Thinking Out Loud: An excerpt from The Electric Confessional

I lied to you. I said I wouldn’t share any of the book I completed a year ago, but I like this piece too much not to give it some shine. Nothing to explain here. The main character is dealing with a wave of emotions stemming from some major voids. Here, he’s reminiscing on an innocent love lost to life in motion. Enjoy.

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There was a girl in New York City once, the only real city on the planet.  We used to follow each other around, block to block, crafting hair-brained schemes on how to get bottles of booze on days when there was simply nothing to do and no curfew.  Those perfect summer days we’d walk for miles, smoking joints, and trading sideways glances.

After all, we were city kids, so we’d end up in some dusty, Puerto Rican bodega, shoving forties into our backpacks.  Bolting up the block, we’d heckle the old man in the apron as his bum ticker would only allow him to chase us past four or five parked cars.  We’d make sure to remember the street signs as to wait a few weeks before coming back to do it again.

I couldn’t have been more than sixteen then.  What was her name?  Joanne?  Josie?  Johanna?  She and I went to parties together to steal from coat pockets and raid prescriptions from foreign medicine cabinets.  We hunted the inevitable numb from chewing pain pills. Sometimes, if we were lucky and trendy enough, we’d swallow ecstasy and anticipate the sweats and deep chills.  Like clockwork, we’d end up on the roof of her building, high as kites talking shit about clouds and the Knicks.

Some days we’d cruise through Central Park to the museum.  We promised each other we’d never get wrinkles as we watched the grannies and the baby sitters shuffle in and out of the massive glass doors pushing carriages, carrying packages, doing the normal things our youth-charged brains deemed completely unnecessary.

She kissed me once on the subway platform waiting for the train to Brooklyn.  It was a short, wet kiss.  A mash of lips and mess.  I could never quite figure out the source of the wetness.  It was either her saliva, our sweaty faces, or some odd, non-exact combination of the elements.  I’d never taken into consideration that it felt like two hundred degrees underground in the middle of July in New York City.  I rode the next six stops with a huge grin and half a boner.

Her name was Jocelyn. She was a tall, brown skinned Cuban with giant green saucers for eyes.  The kind you could see from the bottom of the lake.  She was so pretty it hurt.  The type of girl every boy wanted, but no one had the balls to deal with.  Fiery, loud as hell, and drop dead gorgeous.  In retrospect, she was probably the best looking girl who’d ever given me the time of day.  I loved riding the subway with her, arguing for hours about who was better, the Mets or Yankees. Buckshot or Rakim.

We spent nearly three summers running around the city.  It was a fantastic time to be young in New York.  Hip hop, cheap weed, and long, steaming days defined our existence.  It was one of those wondrous summers when I got my first blowjob and my last nose bleed.  We stole a gram of coke from her older brother and chopped four decent sized lines on the back of a toilet in a McDonalds near Times Square.

I didn’t catch a nose bleed from the blow.  It happened two weeks later when my friend Connor had too many shots of Bacardi at house party in the Bronx and called Jocelyn a whore for sucking my dick.  I have yet to meet a female with a better left hook and I probably never will.

After my sister died, Jocelyn and I sat on a bench across from St. Pats on 5th for hours. We didn’t say a word.  I just cried and stared across the street at the tourists and lonely wanderers pushing in and out of the great cathedral doors.  She held onto my hand like if she let it go I could float away.  And I might have.

Jocelyn ended up getting pregnant during the winter of our senior year.  She started showing up to the basketball games with some tough looking Spanish dude with braids and lots of gold in his mouth.  Her parents wouldn’t condone an abortion.  My parents knew that I was in love.  Last I heard she had four kids by three different guys.  Sometimes life has a way of strangling the innocent smiles right off our baby faces.

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