Maggie Su

We Might Be in New York Already

We are making mountains out of molehills again, we tell ourselves the morning after. But the night before, in the alleyway behind the gay bar beneath a KFC, we breathe in air like it might slip, sands through an hourglass. We’ve drunk so many Long Island ice teas that we think we might be in New York already. We’re so high that when we look at the alley we see skyscrapers leaning against blacktop and we yell, “Hey buddy, buy the concrete a drink first.”

We dance to music that we can barely hear, muffled voices we pretend are people we’ve met in some other life.

Julie throws up in the middle of our circle and for a moment, we think she is praying or trying out a dance she learned on YouTube, but then the liquid comes. Mostly liquid. We’ve been with Julie all day, but can’t remember if she’s eaten anything.

It looks like a painting, a splattered yellow sunset on the blacktop wet with rain and we yell and dance harder around her. We look at each other and say, “This is beautiful. We are beautiful.”

When Julie leaves the alley with Tommy, when Tommy takes Julie home, we look at each other and say, “Tommy’s a good guy. I like that guy.”

We think we know him, but maybe we just met him that night.

There’s a problem with causality; there are some outcomes you can’t trace back. When our phones crack on the concrete on the way home, we forget who we were trying to wave to. We forget who we were trying to call.

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Maggie Su’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Journal, SmokeLong Quarterly, Word Riot, and others. She currently attends Indiana University’s MFA program where she serves as web editor for Indiana Review and reads for Ploughshares. Follow her on twitter @litmagreject