had logo

Sometime after eleven, right in the middle of a high-adrenaline chase scene in The Bourne Identity, the bus driver unceremonially cuts to dark. The entire population of our Greyhound shuffles out onto the side of the Jersey Turnpike and into the late-night glow of the Walt Whitman Service Area. Fifteen minutes, says the driver, already lighting his cigarette. Be back or I’ll leave without you.

I am alert. Outside, it is warm and weatherless, and inside, the rest stop is abandoned plastic forks on tabletops, barely audible Kenny Loggins, a man laughing unnervingly loudly as he unwraps his burger. Across the room, someone jangles keys, something clatters to the tile.

In the bathroom mirror, I see Matt Damon. Not figurative Matt Damon. Literal Matt Damon. A case of mistaken identity or. A case of identity. I blink. To be fair, my hair is shorn on the sides and culminates wavy and decisive at the top of my head. To be fair, I am wearing a brand new white Hanes t-shirt, sleeves cuffed. To be fair, the chase scene was so suspenseful that I am still suspended in it, and to be fair, so is Matt Damon. To be fair, my chest is bound and reinforced, two ace bandages met by a clip in the middle. To be fair, my freckles get more pronounced every June. To be fair, I have lusted after several butch lesbians of whom I believe Matt Damon to be the spitting image. To be fair, late night neon sheen and barreling back to Brooklyn, my masculinity is a brand new kind of finery I’ve barely begun to wear on the open road. It dazzles me like a stranger might. For twelve whole seconds in the smudgy mirror of the women’s room, I see Matt Damon.

And then he’s gone. Or I think he’s gone, because it’s just me now, squinting my eyes, puffing my lips, sucking my cheeks, making sure I’m still there. My shoulders are nicer than I remembered. Squarer. One lightbulb flickers lightly and there’s a pink pool of soap dripping slowly into the bowl of the sink. Paula Cole is too loud for the hour. Everything ripples with possibility.

Possibility, and Matt Damon knows it. Back inside the thrumming dark of the bus, he dyes Franka Potente’s hair, neither of them speaking. Not even any music. He scissors it off then in large chunks, his simple hands electric. Behind them, a mirror watches. The bus seethes, or maybe everyone is already sleeping again and I am the only one seething. Where does all the extra energy go? How will I find him again? Not figuratively. I will stare into every badly-lit bathroom mirror on this turnpike if it means another glimpse. They aren’t kissing. They haven’t kissed yet. I close my eyes but it is saturation, not sleep. I am the only one seething, all the way back to a tightly-wound city where nobody knows me yet.