Mayra wanted to live forever, but not as a vampire. She’d read all of Twilight and was unimpressed with its pack of sexy Nosferatus, and even less with the prose. She was getting on into her twenties and didn’t want to wait until her eyelids drooped to look for a solution to aging. In truth, she had tried the vampire thing. Her ex-boyfriend Tobias had died and come back to life, going on a promiscuous binge after they had a big fight and upon his return, he bit Mayra on the neck during makeup sex. Mayra felt an instant surge of erotic desire, and they tried many hot positions, all of them satisfactory, and other practices that she was too shy to write down, preferring that the reader of the novel do so. Your favorite sexual positions here. Do not be embarrassed if you have only one or two; you can leave this space blank. Since she was bulimic, it was easier to not have to throw up actual food, just to vomit blood instead after she had feasted on a random stranger. Mayra needed at least three ounces of blood per day to stay fresh and young. That was the most she could keep down, yet she did suffer from a tendency to binge. After a few weeks, Mayra noticed that she could no longer see her reflection in the dark sheen of her cell phone. She thought about making a selfie of her face for the wallpaper, but this solution seemed entirely too narcissistic.
No, Mayra would simply have to give up eternal life. She brought the matter up with Tobias during one of their hyper-gymnastic lovemaking situations. She figured he’d be more receptive at that moment. Tobias claimed there was no going back, but after several minutes of her needling, he admitted that there was a simple, though little known trick. They only had to lock pinkies and say “Do over” at the same time. “That’s all?” “Yeah, that’s pretty much it.” They locked pinkies. The superhuman strength ebbed out of her. Mayra walked to the pantry and ate half a bag of stale flaming hot Cheetos, which she promptly threw up in an orange puddle. She went to Pandora and put on Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, even though it didn’t specifically apply to her situation. That song merely prompted a reflex that allowed her to shed tears, not that different from puking. With an empty stomach and mild heartburn, Mayra realized the only way to live eternally, without remaining a ghoul of the night, a feverish femme-rodent with an exorbitant libido, was to write herself into a story—better put, to create her destiny. For isn’t that what life is? She picked up the phone to use the Note Pad and immediately noticed her reflection in the sheen of the black screen right before it lit up. That faint yet clear image was like the annunciation of a blessed angel. With her thumb, she wrote the first words of her story: “Mayra wanted to live forever, but not as a vampire.”
No longer possessing eternal life, and not having Tobias for a boyfriend anymore, due to misgivings over his having bitten her while undead, Mayra realized that she couldn’t waste time in finding a new boyfriend. She reactivated her OK Cupid account and saw how plain and nondescript her profile was. Other than the attractive lines of her body in the bikini photo, result of her constant binge-purge cycle, she came across as exceedingly bland. She thought about setting herself apart by describing her brief stint as a vampire, and the epic sexual prowess it had given her, but she was no longer a vampire, in fact she had zero libido at the moment, so if she alluded to it, she’d be no better than the person who posts a ten-year-old picture and pretends it’s from now. Maybe she should have stayed undead—but it was too late for that. She perused men’s profiles, many shirtless, with trophy fish and muscle cars, weapons, and backgrounds that were possibly private islands they owned, or just a selfie in Cabo.
She read the aggressive, semi-literate, self-inflating prose of the “alphas” that her girlfriends were so attracted to, until each fling ended in disaster after a few weeks or months. All at once it came upon Mayra that she had only ever dated white men—at least she thought they were white. Sometimes it was hard to tell, and she never brought up the matter, wanting to believe that she was post-racial. Now the thought of interracial dating intrigued her. In Los Angeles, everyone seemed to date people of other races; it was no big deal for them. She began to separate out men of different colors into virtual stacks. It was not as easy as she thought, especially if she ignored the verbal self-descriptions, which she inherently mistrusted, and concentrated on the photos, which admittedly could have been photo-shopped. Who was Hispanic? Did people even use that word to refer to themselves, except on a census form? Was it okay to say Latino for everybody with ancestors from south of San Diego? What about Black? Was there only one kind of black? Or should she separate them off by place of origin, such as the Caribbean or Compton? Asian seemed a vast category, encompassing billions. Some of the so-called Asian guys looked cute, with spiked hair and form-fitting suits, shoes expensive and shiny, standing with one foot hoisted on a car bumper, as if they came out of a gangster movie.
But what was the first part of the hyphen before American? Korean-American? Chinese-American? Filipino-American? Mayra played a game of guessing the ethnicity of the person based on the photo, but she couldn’t distinguish a Korean-hyphen from a Chinese-hyphen. Did that make her post-racial? Or racist? Was she like one of those tipsy people who blurt out at a dinner party, “They all look the same!” Or accidentally says “you people” when speaking to a new friend of a different skin persuasion? So much misunderstanding was going on in the news, she didn’t want to become part of the problem, or make anyone mad, in or out of bed. She wasn’t even entirely sure what race she was. Her mother used to talk about Guadalajara or Guyana or Guatemala, she couldn’t remember which, and said her grandfather was from there. Name your five favorite minorities, in order of preference and draw at least a crude picture of each. It will be taken for granted that some people never learned to draw above a third-grade level and no editorial intent will be construed. Mayra began to consider that it might be better not to date at all until she got things better sorted out. She went to the freezer for mocha ice cream. As she spooned her way through a scoop, its frigid coffee-chocolate slowly melting on her tongue, she closed her eyes and began to imagine all those men in her stacks as different flavors of ice cream. She began to feel aroused, as she contemplated eating them, one by one. Returning to OK Cupid, she picked the ones who looked sexy and appealing to her, not even bothering to read the profiles. People made up so much bullshit about themselves, it was better to ignore their self-representation and go straight to the flavor.
Kim the Foodie