45. Drugs or Jesus

You think you know what pain is.

I thought I knew what pain was.  Abandoned my the man who pushed his grandmother’s ring onto my finger.  Left homeless, jobless, car-less, dreamless, broken.

I thought I knew what pain was.

I drag myself into the doctor’s office today.  My right hip, clenched into a knot they cannot undo for a year and counting, bent in agony.  I cry hot tears they ignore – because they are used to me, because they are sick of me – over the thin paper covering the exam table, onto the plastic pillows, onto the ground.

If they can’t cure you, it’s all in your head.

If they can’t cure you, eventually you should just shut up about it.

I thought I knew what pain was.

Robbed of everything I had made vulnerable for love, swimming in a dark sea of splintered words and shattered promises, I grieved for almost two years before I started to wake up.  Stirring in the darkness, putting a timid toe into a wading pool, I eventually dared to hope again.

I dared to hope, I dared to love, and all that man did was break my body and leave me to rot.

I am on the phone with my mother.  Poor mom, she tries to calm me down.  But today there is no comfort, and today there is no calming.  “If that man” and I’m screaming, “if THAT man can bring down some sort of fucking death sentence on me-” and I choke on my own tears.  There is nothing my anger can do to hurt him.  There is nothing my sorrow can do to save me.

I am lost in agony.  I cannot escape my own body.  There is nothing I can do.

It is at this point that people either choose drugs or Jesus.

And I gave up on Jesus ten years ago.

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44. Expect

That giant purple eyesore.

Standing there. Staring at me. Making me feel like I’d been slapped upside the head by a grape.

I’ve hated it for two and a half years.  Just not enough to do anything about it.

I walk in at 10:30 at night.  I walk out.  I am shocked.

I’ve been wanting to paint over that purple wall since the second I moved in here, but I was broke, lost, and… well, mostly broke.  I didn’t have anything to spare, monetarily or emotionally, and just getting this cheap rent was incredible enough on it’s own.  I should be grateful, and I should shut up.  That much seemed a given.  I left the grape first because I was extraordinarily busy with simply remaining alive.  Then I was broke.  Then, apparently, despite hating it, I was used to it.  I hated it, but in a way that rarely crossed my mind.  Or in the way that only crosses your mind when you’re in the middle of doing something else, despite it being the first thing I saw each day upon walking into my bedroom.

I had always planned to wipe that wall of the face of the planet.  I finally made good on my word.  The unintended side effect of wiping off a thing that I hate is that the room no longer feels like mine.  It no longer feels like home. My biology has kicked in and all my senses are up, waiting for danger.  This is unfamiliar.  This is a bed that is not my own.  Hold tight, stay cautious.  You can’t sleep here.

Are you shitting me?  This is so obvious.  So obvious and so infuriatingly evident of my own lack of evolution I want to punch myself.  Two years. TWO YEARS on this fucking room.  No, not even this room, this wall.  One, single, hateful wall that all in all, the trip and the furniture pulling and the taping and the painting and the reputting of things…. maybe clocked in at three hours?  And I was avoiding that for three years because I couldn’t handle the psychological fallout of changing it???

I couldn’t embrace something not only good, but that I was certain I wanted, because I couldn’t invest $50, a few hours, and the metal shift it required.

Jesus.

I hate myself a little right now.  I wonder how many other things have waited two years or six years or ten because I wasn’t able to sleep under a different color paint job.  How many microscopic, unseen, unimportant, baseless biological things have kept me from what I wanted.  And me, stupid and rationalizing excuses when in reality, Darwin won.

God, I hate myself right now.

What is even more stupidly, pathetically evident, is that I’ve been wearing your old tank top for the past two days, and the teddy bear you got me is sitting on my bed.  I haven’t thought of you even half lovingly or wantingly in the two and a half years since I had to move here thanks to your disgusting habit of blowing everything up, and I embraced that fucking grape-ass wall like my life depended on it.

I am missing your mouth.  Your dirty talk in that British accent.

Because I feel out of place.  Because we were both out of place and stupidly thought (like young people do) that it made sense to find a place in each other.  Because you were where I went every last time I fell of the wagon.

The taste of you was toxic to me.  Poison.  We both thought we could somehow wring it around and turn it into something good.  But we couldn’t.  We never could.  The other day, for the first time in a long time, I mentioned the ring.  I still couldn’t bear to ask my mother what she had done with it, and she was smart enough not to tell me.

I look at the wall.  So elegant.  So sophisticated.  Everything I had hoped it would be.  Did it really take this, this to make me paint it.  Then I think on it.  Yes, yes of course it did. Because nothing short of the breaking of my body, forcing me to stay in one place would have ever made me paint that wall.  Because as much as I hated it, painting that wall was a bit of acceptance.  To change it meant I was settling in here, in the place I crash landed after the explosion.  The dust cleared, and I ended up here because the ad for the job said “Fortune 500”.  I never did intend to stay.  Yet here I am.  Nesting.  Am I mad because I’m giving in to it?  Or am I mad because it took me so long?

Swimming pools.  Movie stars.

Los Angeles, you mother fucker.  I only chose you under duress.

Dear god, get me out of here.  That’s what I’m thinking.  And that’s why I’m painting.  It’s a form of acceptance, and yet a way to exercise the only bit of control and refusal I still have left.

I walk into that room and I try to sleep, but my psyche won’t let me.  The energy’s too different.

 
What the hell did I expect?

36. Stop

Stop!  Stop Stop stop.

I keep telling myself…don’t think it. Don’t dwell on it.  Don’t let your mind wander, it hurts too much.

But I can’t.  I’m losing it.  I’m tearing my hair out, I’m in grief on the ground.

I am only 29, and they tell me I will never have sex again.

Focus.  Focus on your life.  Focus on your investments.  Create your future.  Earn that  promotion, start your own LLC.  Learn Spanish, play guitar, get one of these stupid blogs published.  There’s more to life than romance.  50% of marriages fail!  Most happy people have whole communities I tell myself… I can still have that, even if I can’t have….

Stop!  Stop stop stop!

I am remembering what it was like to smell that spot where his neck meets his jawline.  I am remembering skin all over touching skin, “I love you” whispered into my mouth, my hands at the small of his back, “I love you, I love you”.

Stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop.

I am 29 years old.

Will no one ever touch me again?  Will I spend the rest of my life longing for something everyone takes for granted, cut off by a wall of pain from my own ability to give and receive love.  This can’t be it for me.  This can’t be the end.  Please don’t tell me I have nothing to offer, and never will again.

Stop.

Stop stop stop.

Don’t remember his mouth, his hands, his breath.  Don’t remember how it felt to be held at night.  The lips lingering on the back of your neck, the arms around you, hands holding your breasts and exploring your stomach.  Stop.  Stop crying.  No one can help you, and it only reminds you how much it hurts.

Stop.

Stop stop stop.

32. Doorway

He isn’t the type to show up in your doorway, and that’s a good thing.

When I watch the wrong movie and the man tells the woman he respects the work she does and wants her to be successful because she’s earned it, above and outside of their romance, I cry; he doesn’t come.

When the janitor at work gets me flowers on my birthday that should have come from him, because she still loves me, but he doesn’t anymore, he doesn’t come.

When the rain hits the California ground for the first and only time all winter.  Not even enough to banish the edges of the drought, but enough to finally wash away the heart he drew with his fingertip on my driver side window, he doesn’t come.

He isn’t the type to show up in your doorway.

His pride is more important.  He will tell himself, and he’ll tell me, that it is maturity.  He will save me, really, from the back and forth, the wavering, the heart sucking, gut-wrenching act of pulling myself out of his arms sobbing, knowing somewhere deep down that in the end, all he’ll do is throw back a few too many and shatter me into a thousand pieces just like every time before.  His pride is saving me from suffering of a greater kind.  I know that.

And he doesn’t come.  And he doesn’t come.

And at two am I am up in the living room.

And he doesn’t come.

27. Truth

The truth?

The truth is that I want to put my mother fucking hands on you. For no reason, after 10 years. For no. fucking. reason. I want to put my hands on you and feel your hands on me, and just kiss. Kiss like we did when there was nothing else we could do. Like when we hid behind quickly closed doors and turned backs.  Like when our secret was the only secret in the universe.

I want to kiss like we did when I straddled you in the front seat of a beat up Nissan, an 18 year old virgin with no knowledge of the universe, no ideas of sex and all it’s consequences.  No innocence lost.  Now that I’m an adult I realize how kind you really were. Five years my senior and a college grad, you never once tried to get up my skirt or unclasp my bra. In the dark we hid, and in the dark we stayed, just kissing and kissing in secret, texting our friends, pretending we were lost downtown, when really at the park on seventh, or the permitted college back lot, or outside your best friend’s apartment –  your hands on my waist my chest pressed up against you – we kissed until beads of water ran down outside the foggy windows.  For months, hiding our secrets, we kissed like this.  You never once tried to push me or press me for more, and I didn’t realize it then but I realize it now, just how fragile I was and how gentle you were with me. You just kissed me. You kissed me and kissed me and kissed me.  And despite knowing I shouldn’t, and how much it could hurt me, I could never stop kissing you.  For all the secrets, all the hiding and hoping and betrayal… I couldn’t stop kissing you until I knew you were moving half way around the world and there was nothing I could do to keep you.

I am twenty fucking nine years old.

I have been engaged and broken apart.
You have been married and long since divorced.

Years have passed between both of these things. And the only reason we are even speaking, after five years of blocked calls, is that I thought you were one of my doctors. But I don’t care.  I wrote my first song about you.

I play Iron and Wine. I lie alone in bed. And I imagine you here. Your arms around me. The insanity of it. The want of you like crazy. The uncontainable need to have you.

Come back to Los Angeles so I can kiss you.

25. Windows.

I want to go to his house and break all his windows. I want to take everything that means anything to him, and stomp it into the ground. I want to punch him in the stomach a thousand times, until he finally hurts as much as I do, and when he does, he will cry out and say “little bee, I had no idea, I’m so, so sorry” and he will remember he loves me. And he will wrap his arms around me. We will cry together and things will be the same again.

 
But they won’t.

 
And they never, ever will.

23. New Year’s Eve. 2010.

Three… two… one….  And the room goes wild.

He kisses me. He tastes like you think a man should. His arms are wrapped around me, clutching my back to shield me from the crowd. We are pressed tight, an ocean of champagne and shouting.

He downs the last of an enormous beer, crashes the glass to the ground, and rides us through the crowd, throwing elbows to get to the door. He has flown across an ocean to be here, and I am lost in something adolescent and amorous. It’s perfect.

Stumbling out of an Irish Pub in Boston, I grip his arm in the darkness. We laugh and slip in terror, gliding over the ice.
….

He climbs into bed. With his shirt off and my hand on his chest, I breathe a sigh of relief. Our faces close in the darkness, I am still.  The awareness of his skin, his heatbeat on my fingertips, the smell of him in the air – tells me that he is really here.  After nearly six years, he’s here. And when I wake in the morning, I won’t be counting the days to the next plane ticket, wondering if he’ll ever be here again.

I sleep.

I sleep clean through the freezing night.