I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I opened my laptop today to do my writing and I noticed that I didn’t close out of the PDF I had left open. The motivation for my last post. I was on the last page of a story I published called The Disadvantages Of Fair Play – the story that always brings me back to those moments and how dark that time was for me. While I am worlds away from those rough nights, I am always three clicks of a mouse and one bad break up from going right back, or so it feels. But I’m smarter these days. Or maybe just a little lazier. I just don’t have the energy for the bait and catch. The dates and the incessant texting take a toll and distract me from every aspect from my life. Either way, it’s like the first few bites of Pizza Hut aren’t as bad as you remember until you’ve over-indulged and you’re doubled over moaning in regret for the next few hours. But this was the story that instantly brings me back to those days and continues to keep me in line by reminding me that no matter how appealing awful dirt pie can be, it will never be worth the hangover.
My feet propped up on the back of the couch and my head
was positioned uncomfortably against the armrest. I awkwardly
rubbed my three-day stubble with my left hand. My left foot rubbed
against her shoulder and a glassiness formed in her eyes. I liked her.
I needed to do this. I would wreck her night because I liked her.
She was real and good, and in my world of backseat lovers
and nameless women in bathroom stalls, I destroyed her with
I read her something I wrote. I said the word “option” and
she repeated it. I made her feel it. Unintentional, I swear. She was the
“You weren’t supposed to be cool,” I said as the tears rolled
down her cheek. “You were supposed to be cool enough to have a
conversation with and eventually we would have sex. That’s it.”
She didn’t speak, but she probably wanted to say a million
things. Yell at me. She was more than capable. With more wit and
intelligence than the others, she was enough to knock me on my
ass and cause me to nervously fumble over my words. She kept her
choice of weapons and chose not to strike. I would have understood
if she did. I would have sat there and taken it. I gave her hope and I
crushed her night.
I sat up and said, “I wish you would’ve gotten here earlier.”
Before the wreckage, before the last year of my life tore through the
lives and homes of others. I had a lot of cleaning up to do before
I built any new foundations. It wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be
respectable. She deserved more. She tilted her head back attempting
to hold back the floodgates. Her brown hair splashed against my
couch and all I could think was, “You are so fucking beautiful.” She
was raw, naked and admittedly vulnerable.
“I haven’t cried in months.” Part of me was amazed, because
within three dates I managed to get inside such an intelligent and
complex woman. I told her I would be real. Genuine. I gave it to
her straight because I didn’t want her left with any unanswered
questions. Fair. A new concept. I wanted to be fair. I told her I was
a child and a coward. One terrified of trying and failing and living a
life of ease. The others were shallow and surface. Sex and occasional
dinner company. I told her about them and their place in my life.
Part of my explanation wasn’t only a warning disguised as honesty,
but also a direct shove at her heart. One screaming, “Get away now
while you still can.”
A fight resonated in me. I had so much to overcome. So
much to work through on my end, I told her she couldn’t have me at
100 percent. Other people were involved and it’s not easy to flip a
switch and turn off one life and another one on. The devastation left
in my wake would be an astronomical wave of guilt ripping apart all
of the progress I made in the past year. Lives would be ruined and I
asked myself what greater good would leave behind the least amount
of damage. She should’ve found me sooner. I was mad she didn’t
find me sooner.
“I don’t know if or when I could give you my everything,” I
said, rubbing my scruff. “But I do know a few things.”
She gazed at me during the moment of silence.
“I know I like you. I know I like spending time with you
and I know you make me a teenager again when I’m around you.”
She knew what I meant. She felt what I meant. I couldn’t admire her
skin and not want to be her everything. I wanted her to depend on
me and never worry about others tempting me with late-night texts.
I wondered if I could ever leave my phone in a room and not worry
about who would call or text. Handing my phone to the girl I dated
and say, “Look through it, I don’t have anything to hide.” Because
I did. I always did. The texts, e-mails and instant messages never
stopped. I did such a good job during the past year of building up
reserves and making myself an object of sexuality with these women.
When one group grew bored of my antics, another group came in and
a new wave of texts flooded in. Everyone wanted a piece, but rarely
did anyone want a whole.
One hundred percent. That’s what she wanted. All of me,
right there on the couch. And who knows, it was only three dates.
Maybe it would work and maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe it felt so right
because we both knew it was such a wrong time. Like the way a cat
gets bored when he finally catches the furry toy. And maybe that’s
why it works. Why I work. Because I’m the furry cat toy that will
never be caught. But I tell them they don’t want this. Me. You won’t
want me when you have me. I’m someone else’s mess they never
cleaned up. And isn’t that how it always works? No one ever cleans
up his or her own mess. Because it’s never fair.
And just once I want it to be fair.