You Scream, I Scream
I zoomed in on the phone screen, the app’s map clear as day said, “Frostie Freeze.” Eric’s tiny character, his bitmoji, was his exact match, a virtual representation of self. Every snap chatter had one, and we spent way too much time customizing their little outfits, the hair, and the skin with tattoos or wrinkles. Eric’s bitmoji had choppy rugged brown hair, he would add gel for a messier look when he wanted to dress up. I’m surprised he added the wrinkles in his forehead and center creases between his eyebrows. He had no shame in his bushy eyebrows, his hairdresser would trim them at every visit. Except he did lie about his red-orange beard, not sharing the real color, he left that part out. If he was feeling beyond impulsive, more towards chaotic, and wanted to listen to me for once, he’d go full Packers quarterback Arron Roger’s porn stache, which I thought was the cutest thing.
His twin floated the green meadows on the map, even the map knew it was sunny and the header read “L’Anse 76 F degrees.” The water nearby painted Lake Superior in repetitive blue swiggle waves. Bitmoji Eric stood staring back at me through the screen. I zoomed in on the stagnate charm that shared my boo thing’s location. He was on the corner of L’Anse Avenue and East Broad Street.
It was 6:31pm on a Thursday, he was just getting off work.
I never check snap maps, I’m not one of those psychos trying to catch their man in the woods drinking or find their cousin at the casino. It’s usually an accident, I happen to swipe to right and the map just pops up.
Okay, sometimes I checked snap maps to see if my sister was home or find where my mom was, especially if it’s been over three or four hours, and my mom hasn’t called me to talk about the new episode of Yellowstone. Eric and I binged watched it in two weeks, I could have watched it in a day, but I patiently waited every night until 10pm or 11pm most nights to drag his ass in the house from working on the truck or the dangerous dirt bike he loved. The sun was on my side, telling him to get in the house, but Yellowstone helped; it was the one show he had come in at 10:06pm for.
Okay, sometimes I checked snap maps to see if Eric was done with work. I missed him. I wanted to tell him my day sucked, or my day was so good, that I finally woke up well and made it to work at 8:08am.
I wanted to call him, so I checked snap maps, expecting to see him still at Jesse’s Auto Shop. Jesse and Eric are workaholics. They’d stare at trucks and cars all day if their women would let them. Then be right back at it at 6am the next sunny morning, driving across the head of the bay.
He was off work. My new intuition and fourth instinct, the one after being Native, second to growing up on the rez, and right after being a woman, the fourth magic power was becoming a mother. My gut told me to zoom in, where was he?
Why did I look? Why did I scrunch my fingers deeper, narrowing the specific location?
And there he was at 6:31pm on a Thursday at Frostie Freeze. I bite my teeth down hard against each other. I started to sweat. How could he!
I couldn’t even call him because I couldn’t breathe.
I typed his lying little bitmoji, how dare he, “WOwuh Frostie Freeze!”
I typed again, “You really just want to break up today don’t you.” I wanted to cry; I always think of him.
He called me, I ignored him in hate. No. Now I didn’t want to talk to him.
He called again, knowing I wasn’t answering now. He typed me back, “Wah, I just really wanted a Half and Half real bad.” His favorite, the most basic fucking thing, half vanilla and half chocolate, not even dipped in chocolate or butterscotch, or dipped in nuts with whipped cream or a cherry on top. How could he! I wanted to scream.
He called again, I had to answer this time, ‘cause I really wanted ice cream too. Shit.
“What do you want, hurry?”
“Eric you forgot about me, I never forget about you. Anywhere I go, I think, awe Eric would love that. Eric loves glazed donuts. Eric would want a cheeseburger with just ketchup. Oh, Eric hates Chinese, but loves fortune cookies, he can have mine even though I need to know my future I go without, and I’ll steal him extra. Eric’s had a late one and I’ll make him cheesy bread with a side of ranch. He will be so happy.”
“Sorry, it looked so good driving by.”
“But you weren’t even gonna think about your 18 weeks pregnant girlfriend, carrying your son.”
“Noooo.” He elongated the “O’s,” he better not fucking laugh.
“Well,” I paused so hurt still, “I want a Turtle Sunday with carmel instead of chocolate sauce and pecans and whip cream with a cherry on top.
“I gotta go.” He’s always got to go somewhere, where? What a weirdo, he ends every call as if he is so busy. He has big things he just has to do. I tease him, “What big things do you got to do today?” Or his other go-to is “I’ll call you back?” When? I needed specificity in my life, some people like concrete details. And he doesn’t call back, liar!
But I knew he would get the goods, or else.
He typed me again a minute later on the sunny car ride across the head of the bay home, “Fuck, this ice cream’s about to make a mess everywhere.”
That’s what he gets.
Okay, I love him again.
Tashina Emery is a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts.