Introduction: This is an excerpt from a novel on the verge of progressing, Notes From the Upper Rooms of My Mind. There is a church somewhere in the novel, a site of trauma, and an imagined trauma.  
from Notes From the Upper Rooms of My Mind
Recently, I followed a memory from California on 34th Street. I was convinced it was her. My Jezebel from high school. She breezed the sidewalk with pride and ease, like a model for high-end tote bags. Or maybe I was seeing things, courtesy of the alcohol in my system. I should’ve ignored André and Matthew’s text messages that evening. In the end, I gave in. I gave in to the spirit and pressures of male-bonding. I let them console me at this bar, when they heard the news. The email in question was from my girlfriend. I would’ve preferred a phone call. But her fingers love the keyboard too much. The event is now archived in my inbox, that we’re over, just like that, over, kaput. It was cold. I haven’t replied. You were cancelled. Matthew’s correction felt like a knife. It sounded too final, like unfriending someone on social media.  
At the bar, the story of my ‘cancellation’ led to random topics, as though my situation is just a pretext for other subjects we can ruminate for our brand of humor, acerbic, vague, but, as always, vulgar.  Matthew had a thing about curved balls, when it comes to relationships. But soon, André edged him on the aggressive nature of women in the age of social media. We were raving quietly about the toxicity levels of our masculinities. We had a data-sheet of their origins, as well, spewed out in laughter, as we remembered moments in childhood chasing alleys and street-corners in San Francisco, fishing afternoons on a lake near Jacksonville, and skateboarding on the heatwaves of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.  
We were mansplaining ourselves on the habits of our minds when it comes to women, like we were desperate but, at the same time, reluctant to evolve into a different form of masculinity, something less Neanderthal, less hunter-gatherer, but rather hunter-maternal perhaps, a softer straight man with a bevelled edge, or whatever men needs to do to make themselves feel non-toxic to women. We were trying to gauge and critique our sense of wokeness to ourselves. Our desperation is palpable. It’s a continuation of an on-going, but convoluted conversation, between the three of us. The point is to update and revamp our radars, if we want our future relationships to last, and mean something. It’s all about signs, and the signifiers of female behaviour. And I’m bad at signs. That’s why this woman who is now my ex turned my deficiency into an essay, and titled her email: It’s time to demystify
Of course, I was immediately mystified, as though I’d been on alien territory with her, all this time.  Cluelessness now had a new cohort: Marlon.  Her sincerity crawled under my skin like an apology. I loved the clarity of her thoughts. The clarity of indignation delivered in smooth, mellifluous prose.  But it’s just an elegant way of saying ‘Fuck-you, babe.’ She psychoanalysed our differences, and the reasons why we’re not the right fit. And her psycho-babble somehow convinced me she was right.  Ending her email with an emoji of a palm tree feels like a celebration for the ‘cancellation’ of our relationship. I can see the beautiful people around that tree, clad in the barest garments like everyone in Miami. That’s where the email was composed. Florida is her next stop, to cover a new wave of migration coming from the Caribbean and South America for a dream magazine.  
But before she left that morning, we did it right there on the balcony overlooking the Hudson River, where she and I moaned like nobody’s business. She trusted her mouth on my mouth with a new intensity that day, as though we were commemorating a new chapter in our relationship. It’s rare to meet another exhibitionist in this world, or another member of the mile-high club for that matter. We even got an audience on the parkway that morning. It was a boost to my showmanship. I saw hands waving, whistling in our direction. But it was simply a farewell fuck, perhaps my best, to date. I’m sure we’re famous now, admired and envied by thousands of likes on Instagram, YouTube, or some porn site. But I’ve never had a girlfriend as smart as Brigitte before, my Brooklyn Bardot, a Bard graduate, then another degree from the Sorbonne.  
She had spent time in a parlor to ink my name above her ass, right below the line from Emily Dickinson that says I hide myself within my flower. Merci Beaucoup, babe. It’s an honor. She was the first woman in my messy life who had the courage to do that kind of thing. And I still remember the first time we went out last year, when the chilly winds of November blew some good vibes about her in my direction. It was the evening she ate oysters like they were her first meal for the day. Later, I sucked her tits like I was hungry for more oysters. And now she’s tossing me out like another useless, oyster shell.

M. Liberto Gorgoni lives on a matrix of faultlines. His work has appeared in the Eunoia Review and Otoliths. He lights the sun with questionable lucidities behind the Hollywood sign.