Donner, Party of Two (excerpt)

Billy and I have been dating for over a month, and I practically love him. This, despite the fact that he is a little bit stupid, not great-looking per se, that his body has problem areas. Despite his vanity, his too-frequent checkups in shop windows when we walk, in mirrored walls at pizza places, before the medicine cabinet when we shower together, in the sides of Coca-Cola cans purchased from street vendors before he takes a sip. Despite his poor table manners, his chewing with his mouth open and talking with his mouth full. Despite the fact that for the most part I can’t stand him and that frequently on our dates, while he speaks, I find myself fantasizing about dying alone, about freezing in a snowy glen somewhere miles from civilization, my body becoming rigid as I lie motionless and the indifferent snow whirls all around me—I open my mouth and let some flakes disintegrate on my tongue because I’m thirsty, because I haven’t eaten or drunk anything for days, because I took a shortcut on my way to California with a band of settlers hoping for a better life out West. Looking up from where I lie freezing, I blink into the terrifying vast, into the violent white consuming the trees, the mountains, all and everything, until my mind also goes white, and I become more and more tired, drifting slowly into the final sleep. Then, interrupting my thoughts, Billy will say with his mouth full, “You mind if I steal a few fries?”