Your breath targets my neck. Your lips cover my earlobes, so my diamond pears fall loose onto your tongue. You baptize them and me a fixer. You hand them back to me, apologetic. I re-pierce them into my lobe and remember this all started on New Year’s Day when you asked me to hang out. I had just buried my grandmother, who passed on the 23rd. I thought it was our usual 10-year special of driving around, laughing and talking. I had been in love with you since I was 19.
We met on my first movie set: in the dead of winter, at an abandoned hospital location without heat for 14-hour days. We would run around like kids, getting spooked by unknown noises and decaying medical equipment left to rot. It was hard for me to move on from what we had built in those months together, quasi-best friend who inspired my creative soul, someone who just could see my weak spots with laser focus and accept me anyway. We could always lick each other’s wounds clean, then go home and tear our separate scabs off.
I wrote this for you, when I realized you were not over your exes or your substance abuse problems. I put it in an envelope and to this day, I regret it. I asked you at the time nearing the end of the blog if you remembered that letter. You did. “I just remember not feeling right about it.” Also, you were taken aback that I regretted giving it to you. It was mostly because so much had changed, namely my confidence. I didn’t feel like you were too good for me anymore, that I was unworthy like I did back then, with nothing to compare to you: seven years older with beautiful crazy complicated actresses hanging off of you. I was awkward, behind the scenes, unsure, with a bad haircut. A power house in the making back then.
To my Derrick of the lover sort,
You will always continue to complicate and uncomplicate my life. At least I should know better than to become involved in your gears or shifting of gears. I have the feeling I will soon fall victim to your round-robin cycle of heartfelt awakenings.
But nothing sparks me better than embraces and near kisses. At least he dangles something beautiful in front of me, even if it is cruel. It’s still something. I feel I will always be the friend: the friend you kiss and touch, sometimes fuck, but only the friend. I’m a fool and you already know that. It’s too bad that none of you can see I’m the biggest-hearted girl you’ll ever know. I’m the most forgiving woman you’ll ever meet, and I hurt myself for all your sakes. It’s too bad after all, since all I’ve done is made a splash before you leave again; rings in water at best.
Everybody is selling out for pensions and security. I’m going to explore and adventure myself, travel. You all smell like ribbons around ankles, ropes around chairs, and bindings around breasts. And to be honest, I’m afraid of how you taste. You won’t feel bad that I’m sensible, sensitive and selfish to my own desires now that I’ve insulted your choices. I know you care for me but how much of that is cruelty, brought upon me with silver platters of pity? I’ve had my tumbles, and you have seen and heard about my fails and falls. You have heard about the bruises under sleeves but never held me while I cried. You only know that I feel bad. You never experienced it, cornered and sheltered away.
There is no point to this, to writing it all out. I already know I was a stepping stone back to loving none. It was “care” and “like” …all those technical terms, always technical terms. You carefully curved your tongue deep into your cheek tasking metallic blood instead of my metallic love.
I love your hands and your nose. Even if you really did get a nose job just like your lady’s man friend, the one I would fall in love with instantly, you said. The way you sound when you sort of laugh and talk at the same time. Your insensible nature, when you place your hand on my thigh when you think I’m sad or upset. How you recite Shakespeare to me. You can cry and tell me all your darkest secrets. Sit in silence and be comfortable. Eat Taco Bell at 4 am in a parking lot talking about documentaries. Make up silly songs and call yourself daddy. Your vulnerability scares me. That and I’m jealous of Drew Barrymore because you love her so much.
I wrote on my window ‘What lies in your purest intentions? Love. Beautiful, glorious love. It might just be all that we are…”
I wonder almost every day, when I look out onto the world that is the houses and street outside my slanted window, hoping that one night you would feel such an urge to come speeding down and park a slanted job, sneak into my room and kiss me on the cheek.
Present day (10 years later):
I’m at a withdrawal centre waiting for you to saunter out. You look better than two days ago, a little worn but your smile stands alone. Two other couples on the couch across the way are crying and hugging in hushed tones, one girl’s hand on her hard belly encasing our undelivered sympathy for unhappy circumstances. I feel like I’ve joined a club before finding out it existed. I probably judged from afar, but I couldn’t give you up. I welcomed this urge to love each other under any circumstance, at least that’s what my underdeveloped amygdala whispers in my dreams to me.
I’m at my first comedy show I’ve signed up to perform at, the same day you come out of detox. I wrote and rewrote, I stood in my bedroom timing myself night after night. I say, “Don’t come, you can’t be in a bar right now”. I don’t say “I’m a bit sad I found someone who can’t share this with me”. Ten minutes before I go up, you call. You sound funny. I know from your voice alone that you are drunk. You say you are on your way and hang up. The bartender fills your glass as you walk over with a friend, a friend who knows nothing of all of this. You ask me if I want a drink. A rush of blood with over the limit fear, sweeps my body. I don’t say “I wish you didn’t come.” I snatch your drink before your lips have even graced the rim, and charge over to the ladies’ room and forcibly throw the golden liquid down the drain. I feel defeat. I feel bad for making these rash calls and even pay for the drink. I just want to keep what I’m going to have to deal with to a minimum. Five more minutes and I’m up. What if I forget everything? What if I’m not funny? What if my heads not in this like it was before you showed up? I’m just trying to keep pace with this night.
Somehow the show goes well, great even, for a first time. I hear your laugh mix with the other laughs I haven’t memorized, and I am happy you are here to witness my life. Such a love of instant fluctuations, you keep me on the edge of my seat and that, I do like.
I am in your van. I have driven at night only twice and never in the snow. Here we are in the dark, with snow kissing the dashboard white-knuckling your directions. I almost kill us once and somehow you instantly make me laugh about it.
I am in bed. I have a headache from keeping you safe. You cup my face lying next to me, run your fingerprints over my closed eyelids. “You are strong, you are beautiful, you are calm.” You say over and over, and I wonder when you will get tired of it, but you don’t. You find a pace and it becomes a chant. “You are strong, you are beautiful, you are calm.” My headache dulls but I’m fighting back tiny hopeful tears that this is what I always wanted but didn’t know until now. “Better than Advil” you whisper. Feeling me soothed, you pull away. Having hypnotized me, you say you have to go to the bathroom a few feet away. You take too long. I don’t know why I’m timing you, but something feels off. This is not something I normally think about. I get up to see you not there and head to the stairs. I find you in the basement shoving bottles of wine into a big winter coat, you face away from me. I just barely put it all together. You are two steps above me as I pry it from your hands and hidden pocket, the grip between us is so strong I trip over a stair to win. You seem unmoved, stoic statue. Both of us feel betrayed at different things.
You mouthwash stalker, a few hours into this night and my optimism starts counting lucky stars backwards. A blessing wrapped in both our generational curses. Locking you outside in inside out coats and backwards slippers for fear you will get back to the drink while I run grab your smokes. I slam the door a bit too hard and think about just leaving you and going back to bed.
It is 2am dark outside now, and I know I will call into work tomorrow already. You exhale smoke mixing with the frosty air, towards glittery street lit flecks. You start some poetry in the direction of a tree. I’m hugging my knees, leaning my body into the brick wall hood over my heavy eyes. I start telling him I’ve had enough, and I want to go back in. Your dark night of the soul has become my own. “You don’t want to hear poetry of all people?” He is left marveling at the misunderstanding. I pull him back upstairs again.
He is silent for the first time. I think he has finally drifted to dream and I hear him whimper, moan and stutter words. Of course a nightmare should incite! Peace was a wildcard in playing out traumas that we didn’t pull. I unfold your curled-up hands from tight balls and place my hand in the created space. Piercing silence prevails until what is eating your soul from the inside out pops like a Mentos dropped in coke. He drops his bombs, they hit his target. I absorb wounds, I take pain and one day I try to unlearn this but not this night. He blurts out how he was molested, sitting up, sobbing uncontrollable I feel like Alice swallowed up by the wetness of his tears splashing over me. He has all the details and paints me a terrible photo and that I’m the first person he has ever told. I say what anyone shocked but decent hearted would say. “It’s ok, you are believed. It’s not your fault”. I mean it as I continue to listen. We had talked about why he had to keep repeating this recovery cycle and some people didn’t and what was stopping him? I just thought, this is it. He is finally going to unleash his limitation, his road block and then he will be able to free himself and it work for him this time. I felt relief that there was a reason and he had let someone in. A week later you confessed this to be all lies, which was devastating but I will get into it later.
We are outside again. It’s 3 am. Puffy jackets, puffy eyes. I have given up on sleep and we name our kids against bracing winds. I want to name my son Oliver, so I can call him Ollie. You name the kids and I’ll name the dogs, he smiles that smile at me. Let me handle this how I’ve always handled this: one last time, a bottle of wine. After all of this you line crosser, I’ve got chalk in my pocket I keep drawing and you keep walking one toe over. I pass it to you tears in my eyes. You tell me to look away, but I can’t. One day you will see the worst of me too, I watch your throat open to supernatural chugs and grab back at my bargained amount. His shoulders drop, his eyes half-moons, like a milk-drunk child full and sleepy. Something my love and protection and fight couldn’t give. I’ve studied his face when we crossed paths randomly many times over years, we intersect in many forms.
I’m half adrenaline and half asleep, a buzz of my own.
Still he won’t sleep, he did all day. While I come in to only check he is alive, turned on his side. To ask if he wants to get pie. I had wanted pie for a week. What kind of life could we have? I’m a woman who wants a lot of things.
I’m in a wet spot, your bladder beside me has relaxed. I couldn’t be mad, I had given it to you. It was just too late and leaving you to shower would have been leaving you to sneak. I changed, slipped up the covers and you slide to the floor sleeping with your drink, cuddling your demons so tight I grew jealous and just left you there. Eventually the sun found its way to my window and my eyesight level. You again, found yourself next to my limp, drained body. The little silence you gave me soon interrupted by repeated mumbling that “Mary was actually the 13th apostle”. “Good for her!” I taste bitterness in my tone and close my eyes.
Do you hate me? This wasn’t the first time in the 48 hours straight we have spent together that you have asked. I politely decline the sentiment, I don’t hate you. I just don’t like you very much right now.
Audio link :