~Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We are Frogs

We are more accepting of change when it is gradual. A hoarder doesn't come home with 10 dumpsters of useless crap and shovel it in her house until it's stuffed. The useless crap comes in bag by bag until one room is filled, and then another, and then another until the house is crumbling on its foundation.

It's the same with relationships. They sour slowly. He doesn't pin you against the wall and choke the life out of you on the first date. Or the second. He promises to love you forever first. He promises to make up for the wrongdoings of every man before him. And then you have a fight, and that fight is kind of scary, but he says he's sorry and he goes back to loving you forever so you forgive the momentarily scary part. But every subsequent fight gets a fraction scarier and you find yourself forgiving him. If you were able to forgive the first scary part, why shouldn't you forgive this? It's only a little worse than the last thing you forgave. And it repeats and it repeats until he's drunk and throws an empty wine bottle at you and it shatters on the slate tile underneath your bare feet and your legs are bleeding from the broken shards. And as terrified for your life as you have become in this moment, you have one coherent thought: How did I get here?

(For the record, it was a white wine bottle. Cast in green glass. And I barricaded myself in the closet until he passed out drunk on the couch. And I finally called my mom and told her I was ready to come home.)

The change happens so gradually that you don't realize how bad the relationship had become until you get out of it. You don't realize how bad you had been feeling until you feel better. After my mom and I got out of our relationships, we spoke a lot in metaphors. Always having long, thick hair, I'd describe the feeling to my mom as getting my hair chopped off and how much lighter my head felt because I wasn't carrying the weight of my hair anymore. My mom, never having long, thick hair, described the feeling as getting a new pair of glasses and not realizing how poor her vision had become with the old prescription. I heard someone else—who had neither long hair nor glasses—describe the feeling as getting an abscessed tooth pulled. We describe what we know.

The thing about all these metaphors is that it makes it easier to forgive yourself for getting into a situation you thought you were too smart to be in. This was the unspoken conversation we had been having.

One day I was out shopping with my mom and we were still talking in metaphors. She used my Graves Disease as an example, with me not knowing how sick I was until a tumor on my thyroid grew so thick that it restricted the air flow in my throat.

"Do you know how to cook a frog?" I said randomly.


"You don't put it in boiling water; it'll jump out. However, if you place the frog in tepid water and slowly turn up the heat, it'll sit there until it cooks. It doesn't feel the temperature rising. We were frogs who were able to jump out of the pot in time."

She gasped. My mother acted like this was the most intelligent thing I've ever said, "You are absolutely right. We are frogs."

That was it. That was the metaphor my mother needed to forgive herself. Not the haircut, or the glasses, or the tooth abscess or my illness, what my mother needed was a frog in a pot of water.

I went to a jewelry shop and bought my mother a silver leaping frog for her charm bracelet. The bracelets we both have that contain our histories. Only it was too perfect a gift to wait until Christmas, so I handed her the box after she dogsat my dog one weekend. She opened it.

"So you don't forget the frogs," I explained.

My mother cried.

~Monday, November 28, 2011

Birthday Boy

It was Abraham's birthday. This time it was my turn to sit quietly as he bounced between two tables, reveling in his birthday celebration at the bar. People that I didn't know well approached him every 15 or so minutes with two shots in hand: one for the buyer and one for the birthday boy. Watching the interactions take place, there's one thing I knew for certain: that boy is beloved.

When asked for requests, he said anything but jager. I already had our shot in mind—the German chocolate cake shot. I bought it early in the night because I didn't know how long Abraham would be able to pace himself with so much liquor of every variety.

He happily teetered over to where I was sitting and talking. I pointed to the two shot glasses sitting in front of me. He playfully sighed.

"You take it just like tequila. Lick the sugar, take the drink and suck on the lemon," I instructed.

Abraham put the lemon in his mouth.

"No no no no!" My friend and I shouted as I batted the lemon away from him. "Like tequila!"

Abraham put the shot glass to his lips with the sugar side facing me. Again I grabbed the glass out of his hand.


He looked at me and grinned. None of this was registering with him; Abraham was drunk and carefree.

I reposition the shot glass in his hand so that the sugar was facing him. "Lick the sugar and then drink."

He obeyed.

"Now the lemon!"

Abraham sucked on the lemon. His eyes grew wide. "What just happened?"

"The lemon interacted with the sugar and made it feel like cake icing," explained my friend. "Did it taste like chocolate cake to you?"

"It did!"

I monitored him throughout the night. "On a level of 1 to 10, how drunk are you?"

"Six, but it's climbing."

“I’m going to need you to be at least an 8.5.”

We played flip cup. Abraham had played so well the week before that he stood cockily at the table. But the shots had interfered with his game. After losing for his team, he picked up his plastic cup and playfully threw it against the wall of the bar. I laughed.

I had dressed up for his birthday: knee-high black boots and a printed shift dress. One of the girls from the league kept rubbing my dress and telling me how good I looked and silky the dress was. Every time she did that, I’d shoot Abraham a pointed look. He’d grin.

Abraham began to run out of steam after flip cup broke up.

"I'm ready to go when you are," he said. "It's after midnight—it's not my birthday anymore."

"Are you sure?"


“How drunk are you?”

“I’m an 8.5,” he smiled.

He climbed in my car and I drove us back to his place. I opened my hatchback and grabbed a box and a card.

“What’s that?” he asked.


He unlocked his flat and we headed to his bedroom. I took my usual spot on his bed. He proudly showed me my new bottle of Tums. He was pleased with himself. His chest was puffed out and he stood taller. Then he collapsed on the bed and I pitched his present to him.

Birthdays are a big deal to me. It’s the one day a year that is dedicated to someone in your life whether friend, family member or lover. It’s important to make sure that person knows he/she is cherished. Everyone should have something to unwrap on their birthdays. Not reach your hand into a gift bag, but something to tear open with anticipation as we did when we were children.

Abraham is a city transplant; his family isn’t from here. I know he has a plethora of friends, but I didn’t know how many chances he had on this day to physically unwrap something. Despite us not being together all that long, I wanted to give him that chance. It didn’t have to be much, but it had to be something.

He opened the card first. Buying a card for someone when you are in between stages is ridiculously challenging. I felt like the options were “You’re so old!” or “I love you!” I settled on a card I had seen a year ago that made me laugh, “Happiness is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its warmth.”

He laughed, “You want me to pee my pants?”

He then displayed the card on his desk. He told me only two people that day gave him a card: a co-worker and me. This is why it’s important to take that extra step on birthdays. The things we took for granted as children seem to fall by the wayside as we age.

He sat up on his bed and clutched the box and looked down at it. “You can tell it’s wrapped by a girl,” he said.

“Why’s that?”

“It’s pretty.”

He tried to be gentle with the paper, but I was not stingy with the tape. He apologized when he had to tear at it. He ripped open the cardboard lid. Inside, the box was filled to the brim with Styrofoam peanuts, and because he wasn’t careful, they spilled everywhere. I had bought shampoo of all things the week before and it arrived in this over-sized box stuffed with peanuts. I hadn’t seen a packing job like that in years.

He peered in the box and couldn’t see anything. “I’m scared,” he whimpered as he blindly dug his hand in the box with more peanuts spilling out. He touched the plastic bag containing his present. “It feels weird!”

He pulled out the ziplock bag. By now half of the peanuts were on his bed and floor. Inside the bag was a t-shirt. That’s his shtick: funny t-shirts. I had got him this one. It wasn’t much, but it was him.

"I'm going to wear it to the bar next week."

He set everything aside, and he looked at me. He laid back on the bed and pulled me on top of him until I was straddling him. He grinned mischievously. He’s such a happy drunk.

“Did you have a good birthday?”

“Mmm hmm.” He fingered the silk sash on my dress. He slowly pulled on the end, untying the bow.

“Was it better than 34?”

“Mmm hmm.” He pulled the sash off me and draped it around his neck. Then he pulled me toward him until I was laying across his chest. I kissed him.

“Then I guess there’s only one more thing left to unwrap.”

“Mmm hmm.”

~Monday, November 21, 2011

Singled Out

I've started getting calls from my family for what I want for Christmas. Each time it sends me into a slight panic. I don't have a Christmas list, because if I really want something, I buy it.

Single people are inherently selfish. If I really sit down and think about it, it's astounding how selfish I am. And it's not because I'm not a nice person or that I secretly hate Little Orphan Annie, it's just the nature of my life.

How many times in the last year have I had to compromise on what I wanted to eat for dinner? Zero.

How many times in the last year have I had to compromise on what I wanted to watch on TV? Zero.

How much of my income do I get to spend on myself? Every damn penny.

The amount of time mothers spend thinking about their children? That's the amount of time I spend thinking about me.

This inherent selfishness is caused by a lack of other people. There's no one else. There's no one in my day-to-day life to consider. There's no one for me to care for or to buy for. I find that devastatingly sad.

The happiest I've been are the times I was doing something for someone else. When I picked up an item for a boy because I knew he would love it. When I mailed a care package across the country for a friend. The semesters in college that I made the dean's list were the semesters I had a boyfriend. The semester I landed myself on academic probation was the semester I was single. I simply function better when I have purpose.

This life—this lonely, single life—it's without purpose. I work odd hours because my life does not affect anyone else's. How isolating is that statement? I do not affect anyone else. No one affects me. I am an island unto myself.

More so than I want a man to be invested in my life, I want to be invested in his. I feel the need to love more than I feel the desire to be loved. Dammit, I want to give. I'm tired of the selfish life. I am not fulfilled without purpose.

But how do you do that? How do you love someone? How do you create that opportunity? I'm great at the short term: dating and meeting someone new. It's in the long term that I falter. I'm stuck at chapter two.

Each time I'm hopeful and I put myself out there and I try like hell. It's all I can think to do.

~Thursday, November 17, 2011

Answering Bell

I’m just sayin’ hi to your answering bell
--Ryan Adams, “Answering Bell”

The first night I spent the night at Abraham's flat doesn't count.

The second night we woke up the next morning cold and clinging to each other.

"You are a blanket hog," I charged as I tugged a tiny corner of his comforter across my shoulder. It felt like trying to dry myself with a washcloth.

"I know you are," he sleepily responded.

"Wait, what?"

"You are a blanket hog."

"No, you are," I corrected. "I like to be wrapped like a taquito, and I have this miserable little piece instead."

"I don't have any either!"

We sat up in bed and looked for the blankets. They were hanging off my side of the bed discarded. He pulled them up and stuffed them around both of us.

"Like a burrito," he chuckled. "Burritos are bigger than taquitos."

Then we had spent the night at my place. He saw my bed neatly made with the sheets tucked in at the bottom. There was an additional blanket folded across the foot of the bed for easy midnight access.

And every night since then, Abraham's sheets have been tucked in.

The third night I spent the night at his place, I woke up pressed against him.

"How old is this mattress?" I asked.

He paused, "It's a hand-me-down."

"I figured. There's a nice little divot where you normally sleep. My side feels uphill."

The next week he told me he flipped the mattress.

The fourth night I spent at his place, I sat on the edge of his bed while he got dressed for work the next morning. His job isn't like mine with flex hours and no dress code. He has to dress business casual.

He walked to his closet and pulled out a pair of trousers and stepped into them. Then he came back to where I was sitting to find his belt on the floor. I watched him thread his belt through his pants.

"Did you know that I put on my belt the opposite way? Belts, zippers and buttons on women's clothing are on the opposite side of men's clothing."

"Really? I didn't know that," he said, interested.

“Yeah, everything is on the left-hand side as opposed to the right. The premise is way back when, women didn’t dress themselves, so the fasteners are positioned for the person facing the woman.”

He stepped back. I scrunched my nose disapprovingly. "Those trousers have pleats in them. Pleats are out."

"I don't even know what pleats are," he responded dismissively. "These pants are for work; I don't care."

The next week while he got dressed, he pulled out a different pair of khakis. "I got new pants," he showed me. "No pleats."

The fifth night I spent the night at his place, I had terrible heartburn. It happens when I drink while I'm stressed. It was the kind of heartburn that was too painful for me to lay still, and I kept having to sit up while he rubbed my back.

"You don't have any Tums?" I pleaded.

"No, sorry."

"What about milk?"


"Anything with milk in it? A piece of chocolate?" I begged.


He said he would get up and go to the all-night CVS and get me some antacids if I needed it. I declined and settled on some Advil PMs that would knock me out instead.

The next week I sat Indian-style on his bed with a neatly wrapped birthday present in my lap.

"I got you a present too," he said. He reached to his desk and picked up a bottle of Tums.

"Oh! You're the best!" I clapped.

I've never had anybody listen to what I say the way Abraham does. Honestly, I don't really expect people to listen to me. Sometimes I feel like I talk just to hear the sound of my own voice; it's why I chattered about the differences in men's and women's clothing as he got dressed instead of sitting still. I didn’t know he was reacting to what I flippantly said. It was a shock each time.

One night we had run into his bedroom giggling. The ritual began. I sat on the edge of his bed. He leaned down and kissed me. “I missed you!” I gaily exclaimed. It’s something I express often, from virtual friends on gchat to Harvey. “Did you miss me?”

“You can’t ask that,” he told me in between kisses.

“I ask because you don’t say,” I responded.

“I missed you,” he relented. His voice was genuine.

His light reprimand stuck with me. Some things have to be given freely to have meaning. However my counsels at work, they remind me that it’s not what the man says that’s important; it’s his actions.

“My husband doesn’t say much, but if I say I want to go vacation somewhere, he’ll book it within the week,” my boss explained to me in the car on the way to lunch.

I sat in my seat quietly. The sheets, the flipped mattress, the khakis, the Tums. They were all quiet reactions to please me. Silent actions given freely. He hears me. And he answers.

~Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Make Room in Your Life for Someone

Start where you are. No need for recounting stories of the good old days that you think are still funny that other people tell you with their eye rolls that they are indeed not. What happened this week? You had a really good sandwich? Start with that.

During subsequent encounters, build on current rapport. If Object of Affection stated he/she went to a really good show last week, ask about any new or upcoming shows. Build upon what you know. Other details will come forth naturally.



Congrats! Now you know someone well enough that you can carry on a conversation without effort! Look at you!

Then it magically happens. Something that you have come across will remind you of Object of Affection. It could be a song after Object of Affection proudly declared his/her love for Wham!. It could be a Groupon for a restaurant Object of Affection noted he/she liked. Object of Affection has infiltrated your mind.

Take time out of your day to make contact when these incidents occur. Wham!’s Last Christmas is playing at Target. The only place that song belongs is Hot Tub Time Machine. The part of the movie where they wake up and see the condition of the hot tub. That song is so awful, it should be mixed with the vomit and despair in the drain.

Once an individual relationship has been established and you feel comfortable enough to be *gasp* alone together, go for tacos. I never met a person that is opposed to tacos, and I’m not sure I want to know someone who is opposed to tacos. Tacos are fun! Tacos are lovable! Just like you!

Over tacos, bond over similarities. Your love of Will Ferrell. Your mutual hatred of Bridesmaids. Let these similarities (or perhaps even differences) connect you further into each others lives. Use them to tailor more personalized ways to spend time with each other one on one.

Most people aren’t willing to give up prime-time scheduling to make room in their lives for someone new. Use a safe time slot normally reserved for time that you wouldn’t spend with anyone else, like a Monday evening. Your DVR will record House.

The next half step is including Object of Affection in your pre-made plans. Happy hour near Object of Affection’s place? Casually invite him/her along! That way you don’t miss on your social duties, but you can still spend time with Object of Affection. Win-win!

As the importance level of the new person increases, so does the scheduling flexibility. What may have been Friday nights with the coworkers could be bumped for Object of Affection. Priorities shift.

As social engagements approach (holiday parties, weddings, etc), you have the decision whether you want to fully enmesh someone in your life. Invite Object of Affection as your plus one. This person you didn’t know all too long ago now become your date above all others.

The pinnacle of the relationship: depending on Object of Affection. Your car is at the mechanic’s and you need a ride. Object of Affection has now become your go-to person, the person you trust to stop his/her plans to assist you. This person has crossed the trust barrier and is now in your inner circle.

Congrats! You have a new person in your life! You have worked someone in from nothing!

~Thursday, November 10, 2011


If you e-mailed me or followed me on Twitter, you know what happened over the last couple of days. Frankly I'm tired of talking about it, so I'm not going to get into it again. But I'm back. And hope to stay that way.

~Friday, November 04, 2011


Ed. Note: DTR = Defining the Relationship.

I entered the bar and scooted in the booth with Lawyered.

"Your boyfriend should be here in a few minutes. He was finishing up his game as I was leaving," he said.

"Okay, cool."

He slurped his beer from the full pint glass. "Have you had the DTR yet?"


"How long have y'all been together?"

I thought for a moment. "The second week of kickball."

"That's a long time. Y'all should have the DTR."

"I'm not ready for the DTR."

"What if he's with other people?"

"I know he's not."

"How do you know?"

Because I have a toothbrush in his bathroom cup. Because we communicate every day. Because we spend time together on the weekends.

"You've met Abraham; he isn't a player," I settled.

"How many times have you had sex?"

This is the thing with Lawyered. When I was single and in my dry spell, one would have thought I had cobwebs between my knees by the way he spoke. When I do get action, I'm the hussy.

I didn't want to answer his question, because I knew no matter what I said, Lawyered would find a problem with it. Also, I didn't want to tell the table the amount of sex because it borders on embarrassing.

"Countless," I shrugged.

"Yeah. You need to have the DTR."

"I don't want to have the DTR until I know what the answer is," I finally said truthfully.

I don't know the answer to that question. When I was with Jack, I took it so personally when he didn't want to enter the relationship phase until we had several serious discussions. I see the logic and reasoning behind that now. It seems foolish to jump into something blindly just so I can call the guy my boyfriend.

But at the same time, I'm over dating multiple people so I won't get attached to the one guy I really like. I'm okay with getting attached. I'm okay with focusing on Abraham and learning as much as I can about him. Just like he lingers on first base with me, I'm okay with lingering on first base in our relationship. I feel like I made a mistake with Valdosta. Because I liked him so much, I was so eager to tell him. I don’t want to make that same mistake again. It’s just Abraham, and it’s just me; there’s nothing to race against.

I stood at Abraham's sink, brushing my teeth. My toes squished in the bathmat I got him. I faced him with the toothbrush hanging out of my mouth.

"Mmgmhrr This is comfortable, isn't it?" I garbled.

"Yeah," he said, laying on the bed.

I come to bed and find his body and match it curve to curve with my own. Obediently, he lifts his arm and wraps it around me. My toes curl around his ankles. He says I’m cold. I say it’s not winter yet.

Abraham spoke of his upcoming birthday. He said birthdays after the age of 25—especially for men—aren’t a big deal anymore, but I know in the frequency that he’s brought it up that he’s looking forward to celebrating it.

It’s his 35th birthday. I say that he’s the numbers man and I’m the letters girl, but isn’t 35 halfway to 70? He doesn’t laugh. Forty may be the new 30 and 60 may be the new 50, but 70 is old. He realizes this and ponders it for a moment.

He sighed and shifted in bed until he faced me. We lock eyes for a moment. I was startled at our ability to stare at each other in the darkness of his bedroom. Then his face buries into mine and we kiss. We kiss until I lose myself in him.

Intimacy is what I seek; I have found it. Dinner will come. Dinner is the easy part. It’s much harder to find the connection, to find someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him. The DTR will also come, or it won’t. I’m okay with the DTR never coming. I’m okay with trying and failing. I’m strong. I’ve survived much worse than this.

~Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Saturday night Abraham and I both had parties to attend and we agreed to meet up after we fulfilled our social duties. My party celebrating an old friend's CPA certification predictably did not last long into the night. Meanwhile, Abraham kept me updated on the body count at his.

Buzz. One person is down for the count.

Buzz. Make that two.

How many bodies does there have to be before I get you?

Buzz. Five.

Buzz. Another one bites the dust.

Buzz. I think I'm done here.

Abraham showed up at my apartment. He crashed on my couch, exhausted from the day's activities. It had been a long day for both of us. I snuggled in my blanket and shoved my feet between his thighs for warmth. He obligingly lifted a leg so I could cram my toes between them.

It was exactly the same and completely different all at the same time. It was the same in that here he was in front of me, present and affectionate. It was different in the way we conversed. Instead of learning about each other and telling stories of our pasts, our conversation continued where we left off a few days earlier. When I had seen him last, he told me he was attending a 3-year-old's birthday party. As he laid on my couch, he updated me on the party and what he got the little girl. I smiled to myself. We had hit that point. We now had a stride.

Abraham sat up on the couch and I snuggled into his shoulder. These moments were nice. We don't get these during the week. By the time we leave the bar, it's late and we work in the morning, so it's directly to bed for pillow talk. These sober moments of quiet time together are reserved for the weekends.

The TV was on, but we only caught about half of every episode of It's Always Sunny. We talked. We kissed. We spoke of next times.

The next morning Abraham rolled over in my bed. He said he wasn't used to the train that runs by my apartment late at night. It woke him up.

"Yeah, the Amtrak station is about 2 miles from here. But isn't there a train near your place as well?"

"There is, but they aren't allowed to blow their horns late at night."

"Oh, I always found that comforting. I like my trains."

"You know what else woke me up? You. You punched me and said you were having nightmares. What were they?"

It's the only lasting scar I have from S. My nightmares. They're frequent and they're terrifying because my safety is always threatened in them. I thought for a minute before I could remember this one.

"Oh yeah, you were in it." As I remembered the dream, the same unsafe feelings swept over me again. "We're at that stage now when you start apologizing for things you do in my sleep."

"What happened?"

"I was working in the country and someone stole my car and stripped it down. I called you for a ride and you never came." As I said the words, I could hear a surprised escape of air leave Abraham. Normal people must not dream like this.

Abraham wrapped his arm across me. "No," he corrected. "You just woke up before I got there."

It was the perfect response. It completely changed the dream for me and removed any of the lingering feelings I had.

He said he had to use the restroom and made a move to get out of bed. I play fought him and held him down from leaving. He laughed as we struggled against each other. He's powerless against my Scissor Lock of Death. He pushed his face in mine.

"You are addicting," he breathed.

Abraham is a numbers man. He's an accountant who lives for nerdy Excel files. I'm the letters girl. I'm the writer and subsequently the verbal one. I'm the one who will enter his bedroom every week and happily cry, "I've missed you!" He doesn't say things as much. So when he does say them, they mean more.

"Yesssss," I playfully slithered like the snake from Riki Tiki Tavi. I filled the pit in his chest and kissed him.

I'm going to assume he meant I'm addicting in the good, I-can't-get-enough-of-you way. Not the I'm addicting in the crystal meth, I-wish-I-never-started way.

~Tuesday, November 01, 2011


The next week Abraham walked in the bar and found me standing by a high-top table. I beamed and extended my arm toward him.

We had spent the entire day texting right up to his game. We had a flash of cold air in the South, relegating everyone to jackets a few weeks early. I had reminded him to dress warmly and to know that no matter what he was wearing, I'd be warmer because I was indoors.

He trudged to the table in layers of t-shirts and sweatshirts. All the players in the bar had shed their layers save for knit hats covering their messy hair. My jacket was neatly hung on the back of someone's chair somewhere and I was dressed in a button-down blouse rolled up at the sleeves.

"My team isn't here tonight," he prefaced. "Ugh, I'm hot already," he said as he began pulling at his collar.

"My car is right out front; I got great parking tonight. Why don't you take off some of those layers and put them in my car?" I handed him my keys.

Abraham disappeared for few minutes and returned feeling much better. His team didn't come out that night because they had played horribly, which meant he was there solely to see me. Instead of standing with my friends, we grabbed two bar stools at the bar and spun them to face the crowd. We were doing it: spending the entire night together.

Abraham watched the World Series as people entered the bar and high-fived me and talked. I felt like I was holding court, staying stationary as people approached me. One of the pilots gave my ass a hard slap as he passed me; I looked to Abraham and smiled and shrugged.

But as the night wore on, I felt the social itch. I couldn't do it. I couldn't stay still. I couldn't sit in the bar stool next to Abraham and mock the band while there were tables of my friends laughing. He isn't the only reason I go out on this night; it's also my weekly meet up with everybody. I missed them and they were in the same room as me.

"Do you want to go over there and hang with Lawyered?" I pointed to the corner of the bar.

"I can't. He's the one that beat us. I can't face him tonight."

"Well I'm going to go say hi. I'll be right back."

I left Abraham alone at the bar and took a seat with Lawyered. Then Lawyered opened his mouth and said the foulest thing I've ever heard regarding how much he beat Abraham. He was right in not coming over.

I wanted to stay with my friends at the booth, but I felt guilty leaving Abraham alone. I think he was content watching the game, but no one should be alone at a bar. I quickly returned to him and our bar stools.

Then people started disappearing to the back of the bar and cheering loudly. I looked forlornly at the back room. The drinking games had started. I whimpered.

"You want to go play, don't you?" Abraham asked me.

"They're playing without me," I whined like an impatient puppy.

"Go play. I'll be over in a bit," he said gesturing to the game on the TV above us.

I joined Lawyered and friends at the drinking games table. But without Abraham by my side, Lawyered took advantage of the opportunity. He bullied me and filled my cup way past the minimum line. He filled up my cup for each round of games, which meant that within 20 minutes, my belly was full of beer. I felt absolutely frothy inside. I staggered back to Abraham.

"Back already?"

"Lawyered took advantage of me without you there." I moaned as I ordered a glass of water. I have played flip cup with Abraham for four months. He's always been the one to pour my drink. It was the very first time I played without him. I told him as much.

I sipped on my water and studied Abraham. He had bags under his eyes. He looked miserable. I know he was downtrodden from his team's loss, but several people approached me and said he played well despite his team. He sat quietly and watched his baseball game. I think these nights were more for me than for him. It's not the first time he's come out alone or accompanied by one team member just to see me. I'm the one that can't sit still.

I grabbed his watch. It was 11:15. We'd been out for about two hours.

"You want to go?" I asked him.


In the car I spoke again that it was the first time we didn't play our games together. We walked in his flat. He crossed into his kitchen and grabbed two plastic cups out of their sleeves and produced two beer cans from the refrigerator. He poured them in the cups.

"So you can say we still played together," he explained.

I followed him to his kitchen table and smiled.


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