Audrey Olivero
Dear Mei
Nerd, when are you going to quit Gigi*Q? I don’t know how you can still stand it. I think about it every single time I start to hate my work. At least there’s no Gigi. At least Gigi isn’t breathing down my neck, accusing me of stealing, making me do inventory for the entire store every single day by hand, sometimes twice. Usually, let’s be honest, I can take a lot of abuse. I don’t know if I’ve matured or what but, you know, I don’t miss Gigi*Q. And I can find an excuse to miss everything, even if it hurts me. Especially if it hurts me. I miss my first retail job. I miss my dad sometimes. I miss the college where two guys on the basketball team followed my girlfriend and I around every single day, because they’d caught us talking close, the way girlfriends do, once. They followed us even after we broke up. But I still wish I’d taken a photography class, you know? Gotten to know the other theater brats better. I get all nostalgic sometimes. I don’t get that way about Gigi*Q. Which isn’t to say that things don’t suck now. I’m trying to find the energy to come pick you up from work so that we can hang out, but by the time 6 rolls around I’m so tired. Of what? Sitting at a desk? Overthinking? Nerd, when are you going to leave Gigi*Q and break up with your boyfriend like you’ve been meaning to for the past four years? I keep forgetting and then remember every time I see you that I’ve been waiting to make your dating profile. Your Tinder profile. Your Bumble profile. Whatever. I’m like “oh shit, she’s going to remind me that she’s been meaning to break up with her boyfriend” suddenly on the train, like I left a stove on somewhere I was going to, and not where I was coming from. Like I should brace myself. Like maybe this time you’ll bring it up again but not chicken out. It’s okay to have photos of yourself on the internet. Or, you know, it’s not okay, but what’s not doing it going to get you? A boyfriend. Which you could get easily, because you’re hot and funny and no one can tell what age you are. Which sounds like smoke up your ass, but it’s true, because I’m a good friend, but I’m not that good of a friend. Like, you didn’t know I had a girlfriend for a few years until just now. That’s okay, though, because I mostly didn’t tell you because you’re a little homophobic. Like, you make homophobic jokes about some of the people that used to come to our store looking to buy some tights. Also, based on all that, I don’t know if you’d really get what a bisexual is. Like, okay, you sound homophobic, but not like someone that really knows how to hate queer people in a thorough way. I don’t think you have anything more in you than thinking I make out with girls for attention and worrying I’ve been staring at your tits when your guard is down (I haven’t). And, like, I could see us having a moment where you really get it one day, but then I’d have to be honest about a girl that broke my heart during a really hard time in my life and what the fuck? That heavy bullshit is too much for the bubble tea place we like or the Forever 21 we float in and out of, or the Sunrise Mart where we get your groceries and my snacks, because no way is actual food going to survive the ride back to the Bronx. I like those uncomplicated moments. Where I’m your friend and you’re my friend and we don’t talk about what that means to either of us. Anyway, I charged my phone at the office before I left to meet you. I have a good feeling about today. We’ll nab you a rich boyfriend and we’ll never have to see the inside of Gigi*Q again. I’d pick you up, bring down the gate one final time, and we’d wonder forever about the little boutique we were trapped in, whether Alec Baldwin still fights with the paparazzi near our window display, whether Gigi ever caught the rat that crawled in, every night, through the gap in our front door. —Audrey

Audrey Olivero is a writer and editor from the South Bronx. She has named every single pigeon she’s ever met.