This week, New Girl creator Liz Meriwether will be in Cleveland covering the Republican National Convention for Vulture.
P and T had come together on a Friday, and by Sunday morning, it was over. They were just two letters out in the world, back at it, spelling words under the hot sun, and anyone meeting them for the first time would never be able to tell that they had, for one beautiful weekend, shared a hole.
When P closed her eyes, she could see the whole thing playing out over and over again like a movie she couldn’t decide if she wanted to forget.
It started on a Friday. P saw T from across the bar and knew in an instant that she’d never wanted any letter the way she wanted T. For hours, they pretended not to see each other. She was with her homegirls B and J, and he was with his boys S, V, and that asshole U, who would occasionally get up and hit on some lowercase letters grouped together at the bar. But P knew that T was watching her out of the corner of his eye, because she was watching him in return. Other letters would try to buy her drinks, but she couldn’t focus on what they were saying. E was just like, “Eeeeeeee.” X was a creep. Y wouldn’t shut the fuck up about birds. All she could think about was T and T’s mouth saying words she couldn’t hear somewhere across the bar.
Then it was last call, and nothing had happened. Maybe it was for the best. She knew she didn’t belong with him. T and P together? Maybe as a typo. Maybe as a made-up word a stoned person would try to convince you was a real word during a terrible game of Scrabble. It was better this way. P was almost out the door, when she heard a deep voice behind her. “You’re just gonna leave without saying good-bye?”
She didn’t have to look. She knew it was him.
He didn’t waste any time. “Hey, this sucks, want to go somewhere?” P took a breath. She was used to a little more conversation. T sensed her hesitation and shrugged. “Never mind. Do what you want.” He turned and headed for a hallway at the rear of the bar, never looking back.
P wasn’t used to following T, at least not in the English language. But P’s body was moving toward the hallway before she’d even told her body to move. The decision was out of her hands. This was her destiny. He grabbed her and pulled her to him. In the dark, he was different. In the dark, he was a soft T, a silent T, a T that pretty much only exists at the end of a French word like “ballet.” He was almost … cursive. And she found herself giving in. Maybe it was the deadly mixture of schnapps and summer running through her veins, but for a moment she thought she might actually love him. In one quick moment, all her defenses were gone: His T was inside her P. She felt alive and young again, like the girl she’d been before the words she could spell had even been written.
As T lowered himself deeper into her letter — deeper than any letter should ever go, she knew; from the outside, the two of them must look like some kind of shitty crest of arms a middle-schooler might doodle while trying not to get a boner in math class. She knew they probably looked like a prototype for a terrible tennis-racket logo or something witches put on other witches’ doors to let them know there was a meeting in the woods that night, but she didn’t care. Let them laugh. When they left the bar together on Friday night, she could hear the snickers from her friends. “That’s gross.” They said. “Don’t go out in public like that.” They said. But honestly, at this point, T and P couldn’t even have gotten free if they wanted to. And they did not.
P stayed in T’s bed all day on Saturday. They ate the random shit he had in his kitchen, which turned out to just be a bunch of loose-leaf tea. They talked about their childhoods. P was from Indiana — the child of two hardworking vowels, who had just wanted something better for her. T put on his favorite episodes of Mr. T, and they got a little high and laughed. P was starting to get a little worried that she legitimately was not going to be able to get T out of her hole, and that would make things difficult for work on Monday.
They started making love again, and she whispered in his ear: “I feel like a strange growth around your midsection that you can’t remove.” He whispered back, “Please stop talking. It’s not hot when you say things like that.” She whispered again: “It’s like we bumped into each other in a bowl of Alphabet soup and now we can’t get free.” T shook his head, “I was totally serious about you not talking.” She was a little mad now and started pouting and staring up at the ceiling. “What are we even doing together? Where is this even going?” T smiled a sad smile, “I think we should stay together and make beautiful words. Like pterygium, which is an eye disease.” They both laughed. It was a sad laugh, because they knew it was a lie. T was too far inside P for anyone to take them seriously. If they were going to do what they needed to do, they had to be free.
By Sunday morning, T was T. P was P. They walked to the door in silence, and then stayed silent for a long time just looking at each other, not knowing what the other wanted to hear. P asked for T’s number. T was like: “I’m a letter. I don’t have a number.” P didn’t want him to see her heart break. She had to stay cool and above it all. She made love like an uppercase — she wasn’t going to break down like a lowercase. P smiled and said, “Why don’t you try and find me in a word search some time?” T laughed. “Maybe I will.”
But this weekend had just been a moment somewhere in Alphabet City where letters can forget the words they came from for a few hours under the neon lights. P looked at T and whispered, “I’ll never forget you.” “What?” T couldn’t hear her, because he didn’t really have ears. “Nothing,” she said, and hopped into a taxi and disappeared. The next time they saw each other, they would be polite and kind, but they wouldn’t touch.
They would never touch again.