I met Gwen after a hard right swipe on Tinder. Through Gwen I met Wren. Gwen and Wren live above and below each other in an overflowing apartment building four blocks from my home.
Wren and I decide to go to the beach. I call up Dinah as I walk to Wren’s and invite her to join the trip, giving her our predicted coordinates (left of the lifeguard, towards the water; she knew the exact spot). Dinah dated my ex. Dinah ran into the same trouble as I had with said ex and left my ex, promptly contacting me so we could essentially talk shit about who was now our ex. It was an indisputable bond.
Wren, Dinah, and I go to the beach. At the beach, Sarah stumbles upon us. If you ask me, Sarah and I went on exactly one date that lasted 13 hours, making out at the end over whiskeys neat. Neither of us will ever confirm or deny whether it was an actual date we went on or whether we just hung out a few hours too long. Of course we are still extremely cordial, if not overly cordial, with one another whenever we see each other, which now is quite often.
Sarah joins us on the blanket as Dinah is telling of a date she went on with a new person she is very interested in, a rarity for Dinah. Sarah asks, oh is that RN? Dinah was baffled. It was. Sarah knew RN through their mutual friend Liza. Sarah, RN, and Liza are all playwrights. I had met Liza previous to Sarah and I going on our 13-hour disputable date.
RN told Liza who told Sarah about Dinah. And because Dinah is a unique name and Sarah met Dinah when I invited Natalie over to Dinah’s roof for fireworks and Natalie also brought Sarah, Sarah instantly knew it was my Dinah.
Next summer I move from this City and think thank God, a new pool of gays to rest in. I calculate that if I am at least 84 miles from you at all times my chances of running into you are X. Good odds.
I go to the farmers’ market and I touch all of the greens – the kales, broccolis, the peppers, the mint, the cucumbers. A vendor and I agree yes yes this town is so special and no no we would never move to the other side of the river.
Suddenly there comes a hand on my shoulder, my name called out loud. When I turn it’s Liz. I went on two dates with Liz and she was so rude to our bartender that I deleted her number immediately upon home arrival. I say Liz! Hello! What are you doing here in this very small, very far away town from the larger, more obvious city we met in? And Liz says, I moved here two months ago! We should absolutely get together. We do a secret handshake and part ways, never to see each other again.
That summer is the summer I realize there is no escape.