Yamilette Vizcaíno Rivera

How Are You Holding Up?



Yamilette Vizcaíno Rivera is a queer AfroLatinx writer and educator based in Brooklyn. She is currently a HUES Fellow and the writer in residence at Velvet Park Media, as well as a Tin House and VONA alum. Her words can be found online at Barrelhouse, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Watermelanin Magazine, as well as in print–forthcoming in Dryland and a chapbook from The Hellebore Press.

Twitter/IG: @awildyam 

Is, once again, the subject line of yet another fucking email. You’ve received it after:

           1. an ugly fight with your girlfriend:

                      The thing about maturity is that, more often than that childish,
                      cantankerous, riotous fire at your core wants to understand, it is about
                      letting a shock of pain go with silence at its back. That invisible, but still
                      undeniable presence—¿Qué te pasa, qué te duele?—the wind. The thing
                      about maturity is that it’s about standing still, moving only at the behest
                      of the forces around you—a tree.

           2. sending another degrading email to a client:

                      The thing about being treated a way you swore you wouldn’t let yourself
                      be treated again is that there’s no way to prepare yourself for when the
                      perpetrator, this time, is you. But even your own frown in the glass is
                      validation—¿Quieres que te de un cantazo pa’ que llores de verdad?—you’ve
                      always hated mirrors.

           3. receiving a rejection email from someone who looks just like you:

                      The thing about justifications is that they aren’t as good as liquor at
                      taking the sting out of things. They’re like unwelcome stage lights,
                       swiveling onto things you thought you were done looking at. They’re like
                      stain-removing with that organic shit, when el Cloro you were raised on
                      is right. There.

           4. walking away:

                      The only way you can keep from turning back is by telling yourself: they
                      can feel the door close. They can hear the hinges, the heavy click-slide of
                      the deadbolt, they can hear the rattle echo through the caverns of your
                      heart—that old thing—spacious but empty, beautiful but dusty, rotting
                      in some places.

           5. closing the tab comparing the prices of flights to Croatia:

                      The thing about crying is that for some of us, it’s hard to feel its release.
                      Some of us are trying it for the first time, and struggling because—callate
                       la boca, coño—we’ve never been allowed to before.

           6. rehashing the ugly fight with your girlfriend.

                      Somehow, you’re wrong this time. The discomfort of being both the
                      wind and the tree will keep you up at night for a week.

           7. not telling anyone about any of that, but apologizing for your tone on the call anyway:

                      The thing about maturity is that having it is the same thing as being good
                      at losing. And the thing about losing is that some of us were born doing
                      it, and have since continued doing it fantastically, on scales others can’t
                      even understand yet (we can’t either). So yeah, by the time we meet one
                      of them and it’s time to throw in the towel—again? Yes, mamita, otra vez—
                      we have some trouble. 

When you open it, the email is part of a make-up brand’s new marketing strategy. You reply. It’s the only revenge you’re allowed these days.

© The Acentos Review 2021