He did something that surprised you. You knew what he was but the ties began to regrow. A mass of veins spreading from him to you. You welcomed him back in. He needed you.
You welcomed him into your home for a time. You began to feel neglected, just like last time. You didn’t really mean to click on the messages between him and the girl he had used to leave you. You weren’t even painted as a friend in those messages. You were the girl who said she would help him out… “Ugh,” he told her. Ugh.
You have a moment of clarity. You take a walk on the beach. You pick up a rock for his collection. You give it to him with a smile. He smiles back and pulls you in for a hug. The hug makes you feel nothing. You realize you’ve conned him back.
I’ve always found a light shade of summer freckle on a man to be an attractive feature. Pair that with an effortless baseball cap and I’m probably halfway to love.
It’s as if I’ve formulated this notion that if you’re a freckled man, you’re an approachable man, you’re a good man; worthy of my planting a kiss on the impression the sun has left on you.
If only all that were true.
Staring didn’t accomplish much. The peanut butter would win that contest. It could have been anyone who left it out. Everyone had free range of the kitchen last night, I’m sure there were various cases of the munchies. But I hated that midnight peanut butter toker.
The morning – well, my shifted version of the morning – was spent picking up last night’s shreds. The seemingly never-ending supply of red cups the floor had been graced with, the empty beer bottles that had been gifted to odd corners of rooms or various house plants, and the excessive amount of grime that had mysteriously made its way everywhere.
I didn’t touch that peanut butter though. It was all too well-placed. I used to find it there in the morning – not that exact jar, but the same creamy off-brand kind. It became our sort of routine. He would wake up around the 3am mark, shuffle over to the peanut butter’s home, and gouge out a spoonful. I’d clean up the evidence of his food excursions in the morning.
For months after he left I would wake up around that same 3am mark and unceremoniously think of him and his damned peanut butter. When I heard that he was back in prison I started eating a good amount of that creamy peanut butter, until I remembered that I didn’t really like it.
So I stood there staring at the peanut butter, the morning after the party I had thrown, to maybe help me finally think about something else. It wasn’t really accomplishing much.
I have two and a half blisters because of what you said. I decided I had to walk around the neighborhood until I wasn’t mad about it anymore. I was also locked out of my apartment and had to get cash for the lockout fee but also had to kill an hour and a half. I was wearing my new shoes too.
Sometimes I wish I was a standup comedian so that I could go on stage and say things like “Sometimes I cry in elevators” and it wouldn’t sound so pathetic. I would deliver it in such a way that the audience would laugh and shift in their seats to accommodate their active abdominal muscles.
Maybe I would tell them how when I met him he was light and carefree and by that I mean he was drunkenly singing karaoke and doing a dance that involved excessive amounts of pelvic thrusting. I knew I had to have him.
I could tell them how when we started there were more libations which made for an evening long soirée during which we talked among ourselves and multiple strangers and even narrowly avoided an orgy invitation.
I’m still trying to write up the bit where, without comment, he decides it’s all too much for him and walks away. I can’t quite pick out what would make that one funny. Although; that is where the part about crying in elevators was born, so it can’t be all that bad.
The all too cliche “Hello old friend” was the only greeting I seemed able to express. I had seen hints of you in the last months, but now here you were, draping yourself over the other side of my booth. My eyes adjust to your presence.
Your warmth was melting my ice cubes. Their shape was more rounded than it had been. You have that affect.
I tried to soak you in, let myself be impressed by you. There had been days that I’d near begged to see you but you’d refused. The moment felt momentous but I couldn’t seem to muster the proper emotion. I only found myself hoping you’d be back for good but I knew that realistically you still had a couple more months away.
The diner began to fill. Chatter of fresh patrons leaked into our reverie. I felt a chill.
The last time I saw him he would look at me like he was trying to peel the layers of facade away from who I truly was. It had been a handful of years since then. Granted, things had changed; including my inclination to be swept up by unremarkable lovers; but he wasn’t even looking at me. I had been in the practice of peeling away my own unnecessary reservations, but I wasn’t totally void of a guard that needed to be coaxed into taking a step back and I was disappointed in his lack of effort.
“Come here, you,” he whispered emptily as he pulled me closer and kissed my neck. This was all wrong. We were supposed to be facing the other way in a warm room draped in California summer and stuffed with meaning.
I began I mourn the evolution of my mentality, because maybe it was just me. Being lost and open to letting someone catch my falling spirit had allowed me to get swept up in all that was him. I had felt like we were some sort of androgynous soul.
I tried to get back some of who I was in that California summer. Perhaps being slightly delusional would help me appreciate this unexpected second chance.
But when I locked eyes with him, I felt nothing. I was no longer pulled into what had once been the spirit of the world.