We stalked the town in a posse, chigger-bitten skin exposed against the night heat. Most of us weren’t old enough for bars so we pooled our money and drank in the living room of the two-bedroom on Henrietta Street. We invented games. The best one was Confession. To take a shot you had to reveal something. The biggest secrets we had back then were crushes. I want to kiss her, don’t tell.
In a journal entry dated September 20, 2003, I wrote, “I’m sitting on the tiny balcony with a book and a beer. I don’t want to read though. I don’t want to write either. Everything is good. Perfect warm night buzz. I haven’t found a job yet but that’s okay. There’s cumbia playing on the stereo in the living room, the smell of cooking beans. I have crushes on half my roommates: José, two months up from Mexico, who watches Mulholland Drive on repeat to learn English; Lara who’s studying to be a car mechanic (I think she likes girls but she’s so awkward when I try to flirt); Angela who’s married to a guy in Mexico but also has a girlfriend here. My life is so full up. It feels stupid to even try and write about it. I’ll never capture it. Even my best effort would still be like that guy I saw downtown last week, a man sitting on the sidewalk, playing the guitar with his feet. Everyone clapped and threw coins not because he was making incredible music but because he had managed a facsimile of a song with such a primitive appendage. My writing is to life what that’s man toe-song is to music.”