6:30am, my bed
I have a habit of setting my alarm earlier than I know I’ll get up. Every morning, it goes off at 6:30. Every morning, I disappoint myself. I know I can’t snooze for just 20 minutes, but I tell myself this time will be different. I know it won’t, but I do it anyway. Then 20 more. Then another 20. On most days, I repeat this routine for hours, eventually waking up in the mid-morning and hating myself viscerally for it. What a fucking idiot. Still, I’m trying to consciously uncouple myself from the idea that waking up early is somehow the moral thing to do. Waking up early does not make you a better person. Only being a better person makes you a better person.
The need to cough wakes me up from snooze number five. I’ve had a dry, airy cough for the past two days, the unpleasant kind where it feels like specks of dust are trapped in my throat, trying to infiltrate my body. I cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and cough. Thank god I came home early last night, right after the Raptors game, instead of going out with Kehinde and Tai and my brother, who were out until 4am. I have two Macbook Pros in my bed, and it makes me feel rich and stupid. I press play on the last 20 minutes of this week’s episode of Nashville, which I fell asleep watching seven hours ago.
I’m falling back asleep. Nikki texts a selfie to our group chat. Lately, we’ve been sending each other selfies—selfie check-in, Kiran called it—and it brings me endless joy. These eight women are the collective Rihanna to my Melissa Forde; we text all day about work and #R8 and racism and whether or not La Mer is actually worth the hundreds of dollars I spend on it. (It’s not.) How do I know so many incredible women yet so many men who are proud to bask in their own mediocrity?
I go downstairs to the kitchen for a spoonful of black forest honey to soothe my cough. The sun is shining and the house is bright and I vow to go outside before dark. I promise not to spend another day in bed. I stand in the kitchen and eat honey out of the jar until my skin starts to tingle.
9:46 am, still in my goddamn bed
Nikki texts me about Nashville. It’s one of the shows we both follow, and she wants to know what I think of the episode. I think it’s fucking crazy. How it is that the season is already almost over? Time flies. Time does weird, crazy shit and I’m not entirely sure I believe in it.
I fall asleep for a few minutes. Jahmal FaceTimes me, and I wonder what he wants. He is the only person whose FaceTime calls I answer regardless of what I’m wearing or how I look or where I am. My glasses are streaked with Nashville tears, I have half an eyebrow, and my hair is doing things that you could only understand if you were a black girl with curly hair. He wants to talk about his feelings, but I’m impatient. That’s the typical dynamic of our friendship, which has recently crossed the 10-year mark. Me, the overly rational, cold-as-ice Capricorn; him, the dramatic, sensitive Scorpio.
My mom brings me a coffee and a bagel, like she does every morning on her way back from the gym. I eat it in bed, with an elaborate mechanism to prevent crumbs and sesame seeds from sullying my sheets. I’ve lived at home for almost two years now, and I’m so grateful. I spent ten years living an ocean away from my parents and I’m thrilled to be in the same time zone as them, let alone the same house. I’m so bored by people who think there’s something wrong with living with your parents as an adult. I’m lucky enough to have parents who are great and with whom I get along really well, so I refuse to be embarrassed of living in their house just because white cultural hegemony tells me to.
I spend a long time conditioning my hair and exfoliating. I change my sheets, take off my silk robe and put on a fresh pair of PJs—I’m pajammy’d down from head to toe—and get back into bed. I watch Kendrick Lamar’s Breakfast Club interview. Then I watch a conspiracy theory video on YouTube that claims to have proof that Tupac is still alive. I text with Sara, whom I haven’t seen in months, about our Sunday breakfast plans.
I put on a coat over my pajamas and head out to grab lunch from Hotel Gelato, just on the next block. I’ve recently accepted that I don’t like cooking; people often take that to mean that I can’t cook. In fact, I’m a great cook; I just don’t find it to be a high enough return on the investment it requires. While I’m waiting for my quinoa salad, the girl behind the ice cream bar offers me a sample of the charoset gelato. For something whose defining quality is its coldness, it tastes warm, like a creamy mulled wine.
I come home and put on Earl’s new album while I eat. It’s called I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. I relate to that more than I should. After a few songs, Earl starts to make me feel paranoid, just like he is. I check the weather on the three different sites because I want to wear my cago green Air Huaraches tonight, and I want no precipitation near the suede upper. I miss London a lot these days, and these shoes make me think of my life there. It feels like a faraway dream, which is a feeling I’ve become used to.
I’m dressed and ready to head out to meet Cris. I text Kehinde to meet me at Bryan’s shop at 6. My mom tells me she likes my outfit: black jeans, a camouflage anorak my brother gave me, my baby blue fuzzy coat, and the Huaraches. I get on the bus and stop at the LCBO to buy a bottle of Veuve for Bryan and Bobby, who opened their store a week ago. I’m going to visit for the first time this afternoon, even though it feels like I’ve seen every corner of the space on Instagram.
I’m only a minute late to meet Cris, not 10, like I told her I would be. Soj is with her and the three of us get on the shuttle bus at Spadina station. We run straight to last row of seats and sprawl out like high school kids and entitled, spatially unaware dudes. We manspread with glee. When we get to the shop, I feel calm almost immediately. It’s beautifully designed and I drop into one of the two Acapulco chairs by the door. In just a week, they’ve sold out of sizes of pretty much their entire line. The sweatshirt I want to buy sold out on the first day they opened, apparently. I’m proud and energized and, really, I’m in awe. Kehinde and Tai show up, and we all hang out, cracking jokes and being friends. Bobby and I realize that it’s been something like eight years since we interned together at Format. Life is weird and the world is small.
Tai, Kehinde, and I get into an Uber to meet Cris and Soj at Toby’s to watch the Raptors game. The season is winding down, and watching the games regularly with Tai and Kehinde, and sometimes Nia, has meant so much to me over the past six months. In two weeks, I’m moving back to New York and, for the first time in my life, I don’t know what I’ll do without my little crew. I’m used to leaving people behind—that’s been the only constant in my life since I was four. This time, though, I fucked around and got attached to people.
There’s less than a minute left in the game and we’re down by 2, a frustrating outcome for what could have been a blow out. Sports are designed to be a heartbreak. We have to leave to catch Little Simz’s set, which is supposed to be at 10pm. We walk out with 30 seconds left on the clock. We get into a couple of cabs, all wondering whether the game will go to overtime. It’s snowing,and I briefly regret not asking our server for two plastic bags so I can protect my shoes.
At the Mod Club, I go to the bathroom, unexpected memories form. I haven’t been here in years, but nothing’s changed.
11:47pm, Mod Club
Simz’s set is over, and she was incredible. I message Eddie, her manager, who I know from when I used to live in London. We catch up for a couple of minutes and decide to go to the after party. Eddie reappears and hands me cup of Hennessy. The DJ is on a great run and me and Cris and Tai and Kehinde and Dre dance and yell lyrics together. I get too excited during Kanye’s verse on Sanctified, and my phone drops out of my coat pocket. It cracks. “I’ve had an iPhone since 2007 and this is my first cracked screen!” I say over and over. We walk out, squadded up. Running through the 6 with my woes.