Nico Rosario


Nico Rosario

Nico Rosario, when not on the dance floor, splits her time between writing about pop culture, making mixtapes, and Easy-Jet-setting.
Contact: msnicorosario [at] gmail [dot] com 

We Are Floating In Space (Can't Help Falling In Love)


And like that: he was gone. A quick embrace followed by the mounting of an overloaded backpack and he clicked his heels like Dorothy and vanished. She couldn’t even smell his scent anymore. It was as if he had never been there at all. She sat on the edge of the bed in shock. What the hell had just happened? A minute earlier, they were walking in the rain, in the city where most of their shared memories had been created. Then poof. An empty space where flesh and blood had just been.

How could she stalk those streets now? Everything was infected by him – the bedroom pillows, the subway car, the Empire State Building. Maybe it’s best to lie down for awhile. She curled up in a ball under the duvet (the damask one he had complimented her on, that she had chosen especially for him on his final evening in her bed). But she did not cry. 

Was it love at first sight? Well, no. He was cute, yes. But he seemed young, aloof, a bit smug. And she wasn’t looking for love anyway. They walked through Red Hook in search of art, pausing to photograph graffiti, keeping eyes peeled for signs of hidden studios lurking in unassuming brownstones and warehouses. The conversation was lively but nothing special. You come from far away, with pictures in your eyes... Good manners and knows his post-industrial from his neo-classical buildings. Nice kid

The switch flipped later that night, as they sauntered through Fort Greene, telling each other jokes and discovering their many overlapping interests. He’d recently biked around Boerum Hill to see Lethem’s ‘Motherless Brooklyn.’ She was awestruck that a Romanian boy would have read such a thing and he explained that since he’d been in New York, he’d read 20 books, more than in his last 5 years combined. New York had made him literary, especially with the long commute from Sunnyside to the Statue of Liberty (who had graciously extended a work visa to him for the summer). As they walked, she stole glances at him. Hmph, so he’s actually pretty smart, too. And resourceful. And God, look at that face. But no. This will only end in tears. 

The morning following his departure, she woke up in her dress from the day before. Auto-Pilot checked the phone: no missed calls, no emails, nothing of importance. This was the first day of the rest of her life and it started with a pang. I’ll eat this young whelp’s heart, I will... Was he still floating over the ocean or had he returned to his motherland and already forgotten her? Realistically, it had only been 10 hours since he’d left; was this even a fair question to ask?  Who cares? Fuck him, I’m gonna be late for work. 

A whole day passed before they reconnected via cyberspace. He was safe and sound, his flight was ok, he had jetlag, and he missed New York. Not her — The City. She tamped down her heartbreak as she composed a reply that matched his airiness. Glad to hear you’re fine, it’s raining today, I’m going to London next month, my life has not ended since you booked it outta here like a fucking ninja, I haven’t cried once, and please do drop dead. She sent it off quickly, before she got too heady. As if that were possible. As if she wasn’t living/dying inside her own head already.

His next email was more fraught. He oscillated between not sleeping at all and sleeping almost an entire day. “The experience of my shitty ass country is starting to seep in.” He was trying to spike up his mood but wasn’t sure it was working, nor how long how he could sustain it. He wanted to see her in London but couldn’t afford it. He would look into other places to meet. For the first time since he’d left, she breathed without wincing. And she booked herself a ticket for Istanbul. Not Bucharest. 

While they were in L.A. together, before he left NYC for good, she’d told him about Atlanta, where she was raised, and how much L.A. reminded her of it, with its car culture and almost-always sunny, warm days. In return, he told her about his hometown of Constanta. They called it ‘Constangeles’ because of the cities’ similarities. He painted a vision along the Black Sea that was content, alive, and full of wonder. The smells of our homelands, acting like lovers… She wanted to see it in the flesh. He invited her to come. She said she’d think about it but probably not. He was surprised by this reply, almost as surprised as she was. But she didn’t want to see him in his environment, in his reality. She was only interested in the fantasy world they were generating in the States. How could she explain that to him? She didn’t bother, citing instead that Bucharest was probably too expensive. He dropped the subject. 

He wrote to her saying that he didn’t think he could meet her in London; everything was too pricey and he was behind at school but that Bucharest wasn’t so bad anymore; he was coping. She pondered whether to tell him about Istanbul. It was only 9 hours away by car, though he didn’t drive. Maybe there was a bus or train that he could take? She did not respond right away and instead sent him the new Tame Impala album over Dropbox. Then she put the record on (she preferred vinyl), lay her head on the pillow still tainted by him, and sighed. 

Finally, a ray of sunshine. He called (he called) to say that he missed her voice. She told him of the appointments she’d made at universities in London, where she was hoping to move for postgraduate studies. She casually mentioned her 4-day stopover in Istanbul. He casually mentioned that his girlfriend’s cancer treatment had ended and she seemed to be all but cured. Maybe they could all connect in Turkey? Sure. I’d love to meet her.

What was she doing? This man (boy, really) was unavailable in every conceivable way. He lived in another country, on a different continent. His girlfriend (his girlfriend) was recovering from a life-threatening disease. He wasn’t coming back to New York and she was about to move to London. This would never work. 

She broke. She called a friend, sobbing to her on the sidewalk, down the street from her office. Her friend listened and consoled. “Stranger things have been known to happen. You can’t predict the future. And you — you tend to make your dreams come true.” She listened and sniffled. She pulled herself together, got up from the sidewalk and walked back inside. Have some dignity. Save the drama for your novel. 

The calls from Romania increased after the trip to Turkey. The overlong, awkward, and somewhat inappropriate hug at the end of their visit was never discussed but it clung to them like dew; she could still feel his arms around her waist, the penetrating stare, the indefinable sadness between them that had to be palpable to the girlfriend (though she pretended not to notice). “I can’t stay here. This city is suffocating me. I want out.” Her city felt similarly airtight. The magic of the place had been sucked out — it was like she could see all its tricks, exposed and not even that clever. London calling at the top of the dial. After all this, won't you give me a smile? 

Calls from Bucharest morphed into calls from Copenhagen, where he’d gotten an internship at an architecture firm. A long, expansive email arrived from his new home, extolling the beauty and wonder of the Scandinavian summer. “I feel like I’m at this mythological edge of inhabited realms of man. The Danish are so fucking civilized and taken care of, it feels like they’ve reached the end of history, and are living in this post-relevance age of nowhere further to go.” He painted new pictures of faraway lands, visions that replayed during her sleep and seeped into her waking dreams. There was no now-cancer-free girlfriend in her reveries. In fact, there was not one in Copenhagen, either. 

Her acceptance letters came fast and furious. She had four schools to choose from, London quickly becoming her reality. His summer internship turned into a new position, a raise, and a semi-permanent stay in Denmark. Not returning to Romania slowly becoming his reality.

His last phone call casually mentioned a job opening in London that he was thinking of applying for.  She thought that sounded like a fine idea.