Westport 54


there was some big Gorgon battle going on, and her eyes were rolled back in her head, so I was able to sneak out and take the call. The first thing Derek says is, “I want to talk to you about something,” and my heart immediately starts pounding, because he never wants to talk about anything. So I’m like, “what’s up?” You know, trying to sound casual, and he’s, like, “I think we should do an open relationship.” And so I’m, like, “Where is this coming from?” And he’s like, “I don’t think long distance is working.” And so, by this point, I’m starting to get mad, because it’s not my fault long distance isn’t working, it’s his for not making an effort. So I blurt out, “if you’re going to be weird like this, what’s the point of even dating, why not just break up?” and he says “fine” and hangs up. And I’m, like, “Did what I think just happened actually just happen?” So I call him and text him and leave a voicemail and a hologram and I even send him a tele- pathic message, even though they’re expensive, and my plan doesn’t cover them if I’m roaming, but Derek never responds. And finally I realize, “oh my God, it’s over. Derek Kleinbaum and I are no longer a couple.” So for the next four days, I don’t leave my pod, not even to go to class, and eventually Narvia knocks on my door and I’m, like, great, just what I need right now. So I let her in and I expect her to lecture me about school- work or whatever but instead she says, “Please pack your bags. The rocket leaves in one hour.” And I’m, like, “what?” And she’s like, “Have you been watching the news?” And I’m, like, “No, Derek broke up with me.” And so she explains that the Gorgons won the war by rounding up all the Narvians and destroying them with a heat blast. And I’m confused, because she’s a Narvian, but she’s still alive, and she explains that she survived, because the lasers couldn’t permeate the school, but all of her friends and family died. And I’m, like, “Oh my God,” because that’s freaking horrible. And I start to feel really bad, because all this time I thought we had nothing in common, but now that she’s lost her tribe, and I’ve lost Derek, and both of our worlds have come crashing down, I realize we’re, like, the same person. So I’m, like, “I think it’s time for some XanXan,” and she waves her antenna like she doesn’t want any, but I just ignore her and pour out two huge shots. And we start downing shots, like, one after the other, and I’m, like, “I know what will get our minds off things, let’s play ‘Never Have I Ever!’” She doesn’t know how to play, so I explain the rules and say, “you go first.” And she’s, like, “Never have I ever seen so great a genocide as the one the Gorgons inflicted on my people.” And I want to be, like, no, you’re supposed to say fun stuff, but I don’t want to make her feel bad, so I just nod and take a sip. We finish the bottle and I get on the rocket, and that’s where I am now, just riding back home through space. And the pilot just said, “If you go to the observation deck, you can see a view of earth.” And I didn’t look the last time, but this time I kind of want to look, because who knows when I’ll get another chance? So I guess this is the end of my diary, because phones don’t work up there. So I guess I’m just going to turn this phone off and go up there. Okay. This is it. I’m doing it. I’m turning this off. I’m going up there. Simon Rich is the author of The Last Girlfriend on Earth, What in God’s Name, Ant Farm, Free-Range Chickens, and Elliot Allagash. His work appears frequently in The New Yorker. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Excerpted from the book Spoiled Brats by Simon Rich. Copyright © 2014 by Simon Rich. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company. All rights reserved. *

I would never admit this to anyone, but sometimes I wonder if Derek and I are even compatible. I mean, I love him with all my heart, and I know he loves me, even though he’s never, like, said the words, or what- ever. But the thing is, we have pretty different interests. For example, he’s really into full-immersion virtual reality first-person shooter games and I’m really into, like, relationships. That’s the whole reason why I’m major- ing in communications – because I want to work for a non-profit when I graduate and try to save the world. I know a lot of people would say that’s a crazy pipe dream, and I should just give up, but I’m, like, you only live once and you have to seize the day or whatever. There’s this quote I saw once on my friend Karen’s yearbook page and I liked it so much that I put it on my yearbook page, even though I knew everyone would be, like, “you copied that from Karen,” but I was, like, who cares, I like the quote. It goes: “shoot for the moon, because even if you miss you’ll end up among the stars.” When I first saw that, I was, like, oh my God, I’m going to freaking cry, because I freaking love that. I try to talk about this kind of stuff with Derek, but it never works, because he doesn’t like to have deep conversations. All he wants to do is play his video games, and break his S O I CALL HI M AN D TEXT H IM A ND LEA V E A V O ICEMA I L A N D A HOL O GRA M AND I EVEN SE N D HIM A T EL E PATHI C MES S AGE, E VEN T H O UGH T HEY’ R E EXPENSIVE, A N D M Y PLAN DOE S N’T COVER T H EM IF I’ M ROAMI N G, B U T DERE K NE V ER R ESP O NDS. kill records, which are, like, really high, but so what? I’m trying to decide now whether to text him goodnight. I kind of want to, because I miss him like crazy, but also part of me is, like, he doesn’t deserve it, because I’ve sent him goodnight texts for nine straight days and he hasn’t written me back once. I don’t want to play games, though, because I don’t believe in them, so I’ll probably just text him what I always text him, which is, “Goodnight, XO, I love you.” October 10 th 3014 Derek broke up with me. That’s why I haven’t been recording new entries, because it happened four days ago, and since then I’ve just been crying. I was taking a quiz when he called me up out of the blue. You’re not supposed to use your phone in class, but Narvia was distracted, because


Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker