~Friday, May 21, 2010

As a writer, I have failed you.

When I started a niche blog about one aspect of my life, I thought it was implied that that this is only one aspect of my life and therefore does not encapsulate my entire being.

I don't write about work, mainly for privacy reasons. But I don't write about the long hours I pull. I don't write about walking through the parking lot by myself in the dark and getting home after prime time TV has begun. I don't write about the fact when the rest of the economy was in a recession, I got a 7% raise for a job well done.

I don't write about my financial situation, mainly because I don't want to brag. But finances? I have that down. Zero credit card debt. Actually zero debt except for the small car I bought slightly used. My bills are paid in full well before the due date. My car will be paid off a year early. I don't write about my bonds and CDs and investment accounts. I don't write about the fact even though my father is very rich, every penny I have I earned by living a frugal lifestyle. I don't write about what an accomplishment this is for me.

I don't write about my charity work, mainly because it is boring and incites that glassed-eye look. I don't write about an endeavor I took on for the Special Olympics this year. I don't write about my weekly volunteer time spent for the local children's hospital. I don't write about the fact that the hospital set up a special event just to thank my group a couple of weeks ago.

I don't write about my friends very much, mainly because everyone has friends and everyone goes out to eat and attends parties and weekends away.

I don't write about my therapy, mainly because it stopped being about S a long time ago. It's been about me learning to trust myself, dealing with my mother's divorce (my step-father of 17 years didn't even bother saying goodbye before he left) and my feelings of my father leaving when I was very little. I don't write about my therapy work or the books I've read or the lessons I have learned.

I write about one aspect of my life because it is the only part of me where I don't have my act together. It is the only area where I misstep and am uncomfortable. It's the area where I need the most improvement.

So when you tell me to get a life, or to focus on living my life, I'm afraid you are taking my writings a little too literal. I'm afraid you think that all I do is doodle bugs and flowers and potential new last names in notebooks. I already have a life, and it's a freaking great one. I know who I am and what I offer and what I'm good at, just don't know these things in connection to someone else.

I started this blog when I was 24. I moved home to be closer to my boyfriend of one year. We spent our weekends looking at houses and engagement rings, so when my lease was up, I quit my job and moved 90 miles south. Because this is what you do at 24 when you are still starry-eyed and the world still only has good things to offer you. Only the new job I took didn't work out and my boyfriend dumped me after 3 weeks of being home. So I was stuck in my mother's house, sleeping in my twin canopy bed with a college degree and no job and no boyfriend. My friends were all 90 miles north. It was a hard, hard time for me and I reached out to the Internet.

I'm not that person anymore. Some of you have acknowledged that, which makes my heart swell. Some of you still treat me like that naïve 24-year-old little girl. Some of you are downright verbally abusive, which I still have a hard time fathoming why anyone would waste his/her time to harass anonymous strangers over the Internet. What a waste of time.

Like I said when I started this self-indulgent diatribe, maybe this is my fault for not clearly explaining that a relationship blog is about relationships only. I am a whole other person with a whole other life beyond that.

~Monday, May 17, 2010

The Non-Date Recap

For the record, I wore the stone-washed Old Navy's.

I just couldn't wear the jeans with the hole in them. If this had been a second or a third meeting, I probably would have, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it the very first time.

We met in neutral territory, a parking garage not far from my building. 5k Guy had brought his dog and was walking her in a grassy patch behind the place where I get my morning coffee. She was wearing a pink snap-on collar and I kind of melted that he was secure enough to stand among a collar rack and purchase a pink one for her.

He pointed out where his car was parked at the far end of the garage and I drove over to the spot. He had taped to the cement wall a large paper sign that read "Tire changing lessons $5 $1 Free!" I wondered if he just happened to have a printed sign like that because the paper was too large to fit in a personal printer.

We got right to business, mainly because I was nervous and didn't know how to act around this guy I had only met once in a group setting. I busied myself with getting the tire and jack out of my trunk. He walked over with colored instructions printed off the Internet on how to change a tire. I thought Wow, he did some preparation for this and maybe I wasn't imposing on him like I had half-convinced myself. He got under my car and showed me where to place my jack, and then it was up to me.

He unfolded a camping chair and took a seat, "I'm sorry I can't help you, but you really need to know how to do this on your own." He made small talk as I panted while I jacked up the car. Because I was wearing a tank top, I had stupidly decided that hair down was the way to go and cover up the skin on my shoulders. Only it's the South in the beginning of summer, so it's humid and muggy and once again my ironed hair is frizzing and my face is turning maroon cause it's hard to breathe with this much humidity. The summer storms aren't far away.

He taught me the importance of loosening the bolts before jacking up the car, even though it's not really applicable because my car is front-wheel drive. He gave me pointers like standing on the lug-nut wrench to break them free. He applauded my intelligence because I knew enough physics to stand on the very end of the wrench when a few didn't budge.

He handed me latex gloves to handle the tires with to keep my hands clean. "I'm sorry they are so big for you, but they are the only ones I have at home," he explained. I started to think he really did put some forethought into this.

I thought I would be done after I drove around the garage on my spare, but he made me jack up the car again to put the full-size tire back on. "Just because you did it once, doesn't make you an expert," he laughed after I goofed in the order of breaking free the lug nuts and begin taking them off before I jacked the car up again.

I handed him my camera and told him he had to take a picture of me changing the tire so I could document completing my list. A took a few but my batteries died and then he grabbed his own from his car and continued to click away. After I got the full-sized tire back on, he finally came over and did the final tightening of the lug nuts. "Yeah, I have to drive on that," I laughed.

I looked at my phone. It took me 40 minutes, meaning we only had about 20 minutes until he had to dash off to his next destination. He tried helping me put everything back in my car, but by this point I was so used to doing everything by myself that I didn't really let him.

"Do you still have time for lunch?" I asked.

"Hold on, we're not done yet." He went into the back of his car and fumbled through a folder. He pulled out a certificate he made me.

I jumped up and down and clapped at the sight of it. A certificate! It had my name on it and it certified my achievement of learning to change a tire and it had the date on it. He really put a lot of thought into this. He took something so simple and mundane and turned it into something special. He made me a certificate and my name was spelled right on it. I don't think I have ever had someone in my life who put so much thought into something. Then he put his camera on self-timer mode and we stood in front of my car while he shook my hand and handed me my certificate like I was getting the keys to the city.

For lunch, he chose a pizza place that was in the same area. Actually it was a place Christopher always talked about how good it was and how he wanted to go, but we never went because I didn't want to pay for the both of us. So I'm here with another guy. He asked if I had any preferences and I said no. He asked if I like leftovers and I said yes, so he ordered a medium pesto pizza with chicken and I inwardly smiled because I didn't have to do all the work. He took charge.

The conversation was easy for two people who didn't know each other very well. We talked mainly about our dogs and shared stories about them. We talked a bit about college and our respective experiences. Then he brought up my list and asked me what my inspiration was. He said it was such a great idea and he really applauds people for being proactive and doing what they always said they were going to do. I wondered if my list got me this non-date thing. He continued with all the ones he would love to help me out with and expressed disappointment that I didn't meet up with him at the 5k. I had posted on Facebook a link to a discounted zipline tour for the summer and he said he was interested, but never committed if he was going to go or not. "Katie is going," he said. I thought it was weird because first of all, I didn't know he knew Katie and secondly he couldn't go because she was going? Like because it would be a group thing? Or maybe he doesn't like her? Or?

We were the only people in the restaurant and we had blown by his timeline by a half an hour and he was definitely going to be late to meet his friend. He called out to the waitress to split the check and I was disappointed. I'm perfectly okay with carrying my own weight, but I was emotionally disappointed because the non-date thing was officially a non-date thing. We walked out to our cars and he immediately got his dog out of the car. I didn't want to follow him, so I just headed to mine and he waved goodbye as he walked his dog to the grass for one last potty-break before their next adventure. No wink, no hug, no awkward shoulder touching. That was it.

I sat in the car blankly. What the hell was that? Who would put so much effort into something if he just wanted to establish a friendship? My best friends in the world wouldn't do that much. He said during lunch we wanted to do more list things with me. We didn't talk about anything controversial, so if I said anything to turn it sour, it would either have to be revealing that my parents are divorced or that I don't have a thyroid. I can't imagine it really being either one of those.

I guess I will just have to wait a couple of weeks and see if he contacts me again. He has most of the pictures in his camera, so I hope he does so I can at least get copies.

The worst part is now that I spent some time with him and he's made me a sign and a certificate, I like him. I think he's really great for making things so special for me. My heart is kind of torn because I know I'm just going to spend this summer pining for him and it's just going to break when I get drunk and profess my feelings for him and he tells me I'm a nice girl. Ugh, nothing has changed.

~Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Non-Date Thing


You want to know a secret?

Lean closer.

I have a "thing" with 5k Guy this Saturday. It's called a "thing" or a "gathering" or a "get together" because I don't know what it is. I guess if I don't know what it is, then it's in the non-date category. Henceforth it shall be named, "non-date thing".

I e-mailed 5k Guy. Since he had made a list on my Facebook profile of all the things on my 30 before 30 list that he could help me with, I asked him if I could take him up on one of those (#20, Learn to change a tire) and then take him out to lunch as a thank you. Fail-safe, right? I was proud of myself.

Except he responds that he can't accept lunch as a thank you, "Think along the lines of #6 (but not a stranger), but we can do lunch after."

Well WTF does that mean? Does it mean he wants to take me to lunch, or does it mean I'm dealing with a good samaritan cub scout here?

So the day is set and I wait another week to contact him, unsure if I even should because I did the asking, but he's the guy. And besides, so far this is a "non-date thing". I ask if he is still interested and if so what time and place. He writes he still wants to commence the non-date thing on Saturday, but he gives me an hour and a half time-slot because he also has plans in another city.

Did he just give me a buffer in case things go badly?

Whatever. I'm 29 and am too old and should be too mature to waste my time decoding guy language. Besides, this is a NON-DATE THING.

So let's discuss all the ways in which I screwed myself:
  1. I chose the activity. I chose to freaking change a tire. This seemed like a good idea right up until I spent a New York-minute thinking about dress. I can't wear anything cute or nice, hence elevating my non-date thing into a date-ish thing, because it's going to involve me with my knees on the pavement and touching car grease. It's not exactly a situation where I can bust out the Rock and Republic jeans (also fail-safe) and a cute top. If I were changing a tire, normally I would wear my 4-year-old Lucky jeans with the ripped knee and the hole in the ass. It's not exactly a hole, but it's worn so thin that it's just horizontal strings from one side to the other and it's about the size of my palm and it's sheer enough to clearly display the color of my undie's, if not a palm-sized picture of it. My only other option is my stone-washed Old Navy's and, oh my god, I don't even wear those out in public.

  2. And it's not like I can buy one of those iron-on patches for the ass hole because it's on the seat of the pants and not the pocket, so it would look like I was pooping a flower or peace sign or whatever those iron-on patches come as. I was thinking a long t-shirt that would hide the ass cheek, but let's face it, when you are squatting on the ground, your ass is going to hang out no matter how long your shirt is.
And that's the most I have ever written about a pair of pants.

~Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Ha!

The other morning I about choked on my toothbrush when I had this realization:

I broke up with Christopher exactly a year (to the day) after I broke up with S.

That cannot be a coincidence.

~Friday, May 07, 2010


Christopher called on Monday.

"You sound off," he said.

"I know. I have been telling you for a month now that I feel off and I think it's my thyroid medication," I said exasperated.

"Well are you off towards me or off in general?" he asked.

I shrugged. "I dunno."

"Yes, you do know," he pressed.

Dammit, he did know it. He knew exactly what was going on because I didn't call him at all that week and barely returned his calls. My phone log usually reads 20 calls placed to Christopher, 8 calls received, and 4 missed. Now my phone read 4 calls placed to Christopher, 20 calls received and 15 missed. He knew, hence the I miss you text from the night before.

Look, I will waffle. I will take forever to make up my mind about something, but once I do, I immediately act. I decided I wanted out with S on a Sunday and I broke my lease and moved out the next morning. There was no talk and then cohabitating and yelling and sleeping on couches. I was gone.

So I told Christopher. I recounted how he told me and my friends that he's the next George Clooney and he never loved me. I told him I didn't think he could come back from something like that. I told him that I've been unhappy. I told him I polled people over the last week and not only do 100% respond that it's weird he's never driven me, they also think it's indicative of our relationship.

And he denied the whole thing.

"I didn't say that. I didn't say anything about George Clooney. I didn't say that I didn't love you. You're crazy."

This was the same argument S would use. He would deny, deny, deny and then tell me I was crazy, indicating that the problem was me. I HATE this argument. Mainly because it deflates me. What do you say to that? "Nuh uh, I'm not crazy!"

"Yes, you did Christopher," I pleaded.

"Your friends are lying."

"You said it to me," I pressed gently. "You looked me in the face and said it."

Maybe he was so drunk that he didn't remember, but obviously he did to bring up the whole marriage argument with Harvey the next morning.

Then his next tactic was to argue with the statement "My 10 closest friends." He insisted there were 6 for some inexplicable reason and that this would make a difference. I got sucked into it and started counting my friends on my fingers.

"Look the bottom line is that love and marriage and children are in my life plan and it's not in yours," I stated, trying to steer the conversation back.

"Marriage is an institution designed to-"

I cut him off. "It's what I want."

"I can't believe you of all people want to get married with the way your parents' marriages turned out."

That hurt. That really hurt.

"It makes me want it more than ever so I won't be like them."

"I can't believe this is a deal breaker for you."

"It is."

He huffed. "You should be mad at your friends. They turned you against me. Girls are mean like that. You should be angry with them not me."

"I have thoughts independent from my friends," I said meekly. "The driving thing bugged me, not them."

"Then I'll drive you. I'll take you out in a limo. I will spend all the money I have on you," he pleaded.

"It's not about the money. It's about feeling cared for."

Then we circled the argument how he doesn't drive because he would rather drink beer and he doesn't want a DUI. So I say exactly, he's always chosen beer over me by not driving. He shoots that he likes to drink when he goes out and can't just have one. I stick with the beer is more important than me line.

He said abruptly that he still wants to hang out and be friends and I cheerfully respond absolutely. He's a good person and he makes a good friend, he's just a lousy boyfriend. And apparently it was too soon to switch in friends gear because he took real offense to the last statement.

I hung up the phone, cried lightly for half of an hour and then was over it.

People keep asking me how I am. I am disappointed. I am disappointed that we could have been so much. I am disappointed that he didn't take care of the relationship, he didn't take care of me. I am disappointed that he didn't live up to who I thought he was. I'm disappointed he's going to be just another guy, like I feared.

I'm not heartbroken. I never spoke of him or our relationship in terms of forever. I never daydreamed of us moving in together. I don't think that my father knows that we were still dating because they haven't heard me say a word about him since Thanksgiving. I think I knew all along that this was going to be summed up to one, giant disappointment.


~Thursday, May 06, 2010


It was at this point that I started questioning my intelligence. Here is a 36-year-old man who publicly declared that not only does he never want to marry anyone, but also he doesn't love me. If this wasn't the warning sign I needed to know the relationship has run its course, then I don't know what it would take.

Intellectually, I knew the relationship was over and I had to break it off. Emotionally, I was still lingering. Yeah, he is very self-centered, but he does care for me. I know he does.

My friends started treating me like a victim. M-Joy text messaged me a few days later to make sure I was okay. Harvey greeted me with, "Heeeeey, how aaaare youuu?" and a sympathetic head tilt. I don't want to be viewed as a victim; I don't feel like a victim. If I was going to feel like a victim, it would have been when I went through the verbal and physical abuse. This? This was nothing. This was just me being embarrassed in front of my friends.

I met up with Harvey and a few others a week later while I was avoiding Christopher. It was the boys of the group who were incensed by the George Clooney comment, not the girls.

"This guy is still saying he's George Clooney?" laughed Government Mule, who wasn't even at my birthday party. "He's been saying that since Thanksgiving."

I did not know he'd been telling my friends this since Thanksgiving. For the record, I've never heard him say the George Clooney comment at all. Whenever he spoke to me, he always used the Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn example.

I shook my head. "Man, Thanksgiving, that was back when things were good."

"Except for the whole hitting on Katie thing," reminded Harvey.

"Oh, you mean when he hit on fill in the blank?" smirked Government Mule. "It was every girl there, not just Katie."

I did not know that either. Christopher always denied hitting on her, but I know what I saw. And I know it wasn't one of those I don't realize I'm flirting things. He kept sitting down next to her and putting his arm around her. I called him out on it and told him to stop. And when she got up and sat in a chair, he followed her and squeezed in the chair and put his arm around her again. He actually asked my permission and told me he was going over there to talk to her. About me.

Then Harvey's husband stands up in the bar we were at last weekend and starts doing his Christopher impression. I also didn't know there was an impression among my friends. I had stopped taking him to Harvey's parties because he would always get too drunk to the point where he was falling down. I wasn't even falling down on my birthday. I felt a little protective Christopher during the impromptu impressions.

My friends insist I can do better. They say I deserve to be driven on a date. I deserve to be treated like a lady. It shouldn't always be me doing things in a parent-child relationship. They say I deserve someone who can take care of me. That last remark rubs me the wrong way a bit, because if anything, I have proven I can take care of myself if I'm taking care of others. I run my own house, keep with with my finances, set my own goals. I don't need someone to swoop in and do it for me. I just want some emotional support when I feel overwhelmed. Maybe that's what they mean, for me not to try so hard all the time.

Anyway, I agree with them. Whenever I watched 16 and Pregnant, I always saw a lot of similarities between Christopher and the teenage fathers who are little more than sperm donors. I remember the episode where one girl was actively giving birth and the father said he was bored and asked the girl to scoot over in the bed. While she was having contractions. And I distinctly remember thinking that that would be something Christopher would do. He doesn't see other people's emotions, only his own. When I told him that something was wrong with me medically because of my thyroid medication, he said he needed to get checked. He showed no concern for me. I don't have a thyroid; my life is dependent on drugs and it scares me. And he didn't care. I recognize he isn't a partner. He isn't someone who would ever support me in the way I want to be supported.

So I had to choose. Do I want the possibility of the life I always imagined I would have, or do I want Christopher?

I chose something that may never happen.

~Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Terrible Awful Thing, Part 2

Katie and her sister Jenna were the first two people at the hotel bar. Katie's hair changes color every time I see her. "Your hair!" I smiled as I picked up a newly darkened lock. "It looks great. My hair was flat-ironed too, but it washed out in the walk from the bus stop."

Katie frowned and exchanged a look with Jenna. "We parked in the hotel deck so we didn't get wet."

Christopher nudged me. "Katie thinks she's too good for the bus," he whispered.

"Yeah. That Katie," I facetiously muttered.

I chose that hotel bar because I wanted the party drink. It serves up to four people and comes in a bowl with super-long straws. I wanted my own bowl and just have that be my drink for the night. Economically it was justifiable because it's 4 servings for $23. Any single drink was in the $8-9 range, so I was saving money too. Win-win.

I looked at Christopher, "Don't worry about my bill here. I got my drink."

"Good. I wasn't going to get it anyways."

I ordered my drink. The waitress asked how many straws to bring. Sightly embarrassed, I held up my index finger and watched her eyes get as big as plates. "It's my birthday!" I explained. She smiled.

Then Christopher ordered the exact same thing. This time the waitress groaned, "Oh Lawdy, tonight is not going to be a good night."

"I ate! I promise!" I called after her.

It was like having my own bowl of hunch punch, crushed ice included. Friends filtered in. Birthdays are such a big deal to me. Anytime someone invites me to a birthday party, I always go no matter how well I know them and how much it is going to cost. It's the one day of the year where you can celebrate an individual. And I certainly felt loved.

MamaBear came. I felt a pang in my chest when she walked in because I just missed her so much. She is one of the highest quality friends you could have. I can't say enough about her. She is a type of person to show up to your birthday party when you haven't seen each other in close to a year and it's like time hasn't lapsed. And even though she doesn't really have the money, she'll buy your $23 drink.

MamaBear stood up to leave with her wife. "Bye!" I called. "Thank you for coming. Seriously, it means so much to me." They waved and turned.

"Have fun with your dildos!" Christopher then shouted.

I screamed his name and slapped him on the leg. I was mortified. I can't believe he said that to one of my dearest friends. And when Harvey found out what he said, she slapped him on his other leg. It's not cool to make fun of my friends.

The punch bowl started to take full effect. M-Joy and I switched places at opposite ends of the table so I could grill her date. Harvey took this time to grill Christopher. I took my punch bowl with me, even though there wasn't much left. I tried to ask her date questions, but I couldn't think any harder than What's your favorite color?

Christopher got jealous that I was talking to another guy. M-Joy had to inform him that the guy was actually her former boyfriend of 2 years and that there was no threat there. During her grilling, Christopher told Harvey that he has no plans to every marry. That he thinks marriage is a stupid institution and he wants to be just like George Clooney: a rich, single playboy.

By this time, my punch bowl was empty and I had returned to my seat. I kept thinking about the missed directions, the empty box and the card with just CHRISTOPHER printed inside. I was drunker than I had been in years. I looked at him as squarely as I could manage.

"Do you love me?"

So fine. I was that girl who got drunk on her birthday and inappropriately asked her boyfriend in front of her 10 closest friends if he loved her. It was a terrible spot to put him in. But really, all I was asking for was the truth.


My friends' faces dropped. In the last two minutes they watched my boyfriend declare that he doesn't love me and he wants to be a playboy. On my birthday.

"M-Joy! Bathroom!" I shouted.

"Got it," she called back. Not only did she follow me, but so did every other girl in the group.

"Oh my god, are you okay?" They all asked as if a family member had died. Hugs were passed around.

"Yep. I'm fine. I'm okay." I said curtly. And I was as fine as I could be without seeing straight. I certainly wasn't heartbroken. I was just mortified that the secret was out. My 10 closest friends just saw me get treated like crap. Poor Sarah, who always has problems. The only one in therapy. It was like getting on the bus in front of them. It was like getting on the short bus in front of them.

If that doesn't kill a night, I don't know what does.

I meekly asked Katie for a ride, so I didn't have to take the bus home. She agreed.

Back at my apartment I told Christopher that things were over. That he didn't love me and the relationship wasn't going anywhere because he didn't want it to, so there was no point in continuing. I flopped down on the couch and told him he could have my bed.

"But I do love you," he said. His voice sounded like a petulant little boy who was in trouble with is mother. I was disgusted. I didn't want to hear it in these circumstances. I didn't believe it in these circumstances.

"No you don't. You told my 10 closest friends you didn't. What changed between now and half an hour ago?" I mumbled from the couch cushion.

The little boy teetered off to bed.

The next morning, I was grossly hungover. Things didn't seem that urgent anymore, so I got off the couch and climbed into bed. Christopher woke up.

"I can't believe your friends are so adamant about marriage. They think just because they are married and happy that everyone should be."

I know Harvey, and I know that is not how she talks. I immediately got back out of bed and went back to the couch. And when I started throwing up an hour later, he never got out of bed to check on me.

He got up several hours later. I had already eaten lunch. He acted like nothing happened the night before and it almost convinced me that maybe I did blow things out of proportion. Then, just like he always does, he asked for a ride home.

~Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Terrible Awful Thing, Part 1

There was a cab involved. Christopher took a cab from his apartment to my apartment since I refused to drive to his place. But since he has never driven to my place, he got lost on the way there. All a mile and a half away. Two streets away. Three minutes away. So he called to ask if he was on the right street. He wasn't. Then he called again to figure out how to get to the right street. By the time he arrived at my door, my feelings were already hurt. My boyfriend didn't know where I lived.

He thrust a plastic bag towards me. Not the gift bag kind, but the kind with THANK YOU printed on it three times. "Here," he said. "I hate shopping and I can only stand this one store, so this is the only thing I found there for you."

I sat on the couch with the bag in my lap. Because he got lost finding my apartment, we were already late for our dinner reservation. "Do you want to just go?" I asked.

"No. Open it first."

I reached my hand in the bag and pulled out an empty box. It was a decorative box covered in a black floral wallpaper of sorts. The price on the bottom said $11.99.

"You can put stuff in that," he offered.

"I see." I was trying to act like I wasn't holding an empty box on my birthday, but that kind of disappointment is hard to hide.

"I was going to say your knitting stuff, but I guess it won't fit."

"Well my mom made me that really expensive knitting bag since my last one was stolen..." I trailed off. He knew the story. He was there when someone smashed in my car window and stole my XM radio receiver and my knitting bag as I later discovered. He was there when I cried to him about my bag. He saw the replacement one my mom made me 2 months later. I forced a smile and put the box down. "We've already missed our dinner reservation."

"Ok. Let's go."

We get in the cab and I'm silent. Missed directions. Empty box. Birthday. Christopher resumes his conversation with the cabbie. He's from Morocco and has been here for 6 months, driving a cab to live the American dream. In front of the restaurant, Christopher starts haggling with the cabbie.

"So... half price?"

"No, I can't afford half price."

"Fine 12 dollars."


"13 dollars."


"14 dollars."


I get embarrassed by the 15-dollar offer. "Christopher," I plead as quietly as I can. He stared me down and continued all the way to $20 dollars, the original price.

Christopher hands him his card and it's declined.

I wanted to melt away in a puddle. Christopher talks the cabbie into making a carbon copy of the card and running it later. The cabbie accepts.

Dinner was nice. It wasn't the original plan for Christopher and I to go to dinner. I was supposed to go to my mom's house, but the day before, my grandmother fell and broke her hip and my mother rushed out of town to be with her, leaving me without my mother on my birthday. Without dinner plans and without her annual chocolate birthday cake. I had been sobbing from the disappointment at work and people had been scrambling to help me feel better. My coworkers decorated my cubicle. Christopher offered dinner. I made my own cake.

We leave the restaurant. It's raining outside. I'm not surprised since the weather forecast involved pictures of angry-face clouds and lightning bolts. There was a tornado earlier with hail. I unclipped my super-mini umbrella from my evening bag and looked at him apologetically, "It's not big enough for two."

He didn't believe me until it opened. "What kind of umbrella is this?"

"The small kind that can fit inside an evening bag." It's not one of those mini-umbrellas, it's a super mini. (Target, $17.99 and INVALUABLE.) He tried to squeeze under with me, but the only thing that fit was his head.

"You knew we were walking half a mile to the bus stop and you didn't bring an umbrella?" I asked.

"Hold on." He darts inside the restaurant next to the one we just left. "Excuse me, Miss, can you check the lost and found to see if someone put my umbrella in there?"

I frown and immediately take two giant steps away from him. I don't really want to be associated with this. No umbrella in the lost and found, so he walks into two more restaurants and repeats. I wait outside in the rain.

No one has an umbrella, so he gives up and starts walking in the rain. He won't take my offer to partially squeeze under mine again. Every person he passes, he offers to buy his umbrella. Most people say no, except for Homeless Crack Guy.

"How much?" Christopher asks.

"10 dollars."

"How about 5?"





I outwardly groan. I feel like we just did this. Once again, Christopher ends up paying full price. Homeless Crack Guy now has 10 dollars and Christopher now has Crack Umbrella. It's nasty with writing on it and the ends of the umbrella aren't on the pegs. It doesn't close and you have to hold it open. Christopher is pleased. "10 dollars! Can you believe it?"

But he wants to see if he has a deal, so he continues to ask everyone he sees if he can buy their umbrellas. One not- homeless guy in a covered bus stop says $5. Christopher is upset.

I close my eyes and repeat in my head that I will be with my friends soon. As soon as I'm with my friends, I can relax and everything will be okay. I just want my friends.

On the bus, Christopher tries to get out of paying for both of us. But the lady isn't having it. He swears he already paid and the lady has a digital reader that says he didn't. Because this is going on, we overshoot our stop by at least 3 blocks. It's now another half mile to the hotel where my party is.

The wind whips and ruins my perfectly blow-dried, flat-ironed and hair-sprayed hair. It flips Crack Umbrella inside out, forcing Christopher to toss it in a dumpster.

I just want my friends.

~Monday, May 03, 2010

Never Have I Ever

I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about things. I have to end it; there is no other outcome. And of course Christopher senses it, or the Universe senses it, because all of a sudden Christopher has started calling me every day. The same time every day before I go to bed, like clockwork. And then last night he sent me a text saying he misses me.

Son of a bitch. I have been waiting the last 10 months for that from him. All the times I went out of town and all the weeks where we didn't see each other, I have been waiting for something, anything from him that proves he has some kind of emotion. That proves I mean something to him. And the minute I deem him a lost cause, he does it.

But a text isn't enough. He still does't love me. He still hasn't made any sort of effort like getting behind the wheel for me. I am a pretty low maintenance person. I didn't complain one bit when we took the city bus in the rain to my birthday party, nor when he didn't figure out the right stop so we had all these extra blocks to walk. In the rain. (There is a whole lot else to this story that I can't bear to write until after I pulled the trigger and end things.)

I purposely didn't see him this weekend. It actually wasn't that hard since he never actually called and invited me to do anything. Friday night around 10 he started to call, Saturday around 8 pm, and Sunday around 7:30. I ignored all of those calls, but even if they were invites, he waits until date night has already started to see what I am doing.

I saw my friends on Sunday. They are extremely angry with him (goes back to earlier story I can't talk about yet). Harvey spat that he was a piece of shit with the same intensity that she spoke about S. The boys in the group, who I can't even really consider my friends, all told me that they think he is an asshole. M-Joy and her date are still indignant about the bus episode, but really, that was the least of my problems on my birthday. Like I said, there is no other outcome.

He's not a bad person; he just isn't right for me. Except for S, all of my boyfriends have dumped me. I have never been in this position before. This breakup will be a defining moment for me. It will come from a place of strength.

It's still sad though. Regardless of all else, there is a bond. He is a good pal. A buddy. Just not boyfriend. I'm being a weenie about it because I have made up my mind and haven't yet done anything about it.

So, normal people, any advice on ending things?


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