9 am: Jon and I skip the jog and eat egg sandwiches with my aunt and uncle. I tell my aunt about the first article I wrote where I called myself a “lonely homosexual virgin”. I regret telling this to her.
10 am: I say goodbye to my uncle and aunt, to whom I am especially grateful for housing and feeding me. We hit the road.
2 pm: Jon and I stop at the Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria, Kansas. It’s a giant church that’s incredibly beautiful, and no one is inside. The walls begin to bleed due to my presence so I leave.
7 pm: We arrive in Denver, Colorado. We stay with my aunts, whom I’ll call “Aunt Tegan and Aunt Sara”. Aunt Tegan takes Jon and I out to dinner and we discuss the gay scene in Denver. Turns out, Denver is very gay.
8 pm: My Aunt Tegan takes us by the apartment she and my Aunt Sara are moving to. There is a Noodles and Co near it. I am pleased.
9 pm: We sit on my Aunts’ back porch and sip San Pellegrinos. We talk about my Aunts’ upcoming wedding. I am excited to attend my first lesbian wedding, and pray it won’t be my last.
11 pm: Jon and I have another philosophical conversation, this time about my need for validation. Jon is purposely withholding of any validation. I cry myself to sleep.
9 am: We have bagel sandwiches for breakfast. My Aunt Sara teases me for liking blueberry. I stay strong in the face of criticism, knowing that blueberry bagels are delicious.
10 am: We drive to Boulder, Colorado to hike Mt Chatauqua. There are many shirtless men on the hike and I am pleased. One of them looks rugged and has a beard. My expectations of Colorado are fulfilled.
12 pm: We reach a high point on the mountain overlooking the city of Boulder.
“Can you see your home from here?” I ask my Aunt Sara.
“Well, we live in Denver, so no,” says my Aunt Sara.
I am embarrassed.
2 pm: We have lunch at a nice restaurant. I’m asked when I first knew I was gay.
“Well, Just Dance by Lady Gaga came out and it all happened very quickly after that.”
4 pm: We stop at a bookstore in Denver. I buy two books on acting and a card for my aunts. I find the gay section of the bookstore and inspect a large picture book entitled “Beefcakes”. I am pleased.
430 pm: We go to the music store next door. I buy a Sara Bareilles cd for my aunts without them knowing.
“What did you buy?” my Aunt Tegan asks.
“Nothing,” I say sneakily.
She is not convinced.
6 pm: We arrive back in Denver. Jon goes on a jog while I apply to Starbucks. I call a Grassroots campaign as well to set up an interview.
“Are you willing to do a canvassing job?” asks my Aunt Tegan. “That seems difficult.”
I realize what I’ve signed up for and decide to call and cancel the interview at a later date so as not to seem fickle.
8 pm: We eat dinner and discuss the wedding. I am nervous about finding housing and a job. I call my parents and complain.
10 pm: Jon and I have another philosophical conversation on the front porch. We are quickly running out of things to talk about. I begin to make up traumatic events in my past to seem interesting. He doesn’t buy it. We go to bed.
9 am: We awake and agree not to jog. I hide the card and cd in my aunt’s kitchen for them to find, like planting a bomb- a kindness bomb. I eat a blueberry bagel and my aunt makes fun of me, but I know what’s what.
10 am: We hit the road. We stop by a marijuana dispensary on the way out of town, to see what one looks like. They don’t let us in because we have vertical ID’s. I feel the need to make it clear to the man working there that I was not going to buy anything, because I don’t smoke pot.
“I just wanted to see what it looked like!” I say as I leave. “I don’t smoke pot, I’ve actually been sober for 6 months now.”
“Great,” he says.
“No but for real. Just so you know. I’m not a pothead,” I say.
“Ok,” he says.
“No but really.”
I leave without further incident.
5 pm: We stop at Goblin Valley in Utah on our way to Teasdale. We go for a hike on one of the trails, and quickly get lost. I take the opportunity to pose on some rocks.
“What’s this one called, Desert Flower?” Jon says. I allow it.
530 pm: Jon and I discuss what it would be like to be a serial killer in Goblin Valley. Rather, I discuss it and Jon tries to ignore me.
“I mean, think about how easy it would be. You hide behind some rocks, kill someone who’s walking alone, wait till dusk, then go and move the only car left in the parking lot. You could bury the body literally anywhere out here. Plus you could move from park to park and be undetected,” I say.
“Please stop,” says Jon.
I write the word “Death” in the sand with an arrow pointing towards the end of the path.
6 pm: Jon and I find a cavern. We aren’t sure if we are supposed to go in it, so I do.
“Do you think we’re the first homosexuals in this cavern?” I ask.
I play “Ghost Town” by Adam Lambert on my phone.
“No one’s ever done this before,” I whisper.
7 pm: We get back to our car. We continue the rest of the way to Teasdale. Finally we arrive at a gas station. My card doesn’t work and I have no cell phone service. I begin to panic. Finally I manage to get a bar, so I call my dad.
“Dad, I can’t talk long. You need to call Well’s Fargo and tell them I’m in Utah so not to cancel my card. Tell me if you understand.”
10 pm: We arrive at our motel. We drop off our stuff to go get food. Everywhere is closed except for a cowboy bar. I am intrigued but Jon is concerned about danger. We have gas station subs and beef jerky for dinner.
11 pm: Jon watches I Love Lucy as my nose begins to bleed. I hear him laughing from the bathroom as I plug tissue after tissue into my nose, cursing the dry air. There are ants on the floor. I do not like Utah. I curl up in bed, trying to fall asleep in the 100 degree weather. Halfway through the night I realize there is an air conditioner. I am embarrassed.
9 am: I wake up, tired.
“I’m setting the alarm for 10,” I say. Jon grunts.
10 am: I wake up, still tired. I set the alarm for 11 without telling Jon. I go back to sleep.
11 am: I wake up, again tired. I fall back asleep without setting the alarm.
1130 am: I wake up. Jon is up. My sinuses feel like the Mojave Desert. I watch with envy as Jon uses his nasal spray. He offers it to me but I refuse, resolving to suffer in silence.
12 pm: We go to a café for lunch. Soft Native American choral odes play in the background as I feel guilty for manifest destiny. We both order the BLT and plan our hike for the day.
1 pm: We go to the Visitor’s Center and get a map. I choose the Cohab Canyon route for us. It is moderately strenuous and I am feeling moderate today.
130 pm: We arrive at Cohab Canyon. We pack two large water bottles and two granola bars. We begin our ascent.
“I want an active boyfriend so he and I can do stuff like this,” Jon says.
I resolve to get an inactive boyfriend who will never subject me to something like this.
It is extremely hot and sunny. I reapply suntan lotion every 5 minutes. The first part of the trail is climbing the side of the mountain. I need to stop for a water break several times.
“I love that whole colonial gold-digger history. If I lived back then I would have loved to have done that,” Jon says.
“I would have been a lady of the night,” I say.
“You would have been the town concubine?” says Jon.
“If it means I don’t have to do any of the manual labor, yes, absolutely. Take my body just don’t make me work in the heat,” I say.
2 pm: We reach the top of the mountain. There are two trails- one that leads downhill and one that is a steep climb.
“Let’s take this one!” Jon says, pointing to the climb. I nearly push him off the mountain.
We take the downhill path.
230 pm: I begin to feel adventurous and start climbing on rocks. Jon is more hesitant. I fall off of a rock and scrape my arm. Jon is even more hesitant.
Finally, we begin to feel lost. We can’t tell if we’ve gone past the end of the trail, but I resolve to keep going. It’s not until I reach the side of a cliff that I begin to realize that my life may be in danger. I am sitting on a small plateau on the side of this cliff, realizing that I don’t know how to get back up.
“I’m not helping you,” Jon says.
“I know,” I say.
My life flashes before my eyes. It is a lot less exciting than I thought it was. I resolve to do more fun things, as long as they don’t involve mountain climbing.
4 pm: I find my way back on top of the mountain. My desire to live renewed, I am more careful on our hike back. Finally, we arrive back at the front side of the mountain where our car is located. I am tired and thirsty, and probably sunburned.
“That was so much fun,” Jon says as we descend. “I wish we could hike some more.”
I stop myself from pushing him off of the mountain again.
6 pm: We arrive back at our motel, and I take a shower. My nose bleeds again. I am completely over Utah at this point.
7 pm: Jon and I go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. I order the steak and try and seem heterosexual. We are in a rural town in Utah, after all, and I don’t want any trouble. I then pull out my rainbow wallet to pay for my dinner. I do not think my waitress is convinced.
9 pm: Jon and I park on the side of the road and wait for the sun to go down. I do that thing where you close your eyes and wait for the stars to come out before opening them.
“It’s going to take at least half an hour,” Jon says. “What are we gonna talk about in the meantime?”
“Did you know that the reason Voldemort died at the end of Harry Potter is because Harry Potter was the true master of the Elder Wand, and so when Voldemort tried to kill him using it, the wand wouldn’t harm its true master and so it rebounded on Voldemort?”
“Huh,” Jon says.
10 pm: I open my eyes. There are many stars and it is very pretty. We get back in the car and drive home. We sit out behind the motel, watching the sky and listening to Sara Bareilles. I am still feeling anxious about finding a place to live, so Jon and I play a game where we go back and forth saying things we’re grateful for. It is cheesy but it makes me feel better.
11 pm: I become afraid of serial killers so we go back inside and read scary stories online. This doesn’t help. I fall asleep with the covers pulled over me.
9 am: I wake up, excited to finally arrive in Los Angeles later that day. I take my last long luxurious shower before I have to start conserving water in California.
10 am: We stop at the gas station for beef jerky. “Let’s go!” Jon says. Within 3 minutes of leaving the station we get pulled over because Jon was speeding. The cop lets us off with a warning. Jon drives like an old lady for the rest of the day.
1 pm: We switch places so I can drive. My nose starts to bleed again. Instead of stopping it, I snapchat it. Jon judges me. I decide not to send the snapchat. I bleed all over everything.
4 pm: We stop at a gas station in California. The sign on the bathroom door says “3 people can use the waterfall urinal! Don’t be shy!” I am confused. I enter the bathroom and there is a giant waterfall that you pee into. I’m not sure what I was expecting.
7 pm: We arrive in Los Angeles. We stop at In n Out Burger. I am convinced I saw Chris Brown driving behind us and Iggy Azalea ordering a number 3.
8 pm: We get to the building we’ll be staying at. It is nice, but the rest of Los Angeles is dirty and scary. I go to sleep for the night. The rest of my life begins!