As a therapist, it took me
a long time to realize his words were
mostly scrambled in Enigma code and I
had to stop impersonating a brilliant
cryptographer, that I had to see past his
small talk to the fear and sadness in his
face, labored breathing and rigid
posture; that I must take in all of these
to know what he or any my patients are

Published in The Writer’s Egg Magazine, p. 26: file:///C:/Users/Andre/Desktop/Writers-Egg-Magazine-Issue-4-3xecdb.pdf

It hits me when I least expect it, the disgust in their faces, like they’re gonna puke if they stare too long at me. Bent over my laptop in Bobst Library. Sipping Corona in the Peculier Pub. Walking on Bleecker Street to one of my classes at Courant. I see them glaring at me like I’m a piece of slime as the paramedics wheel her down to the ambulance. I hear them whispering about the snaky little butler who served his mother sides of gin to go with her oxycodone. My hands shake, panic balloons in my chest. I speed walk to blot out the disgust in their eyes.      

The worst times are late at night when images keep hitting me, like the one of me in her bedroom playing with a model train. She’s in a peignoir brushing her hair with a dreamy, far-away look on her face. An older guy suddenly comes in, rips off her peignoir and she jumps into bed with him giggling like a snow bunny. 

In the morning in the bathroom I still hear her moaning as she fucks him. I look hard in the mirror and focus on the pile of cotton swabs beside them soaked in their fluids and cum, anything to erase the look on her face. 

I can never remember exactly when they split. I only see them preying on each other like tiger sharks over the money my father shaved off his importing business. On my laptop in Bobst surrounded by other students, I hear her on the phone screaming at her lawyer to track down the numbered accounts he’d set up in Turks and Caicos and the Caymans. I run to the men’s room to escape her screams. Pissing in the urinal, I see myself rushing texts to him about who she’s been talking to, seeing and fucking, before he starts firing them at me.

When I return to the reading room, I wince as the other students stare at me and lower their eyes in disgust. 

By the time I graduated lycée I thought I’d figured a way out. The mention très bien on my bac gave me leverage. “Seventeen out of twenty!” he crowed on his third glass of Château Ouled Thaleb in what he still believes is our favorite Moroccan restaurant in the Seizième. “That’s when I slipped it to him,” I told my mother, “conned him into believing the computer science practicums at Polytechnique were a shit mix compared to Courant.” I can still see the smirk on her face when I told her how casually I mindfucked him into shelling out a hundred thousand bucks for my full tuition and living expenses.    

What a relief when I got to NYU and discovered Snapchat! Endless streams of women changing and blending into each other, each inviting me to swipe right. For the first time in my life I felt I wasn’t living in shit.

One day streaming in Bobst, I was mesmerized by an image of Rachel in a high waisted angle thong.

I found her at an Anything but Clothes party in the East Village, swiveling her hips to Ariana Grande’s Stuck with You as images of her in a creamy bralette bounced off the walls. “The look on your face tells me you’re an angel-whore used to having prodigious amounts of sex,” I said. “Marginally better than the ‘Can’t wait to own your hairless vagg’ I typically get,” she answered as her eyes glazed over. Then she twirled her spider fingers over my tan Moroccan skin and buff bi’s and tri’s. “I don’t bite,” she said with a cagey grin. That’s when I started undressing her with my eyes.

That night I plunged into what felt like a weird, opaque dream. Breakfast at daybreak in her tiny studio in the East Village. Leaving her for her visual arts class at Cooper Union as I rushed to my first class at Courant. Engrossed on our laptops in Bobst or in good weather in Washington Square Park. Weekend walks on the High Line after pizza washed down with too much Stella Artois. The scenes streamed before me like a Netflix video, the way they did when I was a kid sneaking looks at couples strolling, families picnicking in the Bois de Boulogne, like they were being real together. Only the brown weathered walls and impenetrable glass windows of Courant seemed real to me in the morning haze as I speed-walked to class.

The first week I morphed into her butler and learned everything I could about her. She liked real coffee unlike most American girls, got excited when she felt the pressure of my eyes on her breasts and went Aquafina when I massaged her feet. Each night I got lost in her lush, mossy smell and ripe mango taste, infused with the pleasure she felt so intensely in herself. Drenched in her lush, succulent juices, I began to feel like an extension of her body.

The second week her spontaneity, laughter and unbridled lust began to grate on me. Her booty fingers that had at first excited me now felt like worms crawling inside me. One night entwined in her spider fingers as she squeezed and breathed me into her, my heart pounded and raced in my chest. Then she bit me on the neck. “Soon you won’t feel anything,” she teased as I felt myself detach from her and dissolve into tiny, ghost-like particles hovering over the bed.    

The next day on Snapchat I was hypnotized by Jasmine.

On the couch in my dorm room coiling into her, I barely heard Rachel as she entered.

“I despise you!” she screamed. “Keep circling girls like the quarter of a man you are. You’re a master manipulator, a pathological narcissist! I pray your visa will never come through!” 

I squeezed my eyes shut until I couldn’t hear her words.

I let out a huge breath of relief when Jasmine decided to leave with her.

Later that night I awoke to the ghostly glow of the cell phone by my pillow.

I staggered to the bathroom in time to see my image dissolve in a vortex of spiteful eyes oozing disgust in the mirror.

In the bedroom the bare hangers in the open closet made my heart hammer against my chest.

I dashed out of the dorm onto Bleecker Street and speed walked to the Peculier Pub, blotting out the people on the sidewalk who turned away from me in disgust.

Alone at the bar I started to breathe a little easier. Then I spotted this sultry, long-legged girl a few feet away who gave me this irresistibly inviting, I’m not gonna bite you smile.

I ordered two Mango Mai-Tais and waited for the mango juice to infuse her face, neck and half naked breasts. “I know a mossy, after bath lotion you’ll love,” I told her as I undressed the rest of her with my eyes.  

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