The Seducer’s Diary
Lorenzo looked over his shoulder and asked if anyone was watching. Nena furled her brow at a menu card, announcing that “wet bottom” pie wasn’t a thing. In a booth near the corner of the diner a heavyset man in suspenders sat, motionless, staring at us. “No one is watching,” I said. Lorenzo rolled a joint and stowed it under the brim of his bill cap. The waitress returned, delivering a large, chocolatey wedge and three plastic forks. She stood at the edge of the table, pawing at her apron. “That will be all,” Nena said, rubbing her hands together. We ate in silence and I stepped outside for a cigarette.
Across the parking lot I saw a police officer bent at the waist, peering into the backseat of Lorenzo’s car. I started to traverse the lot, thinking about what he might be looking at. For the entirety of our trip the backseat was my domain; Lorenzo insisted on driving and Nena rode shotgun, naturally. I wondered if the cop could see the roaches in the ashtray, or the baggie of Adderall under the emergency brake. I wondered if, from outside the vehicle, he could smell the half-o of marijuana in the glove compartment, or if he would look inside the trunk and demand that we open Lorenzo’s aluminum suitcase, about which I was not allowed to ask questions.
I realized the cop didn’t worry me. I believed that I was going to make it to New York, even if I got thrown in jail for a night. It would only be a minor delay on the way to Larson, the boy I could not stop thinking about. I knew I wasn’t infatuated with him because we only ever had sex the night we met. We spent the next five months doing everything else that people who have sex do. By that point, I’d been turning tricks for six years and had since forgotten how to have sex when it wasn’t an exchange for money, shelter, or drugs. I dropped out of my writing program for him because I wanted to have more time to dote, to lay in overgrown fields reading poetry and eating crackers. Loving him was easier than acknowledging the fact that I was jobless, penniless, and unstably housed. So when he took a gig teaching English on a remote island, I panicked. It was going to start three weeks after he moved back to New York. I asked him to stay in the States, and he told me to just come visit him in New York. “You can stay with me,” he said, “and we’ll just have a few weeks to ourselves before it’s all over.”