Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Sora: I'm still getting used to having long hair.
Me: You had long hair when we met.
Sora: I didn't. I've never had hair this long.
Me: You did, too. I have pictures.
Sora: Why do you have pictures of me on your computer?
Me: We Dated. For. Three. Years.
Sora: Oh, yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeea.
"Actually, I might have met someone."
There was a pause.
I earned this pause.
Three years of unrequited I love yous built up to this pause.
"What's he like?" Sora asked.
Who should I tell him about? The sweet, gorgeously nerdy drag queen? The stripper with the heart of platinum? The dancing actor with the scathing sense of humor and perpetual smile? Or #4, who had also just gotten out of a three year relationship, and who I was supposed to be meeting for lunch in a couple of hours.
"He's a dancer." I said.
"How old is he?"
Sora was, by far, the youngest person I'd ever dated. Eleven years younger. And our relationship made me pledge that I'd never date anyone with that much of an age discrepancy again. I was 32. #1 was 26. #2 was 24. #4 was 27. But #3, the dancer was "A month younger than you."
"What about you?" I asked. I was okay with answering questions about #3, but I really didn't want to get stuck on how old he was. He was only a month younger, calendar-wise. Maturity-wise, he was at least a decade older than Sora. Perhaps a couple of years older than me.
"Well, there's this guy online. He's 27, runs a motel in the suburbs, and thinks I'm an amazing artist."
"You are." He was.
"Speaking of...." Pause.
"Yea?" I asked.
"I finally got into MassART."
"Wow!" I said. "Congratulations!"
"There's just one problem." Sora said. And I could smell the bullshit churning in his brain. "I need to get married."
What now? "What now?"
"Well, you know that minority scholarship they offered me a couple of years ago?"
To be truthful, I probably wouldn't have remembered anything about the scholarship if it weren't for a night I spent in the kitchen with Ben and Celeste:
"It's bullshit!" Ben had screamed. "Why does he deserve a scholarship more than me? I'm much smarter than he is."
"Dude." Celeste said. "It's a minority scholarship. You know, to encourage diversity."
"So why does he get it? He lives in suburban Rhode Island.Scholarships are for kids from the ghet-toe."
I shot him The Velociraptor Look. "He's a gay Puerto Rican. As in born in Puerto Rico Puerto Rican. He's a double minority threat. Republicans hate him twice as much as they hate you."
"But that's only because they don't know you well enough." said my other roommate, Sir Trick. He was still pissed that Ben had once borrowed his Michel Gondry DVD without permission.
"Well." Sora said. "I got it for this year. But in order to get the scholarship for next year, I have to marry a Massachusetts resident."
I laughed. "No. Sora. All you have to is establish residency. We talked about this when we lived on Mission Hill. All you need to do is pay a bill in Massachusetts in your name. Like, an electric bill or rent or something,."
"No." He said. "For this scholarship, I need to be married to a Massachusetts resident."
"Is it a green card scholarship?" I asked.
"Sora, I'm not marrying you."
He sighed loudly. "I wasn't asking you."
"I..." Pause. "Some day. Maybe."
I no longer believed in our potential Some Day. I shouldn't even have been talking to him.
"Seriously!" #3 said, when I called him to schedule a make up date for our previous lack of encounter. "You need to change your address and phone number, and block him on Facebook."
"Yea, yea, yea. Look, I'm going out to lunch with #4 today. Do you want to go out for drinks after?"
"Seriously?" He asked. "Two dates in one day? And I'm the second one?"
"You're the headliner." I said. Which really was how I was considering it. #4 seemed cutely nerdy, but I was already pretty certain that #3 was The Keeper.
"Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine." He said. "Where should we meet?"
My initial suggestion was "Tuatara's." The bar I took most of my first dates to ever since the night I introduced Ben, Celeste, and Sir Trick, several years previously. But #3 had other ideas, and we spent forty-five minutes debating a hundred possibilities before he said "Let's go to Tuatara's."
First, though, was lunch with #4.
"My life is so weird right now!" He said.
"How so?" I asked.
"Well, ok! You know how I told you about my breakup last week, right?" I did. "Well, like, ok, yesterday, I got this awesome promotion at work. Which means I'm practically running the hotel now. And we have this regular customer who's just a huge pain in the ass, he comes every month for one weekend to visit his kid or something, and he's just this, like, total dillweed, and anyway, yesterday he he shows up with his kid, right? and he"
I so did not care about anything he, like, had to say.
"right in the pool?"
"Isn't that hilarious?"
"Yea. Wow." Two hours before I was supposed to meet #3 at Tuatara's.
"and he was all like aren't you going to get off the phone, and I was like but this is an important call, and he's standing there and his suit is positively dripping, and he's like what is more important than your customers and I was like"
He was, like, wicked fucken annoying. I pitied anyone who had to spend more than, like, an hour, like, listening to this guy and his dull dull stories. He was nice enough, but
"and then he asked me to marry him, and I was like what?"
"The customer asked you to marry him?" I asked.
"Not the customer, silly. Are you listening to me? The guy. The art student. We went on, like, two dates, and he actually, like, proposed to me. I mean, he says it's for this weird art school scholarship thing, but I think it's--"
Are you fucken kidding me? "Sora?"
"Yea." He said. "How do you know his name?"
"Oh. My. God." said #3. I was explaining to him why I needed to drink more than should be humanly possible that night. "So your date was proposed to by your ex? Your The Ex?"
"Yea." I said, taking a sip of Tuatara Tea (which was all alcohol, no tea). "Hey, do you want to try this beer punch?"
"What is it?"
"I don't know." I said. "But it comes in a pitcher."
"Bring it, bitch!"
We were about halfway through the pitcher when #1 texted me, asking if I wanted to come over.
"You should go!" #3 said.
"Fuck, no." I said. "I'm having a good time with you."
"Ok." And for the first time, his smile wrinkled into a half frown. "Here's the thing. I like you, but we're friends."
"Yea, I don't knoooooooow. I just think we're friends."
I chugged another glass worth of beer punch, and filled it back up. "Friends." It didn't sound as firm when I said it.
"You can still check out my ass, if you want." He said. "You just can't touch it."
We only made it through 3/4s of the pitcher before we had to call it quits. I wasn't going to end my eleven year not puking streak just because I'd had my heart walloped twice in one day.
"Awww, poor baby." said #1 when I took the T to his house. "Come to bed, daddy will make it all better."
"Really?" I shot him The Spock Eye. "Daddy?"
He kissed me. "Would you rather be Daddy tonight?"
"I would rather we not be related."
"Kinky." He said.
When we were done being positively no relation to each other, he looked at me. "I'm not the one, am I?"
"Don't be silly." I said "You're #1. That's as one as it gets."
He smiled, and pulled my arms around him. "You're sweet." He said. "But you're a terrible liar."
When the Chinese restaurant under Asterisk's apartment started letting their trash pile up onto his fire escape, and blasted Chinese pop after they closed at 2 AM, Asterisk decided it was time for war. He made an offhanded joke to Ben that he was going to start posting missing cat posters throughout the neighborhood, forgetting that Ben had both copious free time, and access to an industrial printer. The next day, every lamp post, telephone pole, and wall of an abandoned building was littered with flyers for Snuffy, Shadow, Anabelle, Mr. Whiskers, Grape, Francis, Hamlin, and dozens of other fictionally missing felines. All with some variation of "last seen in the vicinity of Jade Panda" , many rife with misspellings, backwards lettered children's scrawl, and wet with fake tears. It was truly a work of genius. Wait. No. It was truly a work of racist. A genius plan would have actually solved the problems of the lingering trash and loud crimes against music. The posters didn't help with either of those things.When I use ironic racism, I try to stay far away from actual racist stereotypes. I may lament how those fucken Hawaiians drive me insane with all their fucken bowling tournaments, or how I'm tired of the waking up on Tuesday mornings to find a Navajo on my front porch trying to convert me to Shamanism.
So it is with great shame that I must include the elements of cats and Asians in yet another story, but the two things just seem to keep showing up to the same parties in my life, doing little dances, and then wandering off alone.
#3 exuded theater major in most of the common ways: flair for the dramatic, intense eyes, and the creepy smiling as a defense mechanism that so many actors seem to adopt. He was, however, missing one of the most crucial properties of a theater major: he seemed employable.
Months later I discovered that, while at no time was #3 not in a play, he was also, at no time, a theater major. "Bitch, please. Do I look like a theater major?" Again, yes, he did. "I am a psych major."
"Pfffffffft." I replied. "Theater majors at least have a little bit of fun getting their useless degrees. Psych majors all end up bitter Starbuck's baristas wishing they'd majored in something more useful like theater or competitive Bocce Ball."
He shot me a Theater Major look.
Our first date was on my birthday. Which happened to also be my anniversary with Sora. Which, on the list of my great ideas, was probably not in the top ten.
After a delicious meal of Vegan Chinese food, we walked back to my house, and each had a piece of my birthday cake that my roommate, Koko, had made for me.
"What do you think?" She asked.
"Wellllllllllll, it's ok, but I'm more of a Red Velvet guy." Pause. "I'm joking. It's delicious."
All three of the people I had started dating so far were way gayer than I'd imagined. In fact, after our successfully chaste first date, I called #3 to schedule a second date. "Helllllloooooo?"
"Hey #3." I had been very up front with the numbers that they were, in fact, being labeled as numbers. "What are you up to?"
"Ohhhhhhhhhh, you know, I" and then there was commotion.
"Yo, Stone." said an unfortunately familiar voice. Goldschlager.
Goldschlager was a poet I knew from The Cantab. He had a long, hyphenated name, but had earned the nickname Goldschlager when he'd showed up at my house with a bottle of that glittery monstrosity that calls itself alcohol, as well as a date. He had brought a date to the writers' group I held at my house, and then had the nerve to be surprised when she broke up with him.
"I knew it!" He said.
"I knew you were dating Dallas. He said he went out for Chinese food with a poet, and I knew it was either you or Ben. I also know you have a thing for tiny Asians."
I dredged my brain for the logic in that statement. While I had certainly dated Bacchus since I'd met Goldschlager, I was pretty certain the two had never met. "What are you talking about, Schlag?"
"Ummmmmm." Not many people can make the letter m sound as nasally as Schlag could. It was a gift. One he should probably return to whoever gave it to him. "Well. Sora."
My brain exploded. "Sora is Puerto Rican, not Asian. He's also 5'8"."
"Right. Puerto Rican is a type of Asian."
The fuck? "No, asshole, Puerto Rico is in the opposite hemisphere from Asia, across both axes."
And in the background I heard #3 say "Sorry, Adam." It was very melodic.
Once Schlag gave #3 his phone back, he invited me to Guerrilla Queer Bar, a weekly event where a bunch of gays crashed an unsuspecting bar and turned it into their night.
Neither #3 nor I were especially amped about being completely surrounded by other gay and bi people, but we both agreed we needed more gay friends who weren't people we'd had awkward sex with, so we made it a date. 8:00 on a Friday night.
I got home from work at 6:30, took a quick shower, and headed into my room. Once dressed, I filled the cat bowl, and tapped it with my finger. Motherfucker came running to the bowl. Selina did not. I clucked my tongue in the universal Come Here Cat manner, which always caused her to either run to me or from me. Neither thing happened.
"Selina?" I called.
"Where the fuck is Sel---" the top half of my bedroom window was open. God DAMN it.
I called #3. "Hi. I might be a little late. My cat has gone AWOL."
"Reeeeeeally?" He sighed. "That's ok. I have a couple of friends who are going. We'll just....entertain each other until you find your cat."
I spent the next hour walking up and down my street calling Selina's name. I was relieved that, at least, it was her that ran away, and not Motherfucker.
At 8:30 my phone rang. It was #2. "Hi!" he said. "What are you up to tonight?"
"My cat ran away." I said. "And I can't find her anywhere. I keep calling her name, and thinking I see her, but it's always some stray cat taunting me. And there's all this caterwauling, and I had Selina fixed, but she's so slutty, and so cattractive that I know the longer she's out here, the more pregnant she's going to get."
"Oh, God!" He said. "I'm coming over right now!"
So, while #3 sat in a bar with a bunch of sparkly shirted flirters, #2 and I walked up and down my neighborhood, through people's back yards, searching for my slutty, lost cat. God DAMN it.
At 9:15, I called #3 and told him there was no way I was going to make it.
"You look really stressed!" #2 said. "It's cute how attached you are to your cat!"
The truth of the matter was, I was mostly stressed because I was missing my date with #3. I liked #2, he was cute, eccentrically fun, but there was no long term potential there. Apart from the sex, the only thing we had in common was that we both enjoyed reading and writing poetry. Sadly, there were centuries between the poetry we wrote and enjoyed. #3 was more than just a cute guy I wanted to fuck. He had...something. That stupid intangible something.
Maybe it was just that he was the first guy I'd gone on a date with in three years that I hadn't put my penis in the first night we'd met. Maybe it was his smile. Maybe it was the melodic sound of his voice.
"You owe me big time." He said, during the 9:15 phone call. "I am. Not pleased."
I sighed as I hung up the phone. Across the street, #2 was shining a flashlight in the neighbor's hedges, softly calling Selina's name.
An hour later, we were in The Slut Across The Street's back yard when he #2 said "Oh my god! Oh my GOD!"
"You found her?" I asked. I wasn't hopeful, we'd had a series of false alarms. There appeared to be more stray cats in my neighborhood then there were houses.
"No!" He said. "But I just realized this is your fortune!"
"The cat in a broken airplane! Your terrible journey! It even involves a cat!"
It was too dark for him to notice that I was rolling my eyes. "Right. Look, I'm kind of tired, and thinking of just putting some food out on the porch, and sleeping. That way I can get up early, and look for her when it's light out."
"Oh! That's a good idea! Want me to stay over, so I can help you look tomorrow?"
And he looked at me with the most hopeful eyes. Nothing sexual, an honest I Want To Help You More stare.
"That'd be great." I said.
I made him some tea, and poured myself a Cherry Coke. In my room, we talked about his insane roommate.
"Yesterday, after you left, he started shouting at me because you stayed over!"
"I'm sorry." I said. "I didn't mean to cause drama.
"It's not you!" He said. "I pay rent, I can bring over whoever I want to! But last night, he decided he loves me!"
"I know! I locked myself in the bathroom when I got tired of talking to him, and he knocked the door down!"
I put my arms around him. "Jesus."
"I know he doesn't actually love me! He's totally in love with this other guy! When he came home last night, he had just finished getting fucked by the other guy! He is SO fucked up!"
"You need to get out of that apartment."
"I know! I know! There's this guy in Philadelphia who thinks he's totally in love with me! He bought me a violin last week! He's creepily possessive, though! But sweet! I think, if things don't get better by the end of the summer, I'm going to move down with him!"
"But," I asked, "do you really want to move down to a city you've never been to in order to spend time with some creepily possessive guy you don't even know? One who thinks he can buy you with gifts?"
"Oh! I think it's a terrible idea! But I cut up an apple last night, and it revealed that I would soon be taking my own journey! That it would be hard, and filled with awfulness!"
"Yikes." I said. "So, I'm going to throw it out there that you probably shouldn't go."
"But I have to!" He replied. "The apple said I'm going!"
I let him go, and looked at him. Really, looked at him for the first time. At the end of my first date with #1, I'd been shocked to discover that he was a Drag Queen, and then sat back and thought about it, and realized I really shouldn't have been shocked. I was having the same experience with #2 now, only instead of realizing he was a drag queen, I was realizing he was out of his fucken mind.
"You think I'm crazy! Don't you?" He asked.
And I thought about the the split apple, the many dying plants in his basement apartment, the tea leaves at the bottom of my cup. A cat in a broken airplane.
"You will soon go on an adventure!" He had told me on our first date. "That's the airplane.! But see how it's split in the middle?" I did. "That means it's going to be a sad journey!"
"Ok." I said. "What does the cat mean?"
"The cat is a sign of deceit! Your journey is going to be littered with lies!"
At the time, I thought that maybe, instead of reading my future, he had read my past. That the tea leaves represented my life with Sora.
Tonight, #2 had decided that the cat was not a metaphor for deceit, but actually Selina. "Which is great!" He said. "That means I was wrong about the lies!"
And now here we were in my bed, him looking at me with that stupid, hopeful expression. "You do! Don't you?" He asked. "You think I'm crazy!"
And I looked him straight in his gorgeous eyes, and said "No."
When my first boyfriend killed himself, I dated a series of men who were no good for me, with no intention of ever seeing them again. I didn't tell them absolutely anything about me, especially the whole My First Ever Boyfriend Just Killed Himself thing.
When Sora and I broke up, it felt like a death. Three years. Boo hoo hoo. Mellow melo drama. The clear solution was to once again date a series of men. But this time, maybe, just maybe, make them good for me. Maybe try and establish some sort of connection. Maybe actually talk to them about who I was, and why I felt the need to date several people at once. I wanted to be Open. But without hopping the line from Open to That Fucken Guy Who Won't Stop Talking About His Ex.
#1 and I had hooked up a couple of times, always at his apartment. We'd spent some time watching Top Chef together, we'd discussed exes, and he even introduced me to his Drag Persona.
#2 was a stripper. A gorgeous, finely tuned stripper. His name was Loleye, he was a show...no.
Like most of the numbers I would meet, I first encountered #2 on a dating website that was roughly half a step above Craigslist, and about twelve steps above ManHunt.
He lived roughly down the street from me, and we intended to meet at a coffeehouse to hang out the first time, but had somehow missed each other. This is how I ended up sitting on his bed on our first "date", listening to him talk about his roommate.
His bed is in what, in most apartments, would be the living room. You open the door and BOOM! Bed.
#2's roommate barged into the room, yelling into his cellphone in what I, at first, thought was a foreign language, but turned out just to be ScreamingFagese. "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?" he missled at me.
"Excuse me." #2 said, and he and his roommate went into the only other room in the apartment to talk.
When they emerged from the bunker, the roommate said "I'm really sorry. I'm having...a day." And he giggled. He was all smiles and giggles and polite conversation, and "What do you do for work?"
"Oh." I said. "I work in a comic book store."
"Really? I love comics. Are you familiar with" and here he mentioned a name I'd never heard before.
"Really, he's very well known, and super influential. I have some of his books in my room, hold on."
It's a good general rule that if you don't know someone very well, if, in fact, you have known someone for less than ten minutes, and your conversation has been purely platonic in nature, that it's probably considered gauche to break out your hentai collection and start showing your favorite tentacle rape scenes. Probably.
But I smiled and nodded, and mentioned that, in fact, we didn't sell very much hentai at my store, that we were more of a family friendly comic book store, which means all the gore and violence you can imagine, but very little sex. So, I guess American Family Friendly.
"Your roommate is a little..."
"I don't want to talk about him." #2 said. "How about I make us some tea?"
I don't enjoy hot liquids, but a quick scan of his refrigerator revealed 1: mine was not the messiest, emptiest refrigerator in Boston; and 2: any liquid he was going to offer to me should definitely be boiled before I put it in my mouth.
I drank the tea very slowly, as #2 regaled me with terrible stories about his terrible roommate. When I was finished, I walked the tea over to the sink.
"Wait!" #2 said. "I haven't read the leaves yet."
"You read tea leaves?"
"Why else would anyone drink tea?"
He had me there.
#2 took in a deep breath, covered the cup with a saucer, and flipped it upside down. "What does that look like to you?"
Somewhere in my childhood, a psychologist was picking up a notepad and a pen. In Florida, my mother was craning her neck north. And dozens of midwestern American housewives who spent the last five years reading my Livejournal rubbed their hands together in glee.
The bottom of my cup was the most bizarrely clear inkblot I'd ever seen. It was a cat. In an airplane. And it was waving. The airplane had a crack in the center of it.
"What the fuck does that even mean?" Jackie asked, when I relayed the story.
"How the fuck do I know?"
"He didn't explain it?"
"Of course he did. It has something to do with deceit and a terrible journey." I said.
"Unshocking!" Jackie said. "Your entire life is a terrible journey filled with liars."
"He didn't know that." I said, attempting to...wait, why was I defending him? Right, I wanted this to work. I wanted to date a series of guys with different attributes, and find either The Mythical One, or at least figure out what horrible thing they all had in common that I didn't like, so I could avoid that in the future. I didn't want to do anything to damage anyone of these possibly blossoming relationships. With strippers. And Drag Queens.
"Why not just round out the drama with a theater major?" Jackie asked.
I bit my lip.
The theater major was meeting me for Vegan Chinese food the following day.
July 2006: He crashes a car again and again into a van. Low speeds. No injuries. Slight damage. He has no insurance. Back at the house, a kiss, an argument, his body, a slammed door.
August 2006: A vacation. A lie about his father's health.
January 2007: He picks up the belongings he left behind. A kiss on the forehead. Never coming back.
April 2007: An apology. His body. A war with a horrid roommate. His body, loud.
October 2008: Sora calls with the same as usual story. His father and he blah blah blah fight and out of the house and what to do. I offer him a chance to stay with me, no strings, no implied relationship. He does not take it.
After a couple of months of me offering over and over a place, he comes up to visit. I ask my roommates if they mind if Sora stays with us. As long as he helps pay some bills, they don't mind.
Just before he moves up, I offer to do deliveries for the company I work for while the usual driver was on vacation. The usual driver never comes back from that vacation. And so, for the winter of 2009, I spend a few days a week driving a giant maroon van with a cartoon on the side. I drive blocks out of my way to avoid playgrounds and schools.
I am working while he moves up. He calls to let me know there is a party going on across the street, and that I should come.
"A party?" Manny says. "So there."
So Manny and Jim hop in the back of my cartoony van, and we drive to the party across the street from my house. We are barely parked when someone is bouncing drunkily toward the van, befreckled of smile and hugs. And it is not Sora.
"Hi!" The Slut Across The Street swoons. "Who is Sora?"
Here's how it ends: Over a table mugged up for beer pong, The Slut Across The Street asks me if Sora and I are dating. We aren't. We are most specifically not dating to the point where I even said that just because he needed to live with me, didn't mean he was beholden to a relationship with me. But we are sleeping together. And he does kiss me before I leave for work. And while it wouldn't kill me if he dated someone else, it would deeply wound me if he chose this drunk, worthless slut over me. So I lie. "Yes. He's my boyfriend. Don't."
Here's how it ends: Sora and I head back home together and make out. But he has left his iPod in his car, and goes out to get it. The Slut Across The Street intercepts him with his face. His fucken tongue. His bloodshot eyes.
Here's how it ends: For once, Sora is honest. He tells me about the kiss, prepared for my anger. Is surprised when I say "Look, the guy's a total slutbag. You're hot. He kissed you. Are you going to start dating him?"
"No. I don't even really like him."
"Then we're fine." Right?
Here's how it ends: I still love him. I know he spends time with The Slut Across The Street when I'm at work. I know something is happening. I don't like it, but it's not how we are supposed to end. So I try and pretend everything is fine. And it would be except there's another party across the street and no one invites me. I call Sora, and when he does not pick up, I call one of my roommates. And there is planned karaoking, but Sora doesn't want to go and The Slut Across The Street doesn't want to go, so they come to the house, and everyone else leaves. We play Mario Kart, and The Slut keeps looking at me with more desire than guilt.
I am not drinking. His face is a plaster bust of plaster. Sora is prickly at both of us.
It is the next day when my roommate tells me that eveyone went to karaoke because The Slut Across The Street told everyone that me, him, and Sora were going to have a threesome.
Here's how it ends: An ultimatum. "Sora. Please. You don't owe me anything" but money "but not him. It's making things....difficult."
My roommate is friends with The Slut Across The Street, but he doesn't like his ethics. Doesn't like the potential drama always brewing in his always beered up brain. "It needs to stop."
Here's how it ends: My roommate gets him a job so he can contribute to bills. He spends his money on I don't know but not me or bills.
"Adam, it needs to stop. You need to talk to him."
Here's how it ends: We talk. Via Instant Messanger. I come up with an arrangement. A terrible terrible arrangement. Our relationship will be purely sexual. He can fall in love with whoever he wants, safely fuck whoever he wants, but as long as he lives with me....
"Your life." JBoB says, when I explain the arrangement to him, "is not real. Relationships like that don't happen. They don't work. They destroy everything."
But it's so much worse than that.
Here's how it ends: Sora comes home from work and says the arrangement is fine.
But I couldn't really treat a stranger like this for sex. Certainly not him.
Here's how it ends: A drifting. Sora passing out on the couch.
One night he insists on playing a video game to the end. And when the credits roll he starts calling out for his mother and then blacks out.
Here's how it ends: Slumped over my shoulder for the third night in a row. I carry him to a bed we share nonsexually. I can't keep doing this. I can't keep doing this.
"He can't keep doing this." My roommate says. "He just sits at home all day when he doesn't work, playing video games on my TV. He doesn't pay any bills. He just...It's not that I don't like him. He's a good kid." kid kid kid kid kid kid kid "I just don't know how much longer I can put up with him."
Here's how it ends: My roommates throw a fake prom at a local bar. The Slut's favorite bar. And we all go. And we're all excruciatingly nice to each other. But it's actual niceness. We all appear to be okay. And there is dancing. And Sora is drunk, but not horribly so. And he says something funny, and I lean in and kiss him. And I say "I love you."
And he says. "I know."
Here's how it ends: In the living room. We are talking about whether or not we're in a relationship. I make some throwaway joke about how he moved out of our last apartment while I was in Texas to take care of his father.
And he finally says it. "My father never had a heart attack."
"I know. I've always known."
"I just didn't love you. I don't love you."
Here's how it ends. A fucken cliche. I am for the first time I can remember crying, actually crying. In the shower so no one will hear me. This is entirely my everything fault. I told him I wouldn't do this. I told him we'd be fine as just friends. Why do we keep lying to each other?
Here's how it ends. A party at our house. Everyone from our house and the house across the street except the slut. A cook out. Beer pong. Promise of dinner and karaoke. When no one invites me, I invite myself.
Sora follows me into the house when I go to get changed. "Adam, we shouldn't go." He says. "This is a bad idea. Let's just stay home. You and me."
The Slut will be there. So my roommates don't want me there. They are afraid of drama. Which hightens the drama, because I no longer worry about Sora and The Slut, but I worry that The Slut and Sora's non-relationship is hurting my living situation, my friendship with all the people we mutually know.
Here's how it ends: We go out to dinner. And when I announce I am going, several people decide not to go. It is me, Sora, one roommate, one of the guys who lives upstairs, and his girlfriend, who lives with The Slut. We are to meet The Slut for Mexican food, and then go to karaoke.
The Slut is there before we are. He is smoking and not very much talking, so Sora goes gattling tongue. "Mexican food poop is the worst." kid kid kid kid kid kid kid "....poop....poop...."
My roommate laughs uncomfortably. "You know, every time we end up going out you always end up talking shit. It's like you do actually know shit, but nothing else."
Here's how it ends: I left my wallet in my other pants when I got changed, and I need to go back and get it. I tell everyone not to wait up. I'll be back. And I run full-intentioned back home to find my other roommate crying.
"It's over." She says. "He doesn't love me."
And we hug, and we talk, and we play Mario Kart, and I call Sora to tell him I won't be back. And she calls my roommate, to tell him we're not going to meet them there. And we laugh a lot. And things are okay.
Here's how it ends: Things are not ok. The couple fights. Sora and The Slut flirt enough that my roommate decides the night is over, and everyone should go home. So they walk home.
He arrives first. He sits down at the kitchen table and says "Everyone else is about five minutes behind me. Look. Adam. He's got to go. This was a nice drama free house before he got here and now....He's a nice" don't say it "guy" thank you "but I hate all of them right now, and I need a break. And I can't break from him if he's living in the same house with me."
Which is reasonable. And he lived here first. He invited me into this apartment. "Okay."
"It doesn't have to be now. Or tomorrow. Or in a week. Just...he needs to start working on a plan out of here." And my roommate takes out a knife and stabs back and forth between his splayed out fingers. "I'm sorry."
"No." I say. "It's okay."
"We'll all be single!" My just dumped roommate says. And we laugh. And we laugh our way through a full hour with no Sora and no couple and no Slut.
After two hours, the others go to bed.
After three, I am looking out the window, and watching The Slut's house. The guy upstairs and The Slut's roommate, walk across the street and upstairs to his apartment.
"Was Sora with you?" I ask.
Which is worse than a yes.
Here's how it ends: Hour four I pack his belongings under the guise of cleaning the room. I am not kicking him out, I'm just....organizing.
"Hi." says Sora. He is all smiles and drink. "You're cleaning your room!" There is no y in our. "That's...." and the smile fades."that's a box full of my stuff."
Here's how it ends: He won't stay. Not another night. Not another minute. "It's embarrassing." He says. "But I get it. I definitely get it." And he starts carrying boxes out to his car.
"Don't leave." please don't leave please don't leave "I am packing all our stuff while I clean."
"You want me to go."
No. "Eventually. But not tonight."
"We didn't even do anything."
"It's not...look. My roommate got you a job, hoping you'd contribute money to the house, and you haven't paid us a cent. You're always drunk."
"What's so funny?" I ask. Also laughing. Though I don't know why.
"The last time we lived together it was all lies. I lied about my feelings, about my father, about everything. And this time...I like you. I don't love you, but I really like you, so I tried to be honest. But it's the same thing. We just don't...we just don't."
Here's how it ends: We are standing apart on the porch. We are both smiling. "Promise me something."
"When you write about this. Let it end with the word pathetic. Because that's what we are. That's what I am. Pathetic."
"No. No you're not. And we're not. I'm sorry it's over." It's actually, I'm pretty sure over. "But it's not...I'm not sorry we met. I wouldn't give up knowing you. I l...I'm glad for the fun times."
"Pathetic." He says.
But I mean it. I would erase Ryan if I could. I never liked Elvis. David I could go either way with. I wouldn't rid my world of Ben, but I don't even understand how I used to be attracted to him. Everyone inbetween felt like filler. But Sora. I don't think I will ever be able to say I loved Sora. Because I don't think I will ever be out of love with him. I don't always like him very much. I kind of hate what the lies put us through, but you can't really have hate without love. An enormous weight of fucken love. Even if what we had wasn't noble, the fact that we kept trying was. I don't think that or him was a mistake. I will move on. I will find someone else. I will be happy. And I hope he will be too. And I think that's enough. I think we were worth it.
2009 was a terrible year for my phone. And, frankly, 2010 doesn't look to be much better. I had three phones die, one of which I lost twice before it committed hare-kiri. It was difficult for people to get a hold of me, and difficult for me to return phone calls, as, when I don't have a phone, I don't think to call people. I'm also not terribly good at being in touch with people when I do have my phone. It's not that I'm self-absorbed, I'm environmentally-absorbed. If I'm at work, I'm thinking of comics. If I'm on the bus, I'm thinking about where I'm going. If I'm bed, I'm thinking of Sora. Rarely am I thinking, I should be on the phone with someone!
None of these reasons are why I didn't call The Slut Across The Street back, even though he'd given me his number several times.
The first time I got his number was New Year's Eve 2009. Since 1999, there has been only one New Year's Eve that I haven't been in Boston doing the family friendly Poetry Slam as part of First Night. This year was not the exception. When we were done, I was invited to a White Haus party with a bunch of poets. And Ben and I decided to split a cab and some champagne on the way there.
The party was uneventful for me, so just after midnight, I hopped in another cab, and went home alone. There were a dozen people left at my home from an epic party that I know very little about. I know the kitchen table was covered in a beer pong table. I know there were pants all over the kitchen floor. Both of my roommates were shirtless, and the guy that was leaving the party when I came in did not appear to know that he had a penis sharpied on to his face or that his pants were inside out.
My recently rescued cats, Selina Ribcage, and Yoda Louise Vader, were in my room, cringing in terror. So I picked up Yoda, and brought her out into the remains of the party. There are only two things you need to know about Yoda, she was adorable, and she was clearly not going to live very long. I named her Yoda because her head and ears were monstrously large compared to the rest of her body, and I called her Louise Vader because she had terrible respiratory problems, and wheezed uncontrollably at all times. I had only agreed to rescue her because I had already decided to rescue her mother, Selina, as very few people adopt cats when there are kittens around, and I didn't want her mother to be alone all the time while I was at work.
As I stepped out of my room, with the very tiny Yoda curled in my arm, a very intense guy walked up and started talking about Buffy The Vampire Slayer. While I'm willing to accept that not every guy with spikey hair and an intense knowledge of the work of Joss Whedon spends their Friday nights on Craigslist looking to sit on a dick, I would put the probability around 97%.
Somewhere around the middle of his "Ohmygod, I totally loved evil Willow when her eyes got all black and swimmy and her hair..." blah blah blah "and the time when Xander lost his eye and", that I realized this was the guy who had offered to help Zuzu and I carry a few boxes into the apartment when I moved in. I had noticed his crazy eyes, and his Natty Ice breath. Zuzu had noticed him noticing me.
And he was clearly noticing me now.
While we talked, the room cleared. And I went and sat in the living room. Yoda Vader sat in my lap. The Slut Across The Street was remarking how cute she was, and he started petting her, and looking at me. And petting her. And looking at me. And petting me. And looking at me. And petting me. And...wait, really? This dude just totally used my cat to feel me up. And then he just looks at me and says, "Do you wanna?"
Not really. "Sure."
I was a bit too champagned to remember that night. And he was too Natty Iced to remember his name. I just remember that it was so unspectacular that, when he briefly fell asleep next to me, I was trying to come up with the politest way to tell him to get the hell out. Not in a mean "You son of a bitch" way, but in a "OH, this was a huge mistake" way.
I took his phone number out of politeness. I didn't use it. Something he pointed out a couple of weeks later when he stopped in, twice as Natty Iced. This time, I was unchampagned, and uninterested in his "So," flirtatious smile, "you never" hiccup "called me."
And then he invited me and my roommates (who were actual friends of his) over to his house for drinks. And, it's late. And I don't have work the next day, so why not?
"We're" hiccup (really, this can't be happening) "gonna have to" hiccup (ugh) "be quiet because" hiccup (Jesus) "my shitty roommate is a" hiccup *CRASH*
With one wsipe of his sweaty, drunken paw, he'd managed to knock his coat rack not only off the wall, but halfway down the stairs into the lobby.
"Oh" hiccup (God) "God" "I'll" hiccup (why am I still here? "fix that" and he waved his hands to insinuate, I assume, later.
While I went back down the stairs to collect the fallen coat rack, my roommates disappeared into some alternate dimension. I didn't see either of them again for days.
Instead, I walked into the now empty kitchen, and heard, "I'm" hiccup (I should really go home) " in my room."
And he was in his room. And his clothes were in his room. But his clothes were not so very much on him.
"So," hiccup (ok, naked hiccups are kind of funny) "do you have any friends?"
As come-on lines go, this was lacking something. "Yes. Quite a few."
"Do they like to" hiccup (did I feed Selina before I left the house?) "cum on people?"
Ugh. "It's never come up."
"Have you" hiccup (it gets less funny every time) "come up yet?" And he, of course, reached for my crotch.
Apart from the stairs, I had not. Despite naked hiccups.
He fumbled in the general direction for my belt. But instead of focusing on that, I had noticed one of my Buffy trades sitting precariously on a pile of filthy laundry. Had I let this mostly stranger borrow my
""I'll be right" hiccup (why would I have lent him my Buffy trades?) "back"
He did not come right back. I'd begun to suspect that he'd been swallowed by whatever dimension had taken my roommates. Apparently, the Drunken hiccup Dimension.
After ten minutes or so of waiting, I wandered out to the kitchen, and notices an ass and a pair of legs sticking out of the bathroom. There was a definite smell of vomit. At no point in my life has the smell of vomit appealed to me. And having had now two lackluster experiences, I deleted his number from my phone, and walked across the street. Comfortable with the knowledge that The Slut Across The Street and I would never again have any sort of relationship aside from neighbor.
This was when my phone rang.
Sora was calling.
The realization that Elvis was a flat-assed liar didn't ruin my life, or lower my respect for him. I had none. He was just some guy with no ass, bad teeth, and a horrible dye job who had invaded my life to escape...well, I have no idea what he was escaping because he never told me the truth. Finding out he was a lying liar didn't take away from all the happy times we'd shared together. We had no happy times.
Things were different with Sora.
If you read The Insafemode Journals before they were deleted by a Russian hacker, you may remember that Sora and I had lots of happy times. I wrote frequently about the happy things we shared. Easter with Cheerio, Ben, Celeste, and Sir Trick; antagonizing Ben at a house party. There were other times, I know there were. But they disappeared in a whiff of internet hackery.
I didn't write about the lying, because unlike Elvis, I actually love Sora. But our entire relationship was built around a lie. And, no, not the epic He Never Loved Me lie. Though, yes, that, too. The first lie was an innocent one.
We met at one of my shows, I invited him to another competition. He told me he would come up to Boston, we could hang out, we'd go to my show, and then he was going to stay with one of his friends. And then, totally weird, right, his friend never called him back, so he needed a place to stay, and came home with me.
Of course there was no friend.
Two weeks later, he was supposed to meet me and Celeste around noon to go to one of Celeste's shows. At 1:30, Celeste was long gone, and I was thinking I had maybe overjudged our relationship, when he called to apologize for being late, that he was almost to my house. So I walked down in the direction of the T to meet him. I was halfway down the hill when he bounded up, a white rose in his hand. And the kiss. And the kiss. And the wow, okay, kiss. And a white rose. No one I had ever dated had ever given me any sort of flora. And no guy since.
Back at the house, Sir Trick was watching MXC. "Hey guys." He said, flashing a rare smile. He hadn't been smiling at me, partially because he wasn't a full time smiler, and partially because Ben, who I wasn't talking too very often, had borrowed one of his DVDs, and had now had it for several months. And I, being an associate of Ben's, was guilty of overborrowing by association. But, at that very second, Sora had committed no wrong, and was, thereby, smileworthy. "What happened? Thought you were going to be here at noon."
"Oh." Sora said. "I forgot to take my medication, and I passed out on the train, they had to stop it and call an ambulance."
Which was news to me. "You passed out?"
"Yea, it was no big deal."
"What condition do you have?" Sir Trick asked.
"Oh, I don't know."
Because, of course, he had no condition. He was not on medication for a condition that he didn't know about. He did not pass out on the train. He missed a train, because he was completely unreliable. He would miss train after train in the coming months. He would get caught in traffic that didn't exist. I would lose entire days waiting for him because I loved him and knew he was lying and didn't care because I loved him and.
There were many, many little lies littered throughout the happy times. But there were happy times, so why focus on tiny, little harmless lies?
In August 2007, after four months of knowing each other, and three months of dating and living together, I went to Austin for a national poetry slam competition. On my second day in Austin, I got a call from my friend Don, who happened to also be Sora's boss at The Truffle Shuffle chocolate store. "Hey, Adam, tell your boyfriend he's late for work."
"Ugh. Really? Sorry, Don, but I'm in Austin, so I can't exactly dump him off the couch or wherever he fell asleep. I"ll call Celeste, though, and see if she can wake him up."
Well, Celeste said he wasn't home. I told her to call me when she saw him. I told Don to have Sora call me when he got to work. I called Sora's cell a few times.
No one called me back that day.
The next morning I got a call from Sora that his dad had a heart attack, and he had to spend some time helping take care of the house, and he didn't know how long it would be for, but probably not too long, and he missed me, and was really sorry, but "Don't be mad. It's an emergency."
What were the odds of me dating another compulsive liar with a supposedly dead parent who would leave me by telling me a close family member was ill and he had to take care of them?
Apparently, pretty good.
#1 asks:despite the fact that he frustrates, I think that I've fallen for him what defines "fallen" in your opinion?3:23 AM I'm looking for real responses here not something contrived
When it comes to gravity, I'm stupid. I don't know how or why it works. I've heard things about the moon, and Newton's apple. I've even fallen down stairs just to see if I could hit my head just right enough to figure it all out. But I still don't know anything about gravity, other than, it works.
And, of course, I'm going to liken falling in love to gravity. It's an easy analogy. Both can be explained with graphs and equations. Neither make any damned sense to most people. Still, devotees of science and romance claim that they understand them. Both get you through most of your life, while occasionally knocking you on your ass. Both are bitches.
I've never really thought of either one of them having definitions. Gravity is serious. It's something that binds you. Falling is an accident that results in gravity.
Here's something I've never been completely honest about. Sora.
I was turning twenty-nine. I'd been in stupid with Ben for months, and knew that if I didn't get in a relationship soon, I wasn't going to get over him, the way I never really got over Ryan (and I don't mean I was going to kill him, though that thought certainly crossed my mind on a near-daily basis). So all I wanted for my twenty-ninth birthday was to fall in love with someone else.
So when I was asked to do a poetry reading on my birthday, I said sure. Why not? Ben was out of town. Celeste had plans. And I tried not to make big deals out of birthdays, so I invited a few friends to my show in Rhode Island, printed up some books, and grabbed the commuter rail to Providence. There, I met up with my friend Cheerio and blah blah, the show happened. And the show went long. Very long. I'd planned a half hour set, including a reading of my first ever "chapbook", a hand scrawled journal I'd written when I was six. Complete with stick figure drawings, and a count of how many Cherry Cokes I'd had to drink (it's a life long vice). When I realized I'd been going for forty-five minutes, I asked how much longer I had, and the host told me to keep going. SO I went. And, at one hour, I stopped. And the host asked me to do one more piece. So I decided to do my hallucinating while waiting tables poem, which involves me wandering around the venue. And, while wandering, I circled around a pole that had been obstructing my view of a certain section of the audience all night. And on the other side of that pole was Sora. He was staring at me. Like, in a creepy way. STARING.
At the end of the night, I was selling books, and talking with Cheerio and Zouzou (no relation to Zuzu, they just have the same phonetic name), when Sora approached me.
"This was my first ever poetry reading. My friends told me it would be something I would really like, but I didn't think it would be for me, but I thought you were really really good, and I wanted to buy your books and see if maybe you had another show coming up somewhere that I could go to and see you again." And then he just smiled.
"Uhhh. Thanks. Well, I don't have any other show shows for a month or so, but there's a big slam in Boston next Wednesday to decide who will represent Boston at the National Poetry Slam. I'll be in it. And, no matter who wins, it should be a really good show."
"Cool." Stare. Smile. "Here's my Myspace profile, could you send me the info? I'd really like to be there." Stare. Smile.
Stare. Smile. Walk away.
"Wow." Zouzou said.
"Yea." I said. "He was a little intense."
"A little intense?" Cheerio said? "He wants your dick. Often."
And because I am completely oblivious, I said "No. He's just really really into poetry, I guess."
Zouzou laughed. "Hon, no. That intense little drama student is completely besmitten with you."
I shrugged. "I don't know if I could date someone who was majoring in Drama."
"I think you're a little old for college students, anyway," Said Cheerio, who had just cursed me more than either of us could ever possibly know.
My new friend Mike offered to drive me back to Ben's apartment (I was catsitting Rufus while Ben was in Virginia), and on the way we discussed "the intense drama student", whose name I didn't have, but whose myspace profile, I did. While we were talking, I turned my cell on, and noticed I had a message.
"Hey, Adam, it's Ben. I'm still in Virginia. Anyway, I saw this totally awesome pair of shoes down here that would be completely perfect for you. And I know it's your birthday, and all. Happy birthday, by the way. And I was thinking about getting them for you, but they were really expensive, and I didn't know if I could afford them, or if you could afford them, so I decided not to get them, but I wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you. Happy Birthday."
And that's why I needed to not be in love with Ben. A really good friend would have bought me the damned shoes. A moderately good friend would have called, regretted that they couldn't really afford the shoes, but would have bought them, and asked to be reimbursed. A really good friend who was completely broke would have never mentioned the shoes at all, and just called to say Happy Birthday. Ben was none of those things. But I had been in love with him. I didn't really like him very much, but I was in love with him.
It turned out that the message was very old, because Ben was already at home in Allston, when Mike and I arrived. And we drank a little. Shit was shot. Ben sprawled out on his bed, and craned his neck in a way that someone had told him accentuated his jawline. And I packed up my stuff, said goodbye, and Mike prepared to drive me back to the apartment I shared with Celeste and Sir Trick. And it would have been a long night, sure. It was a bit past midnight, but I could get in bed by say, twosih, on this now early morning after my birthday, except...except...except Mike's car was not at all where he parked it a scant half hour ago. But right above where he had parked it was the number of a tow truck company. A number Mike dialed while scowling at his phone.
Now I could tell you that while he dialed, and spoke, I was thinking only of that strange intense little drama student. That my thoughts were pure or dirty or whatever. But I wasn't thinking of the (I still think) hot guy who'd given me his myspace profile because he wanted to come up to Boston and have me do him. I was thinking of Ben, who had been very direct about how he didn't find me attractive, how he didn't love me in any way. I was thinking of him sprawled out on his bed with his head cocked at a funny angle. How he had called to let me know that I wasn't important enough a part of his life for him to get me a birthday present. How much I loved him, and his stupid goddamned chin.
Everything splinters over a time. Sometimes it's a gradual shaving, and sometimes an explosion. Whether beautiful or troubling usually depends on where the splinters land. A kaleidoscope of colored wood on the floor being much preferable to a single blade of tarnish lodged in the plantar.
When I was living with Celeste, Sora, and Sir Trick in Mission Hill, our front door was the only door in the house that wasn't splintering. It was solid and brown, while the rest of the doors flaked paint on the floor, and wore at the hinges.
Divine moved in in September. And the other doors continued their slow wither, and the front door continued to be, well, a door.
In December, Sora let me know that he was going to be in town, and he wanted to talk. And the talk was uneventful, and uninformative. He was, as always, late. I was, as always, forgiving. I bought the meal, and we parted company when he realized he was half an hour late for meeting some of his other friends.
I traveled home without incident. Opened the door to the house, which was never locked, got into the tiny lobby, and the door...the door to my apartment, solid, brown, sturdy, had been thoroughly decimated. The hinges were ripped from the wall. Huge chunks of splintered wood lay in ideograms on the floor. Each one reading something to the effect of "theft", "loss of trust", and "holy shit".
I plodded to my room, because the house was empty, and what good would running do? Everything appeared to be in order. Nothing ruffled through, nothing missing.
I went into Divine's room. Everything appeared to be in order.
Nothing missing in the kitchen, the empty bedroom (though they could have easily taken nothing from nothing and I wouldn't have known), the bathroom, or the pantry.
I called Divine who asked me, right away, if there was a Raspberry Records bag on top her TV. There was not. "Oh no!" (S)He said. "That's where I'd put the rent you gave me."
(S)He stole my money and broke down our door to make it look like a theft. (S)He then used my money to pay the rent to the Landlord and make me look like a rube for not having it. I wasn't sure of it at the time, but after another four monthe of h(im)(er) not paying any bills, my trust was was splintered into ideograms which read "(S)He is a fucken thief who would concoct any story necessary to keep h(er)(is) drug habit going."
A year and a half later, I'm sitting on a couch in a different apartment with Bacchus, surrounded by my roommates, watching The Roast Of Bob Saget when someone starts pounding at the door. I imagine it exploding inwards, so I rush to it, and open the door, and...and it's Asterisk. He's tanked, as per usual, "What's up motherfuckers? I was coming down the street and saw your lights on and OH MY GOD, IS THAT CLORIS LEACHMAN?"
It was. And Asterisk gracefully stumbled over to the couch (he's had a lot of practice stumbling, he's very good at it), and sat to my left. A befuddled Bacchus sat on my right, leaning into me whenever Cloris said something hilarious. And every time she said something scathing, Asterisk dug into my left leg with his right hand. And so it was that her humor was bruised into me for days.
Asterisk left at the end of the roast, and Bacchus and I surrendered to my room. "Asterisk was very..."
"...drunk?" I offered.
"touchy with you."
While he was, surprisingly, hands on "There wasn't anything romantic or sexual about it. Asterisk and I have never been and will never be anything more than friends."
And I reached my arms around him and "Not tonight." He said.
And this is where my memory splinters.
I remembered the restaurant correctly. A Japanese place with excellent soup. I remembered him seeming more awkward about halfway through the meal. I remembered a guy sitting at another table recognizing him, walking over to our table and saying he was surprised to see him there. "I thought you only came here to break up with people. " Then turning to me, and saying, " I'm sorry, I hope you two aren't here on a date."
And I saw any future we had, tearing at the hinges.
What I remember is him growing distant. I remember him saying he wasn't all that interested in me as anything more than a friend, and me saying "I already have friends." or something snarky that devalued our relationship for no good reason other than I wanted to hurt back.
But, after a few months of not seeing him, I ran into him in Cambridge, and he invited me back to his apartment to watch The Bourne Supremacy (which wasn't about Cape Cod at all), and when it was over, and he invited me to stay over, I asked why he hadn't wanted more out of her relationship.
And he tried to give me a funny look, but failed. He only looked hurt. "You broke up with me." He said.
I didn't want to argue, so we talked about other people we were seeing, and I stayed the night, but nothing happened.
Back at my new home in Brighton, I checked my old e-mail and instant messanger conversations, and sure enough, I'd asked him if we were going to continue just fooling around, or whether we had a future as a couple. And he had said he needed some time to think about it. And I'd told him that wasn't good enough.
It should have been good enough.
The problem with jumping out of a plane and into the middle of an ocean is mainly about perspective.
One: I can't gauge how far away the water is from my point of entrance in the sky. I'm wearing a parachute, but not entirely sure that pulling it is going to do me any favors.
Two: The ocean is fucken vast. I don't know for certain that I can't swim to the nearest island, jetty, or continent from this middle point, but I'm probably going to wish I'd packed a raft, and possibly some crackers.
Three: How exactly did I get to the point of my life where I'm jumping out of planes to begin with? Into an ocean no less? Which ocean? I've got no idea, which further impedes my perspective problems.
Four: I can't see the damned coastline.
They tell me distance helps with perspective. You don't write about the shit currently going down in your life, you wait a while. Realize that maybe the problem wasn't the person you've been blaming for the past several months, but, perhaps you. YOU may be the problem. And maybe being left crying in your kitchen wasn't a major moment in your life. Maybe it was no more important than that time you were halfway home from the grocery store before you realized you'd forgotten the toothpicks, which were the whole reason you went to the grocery store in the first place. Allow time to remove you from the events and they somehow seem less important. Or at the very least, less dire.
Ryan was dead over five years before I started writing about him. Elvis was a couple years gone. Beckee Krackow was a distant memory. And then I started writing about Ben when he was sitting almost directly behind me in the apartment his parents paid for. We began fighting over the way I was portraying him, and grew incredibly distant, which really didn't help either of our perspectives at all.
And then Sora happened. And I'm writing about how in love I am with this person I barely know, who moves into my house somewhere around the third date. And do you know what happens next?
No you don't.
A computer crashes. An account is hacked. A relationship falters. A friendship is ruined. Many, many people have sex. A job intensifies. A family stops speaking to each other. A fuse is blown. And I'm standing on the edge of a tiny little biplane over God knows what ocean, ripcord in hand, trying to figure out when to jump, and which direction to swim in. Knowing that every direction is uphill, and how the fuck do you swim up hill?
You swim up hill like your knees are bleeding and your feet are made of sharks. You swim up hill like the crest of that wave can launch you past the horizon. You swim up hill like you took lessons, even though you know you're self-taught at best, ignorant at worst, and...is it just me or does everyone I've ever fucked turn out to be emotionally retarded? What does that say about...where did that metaphor go?
The problem with perspective is that I delude myself into seeing things a certain way. I'd known Sora less than two months when we were talking about love. He'd lived with me less than two weeks when he said "This is never going to work. We're impossible." And I held him, and told him he was wrong because I knew he was right, but that knowing the truth wasn't going to make either of us feel any better.
And do you see how giant Sora and the ocean are in this entry? Enormous, right? It's as though all of these things I'm finally going to write are going to be about our relationship, and how I got to this point where I was too baffled by our lives together to form a coherent sentence to describe it. I stopped blogging. I threw myself into so many men, I stopped naming them. I let all these emotions wash over me without committing them to paper because of Sora and ocean and...really, it's a false perspective. He's not nearly as important to my story as all these strung together sentences would lead you to believe. He's a dot on a horizon that's going to turn out to be driftwood. And I'll cling to him, untl I realize that all this time I've been able keep my head above water and still touch my feet to the ocean floor. I just couldn't see how shallow the water was around me, so focused on finding the shore as I was.