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?”
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)
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.”
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.
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.
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 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 his peanut butter and jelly-
And fuck his imaginary gay friend.
This is still going to be my year.