I need to be honest and the only place I can write honestly is a Snapchat message, so I’m writing this to you in the app, and then I’ll copy and paste it over to Gmail. And I have to stop drinking because it’s making my face puffy and I’m not 18 anymore. Can you believe someone born in 1998 is 18? Well, when you’re born in the 80s, like I was, and you started drinking at 15 it’s probably unlikely you will ever stop drinking at all. The best you can do is maybe just have the thought that maybe one day you will stop drinking alcohol. That you can still think it might be possible says some part of you is still in tact, and honestly at this juncture of my life, with all its ruptures, I’ll take every small victory. It’s not like I’m an alcoholic. I’m just honest with myself about my vices because so many of us go to great lengths to conceal our vices, and in doing so commit the most cardinal sin of all, lying to ourselves. It’s midnightish and I was supposed to meet you at your house two hours ago.
Tonight I was walking around sober (although I’m intoxicated now) and it was Halloween and everyone was so drunk and the smell of weed was everywhere and I thought about you and about how you rise above the crowd. I thought about you sober and smiling at some halloween party, so above the drugs and alcohol, so pure, and thinking to yourself not in an unkind way but just in a reasonably critical way this whole partying thing is stupid and all these people in this city are stupid. And it is stupid. The population like pollution takes to the streets and kills their brain with drugs for the sake of fun. What? Why? And everyone in their stupid halloween costumes looks so haggard and heavy with time and cynicism and honestly I thought to myself you’re probably one of the most beautiful people in this whole city right now and I, me, get to be with you. That’s probably hyperbole because we’re in New York City, but I’m scientifically sure that if we lined up 3001 people you would be the most beautiful person in that group. This city is so ugly, and it’s people are so drunk. You’re none of those things.
I don’t mean to support the prohibition, I don’t care, take your drugs. Drink your drinks. Look as stupid as you want. It simply seems sad to me that all these stupid men in this city will never be able to know a girl like you. You’re 1 out of 3001 and the math means a random guy has 1% chance of meeting you if he talks to 30 women tonight. Then, and this is really what amazes me, say against all odds this random guy does have the luck of getting to meet you; what now are his odds that you will entertain the sap? Probably less than 1%. So most of these guys are more likely to get struck by lightning than ever be able to date you, and that makes me one of the luckiest people on the entire planet. What did I do to deserve this? I can’t wait to see you. I’ll be there soon.
I know this isn’t true, but I like to insist it is true because aesthetically speaking the simplicity of the concept is comforting. You’re a case study of it as well. Okay so the idea is exterior beauty coordinates perfectly with inner beauty. The beautiful body makes the beautiful soul. The French have a word for it, piscine, which means the symmetrical arrangement of beautiful interiors and beautiful exteriors in people. Have you noticed how so many beautiful people simply believe in God like they believe in countries on the map they’ve never seen? That’s because the symmetry of their bodies and faces, the fine stitching of their pores, the inner knitting of their bones, is different and divine and pours over into their souls, too. Sure, sure, some people are wretched and hurtful, but think about it—the sharpness of their features resembles a knife and they’re knives. See, we wear our souls on our skin.
You send me a photo of your costume, and ask where I am. I have to take a detour to explain how beautiful your costume is in this selfie you sent. I saw two hipsters dressed as Pokémon smoking cigarettes while making out on a dirty Manhattan street and the guy had dirty facial hair, and his teeth were stained, and he was in a Snorlax costume, and the girl, I think she was dressed as Jigglypuff, did not look so great either, and when I saw this I wanted to die because that this is love to someone, that this is a good night makes me understand why their is an opiate epidemic, why everyone tonight is so fucking wasted, because that’s their simple and dumb life and it will never get better than this for them. There is no hope for economic progress, there is no hope that they will ever look better or younger than they do today, and life now will become watching each other become fat and grey while they watch the Divorce on HBO or Black Mirror on Netflix. Maybe they will be blessed with the privilege of praying their children won’t see the end of the world in their lifetime due to climate change or nuclear holocaust. Buy, hey, I just Googled this, did you know suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US? In 2014, males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides. Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides. Put differently, Mr. Snorlax is more likely to blow his brains out than he is to talk to a girl as great as you.
Oh, compare their lives to ours, compare this to you, to beautiful you. You made this costume yourself. It’s this gorgeous dress, so elegant and only sexually suggestive in that you are wearing it and your hair and eyes and the way you’re shaped is so beautiful that any man or woman would leave their husband or wife for you. They should put this cell phone selfie of you in a museum and call it the “Helen of New York.” I don’t even know what your costume references, but you say it’s some character from some weird fairytale your mom read to you as a kid, and I swoon in how you can make obscurity fun, that you speak a language other than the pop culture circuits of Pokémon and stupid books. I know you never think about it, I know it never even really occurs to you, but people would pay just to shake your hand. Your beauty is like when those religious people reach out to touch the pope and be healed, it’s otherworldly and if we get married and watch TV together the characters in the show will feel your presence and stop acting and crawl out of the screen and try to kiss you, and I’ll fight them away, keeping you safe. Me, this ingenuous gentleman. That will be our life and it’ll be exciting because I’ll protect you.
I’m confusingly sitting on a bench outside a pizza joint. This guy dressed as a dollar bill is looking over at my cell phone and asks me with a slur, Who is that? He’s with a girl dressed as Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat, and another guy dressed as Bruce Willis circa 1999 or maybe he’s a character from the Looney Tunes cartoon, which looks stupid, and I tell him that’s my girlfriend. And I can tell the next question he is about to ask is why am I here by myself on this bench instead of with her, and I preempted the question with the answer: I’m heading over to the party after I finish this slice of pizza. I’m wearing a button-up shirt from J-Crew, a yankees hat, and dark jeans, and so the dollar bill asks me: Where is your costume? For some reason the question shocks me in the sheer factness of the facts that (1) it is Halloween and (2) that I seem to have forgotten it was Halloween. The dollar and his stupid friends start smoking cigarettes, and I’m so shocked, shocked again that so many people still smoke today and I mutter nothing under my breath as I walk away from the smoke, and don’t finish my pizza, opting to find a sushi restaurant before I head over to you.
As I’m searching for sushi, I send a selfie of myself in my costume to you which is me in my regular clothes, with that monstrous and bloody snapchat filter of a skeleton over my face. The caption reads: I’m being myself without my mask on, spooky! Which is on the surface a humorous and clever thing to say, but also incredibly sad because when I did it I thought it was actually a serious statement. My real face is an evil-looking Snapchat filter. Unfortunate me; yet as you type “lol” the humor of it overwhelms me, too, and I cackle out loud to myself into the tropical Halloween night. I’m a comedian. There are no sushi restaurants open.
Alcohol is a destructive force on youth because alcohol, let’s be honest, has a lot of calories. Tequila, rum, and vodka have the least amount of calories and if you want to stay thin as you get older it is well-advised that you drink clear liquids like tequila, rum, and even vodka whose calorie count as a beverage is almost zilch, all the calories you get from those beverages are the calories of the alcohol itself. Despite this pro-tip, be warned you’ll get fat if you are over 21 and drink alcohol, even low-calorie alcohol at an excess. This can be stopped by not eating much food. I should also mention out of medical necessity that alcohol will also make you ugly. Alcohol increases your blood pressure causing veins to dilate and then pop. You can actually see this temporary scarring pretty easily in anyone who drinks and I would probably go on record saying no one who is truly beautiful can drink more than one drink of alcohol a day. So it’s very important that you don’t drink if you want your face to look youthful, and it’s very important that your face looks youthful because, baby, your face is 1 out of 3001.
I want to come out and see you in your Halloween costume which looks like heaven and go party with our friends and, after, sit on a bench in the park and not even kiss at all but talk and hold hands and sit there and look up at the starless New York City sky. And then kiss. Then kiss and kiss and kiss until the apocalypse. I really want to make it tonight but my GPS won’t work and my cell phone screen is cracked and even if I got the GPS to work I lost the address and don’t even know where to go. I try and text you to say sorry and say: Hello? I’m sorry. Brunch tomorrow.
When I’m like this sleep is not really sleep so when I wake up from not being asleep I’m astonished there are no drunken texts to you and that you didn’t even text me mad that I never made it. You are so classy. I want to introduce you to my mom. I want to get married right now in Las Vegas. You’re so hip, baby. It occurs to me that maybe you did not respond because someone else beat the odds and is now the luckiest guy alive. Are we not getting brunch today? Who did you sleep with last night? Did you abandon me? Why aren’t you responding to my messages? Don’t you know without you I’m statistically very likely to find myself in middle age with a gun from Walmart pointed at my temple? I think about how you lose control of your life slowly and then all at once and I promise to myself right there and then that I need to change and become worthy of your love.
My sentimental education ends when the real problem dawns and it becomes clear this isn’t my apartment. It’s actually not even an apartment at all, it’s a street corner. I reach over to put my Yankees cap back on and I notice that my head is wet with blood from a head injury, and I’m covered in bite marks, and my knuckles are bruised. My throat flares with that chemical chewiness of a cocaine burn, which actually tastes goods, and while I’m too delirious to realize anything my sub-consciousness haunts and taunts me that it is not out of the realm of possibility that I could have murdered someone last night. Or worse? Or nothing at all? Anxiety convulses through my body, as the thoughts swirl into black holes of inaccessible memory, and I spiral into a catatonic loneliness that is the horror of being myself for Halloween in 2016.