Julie-Anne Reyes, from Nolita, by Nina Ki

Julie-Anne Reyes. Fourteen. Filipinx.

JULIE-ANNE. I first met her in the line for the bathroom, at a party. Isn’t that weird? I tend to meet a lot of people in the bathroom line, though. I always talk to them and stuff– I mean, you’re waiting around together, right…?? Just something to kill time. Nolita always said that was weird, but I thought it was fun. …That was her name. Nolita.

(pause)

It was one of those things that were so charming about her. Nolita wasn’t her real name, in case you were wondering. She didn’t really tell anybody her “birth” name, not even me. She chose Nolita after that book about the nymphomaniac and the child molester, who wrote that again? Vlad– Vladimoor– I don’t know. Some Russian guy. Anyway, she put “no” in there just to change it up. She liked that kind of thing. Changing it up. It was one of the things I admired most about her. She did it to me too, you know– she changed me up. I mean, I’m there one second, you know, completely into guys (I think), and then the next– I don’t know. I’m having dates and stuff. Like ice cream. Getting ice cream, I mean, Nolita liked this one place called Moo’s.

(pause)

Moo’s Ice Cream. Funny name. But Nolita liked it. Ice cream wasn’t even that good, and there weren’t that many flavors– only Strawberry, Vanilla, and Chocolate. But she liked that the old lady who ran it was a “halfie,” I mean, she said half Chinese half white, like her, and mostly she liked the name. She just– I don’t know. She liked it. And she made me like it, too. She changed me.

(pause)

If I could compare the whole experience– the whole experience of being around her, I mean, I would liken it to a natural disaster. She was a natural disaster. Like a hurricane, or a tsunami. Or, no, an earthquake. Yeah. An earthquake. She made the ground shake under me, made everything collapse and fall down so I have to build everything back up. But she was my natural disaster… or she used to be.

(pause)

She kissed me first, you know. For the record. Right outside of Moo’s, one day. Fucking rocked my world. I don’t even think she was gay before that. She just wanted to do it, so she did. She was that kind of person, you know. Nolita. I loved it, loved her, you know, but sometimes it drove me crazy. Really crazy, like she made me feel so– shook up inside. You know? …She broke up with me yesterday. Just said, I’m sorry, Honeybun. She called me that. Honeybun, like the pastry thing. Now every time I walk by a bakery I want to cry. But she said, it’s not working out anymore and she’s got to go do her thing. Just like that. One day it’s working, the next day it’s not. Fucking changing it up.

(pause)

I’m sad, ateh. I’m really sad. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do. It’s the first time I ever really loved someone, you know? And a girl? Does that like– mean I’m gay? Even if Nolita’s not around, anymore? What the hell does that even mean? Do I go look for boys or girls, now? Both? Neither? But I shouldn’t even say that. The only person I want, is her. I mean, really. That’s all I really want, to go hold her hand and maybe kiss sometimes, or even go to that stupid place. Moo’s. What a stupid name. What do you do, ateh? What do you do after that, when they’re gone? After they change you up, and go? Do you know? Can you tell me?

More information: ms.ninaki (at) gmail (dot) com

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