Unreal

 

(This is a section of You Don’t Look Adopted that I added to the Kindle version after the book was published. I added it because the image of the empty condominium was in my head every time I thought of my book, only I had forgotten to include it. Ebooks are excellent for 0ops writers like me.)

 

The first time I tried to get to Kevin’s condominium on my own, I almost went home with the bus driver. I was trying to follow where we were on my phone when the driver turned around at a red light, saw me in my seat, and said, “Where are you going?” I looked around to make sure he was talking to me and realized I was the only passenger left. “I forget,” I said. He sighed heavily. “Well, you missed that stop,” he said. “I’m headed home.”

I looked out the window and saw street and industrial park and grass. “I’ll just get out here,” I said. “Sorry.”

“Aw, I don’t know,” the driver said. “I feel bad. Where do you need to go?”

“To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure,” I said. My head was spinning and yet again I had forgotten even the name of Kevin’s town. Looking at my phone and figuring out where I was and where I wanted to be seemed an impossible task. “My friend can come get me,” I said. “Go home and put your feet up. I bet it’s been a long day.”

“Every day’s long when you sit on your rear end for nine hours,” the driver said. “Good luck, sweetheart.”

I got out of the bus and asked Siri where I was. The air was still and I felt the summer of my childhoods, bugs and heat and the sweet press of humidity. Normally I would have been anxious and embarrassed, but I felt like I was doing a slow dance with my life, and most of all I was just interested to see what would happen next. I took a screenshot of the map and sent it to Kevin.  “I’m so sorry,” I texted. “I missed the stop and had to get off the bus. Sort of lost. Can you come get me or should I call Uber?”

“I know where you are,” Kevin texted back. “Don’t move. I love that you coming to see me becomes an adventure.”

When I saw his black car approach slowly ten minutes later, I could almost hear the clatter of hooves. He’d found me.

 

The second time I went to Kevin’s, I did it all right, almost: I walked to 8th, got the R train to Times Square where I pretended to know which direction the map was telling me to get to Port Authority until I actually found it. I went upstairs to the bus terminal, went to the machines, bought my ticket, and headed up to the gate where everyone looked tired and smudged from a day of work or a day of being in the city. I rode the bus through Lincoln Tunnel to the New Jersey Turnpike and got off a block from Kevin’s place. I walked into the lobby and texted Kevin I was there. “Come on up,” he wrote. I took the elevator to the penthouse floor, and knocked on the door of PH1. No one answered, and then I saw that where the doorknob should have been there was a hole. I pushed the door opened and saw that the apartment had been stripped to its baseboards. A toilet lay on its side in the middle of the living room. There was no furniture. No light fixtures. No Kevin.

I felt I had suddenly been dropped into a movie, only it was my real life and the life that I’d thought was real was suddenly the fake one. I thought about how Kevin must have been so desperate to get out of this new relationship that he’d led me here just to show me that it was over.

My phone dinged. “Where are you?” Kevin texted. I stepped back out into the hallway, looked around. “I think I’m in the wrong building,” I wrote. “Hahaha,” he replied. “The buildings are almost identical. Go back downstairs, go out the front door, and go to your right. I’ll meet you out front.”

I went back down to the lobby and walked to the high rise next door. Kevin came out the revolving door and threw his arms into the air. “You did it!”

He was always so kind. So understanding. He had the ability to praise even my mistakes and I took note of this skill, tried to memorize it.

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