I’m just not in the mood
I could care less about this daily exercise
To make me better
I don’t feel better
I feel like the coat from that scene in that movie
The one where she pulled it from the hook
And he reached for it
Then she threw it on the ground
And trampled it.
While he sighed, resigned to the indignity of the moment.
I’m so beaten I can’t even recall the movie.
It might have been Katherine Hepburn or Shirley MacLaine.
Which suggests Cary Grant or Jack Lemmon.
But I really don’t know.
This is a miserable excuse of a poem.
It doesn’t even rhyme.
So I decided that I would do today’s prompt but that might have been a bad idea. We had to do a love story in a paragraph. Beginning, middle, end encompassed by five or six lines. I used eight and many run on sentences. Brevity is not my strong suit. And it felt really good at first. Because it’s a true love story. But how I feel now is wrung out and sad. Here is the story.
Once a week, around 1 am the doorbell would ring and he would ask to come in, golden brown eyes shiny with liquid courage, the same refrain on his lips, “its the only time I’m brave enough because I like you so much, it scares me.” I wanted him so much in the beginning, before the excuses became the norm, before I started to wonder how many apartments all over the city this scene was enacted once or twice a week. I wanted to tell him how it hurt when he showed up like this, how it hurt more when he didn’t. Instead, I didn’t argue or even speak, just pulled off my tanktop as he walked through the door and beckoned him forward, and he came, shedding clothes along the way. The sex was a perfectly exquisite blend of passion, violence, anger, unapologetic desire. Later, smiling contentedly, he lit a cigarette and whispered, “I’m so glad you finally understand that we’re just so good together, we found each other for a reason.’ I whispered back, “yeah, so I could learn about self-respect and what it takes to love myself. Now get the fuck out.”
This is true. This happened. Honestly, it’s one of my favourite stories. I really really liked him, but he only liked me when he felt like it. I wish there was some way to spell how that felt. I think it would be a very onomatopoeic word. Like ugh or pah or wharbagarbl. But none of those. It’s the kind of anguish your heart feels when it understands that it’s given itself away far too easily to someone who isn’t worthy of it, but how can that be when it started so promisingly? There was so much that was good, the heart was willing to put up with the hurt when it wasn’t good. But in time, the definition of good tends to shift a bit. And he kept coming back, and I kept letting him in. And he said he would call when he was sober and I smiled and said, great. And he never did. Never. And then late at night, the buzzer would ring. And I would lie there in the dark, hands balled up, telling myself I wasn’t going to let him in this time. I would tell myself that on the way to the door. I would tell him when I opened the door. His smile, all slightly drunk swimmy and filled with chagrin, his head ducked slightly, like a little boy that’s been bad but knows that beyond a few stern words he’ll end up getting his way again.
My brain tried to talk to him, tried to rationalize the act when he wasn’t there, went over and over in my head as to what I could do to be enough that he would show up when he said he would, sober. And my heart became more and more fragile.
Finally, I understood that there was no logic to it. I couldn’t reason my way around it because it was completely unreasonable. Then comes the self-loathing, the how could you have been so foolish? Not seen this coming? It’s a terrible cycle.
Damn, I liked him. I liked that he found me attractive instantly. I liked that he was intelligent and had comparable taste in films, music, books as me. I liked his height, the way I fit just under his shoulder, that I could sit on the kitchen counter and be nose to nose with him. I liked how much we laughed and I started to think about what this might look like in 3 months, 6 months, a year. I hadn’t thought that way ever. Ever. He was my first kinda grown up relationship. Except he was like a petulant child. Goddamn.
I pride myself on how good my memory is. He told me his last name and I honestly can’t remember it. Which is great, because it means I can’t look him up on the internet. Though I’ve tried. Even tonight, after I wrote the story, just because. I don’t know what I would want to see though. Would it be better if he were alone, thus validating my opinion that he sucks at relationships? Or if he found someone who made him want to show up when he was clear and aware. Would that make me happy? Does my happiness depend on other people working out their shit and being better people? The compassionate part of me thinks it’s not a matter of dependence, but when you like someone, you like them even when they’re an idiot and you hope they find whatever it is that gives them joy.
Sometimes I hate that I think about his eyes and smile. But I kinda love it too. Some things just never leave. But he finally did, when I told him to. He never came back. I wanted him to so badly but I’m grateful he didn’t. Did it make me stronger? I didn’t feel very strong in the moment, I felt wretched. I felt like I was making a terrible mistake because for all of his faults, did I really deserve so much better than him?
Yes. I do.
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