So the next two weeks were miserable.
The morning after I broke up with Alan, I felt sick from self-loathing and general hatred towards the universe. I always go through this period of shock and regret . . . should I have broken up with him? Was it my fault? Was it too soon? I should have given this time to breathe.
I am not very patient.
That next day I worked LET’S MAKE A DEAL and went over to Frank’s afterward to do my laundry. I texted him I broke up with Alan and needed to self medicate. By the time I got over there, he had a packet of coke waiting for me and $150 to help with the new place.
As I ground down the nugs into fine powder, I asked him to read the GChat of Alan’s giant stinking dump on my life and tell me if I was overreacting.
As Frank scrolled through, I heard the occasional gasp or groan. I would rush over and ask, “What is it?”
He said, “Don’t look at it. You don’t need to read this again.”
I changed out of my LET’S MAKE A DEAL costume and hung out in boxers and a t-shirt, sipping wine, snorting coke and chain smoking. Frank took a picture of me on his doorstep, it really captured how broken I am. Its not about Alan, just the hope of Alan.
I had texted Alan a few afterthoughts to float around in our muck.
Me: “I am actually a great girl- just need to get on my feet. Someday I will be someone great I hope. And maybe you will like me.”
Me: “I saw you changed your Facebook relationship status and felt sad. I thought we could talk while I had reception.”
Me: “Did you have to tear me apart in a dark hour? I trusted you with all of me and now its just gone.”
Alan: “You broke up with me in a text message during class. YOU DID THIS. I might talk to you someday. . but now? You have got to be fucking joking.”
The deal with getting the coke was only contingent on also getting xanax. Using the two, one when I got up in the morning and get through days of heartache, moving, working then more moving and one to allow me to sleep so I wouldn’t die.
The week before, I had asked for 3 days off to move my things into Dora’s studio while Alan was in town, but there was a scheduling mishap; they had plans and were unreachable, and I didn’t have the key. So I had to move during a week where I had two days off. One day would be allotted to moving all my stuff to the new place. The other day would be the devoted to cleaning out my old place.
The days I worked, I got up, snorted coke, hiked the dogs and tried to make a trip to the new place with a load before my shift and then another after.
Frank, loyal as ever, was there with me. Mostly he smoked cigars and Facebooked while I organized everything. I just wanted the company.
Though I was busy, losing Alan broke my heart into smaller pieces, whatever was left over from earlier this year. I was a mess at work. During this text message exchange:
Alan: “I reflected on what we talked about and realized it doesn’t matter if I meant what I said that shitty night. I spoke what was on my mind and you left me. It was nice to be able to pretend I was part of something special for awhile, but there is no way I will ever be able to trust you enough to be honest again and what I feel or think. You were right to end things.”
Me: “I agree. I reviewed the conversation and could never trust someone who took huge dumps on my life without logical provocation. And if you thought so little about me- we should not be together. I am sorry it ended this way, but you and Jaq make a perfect couple- judging people and their lives instead of seeking to understand and appreciate them. I deserve better. And thanks for texting me your base and self-centric ideas, always far superior to me . . . I showed you nothing but respect and love. “
I am scrolling down the text messages as I write this. More of the same. We struck nasty, cold messages back and forth like a small ball of power, crossing violently from court to court.
I was actually holding out hope he would be sorry and explain why he said such hateful things to me until that afternoon. I broke down crying on the doggie playground. Sasha, my hot, tatted bi-sexual manager, pulled me off the playground. I kept chain smoking and trying to drink water.
I was making those hyperventilating sobs, the kind I made when I was six. Everyone was trying to calm me down, Trent, the receptionist, a co-worker who defriended me because I used the bitch voice on him once, even the sarcastic, Filipino Human Resources woman who violates every labor law known to America. They all hugged me. They took turns carrying my shift when I had to sit down from sobbing.
I told Trent I am going to fucking kill myself. I can’t live with losing everyone I love like this, hating me. Em, Abe . . . my parents. Its like every one who sees the real me, despises me.
Alan: “As for being mean to you. . you hurt me really bad and keep contacting me . . making it worse. . what do you expect? Me to be happy?”
Alan: “Wishing you had never met me . . . yeah . . . join the club. . its got a big membership list . . also fuck you for that . . I just want time away from you. . you hurt too bad . . “
At the end of my shift, Trent joined me on the playground and I just broke down. Something about hugs reduced me to a sobbing mess, no matter who it was. Trent said, “I hate seeing you like this. Come on. You are beautiful, you are smart, talented …”
I said, “Why does everyone I love have to tear me apart?”
Trent was getting misty watching me sob, “Because they just see a lot of potential and they . . . just don’t understand.”
The only thing that got me through that week was Frank, the drugs, the dogs and the move.
I am not an idiot. I know that Frank wants to have sex with me. And I would be lying if I said we didn’t fool around. Despite the underlying motives, I needed someone around me to just be there. I was periodically sobbing between loads, between lines.
He held me on my mattress, dragged out to the living room floor, alone with just my computer and he buried his face in my neck and said, “Do you want to hear good things about yourself?”
He said, “You’re beautiful, you’re smart, you’re a great writer.”
I said, in that high pitched six-yearr-old voice, “I am?”
Alan: “No question of why I might have been so upset.. no concern about what happened.. you don’t care because I didn’t listen to you complain and say what u wanted to hear.. just let’s break up, by text message no less.. that’s pretty selfish and juvenile.. u want to fuck up what we have over petty shit without a chance to mend.. fine.. but its your fault and your doing..
Enjoy your life.. you are all that matters right?”
Alan: “How do you not understand? You did this. You crossed the only line I had. This isn’t the first time I loved someone who cared so little they could end things through a fucking text message. I’ve seen worse. But this manipulative crap about how you dumped me for good reasons bullshit makes me so angry. And breaking up with me via TEXT MESSAGE. Damn you for making me keep doing this. Leave me alone. I don’t trust you to look out for anyone but yourself.. why else would you keep doing this? Its so YOU can feel better. So you can have what YOU need. So take care of yourself. That’s all I wanted when I got angry at you Wednesday anyway.”
I would cry when the sun was down and I was done with the last load of the night. There was nothing to do but take the pain away with my magic fairy dust.
If someone gave you a small baggie of powder that made you feel ok again, in a matter of seconds, would you turn it down? I was battling thoughts of suicide. I hated myself. Its not just Alan, its the never ending spiral of financial crisis, the getting fired by bosses who hated me, the never booking commercial work, the crisis I created for myself taking in all these animals and refusing the idea of work that comes with any kind of security.
I have obviously created a pattern for myself, I struggle, I fail, form fast/intense bonds with people and then it all blows up in my face. Nothing gets better, it just repeats. And that, my friends, is hell.
I was already thinking about a suicide note, and a list of people NOT invited to my wake. Maybe dropping Brad off with Alan and Wilson. I had the key to his apartment. I could just disappear down there in Mexico or by the border somewhere. The pit bulls, but what about the pit bulls? My parents are too old to handle them and my sister lives in a 2nd story condo that looks like a museum.
No one would take them.
I am sure Belle (my cat) would stay with Dora . . . maybe. She keeps pissing on their fridge.
Over a small ashtray, I had several fine lines of coke laid out for me. I would hover over them sobbing, “The more people get to know me, the more they hate me.” I could feel my tears streak down my face with trails of dust and dirt spilling over my cheeks just before drying and rising off of me like sand surviving saltwater.
I stopped sobbing only long enough to do a few lines. And then I would quiet and collect myself.
Frank, “This is the most unhealthy thing I have ever seen.”
Me to Alan: “Relationships aren’t perfect, they have missteps and heartache and bad words. I want to know the man I love doesn’t think I am a total fuck-up. I am still struggling with those words you said and trying to tell myself you don’t think those things, that I am an ok girl.”
Me to Alan: “A bonus would be to know we can make it through bad days, find a new way to communicate so I don’t press like I did when you were having a rough day. Work on it. Develop trust and get through stupid shit together.
Stop hurting us, you aren’t just hurting me, you are hurting us.
My Alan … I miss my Alan … you were my family and now you just cut me off.”
Alan: “I can’t promise anything.. especially when being pushed into it. I do believe what I said. I do think you are wasting the chances you are given to accomplish what you want in life and I think you are lying to yourself about being happy or confused about what happy is. It hurts to watch that and to just have to accept that you know what you are doing when you obviously don’t. So if you can’t handle me saying what I believe honesty like that or worse then you are incapable of being in a relationship with me. I feel that I have to tell you the truth or nothing. But I wouldn’t leave you. Only one of us thinks that’s a more justifiable way to hurt someone than fucking TALKING. That’s why I want to be left alone. Talking to you is just pain and nothing else now. “
Me: “I guess you just don’t understand me . . . or care to then . . . I care about your opinion but not when it lashes out in an abusive fashion.
There is talking to someone about the truth with advice as a caring adult and equal and then there is repeatedly slapping me in the face with scarring remarks. No, I can not live with that.
I don’t deserve to be cut down to size and made to apologize for instinctively walking away from it. That’s not fair. And if you don’t see that, you are simply incapable of a relationship.
Alan: “You just said everything about as correctly as possible. We both found
our limits at the same time. We can love each other as much as is
possible and there’s still no way to fix this. I guess I don’t need
time to think after all.
I was averaging 5 to 6 hours of sleep, forcing myself to eat at least a bean and rice burrito once a day, maybe a slice of bread with peanut butter on it.
I wasn’t tired, I was hyper-efficient. I had already organized the new space and just had to push through cleaning up the old place. I was smoking so much, my lungs burned. I wanted to disappear, I wanted to get buried in all my useless junk and die in a pile of ashes.
Me: “I love you anyway, but that fact that you can’t promise to talk to me as an adult or equal is a deal breaker. How can you be that after everything you see all day? I thought we were going to be better than our parents. But you would rather just throw me away.
I feel sorry for you, there is light if you open your mind. I can’t do that for you. What a waste of a wonderful person.
The little bag of coke was lasting me two weeks. I was not going overboard. I was taking enough that my body could handle working and moving from early morning to the middle of the night.
On a Thursday, I cleared out the remaining crap out of my space. I did it alone in the morning and called Frank, asking him to come over and just stay with me while I worked. And to bring alcohol.
I said, “I found a screwdriver and it says Detroit Michigan Marines on the side of it, and I am realizing it is Eric’s.” The Prophet. The insane freckled boy I had a 5-yr affair with. He helped me move into this little tree house. It was my last connection to him. I haven’t heard from him in almost two years. That would leave one more year on the restraining order.
Frank said, “I can hear it in your voice. You are in a weird place. Moving will do that to you. I will be right over.”
The end of the last bit of things included boxes of poetry I wrote in college, old screenplays, my wedding invitation embroidered on a huge cloth my mother framed for me on my wedding day, a sparkling gold trench coat my grandmother insisted I take the last time I saw her alive, little knick knacks.
I found a little wooden man and woman, hand painted with a fine little brush, maybe two inches tall, glued together on a little wood platform I could carry around in my hand. It was made in some exotic country. I told Frank the story:
I said, “In fourth grade, I had a nun teacher who hated me. She accused me of plagiarism, she would give me dirty looks, she spoke to my best friend and her parents, telling them I was a bad influence and they shouldn’t allow me to play with their daughter.”
Frank, “She had it in for you.”
Me, “Yeah, Sister Creole. She took a 2 week vacation and we had this nice substitute teacher. I wrote her an anonymous letter telling her how mean Sister Creole was and how I didn’t know who to talk to about it.
The Substitute Teacher read my letter aloud to the entire class after giving us all a little knick knack from some trip she took. I got this little wooden couple. She said whoever wrote that letter shouldn’t get a gift. And the class cheered in agreement. After class, I confided in her that I was the one that wrote the letter, and offered her my gift back.
She said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know it was you that wrote that letter. Keep the gift. You are forgiven.”
Frank, “You were one of those kids. That’s horrible. I always wondered what happened to kids like you.”
I loudly snorted three lines on my tray.
Frank chuckled, “Now I know.”
I went to throw the gift out and he held out his hand and said, “Can I have it? After the story I want to keep it.”
I handed it over to him and smiled.
Frank’s cheap bottle of wine was sliding me into a higher plane of vulnerability. I opened up about about my friend who drowned in the Columbia River, racing his much skinner and weaker friend, who oddly survived.
I asked him what to do with Grandma’s Gold Jacket. The gold is spray painted on the material, so it pretty much stands upright, alone in my closet. Here is the thing with this tacky-ass gold jacket I would never wear: I loved my grandfather. He was a Polack who worked in a slaughter house. He was also the only one in my family who was kind to me, despite being the only one who was not blood related.
My cousins were ok, I guess. . . my grandmother lacked tenderness of any kind and smelled of stale cigarettes and dirty air conditioning.
Harry was the one who got me my first dog when I was 9. The next year he would pass away from leukemia in my grandmother’s living room, slowly dying on a hospital bed surrounded by porcelain owls and white wallpaper with gold glitter leaves painted over it.
It was no secret my grandparents didn’t like each other. My parents always fondly chuckle over the night my Dad had to talk Harry out of going back into his house with a gun, to kill my Grandmother. There is something ugly and wonderful about that kind of intimate hatred, still obliging to care for one another to the bitter end. All those months of chemotherapy and decay. She stayed with him. He obviously had no choice.
His funeral was on my 10th birthday.
The last time I saw my Grandmother, she was high on all sorts of pills. She was dizzy and complaining that the doctors weren’t checking how pills react opposite each other, they just prescribed more and more.
She kept slurring, “Your grandfather was not a good person.”
Then she gave me this tacky-ass gold jacket and said, “Grandpa Harry hated this jacket. Take it. Its yours.”
I said, “Why did she say that? Why did she have to say that knowing I loved him?”
The dumpster between my carriage house and the main house was filled to the brim and beyond with my shit. My old bed, boxes and boxes of things I wrote, VHS tapes, toys, clothes, stuff Salvation Army refused and I didn’t know what to do with. I was doing a major purge.
After all was said and done, I needed Frank’s car still to carry a few things, including the pit bulls- since my car was slam packed full of crap. We agreed that I should keep the gold jacket and the embroidered wedding invitation.
We did a final sweep of the place. I mopped and scrubbed.
He said, “You know you aren’t getting your deposit back, so you really don’t have to do all this.”
I owed my landlord at least $1,000 in rent. She was adding on additional fees for any checks she “pushed’ through twice or any other late checks and somehow came up with $2,000 before damages and repairs. I just don’t know what the fuck she is trying to pull over on me, but she is bleeding a rock.
I said, “I know she will keep the deposit. Its a matter of integrity.”
He said, “When my friend Ernie moved out, he was evicted out of this place. He ended up leaving an upper decker.”
I said, “What’s that? Wait, is that what I think it is?”
Frank was already laughing hysterically at his own story, bending over from fecal memories.
He really makes life sucking funny.
He said, “So Ernie left this upper decker in the toilet, didn’t clean up anything. A few months later, we went back to check out the place, (bending over from laughter) and there was a mushroom plant (more laughter) growing out of the toilet. That place hadn’t been touched.”
I laughed. Frank has this calming energy, like he doesn’t expect much from me. He is mellow, has nowhere to be and just hangs out with me, narrating highly amusing stories. I wondered if I would be safer in a relationship with someone I regarded more as a friend than as a lover. We had a chemistry, but it wasn’t what l would compare to The Prophet, Abe or Alan.
I wasn’t whirled up in a romance with Frank, I have always been in love with someone else around him. He is also shorter than me, which is . . . awkward.
I remembered a line from the “Cat’s Meow”, a movie from the early 2000s about a silent film star named Marion caught in a love triangle with William Randolph Hearst and Charlie Chaplin.
She said, “My mother always said, ‘Romantic love fades. Marry for sympathy and friendship.”
Charlie, “But you’re not married.”
We decided to go to Frank’s so he could catch the football game, and I could have a little fun with what little coke I had left. It was hotter than hell, and I didn’t have air conditioning in the new place.
I updated my Facebook status, “Next time I see a rich bitch with a moving truck who doesn’t have to work, I am going to spit on her.”
I showered, put on his Rolling Stones t-shirt and a pair of boxers. The dogs relaxed on his leather couch next to the cool air and I cracked open a Stella.
After the first play, Frank asked if I needed more coke. I said something to the effect of, “If you get me more I will do it.” The alcohol had removed the element of control I had on coke, and I was getting sloppy.
“Here,” I handed him $100 I owed him. I said, “$50 is for your friend’s air conditioner (I was buying) and $50 for what I owe you.”
Frank said, “I will use this $50 for the coke, you don’t have to pay me back for it. Its my gift to you.”
I also hadn’t eaten all day, despite cleaning since 7am. I knew that I was slowly dying.
Alan: “I can tell you what you want. But that would be pretty childish.
Just like your demand. Mine was pretty simple and I told it to you in
advance. Don’t leave me. Mistakes happen but that’s the one thing.
I can forgive you if you cheat on me, steal from me, kick me, or
insult me. Just don’t fucking leave. I can’t get over that because
you just showed me how easily you could do it. You can’t undo that.
I will remember it forever. Every word in your little message.
I really am sorry I hurt your feelings. I told you that again and
again. But you are just being too selfish for me to stomach. I
warned you about what would happen when I was pushed to the limit and
that the first week of class would be rough. And you dumped me right
in the middle of the worst of it. How can you really think I could
get over that?
So I can promise whatever you want and go back to pretending things
were the way they were before. But I cannot get over this. I never
will. So sure, I promise to be as adult as ever with you. But that
still doesn’t mean we can be together. So isn’t this all futile?
I told you to just leave me alone so that I could figure out if I
could be your friend again at the least. Even that much will be
pretty tough to deal with but I don’t want to lose you completely.
Maybe someday we’ll find a way to trust each other but right now.. it
We say bye a lot.”
Frank returned with a small pack of coke, three xanax and a sandwich for himself. Later, I texted Frank, “Thanks for being there, but I really I wish you got me a sandwich, too.”
He watched me crush the coke and line them up. He said, “God, I feel like I am killing you. I am killing you.”
I smirked, “Good.” Then took on a few lines.
He kept asking me questions about what I wanted, what to do, and I told him he should tell me what to do for the rest of the night. I was done making decisions.
He said, “Here take this. Swallow it.”
It was a full xanax. I don’t remember much after that, but collapsing in his arms. He said I scared him.
I woke up in the middle of the night freaking out. I said, “I have to walk the dogs, I have to get them home.”
He calmed me down, “They are ok, I walked them already. They are fine here, they are sleeping. Just go back to bed.”
I was circling around, ringing my hands like a madwoman, talking to myself, “I just don’t have control, I have to think about this. What’s the plan?”
He sounded agitated. He raised his voice, “Calm down!” I was making him nervous.
I collapsed in darkness all over again.
First thing in the morning, I drove the pack over. Before I left, Frank said, “I will take Maggie. I am willing to take her off your hands.”
I chuckled, “No. She is my dog.”
He said, as he closed my car door, “Just saying, I will take her. I love that dog.”
Well that is one pit bull I can re-home in the event of suicide, but nobody wants my hyper-active, deaf pittie. Esther is the reason I didn’t kill myself. I knew if I died, she would die.
We were moving to a small room in the mountains, up roads with no street lights and horses. New beginnings.
I was relieved it was over, but now had a whole new pack of coke to manage, and two xanax left. I could break it all up to make it last a week. It got to the point that I didn’t need the xanax to sleep anymore. I could snort and nap in the same hour.
My body was hurting. The depression was swallowing me.
Me to Alan: “I want to take it back. I want to take it all back.”
I thought if I scrambled to get Alan back, I would be back together again.
Its interesting writing this blog. People will talk to me about the last blog, the Break-Up GChat, and say, “I can’t believe he said those things to you.” And, “If my boyfriend said that to me, I would rip my heart out.”
My little story is being influenced in real time. Its a unique experience as a writer.
Looking back on why I fought to get him back, I was just confused and wanted the pain to stop. I saw the cycle, I break up with boys and then set them up to take me back. I did it with Abe and I did it all the time with Eric. You get caught up in the cycle, and you just use it as gauze over that hole in your chest.
A lightening storm erupted over Doggie Daycare. Everyone told me there was a rainbow over the facility, so I stepped outside and took pictures. I texted them to Alan, as well as a picture of me with a small puppy and wrote, “My heart keeps growing back.”
Alan, “I’ll come see you next weekend. I don’t know when, how long or what I’ll feel. But I will come if you want. I can’t give you anything else now. My heart is still dead.”
To be continued . . .