DISORIENTATION

I surveyed the room in disbelief. Not only had I woken up in the wrong bed, doing so meant Love Affair was still waiting for my ass to back. Damn it all.

Taylor inched out of bed, the sheet dragging behind him. "I hope you like coffee." His words were almost inaudible as he cradled his forehead in that distinctive hangover manner.

"You should shower, you look like shit."

"Thanks." He changed directions and walked into the bathroom. The sheet stuck in the closed door behind him, prompting a clear "Fuck!"

I couldn't help but laugh at him, really. Taking a breath, I left his room to explore the other four rooms. They were characteristically mundane, aside from a few stains on furniture and nicks in the paint. I was on my way to the only room with a closed door when I noticed my clothes from the previous night. A bit embarrassed, I folded the dress and sat it on the closest cabinet.

From where I stood, I could hear him singing in the shower. "I've actually never liked coffee!" I yelled over the water pressure.

"Huh!?" He gurgled, obviously not understanding anything I said.

I walked over to the door and cracked it, partially disoriented by the steam that billowed from the room. "I said I'm not a fan of coffee." I could see his silhouette through the rubber-ducky patterned shower curtain, and it was delicious. "Nice curtain. Reliving childhood?"

Ignoring my insult, "You must be joking; you don't like coffee? You go to a school where kids ritualistically throw themselves off roofs to avoid taking exams after having consumed liters of caffeine to study for them, and you're telling me you never acquired a taste for coffee?"

"Okay, one, that argument is totally incoherent. Two, it's just so damned gross."

"What!?" He pulled aside the curtain even though he could very well see me through it. "Clearly you've never tasted a pot of coffee brewed by me."

"Clearly," I held back a laugh at the mountain of soapsuds in his hair.

"I'll remedy that soon enough," he closed the curtain again and began rinsing out the soap. "Is this your first time in New York?"

"Maybe," I turned to leave the bathroom as he shut off the water.

"Well get dressed, I'll give you the official First Timers Tour."

In the same smoky, sweat-saturated black thing I wore last night? I don't think so. "But I don't have any shoes."

He stepped out of the shower, rolling his eyes. "What are you looking at?"

Is that what I slept with last night? Damn. "Nothing," I turned my back to him and jumped onto the couch.

"You can pick up a pair of flip flops before we go; there are tons of souvenir shops next door."

"Great."

Reluctantly, I handed the cashier my ten dollar bill and sighed with disgust. This was perfect, really, walking down Manhattan in a black salsa dress with white and red I heart NY! flip flops. I wiggled my toes and glared at Taylor as he covered his fit of laughter with his hand.

"This is all your fault," I trudged out of the store feeling completely hideous.

"Stop bitching and enjoy the walk; you can get decent clothes when we're done."

Grumbling, I shoved open the glass souvenir door into living beast that was New York pedestrian traffic. Conditioned to the insanity that was Manhattan walkways, Taylor grabbed my wrist, dragging me through swarms of business suits, Mohawks, and tourists, all of whom seemed to know exactly where they were going. As I was being carelessly knocked around by the indigenous crowd, Taylor kept mumbling useless information about buildings and streets, none of which I understood. Suddenly he stopped abruptly and I was thrown into his back by a passer-by. I supposed we were at our first stop.

"The Empire State building," he rested his hands on his hips and looked up at the immensely phallic structure. "Let's go," he began pulling me along again.

Once we'd been thoroughly violated and searched to assure that we were, in fact, not carrying large and dangerous weapons, we handed our small orange tickets to a man behind velvet ropes and he let us through.

"All the way to the top!" Taylor bounced over to the elevator, pushing the button as I'd imagined he insisted on doing numerous times as a child.

"Um," I twisted my left big toe into the ground, "Could we maybe take the stairs?"

"Um," he mimicked me, "no?"

"I, I'm not very comfortable in elevators." Switzerland. Germans. Screeching doors.

"Oh Jesus," he rolled his eyes and shoved me into the moving box of death. "You'll be fine," he grinned, well aware of the fact that I was panicking.

Nervously I started pacing back and forth in the corner opposite from him.

"You know what's awesome?"

"Living?"

"Of course not; this!" he crouched down as if to relieve himself in the woods and began jumping in the car.

"Holy-shit-" I clutched onto the bars in the box seeing my life flash before me. "Would you-please-stop before we-die." My eyes clamped shut and I could see visions of sandboxes, dentist appointments, that first cat I accidentally drowned while trying to take a bath with it when I was eight.

Finally his jumping stopped and that nerve-wracking ding rang in my ears indicating that my torture was over. I pried open one eye, noticing the people waiting for the elevator staring at me, my black dress and white I heart NY! shoes, clutching onto the railing for dear life. I let go, laughing nervously, and smoothed out my dress before coolly exiting the elevator car.

"Wasn't that fun!"

"Don't talk to me."

With a sinister grin he reminded me that I had to go back down the elevator to leave the building anyway, so I may as well learn to enjoy alleged "near-death experiences." He went so far as to form the little quotation marks with his fingers to illustrate how idiotic I was being. Upon his appalling suggestion, I promptly removed one of my patriotic flip flops and slapped him fiercely in the head with it.

After surviving the trip back down the elevator, only barely seeing as how I was crouched in the corner of the box until it settled safely on the ground floor, Taylor promised to indulge my affinity for flat, unmoving surfaces. Once I'd shaken off the awkward sensation of elevators, we found the closest subway and rode to Central Park.

"So explain to me, how can elevators scare the shit out of you, but not subway systems?"

Honestly it didn't make sense to me either. "These things move side to side, there's no fear of falling to your death thing going on."

"But what if you happened to get derailed and-"

I held up my hand to his mouth indicating he needed to shut up before I was completely dependent on walking alone.

"What is that smell?" we stepped into the park and I was suddenly gripped by the most abysmal odor.

"That's you," he threw over his shoulder as he led the way into the center of the park.

"What!?" I stopped in my place and realized in the midst of my mini panic attack in the Empire State Building and wandering around the city in the same dress I'd worn the night before in that club, I had managed to actually exude the stench of sweat, vodka and cigarette smoke. "Oh God, Taylor, I need new clothes."

"You're fine, I'm sure someone around here smells worse than you."

Jesus.

We lingered in front of the large cement pond and I was instructed to stay there while he ran to the bathroom. Fantastic. I didn't bother sitting, fearing someone might be sitting downwind from me and collapse into the little pond filled with minnows, muck, and loose pocket change. A small kid a few feet away picked up on my new perfume and whipped his head around to tell his mother about it. Disgusted, she turned around to look me up and down and frowned at me. Smiling as cordially as possible, I waved and wished Taylor would hurry up and piss.

I was still grinning and waving like a lunatic when I caught a shadow on the sidewalk running in my direction and leaping into the air. Before I had a chance to dodge out of the way, I had been tackled into the teeming pool of filth and pennies. Screaming in horror, I peeled some moldy film from my palm and glared at my attacker.

"There, you smell much better now," Taylor pushed his sopping wet hair from his face.

"I am really starting to hate you."

"Oh come on, you can't tell me you didn't enjoy cooling down a bit."

I reached over and splashed him before climbing out. "Can I buy some clothes now, please?"

"After we dry off."

This really was going to take all day, damn it.

We walked to a more interior part of the park, found some warm protruding rock and laid the tainted dress, his pants, and his shirt out to dry while we relaxed on the stone in our skivvies.