by Colter Ruland
You should pay for the hotel room on your mother’s credit card. It’s near Washington Square. There’s a park bench. You can sit there and wonder whether your mother will notice it on her statement; she paid for the trip after all. In the meantime, you’re waiting for check-in since your flight landed early—tailwinds or something like that—and there’s a whole eight hours to kill before your connection. Somebody walks up and sits next to you on the bench and you can’t help but feel ousted. You get a splinter when you move your hand across the wood to make room for him; he’s so close on the bench despite the dozens of other empty benches. The splinter turns blue under the skin. Then you hear the guy next to you say, Ouch, and you realize the person has been J all along. He’s shorter and a little heavier than what his profile had indicated just before you’d set your phone to airplane mode. You say, Shit, sorry, I didn’t recognize you. And he says something like, That’s fine, baby. You’re just fine.