‘POST STARS’ BY ALEXANDER SEEDMAN
I meet Maggs at a lame party where everybody is dancing apart from each other and occasionally whispering empty, rhetorical questions to fill the space in between songs.
The song says, They move forward, and my heart dies.
“Are they all fucken gay?” straight girl says.
They were kids that I once knew.
“Isn’t it more post-post, bruh? I mean. He’s so honest,” guy with tie says.
It’s hard to know that you still care.
“You are beautiful. I want to spend all of my time with you,” nobody says.
I lightly bounce my knees to look like I know how to dance, I just don’t feel like doing it, when she walks over to the onion-garlic dip sitting next to me. She sticks her finger in the bowl. I imagine a blowjob before she even reaches her hand to her mouth. When she looks at me, I feel embarrassed, as if I I’m saying out loud what I’m thinking, as if I am yelling, “IF YOUR FINGER WERE MY PENIS, YOU WOULD BE LICKING MY PENIS RIGHT NOW!” I blush before she speaks.
“Does this sort of thing disgust you?”
Blowjobs do not disgust me.
“What, that you’re using your finger like an inedible carrot?” I ask. Stupid joke. When are carrots inedible?
“Yes,” she smiles. Fuck. She thinks I’m hilarious. Now I do not know what to say. I say the first thing that comes to mind.
“Now I do not know what to say.” I look at her forehead. Eye contact is nudity.
She laughs. “I’m Maggs,” she holds her hand out. I touch it. We are having sex now, or the closest thing to sex I have had since graduating high school. Girls loved faux artists in high school. Unfortunately the American Beauty plastic bag speech does not work on these femme pros. And Maggs is wearing feathers in her hair. She has no time for slutty. I realize I have not said anything since she has shared her name. As I am about to talk, I see Tom and nod my head like a bro. He throws me some puckered lips and a peace sign like he is taking a selfie. I laugh.
“What was your favorite children’s book when you were a kid?” she asks.
Wow. She is art. If I say Where the Wild Things Are, she will think of me in a wolf costume and maybe want to see me naked. Also, if I say Where the Wild Things Are, I am a massive tool, so I resist.
“Double-Fudge by Judy Blume,” I look away at a profound spot on the wall.
“That’s cute,” Shit. She thinks I’m gay. “I was basically raised by Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” she says, nodding, as if I agreed with her about something.
I read those books. I try to remember them, but all I can say is, “Very funny dialogue,”
She turns to look at me and smiles brightly. I wonder why she doesn’t smile like this all of the time. “Volunteer Fire Department!” I do not get why she says this.
“Vans! Chips. Words.” I do not know why I say this.
“What?” Welp. I lost her.
“I don’t know,” Sometimes honestly really is the best policy.
“You’re funny,” She looks away. She is lying to me.
“Thank you. I’ve seen you around. You were very pretty. That dress looks nice on you. The one you’re wearing right now. It’s a great pattern.” I don’t know why I feel like being so honest. I’ve had seven shots of Jameson in two hours. I know why I feel so honest. Also she really is gorgeous and my high school acting teacher once told me, “Beauty makes you honest.” I thought it was bullshit. It’s not.
“Thanks, man. You’ve got cajones for telling a girl you’ve noticed how pretty she is. I’m impressed.” She is a liar. She also throws some Spanish into her sentences so she is cultural.
“You’ve got cajones for telling a boy he’s got cajones,” Once again, I do not know what I’m saying. She still laughs for some reason. “I’m sorry. You don’t have balls. That was gross. I’m drunk.”
“Me too. Wanna get outta here?” Now I know what a real erection feels like.
We walk away, and I wave to Tom who is alone. He is my top friend. I feel like if he grinded against less walls and more male bodies he would have more luck with sex. He throws me a thumbs up, although I know he is thinking about how easy it is for me to get sex because I’m straight.
Maggs still does not know my name.
We talk about True Blood on our way home. She tells me it’s stupid. I agree, even though I don’t.
When we open the door to her apartment I look into a mirror against a wall. I see myself through my own bold-framed glasses stained with gin, and I see myself wearing too much clothes. I become very self-aware. I don’t like this feeling so I turn around to face her. She smells like garlic-onion dip. She is also willing to take her clothes off, I think, so I forgive her. I wait for her to kiss me.
She smiles and walks past me.
“Do you want to see my photos?”
I only want to see her photos if they are naked selfies, tbh.
“Yes,” I say. I sound more eager than I should.
“My inspiration was a memory of the first house I lived in. We had this fucken massive backyard made of an open meadow shaded by tall trees. They were too old to keep erect, so they sort of leaned over…” I am too drunk to listen to this story. She continues to talk about her yard and I reach into my pocket, while nodding, I’m great at nodding while checking my texts, and I see Tom has texted me. He wants to know if I remember a certain episode of Adventure Time. I think he is sad I left with a girl. I think he’s in love with me. I text him back so he thinks I’m not about to have sex.
Before I can put my phone back in my pocket, he replies, “It’s none of your business how nude I sleep!” It’s my favorite Jake quote. I laugh.
“Do you know what time it is?” I reply.
“What’s so funny?” she is offended.
“You’re cute,” I feel like that phrase is amongst the most interchangeable pre-hook-up-with-art-student, much like using any Sufjan Stevens song as a pickup line.
“Okay.” She opens up a portfolio. It is too dark to see her art. She turns on some Christmas lights. It is September. “Anyway, maybe we weren’t afraid of the man, but just afraid that there wasn’t any mystery back there at all and that we would just end up on some more grass, just as green as ours, and that would be it.”
I stare unabashedly at her lips when they freeze. I want to say, “Me too!” because maybe that would connect us, maybe that would prove how alike we really are, and our clothes will fall off and we will kiss and have sex and sleep for a couple hours but wake up to wanting more sex because maybe we love each other tonight but all I can do is look at her unmoving mouth and smile. My pants buzz. It is probably Tom. I look down at the photos in the portfolio. They are pictures of words made out of tree branches lying on grass.
MIS-TAKE. Great use of a dash.
BRANCH. The branch says branch. Very meta.
FEAR THE LIVING. I am pretty sure this is in an ad for an AMC show.
EQUILIBRIUM. This is an expensive gym on Laurel Avenue.
“Do you like them?” she asks.
“Yes,” The art is sobering. Not in the way a critic might say, but in the way that I felt whimsically tipsy on the first crisp fall night, and then I looked at this art, and now I have a terrible headache and my cheeks are numb which means I will puke within the next fifteen minutes. At least she didn’t take a picture of the word LOVE. Shit. She puts her hand on mine. I am flaccid and nauseous. “Do you really?”
“I have to get my friend,” I say.
“He just texted me. He says he’s been alcoholically poisoned. He needs me. I’m sorry. I hope your art gets lots of hearts on Tumblr. Good night.” I hold my hand up, she begins to wave, and I hi-five her.
“Um. Bye.” I hope she can booty-call somebody because she doesn’t deserve to be lonely tonight, even if her art is shit. On my way home I look at my phone. Tom texted me, “Adventure time!” and I laugh because I expected it.
When I wake up the next morning I am not hung over. I feel limp and lovely.
Alexander Seedman was raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, but now he lives happily ever after in Brooklyn. He is a junior at NYU’s Gallatin School of “Individualized Study,” where he individually studies digital media and serial narratives. He doesn’t know what any of that means either, so it’s ok. You should maybe follow him on the Twitter @a_seedman and add him on Facebook! He loves new friends. Thanks for reading :)