Weather better // by Yasi Salek

If this isn’t a movie, then please explain why you are sitting on the plush blue couch in our room at the Hampton Inn in Oxnard of all places quietly playing your guitar and singing “Be My Baby” while I lay face down on the lumpy white comforter on the bed (at least one of the seven Yelp reviews of this Hampton Inn in Oxnard actually mentioned the lumpy comforter) crying silently. I had a teacher in high school who insisted that no good story ever involved more than one single tear, but he has clearly never been to this particular Hampton Inn with you. If this isn’t a movie then why are you always playing that guitar during moments like these, as if our story is in constant need of a soundtrack?

The other night you sat on the floor of your room cross-legged in your underwear playing all the songs you usually play. “I’m going to make you feel bad,” you said, drunk. I loved them all, drunk.

I can’t see you because I refuse to turn my head but I can hear you. Sometimes I can hear you even when you’re not there which would come off beautifully in a film but in real life, in my life, mostly just seems crazy. You know what else seems crazy? That we are in Oxnard, this ribcage of a resort town on the California coast, with its modest beaches and majestic fast food offerings, but even crazier still is the fact that I never want to leave Oxnard, I never want to leave room 114 at the Hampton Inn on Peninsula Road where we ate Del Taco and you taught me how to play chess. We are here for you to detox.

Yesterday we walked around the marina looking at all the boats. I never knew how much you liked boats until then. I knew other things about you, for example, how you got your first guitar at the age of twelve after making one out of mashed potatoes and showing your dad this sculpture at dinner, and that your favorite Kurt Vonnegut book is Player Piano. I love knowing these things and every time you told me something new, like how you once worked at an amusement park but hate roller coasters or how you love Good & Plenty and coleslaw, I tucked it away into my collection like a rare butterfly or the X-Men Masterpiece Series cards I collected as a kid. I still have most of my X-Men Masterpiece Series cards.

I‘m not sure what you do with the things you learn about me. A lot of these things were told to you during your various drunken black outs, like the thing I told about my mother while we walked on that bridge, so I don’t expect that they are filed anywhere. Yesterday at breakfast you offered me some of your pecan pancakes even though I am allergic to nuts and have been the entire time I have known you, but I suppose that is a boring fact, unlike mashed potato shaped guitars, and unworthy of being placed in a butterfly case. This is the end, or the beginning of it anyway, and we both know it. We knew it earlier in the bathtub and even the first night when you were sweating and I took a pill and slept through almost all of The Shining, but we know it the most now, as we cling to each other underneath the lumpy comforter. Later I will buy you a first edition of Player Piano for your birthday and never give it to you. I will keep it for a long time, along with the green beaded bracelet you bought for five dollars from the homeless lady at the marina and most of the things I knew about you. I don’t know what you will keep.

Yasi and her other projects can be found here :

Photo taken by Rick Rodney

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