It’s incredibly inconvenient to date someone you give a shit about. The usual blase apathy with which interpersonal relationships are approached is replaced with something crawling and desperate and so painfully hopeful It feels as if your organs have been wrenched from their proper place. You’ll give not going totally crazy a shot but let’s face it, You won’t succeed. And when your hopes for the true love you wanted are sunk by your own bastard personality and circumstance you’ll wind up like me. Shaking and calling your good friend and neighbor at 10:00 PM when you know she’s fucking asleep.
“Hello?” Teri mercifully answers the phone.
“Unnnngh…ffft…fttt. He. Dumped. me.” I hiccup. Snot and tears and other residue of shame caking my face. And Teri, half awake says:
“Do you want to come over?”
Yes I do. I do very much. I want to run to someone who will listen to me blubber. This is why I drew a hard solid line between the people I loved and the people I fucked so when I made the mistake of blending the two I had somebody to go to.
I walk across the hall and knock on the door. She answers to my wrecked face in her yoga pants and sweatshirt and wraps my heaving body into her own.
“I’m sorry.” I choke. “I’m sorry. I just want to binge drink until I don’t feel this way.”
Teri guides me gently into her studio. “It’s fine, babe.”
She opens beer after beer for me and I am so grateful as she watches me cry out the details of what I knew was doomed to begin with.
“This…fucking MAN. Makes me feel this way. And I can’t deal with it…”
She asks what happened and I relive him looking down at the bar room table we sat at as he spoke, raw, bleeding, fresh because I just came from it less than an hour ago.
“So, I have a problem.” He says.
I lean in. “Tell me about your problem.” I say.
“So, I really like you…” He says.
He says this and I know I’m totally fucked.
“You really like me, BUT?” I ask. “Are you still hung up on your ex-girlfriend?”
“I wish it was that simple…” He placed his hand out on the little round table we sat at in the the local Nob Hill dive as if he wanted me to take it. I kept both of my own hands in my lap, nails digging into the flesh of my crossed thighs.
“You wish it was that simple, BUT?”
His fingers flinch on the stained wood. “You’re really fun and I have a great time with you…”
“BUT??” I snap. My face is hard like the old wood our beers sit on.
“I’m sorry.” His eyes roll to my face briefly, guiltily. I hate what I know is coming up but I still look at his jaw line and think about how handsome I find it. “I’m sorry.” He says “I’ll stop patronizing you. I like you a lot but the next relationship I want to be serious…And I just don’t think anything with you will be serious.”
I looked at him. Then picked up my jacket and shrugged it on with out making eye contact. To be fair he didn’t either. I placed my hand on his curly hair and felt his scalp under my fingers. I pressed down harder than I really meant to.
“Well, hey. Thanks. It was fun for a while.” I said and left the bar, down the stairs, in front of all the old lonely drunks. To my credit I didn’t start to cry till half a block back to my apartment.
This is how I end up at Teri’s late on a workday evening, three deep in Heinekens and sucking on an American Spirit.
“I can’t believe this. I haven’t been dumped since I was thirteen and here I am being dumped.” I rest my head on the cool surface of her coffee table and leak tears.
“Sweetie. it’s okay.” Teri says and pushes the pack of cigarettes towards me. “It’s going to be better tomorrow.”
I belch and snivel out my words. “But why did I let this one get to me? I’ve tried so hard NOT to let these things get to me…” A snot bubble pops on the glass surface and I discreetly wipe it away. After all in movies when people experience heartbreak they don’t goddamned snot all over the place. They cry artfully, mascara painting their delicate cheek bones! This is how I imagine my self getting over it. As an actor filming a scene. Talking to Teri is just like doing the promotional tour about my new dramatic performance. I pretend I am on a talk show.
Teri takes a drag and swigs her beer. “Yeah, well, sometimes you find someone worth caring about and it’s worth it to go after it.” She is most sage as usual. ” It’s good that you had it for a while. It’s better to feel these things than not.”
“But I don’t want to feel like this. I’ve felt like this only three times. I hate it. I can’t stand it.” I started to blubber again the second I pick my head up off the coffee table. “I don’t want to feel anything.”
“But you have to. The other option is worse.” Says Teri.
“How is it worth it? This isn’t worth it.” I drain half of my beer in one gulp. “Why do guys like this get under our skin?” I squint at her before continuing. “Why am I even asking you that? you’re older than me. You’ve been in my boat.”
“Oh yeah” She says. Her hands sweep to illustrate gross acts of sexual whupsie daisy. “I know about when you say, “Sure I’ll do you on the roof of the building I work on. Sure, it may end my career but I’ll do that. You want a BJ in under the fire engine? Okay!” I know.”
I slam my head into the table yet again. Teri threads her hand though my hair and scratches my scalp.
“Gonna be okay, princess. Most people are shit but the worthwhile ones are still out there. You’ll find another. You are too awesome not to.”
I just gurgle in response and lay on the table for a little longer.
“You want another beer for the road?” She asks.
Of course I want another beer for the road. I need a frosty beverage to sip on when I go back to my apartment to delete all of this cocksucker’s info from my contact list on Facebook.
At some point I blackout face down in bed with my Ipod still playing the tragic music playlist I compiled before losing motor functions.
I wake up about 7 AM and call my mother at 8 AM for that unique flavor combination of sympathy and ass reaming only the woman who birthed you can give you.
“Oh, Sweetie…” Mom says when I tell her I got chucked. “I KNEW when you told me his parents were coming into town. I almost told you that you were probably going to get dumped.”
“Oh, hey, that’s great. How do you know all of this shit before I do?”
“Because of my natural pessimism.” She says.
Sure enough I start blubbering again and give her the full details. Or at least as full as I could while crying like a pussy. Of my exit I ask:
“So at least my departure was classy, right? At least I maintained some dignity, right?”
“It was VERY classy sweetie.” She says.
“Okay.” I fling myself back into bed and crush my glasses and scatter a pile of hair clips. “I’ll be fine. I’ll cry about this most of today and then move on to the “Make out with strangers” phase of things.”
I hear my mom balk on the other line. “No. That is NOT what you should do. You need to stop doing that. There is something to be said for withholding what you have.”
Jesus, It’s a low moment when your own mother gently suggests that maybe the reason no one loves you is because you dole out your musky treasures a little too frequently.
“I know. I just really liked him.” I say repeating what is fast becoming a catchphrase for me.
“Well, I KNOW sweetie.” My mother says in a watery voice. “I’m just sorry it didn’t go the way you wanted…”
“Are you…are you CRYING? Are you fucking crying right now?”
I’m answered with a sniffle. I roll out of bed and snatch up my keys and credit card.
“No, no, no.” I state, my own dribbling tears suddenly gone. “No. You are not going to cry about this. I am getting off the phone. Call me back when you’ve pulled yourself together so we can get back to what the real issue is here. The real issue being feeling pity for me.”
Mom laughs a little between a hiccup. “Okay, call you in a little.”
We get off the phone and I go to the market and buy a bottle of wine. No one really looks at me to long for buying firewater at 9 AM. I think because I had the look of some one ready to start a fight for no good reason. This didn’t keep the clerk from being annoyingly chipper when buying my shitty merlot.
I got back home and corked that fucker, dove straight back into bed and drank form the most prone position possible. I replayed the occasions my short term lover and I spent together in my head.
Making dinner together…going out to dinner…talking about what we liked to eat for dinner…That time we went to an orgy.
And I remembered waking up after we’d made love and looking at his his sleeping form. The light of the street lamps high lighting his face, his muscled arm thrown up over his head. I laid there and let a string of thoughts roll through my mind.
“You are such a lovely person.” I thought then. “I am having so much fun with you. I could see myself being with you. I think I love you. I know I love you. When I see you, when I even think of you I burn like a fire in a coal mine. My love for you burns subtly but it disrupts my geography and opens yawning pits from witch steam and fire erupts. Oh I hope I can make you love me as I love you.”
I had finished my litany and laid there looking at they way his eyelashes rested upon his cheek.
Then he farted. Farted with such force I thought someone had discharged a hand gun in the street. I would swear the duvet was blown back.
I took a giant swig of Sutter Home and wiped the new tears off my face.
I may just be able to get over this.