your good man in the mild orange afternoon.

Patricia Quintana Bidar is a native Californian with roots in New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. She is a former fiction reader for Northwest Review, and alum of the UC Davis graduate writing program. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Wigleaf, The Citron Review, Jellyfish Review, Barren Literary Magazine, Blue Five Notebook, fomercactus, Flash Flood Journal, Train Literary Magazine, Riggwelter Press, and Soft Cartel. In addition to writing fiction, Patricia serves as a writer for progressive international, national, and regional nonprofit organizations.

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