Now, with Alan let me start from the beginning.
I found that Baldwin book “If Beale Street Could Talk” before Christmas and texted him, “Do you recall if I have [this book] in my Baldwin collection. I picked it up thinking I didn’t have it but don’t have my books near me to check. You do. :/”
Yes around the time of my hasty move out of Pasadena, I gave Alan my most precious books for safe keeping, some I have carried with me since childhood. One copy, in particular, of a book that means a lot to me called, “Summer of my German Solider” by Bette Greene. A teacher recommended it thinking I would connect. I consumed that book like it was on fire while I was reading it.
Then I stole it from my elementary school. I mean . . . they wouldn’t give it to me and it was a private school, so I kinda already paid for it.
There were books left to me by teachers in high school, lovers in college, my mother’s cherished “Pride & Prejudice” that she kept in her underwear drawer while we were growing up, the same copy of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” my father and I agreed to share and read from over a summer together. Books that molded my imagination as a child, and later read to my Pre-School class when I taught.
Two days later, Alan had not responded to my text. So I texted again, “Whenever you get a chance.”
Six days later, no response. Since I just gave Trent his Christmas present on Christmas Eve, I was reminded about Alan’s silence on the matter. My mind quickly shuffled through all possible excuses, one being that he threw them away after reading my blog. Why not? I really don’t know what Alan is capable of. I don’t know him well enough.
So I wrote, “I am guessing you are upset with me or incredibly busy. I hope my books are still in one piece, some I have been holding on to since I was a child. Can I pick them up soon?”
He texted back (Hal-a fucking-lulejah): “Your stuff is fine. I don’t want to deal with you over the holiday. Later.”
I wrote: “Ah, upset with me. The blog does that. Now you know how words can hurt. I am working thru the holidays anyway but will plan to pick them up after the 3rd. Merry Christmas. No hard feelings.”
Alan: “Don’t know what you said on blog but I’ve had exes before and don’t care. Not about you. Never was. Sorry if you are upset. Distracted now.”
Me: “Not upset in the slightest, dear. Take care and have a good weekend.”
Me: “PS, I would actually read text messages before responding to them in an effort to not sound like a fool.”
Alan: “Its Christmas Eve and you want me to worry about your books. I’m not. Insulting me won’t make me feel like you are wasting my time any less.”
Me: “You just decided to respond on Christmas Eve, Alan. xo”
Alan: “Merry xmas. Hope your world is wonderful. Talk to you another day.”
The Next Day/Christmas Day
Alan: “Merry Christmas! I hope the future brings nothing but love and good tidings to you.”
Me: “You are insane.”
Needless to say, I needed to get back everything I left with him.
He pinged me on GChat saying I could stay the night if I was so inclined and we could make a day of it. Hmmm! The New Year brought me all sorts of emails and phone calls from the past that made me feel better about men. They were re-evaluating their lives and wanted some of me back. That felt good.
Originally, my plan was to come down Friday night after work, sleep on his couch, go to the Farmer’s Market first thing in the morning, collect my books and go meet Abe in the afternoon before a Hollywood Stones performance (the best Rolling Stones cover band in the world). They were going to play in a steakhouse in Huntington Beach and why not check out that rental property I had shown him the day before.
Then the Abe/Hailey fiasco went down and I was just heading down to my exe’s. That sucked.
Alan texted me, “I bought wine and spaghetti fixings if you are early enough. If not they are all mine. Hasta.”
Wine and spaghetti? Oh geez. He was pulling the ole’ Lady and the Tramp bit with me.
So I got a haircut. I got someone to take care of Maggie and someone to take care of Esther, thinking it might be more manageable for a dogsitter to handle one pit bull at a time. Then I bathed Brad at Doggie Daycare after we closed and headed down to see Alan.
I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I know he was an asshole, so that’s really all I knew to go in with.
Brad and I arrived a little after midnight and walked down to his apartment.
I knocked. No Answer.
Alan, “(groggy) Hello . . .”
Me, “Hey, I am here.”
Alan, “The front door is open and stuff.”
I let myself in. I checked on Alan quickly, he was still laying down in the dark.
So I fed Brad, changed into my jammies, took out my contacts and charged my phone.
I snuggled on the couch with Brad and Mr. Wilson (his little dog), who was happy to see him. Brad was more confused.
What was this life before Abe, Mommy?
A life of decadence, pot and darkness, son.
When Alan came out, Brad charged, barking like a Cairn Terrier/Rooster.
Alan (trying not to sound grouchy), “good morning.”
I said, “Brad, shhhhh!” I picked him up and kissed his ears, “good dog.”
We gave a loose hug.
Alan, “I can save the spaghetti for tomorrow night. I bought two bottles of wine, one that’s really good with the spaghetti and the other just to get drunk.”
Alan, “And, I got you . . . (picking up the box) Peanut Butter Capt’n Crunch.”
He charged up the (pot) volcano and sat next to me.
We didn’t really know where to start. He said his course load was difficult. He was still going to try to graduate early . . . then he added a few traumatic events that happened around Danny’s suicide.
He said he was sitting outside, when one of the Occupy San Diego protesters accidentally fell 6 floors to his death. The body landed four feet from Alan and his friend.
Alan, “It was really terrible. He splattered. I couldn’t deal with your death and that death.”
I was stoic and nodded. With Alan, I am not really sure whats a story and what is real. I think he can bend someone else’s mind to think something if they underestimate him. I no longer underestimate him.
Alan, “And one of my professors got shot. One of my favorites.”
I said, flatly, “Wow, that is a lot of bad things to happen at once.”
Alan, “Yeah, so I didn’t know how to deal with it. I disappeared. I am a jerk.”
I quietly nodded.
Yeah. He is.
He offered me a bag of marijuana smoke to suck off of and asked, “So, what else has happened?”
I said, “Did I tell you my car engine exploded and I didn’t have a car for 5 weeks?”
He said, “No, I had no idea. We stopped talking shortly after the other thing . . . wow, 5 weeks. When was that?”
I said, “A couple weeks after Danny died.”
He said, “Yup, that’s consistent with my thing, my car engine exploded, too … last Fall. It cost me a lot but that’s why I have insurance. And now I have a new engine and a new turbo thing in my car that never worked before . . . it works now so driving it is … fun.”
I quietly nodded.
He said, “Our troubles seem to line up in time. We have the same problems around the same time.”
I said, “Huh.”
I just worked 8 hours and drove for 2. I was exhausted and slinking deeper into my blanket with Brad and Wilson. I felt his hand on my leg.
He asked if I wanted to shower.
I said I did, though to him this may have been an indication that I was preparing my body for him. I wasn’t.
After my shower, I laid down and he said he wasn’t going to let me sleep on the couch.
Half-asleep, I followed him into the bedroom and slipped under warmer blankets into a half dream.
Unfortunately, I was unable to sleep much that night. He kept touching me.
It was nice to be touched. After your heart is broken, the first thing you want to do is crawl into someone’s arms. Here I was, but it was the wrong person’s arms. I needed to be with Abe, the guy I thought I knew and still loved.
Alan touched me and I allowed it in a sub-conscious doze. His hand glided over my breast, and I thought about pulling away, but didn’t. When he tried taking off the jammies, I said no. I said no a lot.
“Come on, Alan, no.”
“I said, NO. Now stop.”
“Alan . . . no no no. I mean it. NO!“
“Don’t try to seduce me, Alan, I don’t have the emotional capacity.”
He tried kissing me, and I dodged it, rolled over . . . kissed Brad instead.
Morning came, and the Farmer’s Market was bustling outside his apartment window.
I announced that I needed coffee.
I have been working full time at Doggie Daycare and with no two days off in a row since before Thanksgiving, so I was feeling fatigued almost all the time. My day off is usually spent doing laundry, grocery shopping and writing a blog. I look in the mirror now, and I feel like a middle-aged single mom is staring back at me. My youth is escaping me.
Somehow, we were back on the couch and I don’t know how I ended up in this position, but he was giving me a massage.
Our conversation fell to silence and I was enjoying the back rub.
Then I slid out of his embrace, my head and arms retreating down and away from his hold and I grumbled, “You hurt my feelings!!”
Alan, “I know. I know. But you hurt mine too.”
Me, “Give me a break.”
Alan, “I know I am a terrible boyfriend. I know I didn’t give you what you wanted.”
Me, “And I am bad at relationships too, I know. I know! I push and I want it all.”
Alan, “Seeing you, I just love these little things you do. I don’t want you to know what they are because I worry they will go away.”
Me, “Don’t tell me then.”
I got up and went into the bedroom to find my shoes and socks.
Alan, “You gave the best blowjobs of my entire life.”
Me, “Good. I spent years of research interviewing gay men and fat girls.”
—- (can we just take a moment of silence here to appreciate the two things a girl wants to hear from her ex-boyfriend A) I am a terrible boyfriend B) You give the best blowjobs of my entire life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . thank you)
Alan, “And one of the best birthdays of my life.”
Me, “Which I barely remember.”
I was moving around now, trying to find socks . . socks . . . sock! I really needed that coffee.
Alan, “Only after the fact did I realize when you asked to come down and sleep in my bed, remember? After Danny. I didn’t realize you were just looking for a place to relax and sleep. I thought you wanted more of my time than I could give.”
I looked around for those shoes, “Nope . . . I just needed to get away. But I got stuck there. I guess I had to stay there and take care of a girl who was losing her mind, so that’s what I did.”
Alan, “I’m sorry. I misunderstood.”
I waved my socks with my hands, up and down, “Whatever. Doesn’t matter now.”
My eyes were burning. I am on the heels of losing Abe. FUCK. I can’t deal with more men moving furniture around in my mind. I just came down to grab my stuff and get my dogs some new dog collars at the Farmer’s Market.
I sat on his bed and felt my head get heavy.
Me, “I brought back another ex-boyfriend into my life and he was a complete asshole, too.”
Alan, “Well, thank you for adding the word ‘too’ so I know I can be included.”
I kind of laughed. I was about to cry over Abe and I wasn’t going to do that in front of Alan nor was I going to do it for me.
I need to forget Abe for my own sanity.
He had texted a bit the day before:
Abe: “Hi, thinking about U.”
Abe: “Thinking about U.”
Abe: “Thinking about U still.”
Abe: “I want to fix yr head booboo.”
Abe: “You know I can fix everything.”
The last few nights I found some postings on “Missed Connections” that may or may not be from him:
re: Tell me – m4w
I really do miss you. Happy Birthday & Happy New Year.
trix are for kids – m4w (a dirt road)
i treated you the same way i would want to be treated, no different. i hold myself to the same discipline as i hold others. something is wrong with the way you view men, it shows in your professional career choices and the way you treated me. You objectify men for your own personal gain. since you are above men and have this view of them you can fend for yourself and dont need a man like me to pave the road with flowers for you. i do think you are special but you dont need me to tell you that, you already know it. i think you will change in time. i will cherish our time together, wish we could have been closer.
I don’t want to get caught up in his game. These postings could be from anybody, anyone who is vague enough to muffle their identity but specific enough to sound familiar. I couldn’t let it pull a cloak over my mind. That will only allow Abe to keep his hand on my shoulder without ever talking to me face to face.
Alan and I walked the kids down Little Italy (San Diego) and I got my coffee. Then we got Maggie & Esther handmade collars and Alan was feeling done with the whole walking thing.
I bought a vegan cupcake and retreated back to his sunny apartment. He turned on some good music and lit up the volcano again.
I didn’t care anymore about sounding stupid or entertaining him. I really thought very little of him, but missed relaxing at his place. Small dogs. Snacks. And lots of sleep.
It was around this time that I started enjoying his company again. I wasn’t falling, I was just laughing a little more, letting him touch me, maybe even kiss me. In no way did I want to surrender, I just wanted to stop taking everything so seriously.
Sadly, even after a guy breaks your heart, his personality and mind still stay intact. In casual moments, all the things you love about them surface. In that way, its almost better to never get involved with them, so you can enjoy them without falling in love.
He asked to take me to a restaurant called the Underbelly that makes huge bowls of homemade ramen soup.
We walked down the street again, passing the smiling accordion player, passing the rich people with great danes and poodles with expensive hair cuts, and passing some Old Italian men who hung outside their storefront to talk about how things used to be. We were stoned out of our minds, and I was fully prepared to inhale a very large bowl of spicy vegan soup.
I said, “Pardon me while I make love to this bowl of soup.”
He said, “Go right ahead.” He didn’t finish his. He wasn’t hungry.
Everyone at Doggie Daycare was coming back from trips to Vegas, now that the holiday slam was over. And with them came all sorts of viruses from foreign, far away places like Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia . . . and these strains of virus were wiping out our employees one by one. I was fighting it, with my secret weapon . . . grapefruit juice.
Not that corn syrup crap that has a pink label- the Simply Grapefruit, 100% grapefruit juice. I swear by it.
I came down with the hope that I would infect Alan with this particular head cold that was coming on. At the end of the day, I kinda didn’t want him to get sick and be miserable.
So, on this Saturday afternoon, I was sitting next to an ex-boyfriend, looking at the ocean and practically funneling soup down my throat with pure joy. I could take a break from hating him for awhile, the soup was good. He is smart and has impeccable taste in music.
We went back to his place, and he said he always wanted to snorkel with me.
I took him literally and said, “Snorkel?”
He said, “Yeah, I have been fantasizing about it for a long time.”
I said, “Wait, is this a sex thing?”
Alan, “Yes, its going down on my knees and eating you out while you stand up and hold on to something.”
I said, “You can’t do that.”
Alan, “You went down on your knees so many times for me before, I want to do that for you.”
I said, “I don’t give myself away sexually to just anybody. I don’t have casual sex. I told you that.”
Alan, “It doesn’t have to be casual, it can just be the occasional visit. Come down, decompress and relax, and we can have some fun.”
I said, “That doesn’t appeal to me. I am a relationship girl.”
Alan, “Well, sometimes I like to get some friends to come over to Hawaii or something like that with me. Maybe you would join me then.”
I said, “Hawaii? Sure. Why not? Yeah. Let me know.”
I mean . . . come on! He takes his friends with him to Hawaii?!? Alan was saying all the things older men say to me when they want me as their mistress. Those guys have Lexus cars, high salaries and empty homes. Who really wants to be one of those guys? I guess Alan does. And I think he will eventually become one. That makes me sad.
Around this time, I was sipping some of the wine.
Me, “I am going to have another glass. I hope that doesn’t give you the wrong impression. I don’t drink very often, so I just want to drink it while its made itself available to me.”
Alan, “That’s fine. Drink it. I am all for anything that will get you drunk enough so I can have my way with you later.”
Me, “How very 50s of us. Vintage seduction.”
The fact is no amount of wine, beer or liquor combined with weed and general fatigue would ever bring me to a point where I could have intercourse with him again. He really hurt me and, in my mind, betrayed me.
He crawled on top of me and said, “You don’t know what its like to have this touch again. Be touched.”
I said, “You haven’t been with anyone else since we broke up?”
He shook his head, “No one. And you are the only woman I have masturbated to since we were together.”
I said, “I hardly believe that’s true.”
He said, “That’s fine. Keep calling me a liar.” Then he kissed me hard.
I kissed him back. My head got a little light.
He gave me one orgasm, then another and another with his hand . . . I accepted. Why not? I deserve it.
He said, “That is the laziest sexual act we have ever done together. We didn’t even get up.”
I wasn’t going to make any kind of effort. With Alan, I was going to be a dude. I was going to be selfish and enjoy myself without thought or sentiment. And I did.
After three orgasms, he whispered hotly, “Can I please have a blow job?”
I said, “No.”
He said, “Please?”
I said, “Blow jobs are for boyfriends.”
He said, “They don’t have to be.”
Me, “Blow jobs and sex are all part of the privilege of being my partner. The idea is to enjoy all of me. I don’t want to give up parts of myself on order. Its all or nothing with me. That’s the deal.”
Alan, “What am I supposed to do with this?” He pointed down to his erection.
Me, “Sounds like a personal problem.”
Alan, “I think I deserve a little something after all the orgasms I gave you.”
Me, “I didn’t ask for those orgasms. I told you, I didn’t want to have sex. I don’t want to have oral sex. Everything you did was your prerogative. You have got to take care of the rest yourself.”
And he did.
He slipped away and took a very long shower.
That night, he cooked me dinner, put on my favorite show, the Soup, and kept telling me how beautiful I was.
It was wonderful.
The whole thing was wonderful.
My ego was being pumped up after Abe pounded a nail into it. I just had a few orgasms, some good food and was feeling well rested. I was smiling, laughing, snuggling with Brad and feeling relaxed for the first time in a very long while.
There was no tragedy. There was no problem to fix. There was no money to make or time to save. There was nothing for me to do but be worshipped by my ex-boyfriend.
Alan tried very hard to get my pants off, but never succeeded. He even tried giving me oral through my jeans, which I couldn’t allow for either. I can never surrender myself to him again.
I stayed another night, since I didn’t know where to go and my things weren’t boxed up yet.
I checked “Missed Connections” again:
YOU THE BOSS – m4w – 29 (BROKERVILLE)
I KNOW TOO MUCH DAMAGE HAS BEEN CREATED FOR ANYTHING RIGHT NOW BUT IN THE MEAN TIME BE CAREFUL I LOVE YOU AND I ALSO KNOW YOUR SMART WHEN YOU WANT TO BE AND WHEN YOU DONT WANT TO BE YOUR RUTHLESS
Sunday morning, I woke up to Brad’s head on the pillow next to me. I opened my eyes. He opened his eyes.
Alan, on the other side of Brad, opened his eyes.
We walked out to the veranda to have espresso. I sat in one chair. Brad sat in the other. Alan stood.
The neighbors came by and Alan said, “I would sit down but my seat is taken.”
Brad was my man now. And he is better at it than any man I have been involved with over the past decade.
I said, “There is just something about holding him when he stares down at other people and starts barking at them. I don’t know … I just really like it.”
Alan, “An angry baby thing?”
I said, “He is half baby, and half boyfriend. Its perfect.”
As I wrote that, Brad just got up to stare at me with that fuzzy, bed face. Damn it, I love that dog.
I love all my dogs, they are all my kids. Sometimes with Brad though, I get the feeling he gets frustrated because I treat him only like a dog.
Ocean said once, “You know he thinks you two are soul mates.”
I kind of believe that.
I collected my things and Alan packed up my books and VHS tapes in boxes for me. I pulled my car around and we loaded it all up.
He said, “We didn’t get to do even half of things I wanted us to do.”
He thought I was just going to give in. Do I really seem to be such a God damn sucker?
Alan, “If you ever just want to come down here and relax. You are welcome to. Think about it. No pressure.”
I said, “Ok.”
He kissed me, hung his arms loosely around my waist and said, “Seeing you shows me what I am capable of.”
I left. I only had 2 ½ hours to get to Doggie Daycare for my 2pm shift.
I took a little detour.
There is this little patch of beach behind Seaworld where dogs can run free, no chains or franchises are allowed to open shop and time literally stands still. Its called Ocean Beach.
I discovered it in 2000, and have brought every major love of my adult life there (and a few others) . . . everyone but Abe- only because of timing.
I buy my clothes from its boutiques. I drink their organic coffee. I eat their vegan food. I buy their odd books. I used to drive out there just to write.
I pulled over onto Seaworld Drive and wound around to Sunset Cliffs.
We pulled into a parking spot and I walked Brad to the beach. I let him go off leash and he pounced around on the sand like it was moon dust. He just lapped circles around me, kicking up sand with a smile on his face.
People stopped to laugh at him. I wish I videotaped it.
I grabbed a cup of coffee and we both danced on the beach together before work.
I have struggled a little with how to end this blog. Is heaven, where ex-boyfriends beg for forgiveness and dogs play on the beach, actually on Earth?
Is the moral of the story you can be single and happier than ever? Or is it that I am glad I didn’t kill myself with pills, cocaine and darkness?
I don’t know where this particular blog should end, but I really want to stop where I originally left off, dancing with Brad in the sand.