Withdraw and Collapse


This blog will be painful.

I have put it off now for a week . . . as I type this, it feels like splinters under my nails, but I have to get it out.

Where did I leave off? Dresses.

Abe and I were searching for the perfect dress. The wedding colors were black, champagne and white so we were looking at dresses that would only qualify in that color scheme. I am not a fan of the asymmetrical strap which pretty much eliminated over half of what’s out there right now.

His mother and grandmother gave me a bag of jewelry and head wear, even offered to take me shopping. I politely declined so I wouldn’t agree to a dress I didn’t love. I did, however, want Abe there with me to help me decide what was classy. My childhood never really included classy affairs, and I didn’t want to screw it up.

We looked in Macy’s, in JCPenny, in stores I never heard of, boutiques.

He would suggest something that I would find too sexy, or something white, and I would say, “If I go white, I have to go big.”

This is hard to write. You see, I was so happy. I was going to be included in a family event, we were going to slow dance, we were going to have that magic of being a couple at the wedding surround us and thrust us into a blessed future together.

I just really couldn’t wait to slow dance.

We would drift through a mall and I suggested Sears.

He said, “Does Sears sell clothes?”

I said, “Wow, never before was there a statement between us so indicative of our class gap. YES, Sears sells clothes. AND appliances.”

He said, “Well, I have only been there once to look for a refrigerator, and I didn’t buy one.”

A couple walked by us.

Abe, “Hey, does that guy kind of look like me?”

Me, “They both look like us, stoned, wandering in a mall at night, looking forward to a bowl of cereal.”

He laughed, and we passed the couple again on a second aimless lap in an abandoned Sears and shared a chuckle.

Macy’s is shit. I am sorry. They overcharge for dresses that are coming apart at the seams. The quality is disappointing, I mean . . . what would Santa Claus say?

We left and decided to get Chinese food and a martini. That was becoming our ritual. I was eating more and saw the lines on my face diminish.

We walked out and passed our doppelganger couple as they searched for their car. We laughed again, and crossed the street to the parking garage.

Abe, “Wow, this is nice. Who ever designed this walkway must really like tree roots. Let’s have tree roots all over instead of a sidewalk.”

We stumbled over tree roots on a slender path behind an older couple and found a restaurant.

He suggested looking for apartments in Los Angeles since it was closer to most of his freelance work. I said, “Let’s just keep an open mind and when we find the right place, where ever it is, we will just know.”

We took three days looking for a dress and decided on a trim black lace dress, that was sexy but sophisticated with a sash over one shoulder, rather than the asymmetrical strap. It was $100, but Abe got the money, somehow, just to get me a special dress. (I don’t have the heart to paste the picture of it here)

I sent it to my mother and she wrote, “Its beautiful and so are you.”

Afterward, we went to Macy’s and he bought me a $60 pair of shoes. They would have been the best additions to my wardrobe. I felt like my self-worth was crawling upward. I was worth this amazing $100 dress, I was worth these $60 sparkly shoes, and I was worth him.

As we checked out and both were refused a Macy’s card with its 20% off discount, the female clerk said, “I can tell you two are going to get married someday, let me just give you the 20% off.”

I told her we were moving in together, and he was making room for all my dogs in his life. She said, “Imagine what its like adapting to someone you don’t know, like an arranged marriage. My marriage was arranged and we had to just figure it out. You are forced to be accepting then. Now, my children don’t want arranged marriage, its less popular with the younger ones but its still there and it still works.”

I said, “Are you happy?”

She bent her head to the side like someone was pulling her hair, “Its a struggle sometimes, but yes.”

After we left the store, Abe told me he thought she was cheating on her husband. I didn’t get that impression at all, and I thought it was an odd thing to say after what I remembered to be a charmed moment.

I swung into a Bath and Body Works and told them I needed a lemon scent, since Abe loves lemon.

The clerk said, “What do you want though?”

I said, “I am indifferent. He likes lemon, make me smell like lemon.”

She sold me a whole package of lemon and pomegranate body spray, moisturizer and something else. It still hangs in its store bag on my wall, unopened.

Throughout the 10 days, we would talk everyday.

He would say things like, “I paid over $4 a gallon in gas today. Don’t they know I have a girlfriend!?”

or

“I have to get a job, any job, any part-time job.”

He was sounding like a provider, and though he was agitated and stressed out, I felt like he was taking responsibility.

I told my parents about the proposition, or what I refer to as the proposal: wedding, apartment, child. Their voices were suddenly high and my father was laughing. My mother said she picked up a dining room table for us already and they would furnish the entire home.

I had even decided to write Alan a letter explaining what was happening. My therapist and I discussed it, I actually grew teary eyed in our session thinking about hurting Alan. We decided I should write an email to afford him time to digest and process . . . but I didn’t write it. I waited.

Abe held me in bed one morning and said, “What happens if you get in trouble, is my family supposed to bail you out, too?”

I said, “We have to do this as a unit. Your family will be helping us. My family will be helping us. It wouldn’t be about you or me, its about us working as one entity. Do you understand?”

He said yes, an absentmindedly stroked my arm.

Something about it bothered me. It was the same kind of Id I see in Dora, the irrational possessiveness over her things while freely borrowing mine. It was very common with the 3-year olds I once worked with at a Daycare Center. “Mine” and “No” were the only two words they knew, we were taught, because of their power. People respond, even adults and parents respond to the word, despite hearing it all fucking day over blocks, plucked flowers or crackers. You can’t help but react to a “no.”

That possessiveness is part of being an infant and not knowing how to function in a community, much less a relationship.

I had to learn it, we all learned it our first year of college when we started buying our own food, drugs and alcohol while rationing them amongst our friends. Some were possessive over theirs while free to stick their hand in someone else’s bag. They were quickly removed from our circle. It doesn’t work. And you look like an asshole.

These are basic lessons you learn when you work for your own money and have friends you respect and care about who also work for their money. Perhaps, I was lucky enough to learn those lessons early on.

Abe’s mind was caught between being the teenager he wants to be, living comfortably with little demand on his time or character, and taking the next step. I thought, for fear of failure.

Another thing he said was, “I have to do things radically different. Starting tomorrow, I have to just get a job or do something I haven’t done, otherwise I will be exactly where I am right now in one month.”

I said, “You are absolutely right.”

My mistake was, I thought he wanted to change and progress.

Not to mention, I want a home. I want a nice place where I can live and not worry about coming home to a hysterical and/or dead roommate. A place where I can cook, and take a shower, and watch a movie. A place where I come home everyday to someone I love, who makes the place warm with music, and quiet hands on shoulder, and irritating habits and . . . love. Just love.

 

I saw it in my mind every morning, making coffee and reading him the news, walking the dogs, writing in the garage while they chewed on bones. Buying groceries. Taking a bath. Talking about my day in person. Seeing him every day . . . I wanted that so badly.

I am sure you are dying to hear what happened. It turns my stomach. And I am eating these nice cookies right now. One moment, while I stuff my pipe and settle into my own unpleasant awakening.

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I am sad. I just want to write this so I can see the word and take it off my shoulders and out of my eyes. Maybe it will go away.

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We found a posting for a townhouse. It had a yard and a garage, as well as a bedroom. It had levels so no one would be above us, and it was in Huntington Beach close to a Dog Park and a nature reserve . . . very close to the beach.

Abe went to check it out.

He texted me, “It really is perfect.”

I texted back, “What do you need from me? Should I see it tomorrow? Money? I can try to scrape up the cash to hold on to it.”

Anyone that has found a place in Southern California knows, if its a good deal, you need to have the cash ready and make quick decisions. A nice place in Culver City with a yard was rented out the same day as the Craigslist Post.

I got no response.

On my break at Doggie Daycare I called, and he answered with a curt, “Yeah.”

I said, “I can tell you are grouchy, should we talk about this later?”

He said, “No, what is it?”

I needed to keep our conversations about moving light, as to not overwhelm him.

I said, “That’s alright, I will talk to you later.”

Then his texts poured in.

“I am having negative thoughts abut yr pets and compromising the best years of my life to care of them constantly. They are just a distraction from our real problems and they complicate our relationship and future. And they are a huge liability to carry around amongst the crooked populace. Its true.

U could already be living and working with me on our future, but Ud rather live and work with dogs, and its obvious by now thats not my thing. I dont know what else to say about it. U want me to settle for BS. I wouldnt do it before and I dont know why Im thinking about doing it now. Why? Why do I have to settle for nonsense.

Ive already lived with dogs with human names who could talk and drink and ask me to change and accept nonsense. It sucked so I left.” (that’s in reference to his two twenty-something roommates from the year before. One had a calling to be a Ninja and the other is a white rapper)

It goes on . . .

“THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIFE TAKING CARE OF DOGS. Uve done it already for too long now. And now U have 3 dogs and a cat til Ur 40. This has become a serious problem U and I dont need it to be my problem also. You said it yourself, the world wants U to lose everything U have, apparently U havent lost enough for the bad to end so U can do better and be happy. Its the animals. And the people who work with animals. Get it? U lost me and ur life got worse. U NEED TO FREE YOURSELF from all the trouble and time U put into these animals.”

It goes on.

And on.

He wrote, “I am not your boyfriend or go to boy anymore. Go home.”

The first few times I read the text, I wondered what he meant by “Go home”, then I realized he was acknowledging that I couldn’t stay in Southern California without him, and was sending me off to my parents. That condescending bullshit really spun my mind into madness.

Needless to say, I refused to give up my animals. That was the compromise; I would move to Orange County, as long as I could keep my animals. Move to Orange County and LOSE my animals? Live in a sterile apartment without my little spirit guides in a county I fucking hate.  That isn’t me. That is some other girl, and I am pretty sure I don’t like her either.

 

In a matter of hours, he decided he couldn’t move in with me, and he uninvited me to the wedding.

I decided he just had cold feet and he would change his mind in the morning.

He didn’t.

He just . . . didn’t.

I was in shock at first, because I hadn’t seen him. We had an argument or two over the phone and rest was handled over text.

God, this is hard to write.

I just . . . really love him. And I thought my dreams were about to come true. To realize they never were real and this person you fucking adore to death doesn’t really love you was . . . the worst pain I have ever felt for another man.

I think back on the men who have hurt me, who referred to me as “bitch” while we were still trapped in a lease, who rejected me sexually and flirted with my friends, The Prophet who scared the shit out of me while losing his mind in our apartment . . . I thought about all of them. This was by far the worst conclusion to a love affair in my life.

You don’t fucking promise a girl in her 30s who lives in a (now) rat infested building in an apartment where her roommate hung himself, you don’t promise THAT GIRL a home, you don’t dangle that in her face with the promise of a baby . . . A BABY and then pull it away like  . . . its a latch on an old gate. You can’t open and close that door.

Do you know what that does to a girl like me?

It’s devastating.

I didn’t cry at first. I thought he was an asshole. And he is.

Then, the next morning or the morning after, I saw an ad on Missed Connections:

more often if I had the time. Thankful that I dont. I still have an itch to write sometimes.
I can tell you, all of you, the likelyhood of your succeeding at meeting someone or even communicating (here) are not good.

So many negatives in here. On facebook, twitter. Dont loose touch with your ability and desire to actually communicate face to face with people because you will loose and or degenerate these skills by staring at this screen. LOOK, none of the information is complete, dont take it so serious, dont assume people are writing to U, dont even write ( I would say) though Im not the best example. Keep your mind in higher places, dont fall deep into the lower astral plane. There is nothing but confusion and suffering in that realm. MC will only get U down. Yeah some poeple are smart and its interesting to ponder what they write about. You could learn something. I did.

Think about this, the people who have been writing in here for the longest time probably think at this point that others might know who they are or might know who they are writing for, or radom people are so borred with their own life that they are trying to figure out who wants to write to who, so they can mess with their heads, so they’ll try their hardest to fuck with your head. I know, It’s totaly unreasonable and totaly real. I’ll bet you wrote someone’s name the first couple times you posted on here.. I know, dont lie. But you don’t anymore and you never found them. It’s ok. You’ll find someone else. Someone more real than you can imagine right now. You’ll become the person you want to be. You dont need the person who you can’t find. You will find the person who needs you. You will after you give up obessing about MC. You’ll feel better and make yourself a better person.

Rise above all this negative garbage and delete it from your life.

for who ever might know me, most unlikely. This is Abe.

MY name is Abe. I say “Let my MC’s go !”

 

Reading this now, there is something sweet about us in it.

When I first saw his name and confirmed he was posting again on Craigslist, I flipped out. I sobbed on my bed, I threw myself around the room, looking for something to break.

I drove down to the bottom of the canyon for reception and  called him but was put to voicemail because he is a coward:

“You take away the wedding, you take away the town house and then you post again on Craigslist!? You’ve crushed me. You’ve crushed everything about me; my heart, my self-esteem. Its just gone. And you are still looking for her? You are an ASSHOLE!!!”

He called back in 20 seconds and said he wrote the post several days before, with mention of our relationship and I was taking it the wrong way.

We talked.

I said, “When you love someone, you do whatever it takes to make it work. I was going to do whatever it takes. Keep the dogs outside in a yard with a shelter, like a garage or a tool shed we could convert. No animals allowed in the bedroom. That was the agreement. I was going to do anything I could- except give up my animals, and you knew that! You knew the one thing I wouldn’t do was give up my dogs, so you gave me that ultimatum. You knew that I would say I couldn’t lose them because I love them, so it would be my decision the relationship ended.”

He said, “Is that it? Is that what I did?”

I said, “Yes, and to take away that invitation just like you did last year. You did this last year!! You broke up with me the week of your grandfather’s 90th birthday party and uninvited me. And now this is it all over again.”

Quietly, he said, “Is that what I did?”

I said, “Yes, and you know it kills me. I get the time off of work and get my hopes up and you just take them away. You don’t want me to see your family. You are embarrassed by me.”

He said, “No . . . I am not. I am sorry I did this to you. I know you like my family. And I know you really wanted to be a part of them, because your family isn’t . . . close.”

Silence.

He said, “I know. I am just developmentally behind or something. You are more emotionally mature, you know how to get jobs, you have people that help you, you’ve lived with someone before. I haven’t. I have nothing to bring to a relationship. I need to see a therapist or something. When I am with you, I am happy. But when I am down here alone, I just go mad.”

Silence.

He said, “You don’t make any compromises! I am always driving up there and making time for you.”

I said, “Only because I work so much, does that make me a bad person? That having jobs keeps me from great compromises?”

Silence.

He said, “I can’t go back on this now, I already thought about this.”

I don’t remember what I said. I know I cried, and he asked me not to. He also asked me to eat and take care of myself.

.

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Damn it. I really should have bought a bottle of wine for this blog.

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I cried in my car, in the middle of the day, parked outside a 711.

My shift at Doggie Daycare was about to start, and I swept up Esther and Brad, then flew to work.

I was able to hold it together for the most part. My boss, the woman who owns the Doggie Daycare, has a reputation for being cold. She is hard to connect to, so I usually just avoid her.

This particular evening, she was out with the dogs on the playground and said, “How are you? You look . . .”

I blubbered that I was uninvited to a wedding, and I should have never gotten back together with my ex, but  “whatever. I will make it through this too. I make it through everything.”

Her eyebrows crumpled and she said, “Sorry babe.”

I had emailed my parents, and they were being very supportive, and acknowledged that they knew how much pain I was in. That meant a lot. I had already exhausted my support systems with all the bullshit from last year, now there is . . . more. And I just didn’t want to tell anyone. I didn’t want to cry on someone’s shoulder . . . again. I didn’t want to go to Frank’s and do coke . . . again. I didn’t want to rehash a story where, frankly, I should have known better.

Abe asked to speak to me that evening, after work. I called and he said, “What would you do if you were me?”

I said, “I don’t know. I am not you.”

He said, “But whats the right thing to do.”

I said, “ . . . I am not going to talk you into a relationship with me. I don’t believe in that. Either you love me and you want me or you don’t.”

He said in sing-song, “Love you.”

Me, “No, you don’t.”

He said, “I do, I just don’t see it working. I am sorry, I don’t.”

I said, “WHY would you make all those promises? Why would you say you wanted to move in with me and PLAN for it and suggest starting a family?”

He said, “Because I am nice. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Even reading those words makes my eyes grow large. WHAT THE FUCK? NICE!

My boyfriend asked to start a life with me because he felt sorry for me and . . . didn’t want to hurt my feelings?

I made a sarcastic puff through the phlegm collecting at the base of my throat.

He continued, “Look, I have been thinking all night. I have an idea. Why don’t we just enjoy each other’s company right now? Why don’t we just have fun and around December 21st, I don’t know whats going to happen. Either its going to be very good or very bad. The world could end, or it will forever change. I want to be there with you. Our energy is similar and I know we are magic. I think I need to be there and see what happens with you. And maybe, then, I could think about a family and a future.”

I said, “I can’t give you 6 more months.”

He said, “I know you are impatient and it seems like a long time.”

I said, “It IS a long time.”

He said, “No it isn’t. Think about it.”

I said, “I gave 5 years to the Prophet. We are halfway through that time now. He wasted my time, and now you are wasting my time. I am a WOMAN. I have a time limit. I have maybe 6 more years left of fertility, and less in physical beauty to attract a man. I can’t give that to you. In 6 months I could be with someone who already moved in with me, we could even have a baby on the way. I can’t risk that again.”

 

He said, “Well, you are more experienced than me, so I guess you know best.”

Silence.

He said, “I told everyone already, you couldn’t make it to the wedding because you have strep throat.”

I said, “I wrote your mother and the bride and groom an email telling them you withdrew the invitation, because I don’t like the way you make me look to your family.”

He said, stoic and without emotion, “That seems . . . fair.”

He continued, “There is something else I should tell you that will probably hurt you. I found your profile on OKCupid and created a profile myself. I am telling you because you might find it and be very upset. I want to try it out for awhile to learn more about myself.”

WOW- my ear just started ringing. Just recalling this fucking bullshit makes my ear drum explode in an estrogen bomb.

Now, my OKCupid profile is dormant for the most part. I was using it to stay in touch with someone who I got a good feeling about, and cancelled on last year when things with Abe were working out. I just kept the profile barely alive. I go weeks without checking it.

Abe and I were only in this tryst for 10 days- I knew, somewhere inside, that it was uncertain.

I said, “Wow. You uninvite me to the wedding and put a profile on a dating website? Wow.”

He said, “I am sorry you took the time off work, you will have to make arrangements with them or something.”

I said, “I am going to Alan’s for the weekend.”

He said, again stoic and without emotion“ . . . ok.”

And I said, “So go ahead and enjoy OKCupid as much as you want. Thanks for the memories.”

I hung up and drove up to my apartment where I lost reception.

Alan was expecting me. My face was burning as I threw together an overnight bag and fed all my dogs. I kissed them and buried my face in their bodies, twisted in brown, white and gold fur over one section of my bed. They sleep in a cluster.

I gathered his shirts and articles, stuffed them in a plastic bag, left money for the dogsitter and drove south.

On my way down, I told him I had some of his things and would drop them off at his front door.

I called when I arrived to his gated complex, he met me at the gate and I parked in someone’s open spot. I cracked my door and Brad ran for Abe’s arms. I held him back and plopped him in the back seat stating a hard, “No! We are not staying here.” Brad leaned back with one paw slightly off the ground, as if he has frozen to really think about what I meant.

I handed Abe the plastic bag.

I said, “Here are your clothes. I blew my nose in one of your shirts, so that will be your special game to figure out which one.”

He laughed through a tight smile.

There was a pause and I suggested we have one last smoke.

He said, “No, you should just go.”

My impression of the moment was that he was hurt. I could have misread the moment, like I misread the entire relationship, but I got the sense that he was hurting inside, too.

I said ok.

He said, “Have fun.”

I looked through the window and said with sass, “I will!” then turned my engine which made a SCRRRRRRRRZZZZ. My car was already on.

Abe’s face contorted.

I laughed, and then I left as quickly as I could.

Of course, I got a text at the gas station that my work shirt was in there, so I had to go back.

Abe suggested I pick it up on my way back from San Diego.

I wrote, “I am never coming back.”

I swung by and brought out some things I was storing with him. He carefully placed and padded some glass cookware in my trunk next to a bag and box. When I leaned in to help, I could feel his body heat against mine. That instinct to fall into his arms and say, “Some stranger picked up your phone and said lots of nasty things. Where were you!?”

But it was him. It was him all along.

I got into my car and he said, “Take care, (my name).” The T pronounced as a lazy D.

I said, “Can’t you say my name properly at least once?”

He said it again, for the last time, then sat down on the curb outside his building.

I did a three point turn without looking in his direction. I knew he was there, lighting a cigarette.

I couldn’t look. I just left.

The foundation to my new life just collapsed underneath me.

The promise I have to make, to YOU, my audience, is that I will never go back. I have made the promise a thousand times to myself, over a thousand smaller issues, but now, I have to tell you- whoever you are on the other side of this computer screen, that I will never, ever see Abe again.

He has destroyed me.

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