Selections from the Pathetic Notebooks

RONNIE CORDOVA

27. When my boyfriend left for his therapist appointment, I ran down to the corner store and got a large family-size package of Keebler Fudge Stripes and a pack of cigarettes. I brought them back to my apartment and in the ninety or so minutes before he returned, I consumed all the cookies and smoked seven cigarettes, exhaling carefully out the kitchen window. When he walked back in, I was sitting in my armchair holding a book, with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with Jascha Heifetz on violin playing on the stereo. He said, "So what have you been up to?" I said, "I'm reading this book about the Path of the Buddha."

63. I discovered this taqueria across town I really liked. I found myself trekking over there just to eat their pork burritos, or finding excuses to go over to that part of town. This went on, and eventually the employees in this small family-run business began to recognize me and would smile and start preparing my regular order before I even spoke. This level of intimacy became troubling; I began to feel sheepish about going in there so often, always ordering the same thing. At one point I was making the trip over there five times a week, almost an hour each way on the bus. They didn't know I wasn't even from the neighborhood; these little places aren't exactly uncommon. When one of the daughters asked me a few innocent questions one time as she prepared my burrito, I stammered that I lived "just around the corner" and tried to give the impression that I dropped in on my way home purely as a matter of convenience and habit. A couple of months later, they opened a second location in a storefront two blocks from my apartment, and instead of using the opportunity to come clean I started avoiding that entire block and kept going to the other location to preserve the lie.

118. I slept till two in the afternoon, then got up and had two bowls of Cap'n Crunch and immediately ordered a pizza. While I waited for it to arrive I paged through an International Male catalog that had come in the mail, feeling an erection rising and falling randomly in my sweatpants like a malfunctioning drawbridge. When my pizza came I ate the whole thing while watching with pleasant satisfaction music videos I'd seen a hundred times, eventually falling into a sleepy stupor. The phone ringing jolted me awake. I stepped in a box of crusts to answer it. My friend said, "How are you holding up?" I said, "I can't eat, I can't sleep. Since he left I'm just not myself."

HOME