Humans is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
Do you remember your first...
bone-jarring, knees-quaking, don't-let-it-stop, neverletitstop, fuggfuggFUGG, yesyesYES...
She did. That morning. On the elliptical. It all came back. Reading that short-story by Lucia Berlin. She knew before knowing that it was set in Acapulco. Mexico. A minor detail, yes, but one that sent her skidding, no, reeling, back to those hot days. Nights. Hotter afternoons. The neighboring vacationer shouting, then pleading, "...cállate...".
And so it became a joke, "Cállate.cállatecállatecállate...YES!"
Sex only interrupted by kayaking or plates of french fries. Papas fritas. A jet-ski ride. Snorkeling. Starfish. The overwhelming large and plastic chess pieces turned brown and dirty under the sun. So much so that neither side was distinguishable. Like them.
They were going to have a baby. Then they weren't. The doctor said, "No." Infertile. Infertility. But they married anyway. They could adopt. Oh, he didn't want to now? Oh, he never had? Why not? Why now?
Him: "That's how we live forever. Having mine own. It means I live forever"
Her: "Maybe I don't know you."
And so he did. While she was away. Deployed. To Qatar. Then Afghanistan. Then Oman. They were still married. Whatever that means. It would always be her fault. She volunteered. And she told herself that it would've never worked out anyways.
That morning. This morning. On the elliptical. She felt more than the physical yearning and the hot and the wet. Hot. Wet. Hot. Wet. The cool-breeze from the bay. The nipples. Pinched. The stomach-clenching hunger. No. What she felt was the shame. The shame of the celibate. The one who says, "Only until..." then realizes that was three years and 20 pounds ago. Thirty-six missed periods.
Where did they go?
All that happened a long time ago, though. Don’t let her fool you. It meant something. Means something.
They had still been in college when they took that trip to Acapulco. Having serious liaisons in the dorms, or what passed for dorms, since they’d both attended a military academy where such things were forbidden. Forbidden. Fruit. Forbidding fruit. That was Adam and Eve’s problem, wasn’t it? she’d thought over and over again. You start to like, love, what you can’t have. So with marriage came the having and then the not having (i.e. the baby) took over and that was the beginning of the end.
She used to measure her relationships in terms of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The first, pre-college, was with a nice high-school guy. He’d been in college. She, not so much. Things fell away when he went away. That was OK; she was on to bigger and better things.
The second saw her with a guy engaged. She was well into her third year at the military academy and thought that if she tried hard enough he would like he more. Silly? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. Serious? Never. And so it was the end.
The third was with him. The one. The only one that brought her to that point (cf. above). She fell asleep in the film, but that had nothing to do with him. It was to be her final year at school and things were falling into place and so she stopped watching Johnny Depp perform as a pirate. There was no longer a need to measure relationships in this way. There would no more relationships, plural. This was it.
She wasn’t so sure how to measure the next phase of their relationship, though, and so dabbled in the social spectrum. They had met on Myspace after all. Their relationship grew, no, blossomed, on Facebook, and then, inevitably, died with Tumblr, Insta, and Twitter. She’d had no time, what, with grad school.
Then she thought, yes, I will measure us by schooling and academia.
But it was always her pursuit. Then her passion. Then her poison. He’d never go back to get his master’s degree as was largely expected in the service at that time. So, she gave up. Not on her studies. No. She gave up on charting their relationship. Hm, she wondered, I bet Johnny is on the fifth or sixth installment of Caribbean at this point. I bet they get divorced, too.
Though, that hadn’t happened yet.
Where does that leave her, though? Now. Right now. The walking, talking cliché? Yup. Bet your sweet bippy it does. It also still leaves her directionless. Ruddless. Just another ship in that beautiful Acapulco harbor. Unmoored. Floating.
Oddly, ironically, even, at this particular moment in time, a new relationship is taking shape and a new measurement system in its wake. That boat. In that harbor. It’s ready to launch.
She’s going to business school.
And so, that’s the thing: her relationships are measured in milestones in academia. Not by pirates. Harbors. Tropical locations in Acapulco. Or the Caribbean.
Not in orgasms. Social media apps.
She wisht she had something profound to say, though. By way of a conclusion. So, how ‘bout this: the most important relationship you can have, at this terrible, terrible technology-laden moment in time, is with distraction.
She laughs. That’s cliché, but, yeah, cf. above. She’s a cliché.
It is all just distraction, though, isn’t it? It’s measuring your relationship, your divorce, and your dormant sex life in movies and graduate degrees and social media. It is all just distraction. It is what a hack would say, she thinks, but who isn’t a hack these days? Who isn’t trying to escape their present circumstances? And this is when she realizes there is no escape. No one is happy. Not all the time. Not on vacation. Not in school. Not on Facebook.
And, so, there it was. Her bachelors was her engagement and Myspace. And her masters was her marriage and Facebook. Which leaves her divorce having to be the MBA couple with some new distraction. Perhaps Airbnb will fit the bill. But who knows; it’s too soon to tell.