At the Tokyo Princess motel I meet a little man and the little man is 3 inches shorter than me. If I had to guess I’d say the little man weighs 50lbs less that I do and sometimes I forget if hes a particularly little man or if I am a particularly large woman. Both are probably true.
Little Man drives a Jeep with no doors. He eats oysters on the half shell but never fried ones. Never horseradish. Always lemon. Always calls his mom to say goodnight. Never coffee in the morning. Always Red Bull. Always his sister’s name in sharpie on his right elbow.
Little Man asks to sleep in my room at the motel and I have a suite so I don’t see why not. Little Man speaks his own language. He says words like, “Bizoinko” when he gets excited and a special inside joke (that no one is in on except for Little Man) is screaming “DONT TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” He screams it when I ask him to turn off the lights in the suite. Little Man’s baritone voice rattles the Tokyo Princess vending machines. He says he just wants to be friends. When he lays on top of me 7 minutes later his hip bones stab into my belly and I realize I like to feel big sometimes. I like to feel like the little man’s true source of heat. Of sustenance. In another life maybe I was Little Man’s mother. Or his sheep or something.
3 days later Little Man meets my own mother who says Little Man is sexy. Little Man says my mother is sexy too. I say “gross” but really I’m flattered on both ends. Little Man and I watch Superbad and eat cherries. Little Man loves the part when they say “McLovin bailed”. Always Maraschino. Never fresh. He says we can’t go to sleep until he teaches me how to tie a knot in the stem with my tongue. “DONT TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” I scream at Little Man. He doesn’t like this. He leaves.
Little Man breaks up with me 4 days later in a text that starts with I love you. The first and last time Little Man says this to me. I know it’s true. I know he needs me and he’s afraid to need anyone. I know that we’ll run into each other around the motel. I know it will never be the same. I weep and drink gold schnapps for a week. 2 years later I give Little Man a blowjob in his jeep. He says “Bizoinko” when it’s over. It never really is.
My Summer with Antoine
I’m walking home with Antoine from the theater and he tells me he’s a time traveler sent here from the future to protect me. Antoine loves silly games that aren’t funny. Antoine rides a skateboard with a naked anime girl on its belly and I traipse along side him beneath the buzzy orange street lamps. Everything is buzzy in Northridge in July and everything is buzzy when you’re with Antoine who wears no shirt and a news boy cap under the street lamps.
I do not love Antoine. I do not love the shape of his head or the coarseness of his laugh or his mom and her fat cheeks or how much he loves Tame Impala. As I consider this, Antoine’s furry chest glistens under the lamps that are buzzy. This confirms that I do not love Antoine and I am not sorry about it.
I do love when he takes me to Walmart and buys me Sanrio underwear. I do love when he tells me that his #1 fantasy is me naked in only a cowboy hat and frilly socks. I do love when he buys me bean and cheese burritos and I feel fat afterwards so I force myself to throw up in the San Marcos parking lot and Antoine is so deeply concerned for me that his eyes well up with tears.
Antoine loves me. He pirates all of my favorite movies. Once he pirated Fox and the Hound and we watched it at dusk when the cicadas were humming and the street lamps were buzzing and I was sobbing, sobbing because I always sob when the fox gets left in the forest and sobbing because I will soon leave Antoine and sobbing because I am not sorry about it.
No one in the history of time has ever felt like this on a Thursday in February in Woodland Hills. I’m violently itchy from the jacuzzi water but I’m horny from the smell of chlorine as it laps on the tiles and I gasp! And you say what? And I say we will move to France and I will be a famous actress who milks cows on the weekend and you will be a scientist studying how to keep me looking and feeling this young forever even though you’re failing out of school and even though I don’t speak French. You roll your eyes which makes me want to cry because I’m much more sensitive, closer to the truth of why it feels like we’ve known each other for 10 billion lifetimes. You nuzzle into my wet soggy boobs and I am a woman. Your woman. The first woman.
Then it’s dawn and you call me sexy on a couch that is oozing fluff and there’s dog shit in the corner and I tell you I want liposuction as the sun rises and you kiss me and it’s sticky and I giggle at your butt crack and dream of you the way I remember you still, my pubescent tuft of infinity with your lips like dried plums, heart like peeled grapes. vulnerable as your maltipoo Britney who will be eaten by coyotes in a few weeks.
Isabella Israel is an emerging poet, playwright, and screenwriter from Los Angeles, more specifically the San Fernando Valley, which is her biggest muse. Her work has been applauded as intimate, sensory, and nostalgic, as it highlights the people and moments that change us and delves into the truths and idiosyncrasies of what it really means to care.