AWP made me want a cigarette. Well, not a cigarette, but to have cigarette smoke blown in my face by a hot guy. It was the worst on the last night when this very attractive animal of a man was rolling his own cigarettes while we all drank in the hotel bar. He couldn't smoke in the bar, so he asked if anyone wanted to go outside and smoke with him. I tried to come up with a way to decline a cigarette and yet ask if I could stand next to him while he smoked. There was no way. I stayed inside and thought maybe when he came back he would lean over to talk to us and a little bit of stale smoke breath would creep out of his mouth and into my nose. It didn't happen.
I met my soul mates, though. I would give you their names, but what if you think you're one of them and it turns out you're not? You are, though. You probably are. One of my soul mates tweeted about how that week in Chicago changed his life and how he was crying because he missed everyone. Then he deleted the tweet. I saw it and put my hand to my heart and thought, "I know what you mean." The connecting of faces to names was religious. I met Roxane Gay and it was like going behind the curtain in a temple.
Josh was with me. Josh isn't a writer, but Josh is a reader. Josh bought a ton of books. Josh danced. Josh made all the ladies go yeah. Josh was honest with me about my reading. "It was a little fast," he said. Josh was right. Don't tell him, but Josh is always right when it comes to things like that. Josh and I had a lot of whiskey gingers that were mostly ginger.
I met my best internet friend. I knew her by her hair. I miss her. She kissed my tattoos and then she made other people kiss my tattoos. Once upon a time, I internet joked about this one guy kissing my tattoos. When this guy was around, Josh would poke me and say, "There he is," and I would just look the other way like it didn't even matter. My one regret, I guess.
Chicago doesn't have better food than Kansas City. Josh and I ate a lot of OK food. We took the train and the bus and we went all over trying to eat the best of the best as determined by food critics. The stand out was this torta place, XOCO. The flavors, y'all. In every other way, Kansas City has Chicago beat.
People kept telling me I didn't look like my online pictures. I was taller or nicer or hotter, depending. Thank you, everyone. You were hotter, too. You all had very nice hands.