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Driving Your Boyfriend Slowly Insane

Everyone went home after residency. And so did I. The holiday season was coming and I would be thrown into several weeks of constant dog-walks, kitty visits and overnights. My day would last 7am to 10pm.

Honoring Michael’s request, I disclosed the emotional affair I had with Huck over residency. I told him all the moments we kissed. I told him about the night I lay on his hotel bed with an erect cock in my hand. He took a moment. Well, more than a moment.

He got drunk and went outside to play songs off his phone.

“I have reduced my boyfriend to chain-smoking on the front porch, drinking out of a bottle of wine and listening to Frank Sinatra love songs,” I said. “Baby, there can only be one of us in this relationship.”

“I know … I am dealing with things. This is how I deal. I would never kill myself without you. And don’t think murder-suicide cause … that’s just lame. I wouldn’t ever do that,” he said, hanging his had low over a pint of Budweiser.

“Great, well … I wasn’t thinking that but thank you for inviting the discussion.”

Do it yourself coffins

Michael crawled inside and rolled around on the ground. I don’t understand the behavior but I have seen it a few times when he is distraught. He tucks in his arms and locks and rocks side to side, like an overturned ladybug.

“Roll with me,” he said. “Just get down and roll with me.”

I did, for a little bit. Then I asked him to pull himself together.

 

We had been through a lot. My car broke down. His car was smashed up. My second car died. And now my third car was dead.

“I know I am insane and always hysterical,” I said. “Let’s talk about how a sane person would deal with this … you know as a guide. A tutorial. How does a sane person deal with four cars dying in 2 months?”

“I can tell you how I dealt with a $2,000 ticket followed by a $1,000 tow because my registration expired. I sat there and cried my eyes out for half an hour which I am sure they are used to since they just went about their business. Then I met a beautiful, intelligent woman who I fell in love with and makes me want to put a gun in my mouth right now.”

**

I never thought it was a good idea to tell him everything that happened with other men, or rather Huck. Even when he asked me for full disclosure, I told him it was a bad idea. I believe sometimes it is better not knowing what your significant other thinks or does. If you are exposing them to potential disease, of course … you must disclose intercourse. But a kiss. An embrace. A thought. Exchanging those kind of free-flowing fluids would be enough to make anyone insane. Not only with the one you love, but every human being you pass. Who wants to read thoughts when you have Facebook. At least you have a chance to articulate, to edit, to think about what you want to say. As a human being, we are raw animals first, second we are sensitive, progressive human beings.

becoming-human-vi

There was no denying that my winter residency with Huck changed things. It isn’t as though I pined for him, as I did before. I didn’t fantasize or obsess. I didn’t wonder about other girls or his feelings. I just deeply appreciated the connection. It would be naïve to say one connection doesn’t disrupt another. And here is where my free love and boundless affection does become a problem. Whether or not we are monogamous creatures in the long haul, we are monogamous in a moment. I loved Michael, but my mind strayed to Huck. Not what ifs, not what I wants … just whatever it was. There was comfort in his friendship, in the lingering attraction, after the chaos of the Fall. It wasn’t a flash in the pan or a foolish piece of ass. We actually liked each other. Color me sentimental, but it means a lot. It means a hell of a lot.

Me on Xmas

My distance with Michael was harder to manage when I was spending nights at other dogs’ homes for paid overnight visits. We needed the money. Christmas would be a non-stop drive around town, extra treats, extra love with other people’s animals. Meanwhile, my family, my three dogs and neglected boyfriend, was home without me. “A Muppet Christmas Carol” cued up, warming champagne, no Christmas decorations or tree and my exhausted body pushing through to the next house on my schedule.

There was no time to reconnect with my boyfriend. There was only time to work and think. I wasn’t confused, but I was smitten.

Mike on Xmas

When I went to my boyfriend’s place of business, an indoor doggie gym in West Hollywood, we watched a Mommy training with her puppy.

“He says ‘I Love You’. Listen, I just say it first” I love you! I love you! I love you! Come on … I love you,” she begged.

The dog sat down and looked confused.

“He really does say it, I love you! I love you!”

“Does this situation remind you of anyone, baby?” Michael asked me. “A portrait of my life.”

“I have to show you video of him saying it. He does say it!” the dog owner insisted, pulling out her cell phone.

I don’t want to hurt Michael. I didn’t want to hurt Michael. I just needed space to think and feel without consequence. That is the ultimate difference between action and thought. A million feelings pass through the two. I don’t want the person I love the most to stamp each one with approval, with acknowledgement. I want to float around a little bit, fall in love, fall in hate, feel disgust, feel compelled … then reflect on it. Make sense of it. That is life.

Here I am, flipping through my copy of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, looking for one passage that struck me last month. It is night now. My contacts are burning my eyes. The TV is on in the living room. And the white wine is soothing my throat after smoking too much this week. I had quit for awhile but writing always brings me back.

Didion said, in a more poetic arrangement, that you can fall in love many times, but the one you marry is the one that shapes your life; the one who shapes your identity. Michael, though much younger, though less experienced, was my husband. And my feelings towards someone I still feel “love toward” and one who has shaped my life are uniquely different. You cannot buy and own love. You cannot stick a flag in my abdomen and say I own this part of you. Sharing my life however, that is as close as you can get and probably much more fulfilling an experience.

The Right Apple

Michael and I rode around from job to job together- just to be together. He waited in the car for 30 minute dog visits and drove 10, 20 and 30 minutes with me to other houses. We got coffee together in the morning. I should have been a peach to him. I should have been Doris Day. But I wasn’t. I acted like a confused, bitchy teenager who didn’t have time to separate her thoughts.

“Do you think Starbucks has a toaster?” Michael asked over strong lattes one early morning.

“I don’t know, why don’t you ask,” I said a little too slow, a little too bitter.

“I oughtta hit you in the god damn mouth right now,” he said. I smiled a little at him. I don’t want to be hit, but admired him for saying it. He was standing up for himself, and though I admired it at the time, I wish he took a more controlled approach. “I have never wanted to hit a woman before in my entire life,” he said looking down.

“I have that effect on men,” I said, soberly.

I knew I was a hard girl to fall in love with. I keep my ex-boyfriends. I kiss everybody on the mouth. I flirt without ever registering the moment. I loved the guy though, and he had no way of seeing that quite yet.

“You should come to the gym with me and work out. I think you need the exercise,” he said.

“How can you say that after all the work I did on you last night?” I asked.

“Yeah, and you gave up?”

“Is that so, Mr. Can You Get On Top?” I quipped.

“No, you were great last night.”

“Finally, a compliment,” I said, slapping my hand down on the wobbly, cheap table in the corner of a Vons grocery store. Why do they have to put Starbuck’s inside grocery stores? I need ambiance for Christ’s sake.

“HAHAHA, I could spend the rest of my life like this,” he said.

“Seriously?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“Laughing with your bitchy girlfriend?”

“Yeah,” he said again. He was serious. All the while, I was kind of waiting for the thing to fall apart.

 D and L

We went out to dinner after the holiday rush. I made a lot of money. Over $2,000. Every bit of it went towards a new transmission in the used car I bought a couple weeks before. And I still owed a $300 balance after rent was paid.

Do you know what it is like working every second of the day only to lose every cent of that second? If you are a Hispanic dishwasher, no need to answer. Indentured servant maybe? Jesus, what does an American have to do for a savings account?

We saved up enough for a dinner together after the holidays. Just Michael and me. We went to my favorite restaurant, now a small chain. All vegan. Everything is excellent. Real Food Daily.

We sat across from each other in the Pasadena restaurant. I ordered a Vanilla Hemp Soy Shake and made love to the thing like it was the first milkshake of my life. I often scrolled through Michael’s cell phone. I am not really checking up on him. I am partly curious, partly testing him. It is a relief when I discover he is as human as I am.

“Who is Katie?” I said, reviewing text messages.

“That would have been funny yesterday, but it’s not funny now,” he said, stoic. When he drinks his ice water, he swishes it around in the back of his jaw before swallowing. He doesn’t want to look at me.

“Really? I think it’s more funny. You know, ironic.”

“Well, you shouldn’t have made out with your ex-boyfriend. Not the ex-boyfriend who hates Jews. Not the ex-boyfriend with conspiracy theories. Not the ex-boyfriend who bit your head. You know … just the regular crazy ex-boyfriend,” he said. (For those of you who don’t know me, all of the above is true. Of course, had I known that any of them hated Jews or would bite my head, I, of course, would have never fallen in love with them in the first place.)

“I just want to eat,” Michael continued, “I want to eat chocolate chip cookies. Like a whole fucking box of chocolate chip cookies. I used to take a peanut butter cookie and put it on top of a chocolate chip cookie and eat it like a sandwich. I could totally do that right now.”

I eat it

Once, while reviewing old photos on his younger brother’s Facebook page, I saw what Michael looked like in high school. He was short, chubby and holding a white, fluffy dog. I remember saying to myself, “I know exactly who that kid was in high school.” The chubby dork. The chubby, sensitive, wonderful dork.

In bed, I see the stretch marks on the side of his rib cage. I like them. They remind me of lightning bolts.

“Can I be honest? I think that Huck is the wedge between you and me, not the car,” he said.

“I agree,” I said, honestly. I had an intimate connection with another man, and it was lingering.

“Ok, so you agree. Let’s talk about it. You were intimate with him and now it has completely ruined things between you and me,” he said.

“It hasn’t ruined things; it is a bump in the road.”

“No, you cheated. It’s a lot more than a bump.”

“There will be lots of temptations down the road, there will be other people, things will happen.”

“Not with me! I would NEVER do that,” he said.

“Please don’t use the word ‘never’ at 23.”

“Ok, I am sorry.”

“I needed the closure. We only kissed. I don’t want to have a relationship with him. I don’t want to run away and marry him. I want to be with you.”

“What does he have that I don’t have? You were going to up and move to Milwaukee for him? Would you do that for me?” he asked.

“Do you want me to do that for you?”

“No. I know you love LA. I would never ask you to.”

“Good. He doesn’t have anything over you. There is just an energy … it’s similar to how I feel around you. A levity. I don’t know how to explain it.”

“Don’t you dare compare to me to him! How could you do that after the way he treated you? He is an asshole. The rest of us are onboard, we are waiting for you,” he preached.

“I am not waiting to make a decision. I want to be with you. You and I have spent more time together. You are my boyfriend. That is not in question.”

“I don’t know what to do with you. Any other girl I would be out of here … oh, I am not breaking up with you. You can just let that one go.”

“Good,” I picked up the menu, “I know its hard being my boyfriend.”  He nodded heavily, like I put a chain around his neck. “But it is part of me that needs the freedom to do little things other girlfriends don’t. I am not like other girls and its part of the package. I won’t sleep with someone else. Anyway, it is over with Huck.”

“I know it’s not over. You are still talking to him.”

“No, I am not.”

“I know you are.”

“Well, there is a one or two text exchanges, but not a conversation,” I confessed.

“See baby, why do you do that? I can’t trust you.”

“You asked me to be honest, how can you not trust me?”

“I am sorry, I don’t.”

“Ok, well that’s a shame. So glad I told you everything,” I said.

“You told me like … way later.”

“AFTER residency, so I didn’t have to fight with you while studying. It’s over with him ok, he is gone. You are my life.”

“It’s not over.”

“Yes, it is.”

“It doesn’t feel over,” he muttered.

There was a silence.

“Well, it is,” I punctuated.

“Until next residency …”

“We will have more time together then. Baby, we have been together for only 2 months. I had unresolved business. Just don’t put so much on it, ok? I am here with you.”

“I am just gonna stuff my face. And after this I am going to Taco Bell, open up an account,” he said, finishing his ice water.

“Sure you don’t want to sweep by Mrs. Fields first?”

“I would eat the shit out of Mrs. Fields.”

We-love-Mrs-Fields-mrs-fields-25580083-300-300

I started singing. Beauty and the Beast. “Gosh it disturbs me to see you Gaston, looking so down in the dumps …”

He laughed. He laughed so high, the waiters smiled.

We ate dinner fast and he stopped talking about eating out his heart.

Gaston

“Ok, here is the comment card,” I grabbed after I subconsciously bussed our own dishes. “Service? Excellent.” I checked the box. “Food? Excellent. Comments, how could this have been a better meal?” I read aloud as I wrote in pen, “I wish I could have had dinner with a girlfriend who didn’t cheat on me.”

He laughed again and grabbed my hand. “I love you. God damn it, I love you.”

For the first time, I really believed him.

Old Memories

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Cheap Wine, Expensive Martinis and Messy Reunions: Residency

It was early December now. My boyfriend, Michael, was gathering his things from a thrashed Victorian house in Pasadena to bring over to my place. After living with several computer nerds, the type who left food out to rot and tangled surge protectors across the living room floor, for a couple years, Michael was planning on moving in with me and Frank December 17th.

Love is bracelet

My writing school runs an unusual program. We study, read and write from all over the world and usually discuss and share online. At the start of each semester, we all fly, drive or bus in to campus for 10-days of intensive workshops, lectures and parties. It is very intense, and to make it more intense, it would be the first time I would see Huck.

Huck is a tall, lanky, fair-skinned boy of about 27 from Baraboo, Wisconsin. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Wide eyes. His chin narrow. His ears big. He looks like a child that hit an unexpected growth spurt. Usually, he shuffles down the sidewalk in a sock hat, open flannel and back-pack so heavy it bends him forward like a cattail. He was in the Poetry program when I met him during the June 2012 residency, earlier that year. We flirted. We fucked. We fell. And in a hotel room with vodka, beer, and two computers we wrote, made love, laughed together, ate together and made a pact that we would try to make it last after we left residency.

Cartoon drawing heart

You know the end of these kind of stories. Two fuck-ups like us, it never could have worked. He went home to Wisconsin and fucked another girl. I went home to Washington state to live with my parents and cry over it. We both drank. We both texted. Huck less and less. Me more and more. And then it stopped and I felt totally alone. I was in a rural town in Washington state, without any friends, with a broken car, all the while relying on my parents for companionship, comfort and support. My parents were never good with the parental side of being parents. They recoil, explode, shut down. The more uncomfortable it was with my parents, the more I realized they were living somewhere between senile and psychotic, and the more I drank. Thank God, all of that that ended, too. I would rather not write about it now. Those cuts are still burning.

I wanted him to save me. Whether or not Huck could save me, I don’t know, but he certainly didn’t try. He disappeared.

Hearts and brick wall

I came back to Los Angeles to start over, but with a little help from my friends. And with a little sunshine, a little love and laughter, I thrived again. Huck and I rarely were in contact. There was a conversation here and there on Gchat. He liked my blog. I wished him well. The more I healed, the more I hated him. No… hated is the wrong word. The more I resented him. I needed to in part to let him go. More importantly, I needed to remind myself that the people I was drawing into my life, the ones who discarded me, who reminded me of my parents, those people needed to be removed from my psyche permanently. Whether Huck fits into some greater pattern of dysfunction or not, he was rolled up in my summer back in Washington. I wanted to dump those memories; the parents, the house, the desperation and the heartbreak. I wanted to begin again.

I did. I was reborn. I was happy. But now, I was about to see him again … all over again. And I was scared. The campus is small- of the four classes attending residency at one time, there are about 30 people per class. People would say, “Can’t you just avoid him?” I guess I could try, but we would be in the same room several times over the course of 10 days. And did I want to? I avoided thinking about him. I had a great boyfriend. Michael adored me. I kept Huck’s doors closed, but Michael kept asking what I was going to do. “It is just hard. Every time I bring up Huck you get this far away look in your eyes and it scares me,” he said.

“I don’t know. I just can’t even imagine seeing him again, I have no idea what it will be like,” I answered.

The next morning, we both just kind of laid there, side by side in bed. “I have already made up my mind that you are going to sleep with Huck,” he said.

“What? No I won’t.”

“Just do what you need to do. After residency, December 17th, we will look at it again. We can be in a committed relationship and I will move in. I am even putting it in my phone. There. December 17th. Feelings talk.”

Picture 028

**

A night or two before residency, my phone buzzed. It was Huck. “Are you going to be civil this week?”

My roommate Frank was coaching me from the sidelines. “Don’t answer! Don’t answer!”

I slowly typed. “Of course.”

“That’s the right answer! That’s the right answer!” cheered Frank.

I was working on a manuscript on the couch while Frank watched sports from his lawn chair, placed all alone, in the middle of the living room, in front of the TV. The volume was low and there was a mellow kind of harmony about our two worlds. My phone buzzed again:

“Good. We’ll have to get a drink, or smoke up if you can get hands on some,” Huck wrote.

I read the message, screamed and threw the phone across the room like it burned my fingers.

“What are you doing? You should be enjoying this. He loves you. He is crazy about you. Relax,” Frank said, waiting for the next commercial break before smoking the cigar rolling between his fingers.

Why was I so anxious about this one person? This one fucking hipster from Milwaukee. We only knew each other for a week. Just a week. It was a fling. That’s all.

I retrieved my phone and carefully typed, “I don’t know about that. Lets leave it at civil for now.”

“Understood,” blipped back from the screen.

GeekLoveEtsy1

***

For better or worse, I told Michael that I wanted to be in a committed relationship now. There was no point in waiting until after residency, I knew he was the man I wanted to be with.

***

The day before class, I had gone on a rampage at the local Forever 21. Sascha gave me a gift card a long time ago, and I used every last dollar (even a little more) to look as cute as possible for the first day of class. Ripped jeans. Off the shoulder tops. A purple vinyl jacket with sweatshirt sleeves and a hoodie.

Michael drove me to school in the 1996 Saturn I just bought from a friend of a “writer” I met. It took a little over an hour to get to campus from Glendale. When we finally pulled near the campus parking structure, I hyperventilated.

“I can do this. I can do this. I am smart. I deserve to be here. I am smart,” I kept chanting.

Tears squeezed out from the corners of my eyes and the air burned my lungs as I panted through the mantra. My hands were shaking, so I threw them in the air to straighten them out. I was having an anxiety attack.

“You are smart,” Michael said, touching my back. “One of the smartest people I know. You do deserve to be here.”

The program was fairly exclusive. Students complain, but only 6 or so applicants are invited into my genre (Non-Fiction) every semester. There was a waiting list. And after studying film for 15 years, I was way behind on my knowledge of literary basics like modern books or even specific rules with regards to grammar and comma splices. My writing experience, up to this point, was only this blog and a few screenplays. The other students taught English or authored published books, sometimes both.

“I can do this … I can do this …” I said, closing my eyes, wiping my face, breathe in … breathe out. I wiped my nose and looked at Michael. “I can do this.”

love never fails

He hugged me and I stepped out of the vehicle. I climbed up a steep, concrete staircase along the edge of campus and felt my knees wobble. A couple smiled as they passed me on the way down. I stopped and then put on my act. “Pretend to be confident.” I smiled, bounced and casually found my friends.

***

In the program, there was my friend from Oregon- a tall, kind of sizable lesbian named Cat. She is very fair, with blue eyes and milky white skin. I bet in winters she turns blue. Her short, blonde hair and thundering presence often confuse people. She claims at least once a day she is mistaken for a man. It is kind of hard to believe with a rack like that. One of her breasts is bigger than my entire head.

George is a gorgeous, sculpted, eloquent homosexual. He is the closest thing to a perfect human being I have ever met. Always kind, considerate. Always smart and witty. Always wearing the perfect colors to compliment his carob skin, with the scarf thrown over his shoulder just so.

They are both brilliant. Both talented. Both unmistakable in a crowd. And as I climbed those concrete stairs, I found the bagels and then I found George & Cat- slipping between them with a little sarcasm, occasionally checking out of conversation to daydream or look for Huck.

***

The first time I saw Huck was in a lecture called “The Literary Marketplace”. I walked in and found Cat right away. She towered over me and spoke excitedly about this or that to a few other students. Through the corner of my eye, I saw the back of that blonde head of fine hair. His yellow hair is the kind that breathes light, onto lazy sunflowers, through glass pitchers of lemonade, the moment of yellow before white. We sat down for the lecture, but I couldn’t stop staring at the back of his head. I wondered if he knew I was in the room, two rows behind and over the aisle.

yellow-kid-page-6-660-cropped

People around the room asked questions, and we all turned to look at them. If I turned back, I caught the curve of his chin, the rim of his glasses, just before he swung back around to face the front of the classroom. I tried to concentrate and ignore him. Everyone said ignore him. I took notes, I focused on the presentation, but that yellow light flared in the corner of my eye and I gave into staring at him. Even in the moment, I wasn’t looking for anything. I wasn’t trying to catch something or figure anything out. I just had to wrap my head around months of pining over someone who was now roughly six feet away.

After class, I squeezed through the wall of people piling up behind the first exit. Cat was trying to lead me through, but I patiently waited to leave, knowing my ass was in plain sight of Huck.

***

The second time I saw him, I was sitting between Cat and George in the student lounge. “I just don’t know if I should say something or ignore him …” I vented.

“Just be polite and say hello. You are about to get your chance,” George said.

Huck walked up to the door of the lounge and looked in. Cat, George and I all turned to look at him. Awkward moment. Then he walked away.

I felt bad. There was always this tension. Would I run into him? Did everyone know about us? He was alone most of the time. He wasn’t as social a creature as I was. Walking around campus, the looming anxiety of bumping into him got to me. So I emailed him at the end of the first day:

“I think we should have a drink to cut the tension.

I don’t have your number anymore.”

He wrote back immediately, “Alright.” We exchanged numbers. Typing back and forth, little sentences, standing in the lobby on campus with my friends, he suddenly appeared. He was strutting now, confident, smiling even. He tilted his head to the side, his back still bent forward to roll the weight of his backpack back and forth. He kicked his chin up and smiled at me. My friend turned towards me with her upper lip snarling in disgust.

We all waited for the free dinner opening night of residency. We were all poor and desperate for cold cuts, bad lasagna and cheap wine in little plastic cups. The line for food was out of the room and down the hall. We patiently filed in, as I chatted happily with a few other students around me. Then I saw him sitting at a table across the room. He shoved a bit of food off his fork into his mouth, winked at me and then casually looked away. My heart started pumping double the oxygen and blood to my head. I felt dizzy.

broken-hearted

He wasn’t traditionally good-looking. He just fascinated me. I can’t say why for certain, some people just capture you.  My only hope to completely avoid anything complicated with him was if he was disinterested in me, or interested in another girl in the program.

We ate on opposite sides of the room. After the dinner, he passed me in the hallway, cupped his hand over the edge of my elbow for a few seconds and said, “I will call you later.” Before I knew it, he was gone. I turned to my friend, extended my elbow and said “Can you wipe this off for me?”

**

As the night went on, everyone went home and Huck hadn’t called. I texted him.

He wrote: “I am not drunk enough to see you” or something like that.

“Let’s just get it out of the way,” I wrote back. I walked down to the same Sheraton where we fell for eachother, a few blocks from the school. He was staying there again. I was so nervous, I felt my muscles tighten over bone. I was walking sideways to avoid bumping into things. I straightened my hair and face in the Hotel lobby and walked into the bar. He wasn’t there yet. I waited. I thought about the pain. I just needed to remember the pain. I hated him. I despised him. I wanted him to get an extraordinarily bad case of genital herpes. Wait a minute, why was I here? Why was I seeing him? I should leave. I should get up and leave right now.

I sat still.

Then he walked in, bouncing a bit on his feet. He suddenly slipped into the seat across from me, his knee and foot tapping nervously. We ordered drinks and waded through some awkward small talk. How are you? Yeah. Good.

Somewhere early in conversation, awkwardly, the word “sorry” fell out of his mouth.

“Sorry for everything or …” I said, swishing my weak vodka martini around.

“Sorry for everything. I knew when I went to a motel with a 21-year-old while I was still with my last girlfriend that I was doing it all over again. I know it is something I am doing. And when I destroyed that relationship I felt almost as bad as I did with y- …. are you ok?” he asked.

My head was turned. “I am seeing spots.”

“I saw some of those texts I sent last summer when you texted me tonight, and they were pretty ugly. I am sorry I did that.”

The waiter asked if we wanted another drink. I nodded. “Yes, but I need a strong martini. I want it to burn the back of my throat.” The waiter nodded, kind of amused or maybe curious, then slinked away.

“Anyway, I obviously have some kind of pattern …” he continued.

His voice made me sick. I needed to be drunk for this. I couldn’t take it, whatever hole he dug in me was still wide open and I couldn’t close it, not in front of him over a cocktail table in a hotel bar.

“So … did you get a haircut before residency?” I asked.

“Yeah, my Hitler Youth haircut,” he said. It was a close shave with bangs. His hair was so blonde it would look white on black and white film. “I went to the barber and had to ask for Boardwalk Empire meets Mad Men. You can’t just say Hipster in Baraboo. I should just ask for ‘Faggot’.”

hitler youth haircut

I laughed. He was still funny. The moment I warmed to him was somewhere around the second martini, still not strong enough to fire up my mouth like a bottle of Listerine, but enough to cauterize my wounds for an hour. A group of girls were laughing at the bar behind him. Huck put on his over-the-top gay voice, “They are really loosening up over there!” he said. I laughed. The release felt good, all the tension, all the wait, all the worry just slipped out of me and we sank into our seats.

I was checking my phone. “Are you still with Abe?” Huck asked. Abe is my ex.

“No. Not at all. I have only seen him once since I moved back to LA,” I said.

“I thought you said you were back with him.”

“No …” I checked my phone again. Michael was picking me up but he wasn’t answering my texts. “My boyfriend has my car, I am waiting for him to pick me up but he isn’t answering.”

I knew mention of the word “boyfriend” would kind of kill the mood. Not because we were flirting but just because it put rules on the night, almost immediately. I felt Huck lean back a little, he seemed more uncomfortable all of a sudden.

He ordered another drink. I think I did as well. The bill was big, too big for a writer who just quit his job before flying out of Wisconsin. He made a suggestion that we go back to his room for cheaper drinks. I said I didn’t think it would be a good idea.

A happy, black couple at a nearby table engaged us a little. “Where are you from?” they asked.

“He is from Louisiana,” I answered. Huck hung his head and twisted his smile. “I am not from Louisiana,” he muttered.

“Oh, Louisiana!” they said warmly. “What part?”

“The part saved from Hurricane Katrina,” I said.

Huck stood up and promptly paid the bill, then made quick strides to the elevator. I put my bag over my shoulder and looked at my phone. No word yet from Michael. I followed Huck up to the hotel room.

We walked into the room, one lamp in the corner was on. The lights outside in the night shimmered through the curtain like mutated stars. I sat and waited for another beverage, then picked up the book on his desk. “War & Peace?” I smirked, “You are just trying to impress me.”

“I thought I would do some reading while I was here,” he said, coolly.

The evening gets sloppy right around here. He definitely tried to seduce me, and I drew it out and pulled away to tease him as much as possible. I remember his shirt off, his legs on either side of my torso as I lay flat and drunk on his bed. I waited until the last moment to dodge his kiss.  “I am not going to play these games,” he said. He teetering back and away from me.

I had told him about Michael and his expectation that we sleep together. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was playing with fire. Huck and I were drunk. We argued. I left the room, I paced down the hallway and back, then waited outside the door less than a second before the door opened for me. I walked back into the room, threw my bag on the ground and collapsed on the bed.

Cartoon of couple at night

I kept him at a finger’s distance for all but one moment. One moment in a kiss where you don’t remember anyone leaning in, where there was no tension or runway to the collision. We just kissed. He consumed me. My tongue was numb from too many cigarettes and I immediately regretted all the anxious chain-smoking. It may be the last time I taste him. My fingertips drizzled down the sides of his ribcage. A drum stick tattooed on each hip. My hands wrapped around his skin and I remembered how soft he was. He was warm and inviting like a clump of my mother’s skin cream. So soft, you could barely feel it on you.

Where the night put us at different moments, I can’t say for certain in what order. I remember we were standing at the door and he said, “Now you’re just somebody that I used to know …”

“What?”

“That song …? Nevermind,” he said.

“That awful pop song?” I asked. “And I thought you were a Poetry major!”

Michael was texting me now, and I asked him to wait for me. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was drunk and in the thick of memories, trying to understand how to put this love to bed. Huck and I argued more. We circled each other. Then we would lay on our stomachs.

“Where is your ass?” Huck asked, staring at collapsed jean pockets over my behind.

“It doesn’t exist.”

Between dodging kisses and dragging out unpleasant memories, I collapsed on him, crying over my parents. They had kicked me out of their house in the summer, dragging my things on the front lawn and unleashing my dogs to the night.  They have not made contact with me since. He held me as tears and snot ran out of my face all over his bare chest and shoulder. I wept like a 5-year-old, occasionally screaming into the pillow under his head. I even kicked my foot up and down into the bed.

“Now, here is the real rejection,” he said, holding me close.

“I hate my parents. I hate them!” and I kicked, and cried then stopped.

He put the Rolling Stones on YouTube for me. Per my request, a 1964 performance of “Not Fade Away”. I gurgled through my tears and turned my head quietly towards the screen, then I felt better. I even started singing.

Rolling Stones 64

It was psychotic. It was intimate. It was ugly and messy and loud. It was a perfect reunion.

I texted Michael to pick me up, then saw Huck logged into Facebook on his open laptop and posted a status update while he was in the bathroom. “Sorry for fucking over all the women in my life.” Then I left.

I would have to face Michael after all of this … then go back to school at 9am.

MessyArt_GCDC_invite_c02_01

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“Cheating? Me? Really? I bought you peanut butter and jelly yesterday.”

Christmas came and went. It was nice. Christmas Eve Dora’s mother invited us over for dinner after work. When Dora got the text she said, “Wow, we haven’t had dinner together for years, like 3-4 years.”

I said, “Really?” I know Dora struggled throughout high school. There was the divorce and her family splintered. Dora got the shite end of the deal, losing years of her innocence to very hard drugs. Now the spirit of the family was discovering itself again, without the male entities. The father still remains out of the picture and the brother lives in the Pacific Northwest.

I brought a cheap bottle of champagne and she made me a Tofurkey. Few things bring tears to the eye, but I can tell you, I really didn’t think I would have a Tofurkey this year. And there it was, cooked perfectly.

Dora’s sister arrived to with her husband, and I could tell Dora’s mom was ecstatic. She wasn’t so thrilled that she would exalt in Mid-Western Game Show Glory- you could just see it . . . her bustling around to cook and serve food while her words got light and fast. She got tipsy and giggled.

It was nice. Mitch even came, too.

I sipped the champagne and whispered, “Mmmmm, liquid gold.”

Dora, “You manage that Tofurkey.”

Me, “Oh, I’ll manage it.” I ate almost the entire thing.

Abe surprised me Christmas morning. I was annoyed he chose to spend every day of the holiday with his parents until they left town on Christmas Day. He offered to come out after they left, but my shift started at 2pm so what was the point  . . .

He showed up with gifts at 10am. We took the dogs to a park and then I fed them yummy food with large bones to follow. Maggie loved her bone so much, she refused to sit down to chew it. She consumed the whole 12 inch bone standing up. That dog is a tank.

By the time New Year’s came around, I had tickets for us to see The Chromatics and Glass Candy at Los Globos. I planned on getting 2 Mollys for us (MDMA) and dropping with Trent and Kent, who would meet us there.

Abe said, “Go to a gay club and do ecstasy? That’s not something I would normally do . . .  but what the heck, its New Years. Time for new things, right?”

I smiled.

Abe got a hotel room and a pink top hat with ‘Happy New Year’ printed across it. I got a tiara and wore my pink striped sequin dress. It was the moment when my life was going to change for the better.

I got off work at 8pm and Abe got lost on the way to the motel, so we didn’t get in the club until a little after 10pm and dropped together. Happy New Year.

Trent said, “I always worry it won’t be enough for me. That the dose will be too mild.”

I said, “I worry about the opposite. That its not enough.”

I wanted to dance, but the crowd was generally unpleasant.

Something called “Hipster” best defined by two separate and brief conversations I have had:

#1 Abe, “Why does everyone look like a socially retarded zombie in this part of town?”
Me, “Its called Hipster, babe. Its ‘in’ now.”

#2 (sitting in a car with Dora we watch three people cross the street)
Dora, “I kinda love the Hipster thing. Do whatever you want. Dress how ever you want.”
Me, “Black tights, with a plaid skirt, a military jacket and ballet slippers . . .”
Dora, “Not that . . . that is just . . . not even funny.”

Here we were, at a very cool club listening to very cool music, and nobody would smile.

I walked in smiling, and initially thought that my tiara gave the wrong impression- but I mean COME ON, the woman next to me had bird feathers glued to her face.

So we got up and started swaying to the music.  The flannel was a-plenty and everyone was pastey white with hanging faces. How tragic to be white, young and in Los Angeles.

This was the night when I was going to break off everything poisonous and heavy- so I let the music and drug take me away.

Abe, “Its kind of hot in here. Whooo!”

Abe doesn’t dance. He walks in the corner where he can stare at the sound system or he shifts weight from one foot to the other in the hopes it will match the music.

Abe shook the collar of his shirt, “Its really hot in here.”

I said, “That’s the drug baby. Enjoy it.”

One of the few times I feel warm in general is when I am on ecstasy.

He said, “Is there a giant hole behind me? It feels like people won’t stand behind me. What’s going on back there, can you look?”

I looked and said, “There is no one behind you but I don’t think its about you. Don’t let your low self-esteem wear on you.”

Abe said, “That would be hard considering I have no self esteem.”

I turned back to the music.

Trent and Kent were waving to the music like sea urchins. I turned back to Abe.

He said, “I love you, baby.”

I laughed, “I love you, too.”

I grabbed his arms and let him move with my body. The sequins felt coarse against my skin so I tried keeping my arms off my dress and rubbed against Abe.

He backed away suddenly and said, “Baby, you are giving me a (low voice) hard on. (normal voice) You can’t do that.”

I said, “Its called dirty dancing. No one is looking at us. Just look at me.”

He gave a breathy chuckle.

It was a mild dose of MDMA, which was fine since it left me in control.

We went back to Kent’s empty apartment.

Abe, “Trent says he has a big cock.”

Trent, “I do.”

Me, “Yes, I have heard stories about how big it is but have never had the pleasure.”

Abe, “You people talk about strange stuff.”

Me, “Its called just being open. Say whatever you think.”

Abe, “Um … once she (me) gave me a blowjob with champagne in her mouth and let some slide into my urethra and at first it was like, ‘whoa- that’s weird’ but then I thought, ‘that was kinda hot.”

Me (rubbing his back), “See? The truth will set you free.”

After an hour there, we went back to the hotel room to bathe and make love til 6:30 in the morning. It was one of the most erotic nights of my life.

I trusted him.

In the bathtub, I curled up against his chest and felt like I was kept warm inside the palm of his hand.

Everything was beautiful and intense.

When I woke up at 10am, he had breakfast set up for me on the vanity. He made coffee.

We made love again. Its kind of hard to orgasm on esctasy. It hard to explain. A large part of you is holding back because of the fear that the pleasure will be unmanageable. Unmanageable is such a clinical term . . . everything is already overwhelming to process; the thoughts, the touch, the time. With the orgasm, you completely surrender and I couldn’t give that to Abe yet.

Around 10:50am, I allowed one orgasm out. 11am was check-out.

We walked over to a Thai restaurant. He looked at me and said, “I am feeling really emotionally attached to you right now.”

I said, “Good, so this would be the right time to talk about moving in?”

I still thought building a love nest with Abe would be my salvation; from poverty and a self destructive lifestyle. I still see a beautiful little cottage with a yard, hot tea, music and animals. Jesus, doesn’t that sound nice?

Abe asked, “How can you work after last night?”

I said, “Are you kidding me? I work at a Doggie Daycare, coming down from ecstasy while cuddling with dogs sounds awesome.” And it was.

I showed up to work 15 minutes late with my hair down and a huge smile on my face.

HR said, “Your hair looks nicer today.”

I said, “That’s because I bathed.”

Audience, you can see how I got wrapped up in him again, right?

The Christmas morning surprise. The New Year’s Eve love making. The inch by inch discussion we had on moving in.

After making love one morning he said, “Why don’t you just give up the dogs and move in with me?”

I pulled away and said, “They are my kids. I need them. If you don’t understand that then we have no future. We aren’t compatible. I come with animals, period.”

He rolled closer to me and whispered in warm, morning breath that he understood.

A few days later, we spoke about how I wouldn’t take his last name if we married. He didn’t like that. I liked that he didn’t like that, but said, “I was born (my name) and I will die (my name). That’s who I am and that will never change.”

He said things like, “I see other couples walking around and they don’t truly love each other. I can appreciate real love and what we have. I am not blind” or “You don’t find a girl who wants to have your baby everyday, that means everything.”

We discussed what city we might live in, the compromises we would make.

I am a fool. Let me admit this right now. I AM A FOOL! But, if I don’t let my heart lead me some of the time, how can I live my dreams?

The last day I saw him, I kept drilling to understand why he was resisting moving in. I asked, “What are the problems, tell me and we will resolve them.”

Abe said, “You like LA more than Orange County.”

I said, “Thats true. Well, all my work is in LA and most of your work is in LA so its just practical. LA has personality and Orange County is one long strip mall. But, if we live close to the beach, I can move to Orange County. Not some beach where kids go for Spring Break. I don’t want to deal with girls degrading themselves.”

Abe said, “What are you talking about?”

Me, “That spring break bullshit I see. I don’t want to live by that.”

Abe, “OK, NO MORE DOGS! You can’t get anymore dogs.”

Me, “Agreed. I can’t take on anymore dogs. This is it, my final three. I would like to get back into fostering though, but we can talk about that later.”

Abe said, “Ok, with the dogs you won’t compromise. They have to have all access to the entire house and they destroy everything. That means they will destroy all my things, take up MY time and add more stress to MY life.”

I said, “What if we give them the garage and a yard? I can put my computer in the garage and write and watch movies with them. They can have their beds in there, and they will be totally removed from all the nice things.” (except for Brad)

Silence.

Me, “Does that sound reasonable?”

Abe, “ . . . Yes, that sounds reasonable.”

Me, “Good. I found this place, a 2-bedroom with a yard in Huntington Beach for $1400/month.”

Abe, “We need a place with a garage though-”

Me, “It does have a garage. Look.”

He looked.

Abe said, “Well that does look kind of a nice.  (reading) A couple blocks from the beach. (to me) What am I gonna do, go surfing every morning while you walk the dogs?”

I smiled with big eyes and said, “I have always wanted to take surfing lessons.”

I could see the wheels in his head turning. He smiled back at me, but there was something more.

***

About a week from New Year’s Day, I came home and saw my internet browser open to his email account, another account other than the one I email him through. Now, I don’t look through people’s phones or really investigate too much inside someone’s private devices except on occasion and guess what? This was one of those occasions.

I briefly rolled my eyes over the first page and saw Craigslist Ad “Missed Connections” under two postings. One titled “Hey Jerk” and the other “Then Maybe.”

I knew what this was about.

I clicked on “Then Maybe”:


“we can express our infatuation with eachother some day, in a setting that you feel is worthy of recognition.

Say you like me, so I can say I hate you for it. How does that sound?? Thats what you did to me here!!!

You must have a pair of ice cold feet lady. You’d be warm if you were standing next to me.”

Then, I clicked on “Hey Jerk”:


“Not everybody is fully capable of guiding their own self.
Maybe that’s why you make peoples heads explode?

I dont feel cruel or insensitive, but I guess I am now, thats what happens when you go mad about your feelings for someone.

I saw an add for My strange addiction. Thought about it. I don’t want to anger you. I did think about it because I have a very strange addiction.

God. Goths. Gwaudo!!! seriously, help me stop”

.
.
.

I scrolled through to see he had placed about 5-7 ads since December 30th.

I consider myself a fairly liberal person, and I want to understand. I do. But we had just gone through what I consider to be one of the best parts of our relationship, one of the most intimate weeks I have had with any man, and AT OUR BEST . . . he was still going to try to find her. If we were years into a relationship, maybe I could understand . . . but we were just starting out.

Who is she?

Yes, I know who Abe is looking for. When we met, I had listened as he described an obsession he had for a girl in Band during high school. Yes, a girl in BAND from HIGH SCHOOL. Her name was, let’s say . . . Hailey.

Hailey used to live down the street from Abe and they had some brief conversations, but never dated, never kissed, never really had a full conversation. She thought he was a creep- if not then even more so now.

He spent years looking for her, thinking he saw her at restaurants or in parking lots.

Abe posted these ads in Craigslist “Missing Connections” and would get caught up in conversations with anonymous people who led him to believe she was communicating with him in code.

He acknowledges this is insane, but he found a pattern  the date and time that messages were sent, songs that were send, character names that were used, and in his twisted, brilliant mind, he concocted a pattern.

Also, he acknowledged that it probably wasn’t Hailey sending him these messages, confusing him and fueling that addiction.

When we dated in 2010, I would occasionally check his email and found no ads posted after the date we started seeing each other. Ads posted prior to our first date were saved in an unmarked folder. I read through them while he took one of those 15 minute long dumps.

I understand obsession. I was obsessed with my first boyfriend, with a guitarist in Undergrad and The Prophet. It happens.

Even now, I will occasionally check on The Prophet’s name under google or his Facebook activity which is sparse. I will even check on Alan’s profile every once in a while out of curiosity. Never, though, have I EVER contacted them with the intention to satisfy an infatuation.

So, with dirty bed sheets and his scent still rubbed all over my body, I saw the words
we can express our infatuation with eachother some day” and it burned, it still burns. If I sit quietly enough, I can feel my heart stop.

So, I answered those two ads.

The first titled “Re: Hey Jerk”:

Me: “I’ve got a strange addiction too, its called falling for COMPLETE ASSHOLES!

Then the second titled “Re: Then Maybe”:

Me: “Say you like me, so I can say I hate you for it. How does that sound??

Oh yeah . . . I have a girlfriend. Oh never mind, she doesn’t matter. I just use her for sex and weed. I think I can put her off for another year while I ejaculate on her stomach until we get a chance to meet.

***

That night I ate half of a pot cookie because I knew I could never sleep. Even medicated, all I could do was lie there like someone took my entire brain and heart and turned it upside down so it could fall in pieces on the floor.

I dreamt about him with another woman.

Around 5:30am, I woke up.

That . . . fucking . . . ASSHOLE!

ME!? Sloppy seconds!?!? ME, Starfire, the one who turns down men at any public venue or who carries the heart of ex-lovers from childhood or OkCupid dates from the turn of the century . . . yeah, ME . . . I am the one he is settling for. This dork that had never had a girlfriend before in his life. Who had sex with three women in 30 years. This NERD who I thought was uniquely sexy and brilliant, HE THINKS HE CAN DO BETTER THAN WHAT WE HAVE . . . through his wealth of experience and keen observation skills.

HA!

Now, look, I am reasonable. I know if he met her now, he would be disappointed. He knows he will never meet her. And I will never put myself in the position of being the one he settles for, even while carrying an imaginary affair with someone who is probably not his soulmate- but who he would still rather share a bed with over me.

FUCK! IT CRUSHES ME!!!!! You know!? CRUSH! The word. C R U S H.

Verb: Press or squeeze (someone or something) with force or violence, typically causing serious damage or injury.

Synonyms:
verb.  smash – squash – squeeze – press – grind – pound
noun.  jam – squash – crowd – squeeze – throng

This fucking flattened my ego, my perception of him and our relationship, of everything I understood up to that point. It leveled it all and destroyed me.

I texted him little excerpts of the ads too, just in case he didn’t check email first.

Me: “We can express our infatuation with each other someday, in a setting you feel worthy of recognition. Say you like me, so I can say I hate you for it.”

First, I got the email back:

Abe: “Hey Ive told you before that I have a problem.

It makes me insane.  nobody is talking to me, but I cant stop looking at it and thinking someone is.

I’m sorry.

I want to stop looking at it.  I’ve been doing a good job.

thanks for looking through my stuff.”

Then the novel of texts he sent:

Abe: “Nobody is ever going to meet me from CL. Someone was messing with my head and it bugs me still like I’ll figure it out one day. I give up on the mystery.”

Abe: “It can be solved. Dont be mad. Its just me being mad at myself. Has nothing to do with U. Its just something insane I have to stop looking at.”

Abe, “Hey. R u going to respond or r u busy bashing me on facebook? Unnecessary.”

Abe, “Its strange, I knew this would happen. U r approaching something that I have seen happen. And U r on ur internet world all the time. Sometimes I am in mine writing to someone, whoever reposts. Look through the mail, nobody is ever writing back to me, nobody I’ve met, known or even had a real email. I know I am insane but its me writing to myself. I’ve been trying to understand why I do it when I know its BS, but sometimes I just do. I think I understand that its a flow of info that I need to understand and or remember and I’ll tell you why, ITS TO GET MY SHIT BACK, ITS DESTINY IN PLAY. Ull have documented it in the future, long time from now. U love me, right? U know I wouldn’t go meet a person from missed connections. Dangerous enough just reading in there. I love U and I wouldn’t hurt you like that. From the last 2 years all Ive wrote on CL is mean shit anyways. So don’t get mad. Forgive baby.”

Abe: (this was blank)

Abe: “U make me feel good.”

Abe: “Ive gone mad. I made myself nuts. Im crazy baby. Too much imagination.”

Me: “I never want to see your face again”

Abe, “Figures. U cant decipher what the writings mean, dont try. Men write to U all the time. U STILL TALK TO YR high school bf who is crazy! And U left your husband for an alcoholic. Now your hurt because I wrote someone who is not there? Ha!”

Abe: “Ok run away.”

Abe: “Ur so quick to run from my problems. Ur not a fair person. Thats why I give U resistance often, but U persist.”

Me: “I would have rather you fucked a girl who meant nothing than you obsess over another woman. I wouldn’t do that to you but perhaps you just never cared for me the same way I care for you.”

Me: “And thank you for pointing out my flaws after I discover you have been betraying me.”

Abe: “I have things to learn to.”

***

I spoke to my therapist about it. Thank FUCKING God my appointment was that very next morning.

She made two great points:

A) Its odd that Abe fell back on this obsession over a period of time where we got serious with our conversations on commitment. Abe was taking our relationship seriously and this triggered a fall back on old habits of obsessing over Hailey. My therapists suggest because maybe things got more serious than he was comfortable with or knew how to cope with.

B) With a meaningful relationship, its better to have a conversation with the person, for the sake of your future relationships. Cutting it off and toughening up isn’t going to benefit me with the next relationship.

That got me.

Of all the people to, albeit mentally, fuck around on me . . . Abe was the last person I suspected.  I don’t want him to change me into one of those paranoid, possessive, middle-aged women who has to roll her scent over everything and everyone so we know she is present. Here! Check.

He was so nice, so sweet. He pulled a stool up at the bar for me while he ordered my drink.

He took my jacket and pulled it over his arm to get out the creases before hanging it.

He told me I looked pretty and asked me to wait while he opened doors for me. I am just not used to it, so I have been working on waiting for the man to open the door,

He was a gentleman. And now, my gentleman had shattered the illusion that decency could ever exist in a modern relationship.

I had asked Abe, “Do you masturbate to Natalie Portman?”

Abe said, “No, I only ever masturbate to you.”

I said, “OK, what about before me?”

Abe paused, “Faceless Vaginas.”

He doesn’t look at porn (I know, I checked his computer and can tell from how he touches my body. When a man watches porn, he touches you like a coked out 20-yr old with no feeling below the neck). He doesn’t gawk at women. He doesn’t make me feel insignificant in a pool of pussy, like other men try to do. He made me feel special, but that was an illusion, wasn’t it?

He liked having a long distance girlfriend, especially one good in bed. I was never a soul mate.

Sure, maybe he would have moved in with me eventually, maybe even married me .  . . and I would be lying in bed wondering why he was up so late on the computer and why he was clearing his browser history so diligently.

Because even the love of my life believes there is still something better out there.

***

We decided to meet on my lunch break to discuss in person.

He never showed.

Abe: “I am not betraying you. I wanted to solve a mystery from a strange experience I had in ‘08. But there isn’t anymore info to see. I’ve solved it Abe style. Well not totally, but I see the correspondence so to make sense out of it all. Its actually really interesting. It brought U to me. We manifested each other into our lives. And, yo, Hailey is gay! She is gay, baby! She eats vagina and dresses like a boy! And is a born again bible thumper. And she has my magic crown since 1997 and won’t give it back willingly. Thought she could dodge me with the mystery and keep it wasting its power with her foolishness and selfishness. But U r going to intercept it for us. U r a special gal baby! How can I have feelings for a gay woman that I don’t know personally? According to CL I can’t. I don’t. I HATE HER FOR BEING SO BLIND? The crown had us both confused for over a decade. But I get it now. I can see it now.”

Abe: “I know that it exists and where it is and what I do with it- thats from not giving up for 3 years, though it hurt my mind repeatedly, and sounds nuts. I HAD TO UNDERSTAND THESE FACTS. AND IT WAS HARD BABY! Really damn hard! Nobody else can do what I have done. They don’t stand a chance at understanding this. But you can. If you can keep your mind on the light while U float through the dark. Read it again. Think about it.“

Ok, at this point I am assuming that you can see Abe is insane. He is crazy . . . but I like my men a little crazy, a little spiritual, a little spun out on the magic of the universe that seemed to die in everyone I knew after the 6th grade.

Abe: “I am infatuated with my missing spirit tools.  And I want it back. I want U to have it because U can really love me. U CAN HAVE IT ALL BABY!”

Me: “No, Abe, I can’t . You posted from late December-Jan 7th. Two days ago. And read responses on MY computer while I slept. Don’t ever say love with regards to us again.”

Me: “And I signed out of your hotmail. Reading them sickens me.”

Abe: “Ok . . . Oh Abe wrote to his imagination, lets explode in anger about it. Ur reluctant to change ur ways as well. Way to blow it up.”

Abe: “Stay mad. I dont care. If not one thing then the next. U have been mad every 3 days since . . .”

Abe: “I don’t bring even a quarter of conflicts to the table that you do . . . So whatever. I dont feel bad for writing to thin air. I dont . . .”

Abe: “I’ll just give all my magic away till I die forgotten. Sound good?”

Abe, “WE HAVE A RELATIONSHIP PROBLEM AND IM UPSET WITH YOU ABOUT IT! EVEN THOUGH IM MAKING THE PROBLEM. How fair of me.”

Abe: “I just finished work. I have to go home. I feel bad about hurting your feelings with my crazy imagination and odd past. Sorry, ok?”

Me: “Of all the men I thought would cheat on me, you were the absolute last person I expected. I don’t know how I will ever trust another man again.”

Abe, “Cheating? Me? Really? I bought you peanut butter and jelly yesterday.”

That is my favorite response so far. I want that engraved in a plaque somewhere. Eh, I will settle for a coffee mug. Hint* My birthday is a week away . . .

Me: “You were looking to cheat with Hailey. You posting a personal ad in a relationship is cheating. It doesn’t matter what condiments you brought to the table (I was proud of that) You were unfaithful to me. I am sure you will spin it differently for your friends and family. She had too many problems. She always argued. But deep down, no matter what you say to yourself or others, you know its because you were looking for another woman. And the fact that I wasn’t enough rips me apart but I am just glad I found out. Instead of fooling myself that you were some great guy. My guy. I am such an idiot!!”

Abe: “I am bad now. That sucks.”

Abe: “She is gay.”

Abe: I have an imaginary gay friend.”

Me: “It just doesn’t matter. I don’t trust you anymore.”

***

So, I worked. I smoked through a pack of cigarettes in 2 days. I found myself sporadically sobbing when I was alone.

This is supposed to be my year.

I refuse to picture his face in my mind anymore. When I think of him, I remove his face, the sound of his voice, his smell and every single thing about him. I just picture black.

I don’t want to remember his nose, or his laugh or his deodorant or the ridge of his circumcision inside of me. I barely want to remember his name.

The year just turned. My birthday was coming up and I had to go to San Diego to see Alan and get my things.

Fuck it.

Fuck him.

Fuck his peanut butter and jelly-

And fuck his imaginary gay friend.

This is still going to be my year.

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