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On Dating : Normal Days - kale & cigarettes
On Dating : Normal Days

On Dating : Normal Days

I’ve been working out of the back office. Maddy at the dining table in the living room. 

In little moments, I notice it slip away.

I used to cling to the images I have of her on my phone. Obsess over the beauty and importance of her sending me a pic from her desk at work. Now, I scroll past them without much thought. I take them for granted. 

Then I remember that love doesn’t owe me anything. 

I scroll back up and look at the images. Put myself back in that moment and see the person who cared enough about me to share herself. I soften. I am grateful. 


I went to the park with Ashley and Ang for a workout. They won’t come within 6 feet of me because they think I’m patient zero coming back from New York. And also because Ashley is a paranoid hypochondriac. 

I needed a sip of water so she poured it on my face and down my throat from as far away as she could stand. Ang took video to catalogue. 

We were doing running man exercises when Ashley started rapping, “You don’t give a fuck about me,” over and over until we were all adding lyrics.

I told them I was going to go on a run with Maddy later. 

“Is this something she wants to do or are you putting her on the Kirk Program?” Ang asked.

I started laughing.

I’ve been so conscious of this. Yet, here we are.

“What am I supposed to do?”

“Maybe she wants to run on her own,” Ang continued. 

“She doesn’t know any routes,” I said.

“Dude, I always go for runs when I’m in a new city. She’ll figure it out,” Ashley chimed in.

“Yeah, maybe I can recommend a route,” I said.

They both laughed. 

“What?”

“Go for a run on your own but let me tell you exactly where to go,” Ashley said in a mocking voice.

“But you’re happy to accept my recommendations on restaurants in New York.”

“That’s different. We are spending money. It’s not like she can have a bad run in sunny San Diego,” Ashley said.

“All we’re saying is keep an eye out for it,” Ang concluded.

“Also, Ashley, you don’t run for shit when you travel,” I said.


Maddy has been more lethargic today. She isn’t doing super well working from home because the work doesn’t seem important and no one from her office seems to really care. 

I drove her to the ocean. The sea is beautiful. Blue and fresh. The beaches were empty. Taped off. The Earth was taking a breather from us. People were locked inside for their sins. We might learn something from all this. But probably not. Once the coast is clear we will be back at the bars and back in our offices and back in our toxic relationships. 

I don’t worry about the Earth. I’m not an environmentalist. I don’t like to pretend I’m doing something important by bringing my own tote bag to the grocery store. We are destroying everything simply by being who we are. It is inevitable that we will exhaust all our resources and leave the planet worse than we found it. It’s a disservice to the environment to believe that any of us have light footprints. I am sad for the animals. But not enough to be a vegetarian. I drive a rechargeable car, but mostly because it saves on gas and is really, really fast. I have solar panels on my roof, but only so I can give the finger to SDGE every month. I’m doing things. I just wouldn’t dare pretend they matter more than they do.

I tried to explain all of that to her as we looked off into the crashing waves. She nodded her head. She was lying under a blanket with her feet draped over my body. She was the definition of content. 

We brought chicken shawarma from the food truck and a beer in a mason jar. We sat on a bench and stared at the ocean and felt the salt-filled breeze. 

The sun made her hair golden. She was on vacation now. She pointed out how big the sky was in California.  How many flowers there were. How good everything smelled. She was right. I forget this place was an actual paradise and I got to steal some of her novelty for myself. 


We drove through Little Italy and found a place open with ice cream and some carrot cake. We ate in a quartyard in front of a lone lady playing the accordion with a tip jar in front of her.

“If we don’t face her direction we don’t have to tip her,” I said. 

“Yeah, I think that’s how it works.” 

We debated a tip. I checked my wallet.

“Fuck, only 20s,” I said.

“Is that too much?” she asked.

“I don’t know. Does she look like she’s hurting or just playing for the love of it?” I asked.

“Looks like the love of it.”

“It’s up to you,” I continued.

“It’s your money.”

“I know, but what do you think we should do?”

“Probably tip her since it’s the end of the world.” 

I folded up the bill and gave it to Maddy to pass to her. She dropped it in the jar and the lady didn’t even look. I thought about coughing. It was a twenty for god’s sake. 


We walk and hug and kiss. We are driving and holding hands. I feel the weight of our perfectly sweet day.

“Do you ever get this feeling in your body around here (motioning over my chest and stomach) when you think about me?” I asked.

“Oh yeah. All the time. All the time.”


Then we are home and she is moaning loudly. I’m worried about my neighbor. He hasn’t heard any action from across the hall in a while and Maddy likes to use her voice. 

I was on top of her, planning on going down on her but she wrapped her legs around my waist and said she was going to come and the foot soldier in me thought it was best to finish the job right then and there. 

We played Catch Phrase. She was screaming again, repeatedly. Not from pleasure this time, just from sheer panic and intensity. 

“They live in Antarctica!” she screamed. 

“They are giant!” she continued.

“Polar bears?”

“YES!”

“Okay, Jesus, good job.” 


She got tired after the movie and said she was going to bed. I ran in and tackled her into the sheets and tickled her and buried my chin in her sternum. 

“You always get these crazy bursts of energy before bed,” she said.

“I know. I think it’s because I’m scared of the night.” 

Then I’m trying to brush her teeth with the electric toothbrush. She puts water on before and after the paste. I contested that pre-watering is useless. 

She handed it to me and guided my hand to get the brush inside her mouth.

She muffled, Okay, and I turned it on. Toothpaste sprayed everywhere immediately. It was a disaster. I couldn’t even get it to move over one tooth. Her face was wincing and getting covered is so much white suds it became gross. She took the brush from me.

“What the hell are you doing?!” she asked.

I was laughing too hard in a high-pitched voice to say anything.


We drove to the mountains. A route I’d taken dozens of times. But never with her. That gave me the charge that got me out the door and into the car. Miles in, that charge began to wear off. It was just me again. I pushed through and reminded myself that this was time well spent no matter what. 

Things were becoming more normal. The electricity was fading. It was that comfort spot that many people yearn for. It’s also the spot that kills me. 

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