Her Name: Jessica. It means rich and God beholds in Hebrew. It seems to be prophetic, even if it happened to be one of the most popular names the year she was born (1981).
Location: They both live in San Francisco. I imagine the top apartment of a row house, his bikes hanging on a wall, her shoes strewn inside the doorway, a mattress in the middle of the floor, careless white sheets, and lots of potted plants. The smell of incense like he’d always burn, heavy on the patchouli.
Profile Photo: She is beautiful—like, princess-of-some-obscure-country beautiful or my-dad-is-a-B-list-celebrity-and-my-mom’s-a-performance-artist beautiful. She doesn’t wear makeup or else she’s the kind of person who can do her makeup to look like she doesn’t wear any. There is something exotic about her. Maybe it’s the way she’s looped a scarf around her head, or the way she’s laughing at something outside of the frame. I wonder if it’s him. I remember once, after stopping at a 7-11 for snacks, we were driving back to his place. He asked me, from the passenger seat, if he had anything on his face. I turned my head slightly to see his chin, mouth, and nose completely covered in toxic-orange Cheetos dust. He would do things like this all the time: surprise me with his strangeness.
A closer inspection reveals that there are no photos of the two of them together, and I wonder if that means something or if it’s just some kind of security setting that’s caused the omission.
Her job: She works in international relations. She travels often—she has one of those world map images where you pin the places you’ve been, covered in colored dots like mutant freckles. He’d had a paper map on the wall in his bedroom, with a jagged line drawn in blue pen from Alexandria, Virginia to Seattle, the place he wanted to go back to once he saved up enough money. He used to be a bike messenger there in his twenties, had shown me a picture of himself after a serious accident where he had almost died. His face, bloodied and swollen, was almost unrecognizable. I remember the sensation of wanting to cry when I looked at it, a tickle in my nose.
Interests: She runs marathons. There is a picture of her in tiny shorts crossing a finish line. Sinewy arms and legs glisten with a sheen of sweat that makes her glow like some otherworldly creature. I bet she has green smoothies for breakfast and a purse full of dry roasted almonds. I bet she poops at least four times a day thanks to her diet of raw foods.
I wonder if he’s quit smoking. I remember how we smoked cigarettes out his window in the middle of March in our underwear because his landlord had a no-smoking rule, but we didn’t feel like getting dressed to go out on the porch. There was a coating of snow on the ground, moonlight illuminating our pairs of footprints on the sidewalk where we’d stumbled in.
She probably also does yoga before bed, on their bed, the bed they share together, and he probably stares at her ass while she’s in downward-facing dog and then they do it doggy-style, which was his favorite position—I had imagined so he could imagine someone else, someone he’d lost or hadn’t found yet. Someone not-me.
Her Last Facebook Update: Over two years ago—she changed her cover photo to an image of a colorful market in some foreign country I don’t recognize because I’ve never been anywhere but here. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t use Facebook because she’s too busy with real life. With him. Riding bikes and boarding planes and smoking pot and having sex and drinking beer and taking walks and buying groceries.
I imagine their first date: They probably went to see some obscure band play a house show. She probably wore jeans she had since high school and a plain tank. Tiny stud earrings. Flat shoes. A little mascara. Essential oil dabbed behind her ears instead of perfume. She probably let him kiss her on the cheek at her door at the end of the night. She probably didn’t even fall asleep with her phone under her pillow, so he probably called her. Her lack of desperation was just what he’d been looking for.