~Thursday, April 26, 2012

Run On

Somewhere along the way—after the relationship status, after meeting the friends, after receiving their respective blessings—life became ordinary. Events that were once noteworthy are now commonplace. We still kiss during commercials, but now it's NBD. No big deal.

Abraham notes we spend 7 days a week together when he isn't traveling. I don't notice. I count the days by the number of nights I sleep alone.

My coworkers laugh that my phone vibrates 8 hours a day. We talk all day, mostly about nothing. One day I called him while I was driving home from dinner with a friend, a time normally reserved for checking in with my mother.

"I just wanted to bug you for a little bit," I'll say.

"You aren't bugging me," he'll say. "I'm sure we'll talk more later," he'll say.

Memorable moments are now the times I'll sleepily walk into his bathroom to brush my teeth, having given up on going home for the night. He says he likes seeing me in his t-shirt and boxers. My dog has picked her favorite spot in his room: under the window and behind the bed.

We don't have stories anymore. The story is one continuous run-on sentence:

A girl meets a boy and they like each other and speak in flirtatious banter for months before falling into bed with each other and spending the normal, awkward silences reserved for first dates as naked, intimate silences until one day there is daylight and in the warm light piercing through the cold air the boy catches up to the girl because, to her, this is easy and, to him, it’s becoming a safe place to fall so he lets go and she is not disappointed and the days turn into nights turn into days until the crisp air warms into a sticky heat and he wonders where all the time has gone and she sighs and smiles, just as she did in the beginning, and extends her hand to him which he reluctantly not-so-reluctantly takes because this is the facade he has built to protect himself in the past but he’s grateful that the girl understands without complaint and she remains sighing and smiling and extending her hand with a quiet confidence that he doesn't realize stems from so many hours spent hurting until she wasted away all the tears she had to give until only smiles and laughter and love are left for him.

~Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I sat down next to Abraham at the local bar. "I have a serious question to ask you. We have to talk."

I actually had a serious question to ask him at about 1 o'clock that afternoon when I had the idea, and I'd been waiting until I saw him. I'm not good at waiting when my mind gets stuck on something.

He peered sideways at me cautiously. "We'll talk later when we get home. Not in front of everyone."

I opened my mouth, but he waved a hand at me. "Later," he repeated.

Later was after the bar when we were settled on his couch and watching TV.

"So, I have something serious to ask you."

Abraham paused the TV.

"How permanent are your Memorial Day plans? Can you get out of them? Because--"

He cut me off. "Actually, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. I was told I could invite you with us. Do you want to go?"

Well, yes, I did want to go to the beach with Abraham and his friends, but that didn't solve my problem. I solemnly nodded.

"Okay, we're going together," he said with finality in his voice, like the conversation was over.


"That didn't solve what you wanted to talk about?"

"No," I said slowly. "My father is putting the beach house on the market--economy--and I wanted to get a trip in before it sold. So we would have to go in the next month."

He pulled out his calendar and searched for dates. "I can go the weekend before Memorial Day. So we would be going to two different beaches in two states two weeks in a row."


Abraham stopped and studied me. "That was it? You pulled a 'We need to talk' over you wanting to go to your beach house?"

I shrugged. "It was serious to me."

He snorted and kissed my shoulder.


Once again we were at our local bar. I pulled Abraham aside. “I have a serious question to ask you. I'm being serious.”

He sat down on the bar stool. “Okay.”

I swiveled my bar stool toward his until our knees were touching. “I want tacos.”

Going to get tacos was always our code to leave the bar when we first got together. But I was a little drunk, and I actually wanted tacos. There was a difference.

“Where can we get tacos at this hour?” he asked me.

“Taco Bell.”

“How about I leave and pick you up some tacos?” he offered.

“No, that’s too out of your way.”

“Fine,” he sighed. “How about I go to Taco Bell and buy some tacos for myself and while I'm there, get you some?”

“You’re not just getting them for me?”

He rolled his eyes. He was. “No.”

“Okay then.”


I sat on Abraham's bed and swung my legs as he unpacked from his trip.

"I have a serious question to ask you."

Abraham smirked as he reached into his suitcase and started pulling out crumpled socks one by one and tossing them into his laundry pile on the floor. He’s realized my serious questions aren't serious to anyone but me.

"No! This is a super serious question. The most serious of serious questions."

Abraham never stopped unpacking. "What is it?"

"Can I keep a change of clothes here?"

"Oh! Of course you can!" He paused as he crossed the room and put some t-shirts into a pile. "That's a serious question?"

"That would freak some people out," I said flatly.

"Ooh, I'm so freaked out," he taunted.

"Well I'm glad you said yes because I brought some just in case you agreed."

Abraham laughed. Of course I would already have my stuff with me.

I hopped off the bed and did my own unpacking.

~Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Whereas I had thrown Abraham to the wolves and introduced him to all of my friends at once, he took a slower approach, a testament to our differing personalities.

I met the first friend at our usual bar. He was only there for an hour or so, and I charmed the pants off him. I wasn't even worried about it. Then a couple of weeks later, I met the friend's wife in the same safety of our local bar.

"I'm so excited to meet you," she rambled. "Abraham is one of my best friends, and he is so deserving of a relationship. He went on so many first dates. Either she didn't like him or he didn't like her--"

Oh really? This is all news to me. My mom once said that silence is the best way to get information. I nodded blankly as I listened.

"So I am so excited to finally see him in a relationship! He's ready, you know. He's ready to settle down and get married and have kids of his own--"

I practiced my best poker face. Don't smile, Sarah. Because if you smile, then she'll run back to Abraham and tell him that you're ready to quit your job and get fat, and that will freak him out no matter how ready he says he is.

She paused as the thought occurred to her too. "I'm not freaking you out, am I?"

"No," I said coolly. "Those are things I would eventually like to have as well."

"He really likes his bathmat," she said.

Oh. She knows that story. Awesome.

She leaned in and whispered to me, "I noticed a difference in him since he started seeing you. He's happy."

It went on like this. Two weeks later and another dinner with another couple. She was his upcoming roommate. Then another dinner and four became six: another couple. Another instance of someone whispering that he's happy.

Abraham is boastful of me. At these dinners he tells his friends the books I've read, the races I've run and other accomplishments of mine. I hear enthusiasm in his voice in the retelling; he's been listening all this time.

“I’ve been told that you’re happy,” I whispered to Abraham as we snuggled in his sheets.

“I’ve been told that about me too,” he whined. “I thought I was happy.”

“Maybe you’re just happier.”


I'm happier too.

~Monday, April 09, 2012

Fast Foward

It had been storming for most of last week. The rain started during the third inning of my kickball game. Lightning was farther out but approaching. We typically try to push through games because sitting in your car in the parking lot for a half hour to wait out the storm is worse than getting wet and muddy.

The rain eased into a full downpour. The lightning arrived in hot flashes. New teams waiting for the next game sat in shelter. Honestly, it felt a little bad ass to be crouching next to a plate and shouting at the players during the storm. Mascara ran, my feet squished in my socks and locks of my ponytail clung to the back of my neck. We won, which helped the bad-ass feeling.

I learned Abraham's game was canceled as I squished into the local bar to meet him. I sat in my own puddle. There was distinct divide between players who had played and the players whose games never started. We looked like drowned rats.

"Aww, poor thing," he cooed when he saw me.

He offered to buy me a beer, but I shook my head. "I'm wet and I'm cold and I'd really just like to go home and take these clothes off and lay in bed and watch TV."

Abraham dug in his pocket and gave me his house keys. "I won't be long," he said. We discussed this contingency when my allergies had flared earlier that afternoon and I said I didn't feel well.

"Take your time," I said as I pecked him on the lips and left the bar.

At Abraham's place I peeled off my clothes and draped them over his bathtub. I picked a t-shirt of his out of his closet and a pair of boxers out of his dresser and put them on. Then I padded to the kitchen to retrieve a glass of water and the glass of m&ms he had bought just for me. I climbed into his bed and turned on the TV. It wasn't weird being there without him.

Within a couple of hours I heard noise at the front door. "Honey, I'm home," he called as he entered his bedroom. He chuckled at his own joke.

"Kiss," I instructed. He obeyed. "Did you have a good time with your friends?"

"Meh." He reached his hand out to me. "Do you want to watch New Girl? It's recorded on the DVR in the living room."


I accepted his hand and he tugged me out of bed. "Come on, my girl. See what I did there?"

I laughed.

"I like you in my boxers," he admired as he swatted my butt and chased me into the living room.

This is the life I'd rather be living.

~Friday, April 06, 2012

In the Details

Not a lot of people know about S. My core group of friends that had to pick me off my floor knew: Harvey and her husband, Katie, Mel and a girl I'm no long friends with. Swayze heard rumors, I'm sure. Government Mule had yet to join the group.

Even though they knew certain things, no one knew the whole story. I don't think they want to know the whole story. Hell, I don't even want to know the whole story. The last thing I wrote about S in my diary was in November 2007 when we had been together less than five months: This is not a fairy tale. Do not let him see you cry.

It's hard, living with the details. Having certain images in my head that no one knows. When you go through trauma, you tend to remember all the details. Whether the TV was on. The shape of the glass he was drinking out of. The way in which he staggered to me, and the look of utter seriousness on his face as he spat that he hated me.

I read this the other day. The details. Oh, the details. The details were so specific and exact that I had to stop reading and check whom the author was. Then I had to re-read to be sure it wasn't the same city. I lived that story.

It was about two weeks in when we had our first serious fight and I shattered a table lamp against a wall. It would not be until much later that things got even worse (and that’s a whole other story altogether)...

It was about two weeks in when we had our first serious fight as well. Instead of throwing a lamp, S drug me across the floor.

I took a bunch of pills — painkillers — whole bottles’ worth.

S once took a bottle of pills while I was at home. An entire bottle of sleeping pills. I was in the other room, not paying attention to him, pretending he didn't exist and I wasn't trapped in my own home with this man who told me—no, threatened me—that he would never leave. He was acting peculiar, more so than he usually did. He was sluggish and not responding to things coherently. I found the empty bottle of sleeping pills after he passed out. Then I started checking his hiding spots (he was supposed to be sober at the time) and found an empty bottle of jager in the inside pocket of his leather jacket. I placed both empty bottles on the counter and got my neighbor.

My neighbor was somewhat friends with him. Knew him enough. He saw the empty bottles and the state S was in. He said we needed to call 9-1-1. I refused. I said the neighbor would have to call. If I called, S would become angry and I didn't want another fight. I would do anything if it meant not angering him. The neighbor must have understood what I meant, because he went into his bathroom, got his taser and shot it into the bathtub to see if the taser was working properly. In case he had to tase S. The neighbor then walked back into my apartment and removed all my knives as he called an ambulance.

The paramedics said S' blood pressure was too low. He would have to go to the hospital.

The light was piercing, and a nurse shoved aside the curtain that walled me off and handed me a cup and said, drink this. It was liquid charcoal and it tasted exactly how you might think liquid charcoal would taste. I tried not to put my teeth together but when I did little bits of charcoal ground between them like I’d a mouth full of silt.

To me, the liquid charcoal made S look like a toothless scarecrow. The nurse asked him if he meant to try to kill himself. I excused myself from the room. S said I could stay. The nurse said it might be a better idea if I left so he could be honest during his psych evaluation. I laughed to myself. I left so I wouldn't hear him lie.

His mother and sister refused to come to the hospital. His father did. His father sat next to me in the waiting room and told me—for the first time—that S comes from a long line of alcoholics and probably won't change. His grandfather died early from the disease. The same grandfather that S wanted to name his children after. I wondered if that was some sort of sick joke to keep the name of that horrible man alive. To create more alcoholics.

She was the reason I was in that emergency room in the first place. I guess I was the reason, but, I can’t remember what we were fighting about — it doesn’t — none of it matters anymore. What matters is that there I lay, and I said yes, and a minute or two later the curtain again swept aside and in walked my girlfriend... All she said was, “You’re not going home from here, you know that.”
I did not.

I said this to S when I re-entered the room. You aren't going back to my apartment. I did not sign up for the responsibility to keep him from alcohol. He could go to rehab. He could go home with his father, but his father quickly squashed the idea. No, he's not welcome there either. S stared angrily at the ceiling in silence.

I listened to the sounds of the nurses and whoever else might be in that emergency room beyond the curtain, and when I thought they were on the room’s opposite end or gone altogether I pulled the IV from my arm and sat up. I don’t remember if this hurt, but there was blood.

When S stood up from the bed and pulled out the IV, blood squirted across the room like a child putting a thumb on the end of a garden hose in summer. A nurse unexpectedly walked in and gasped. Apparently there is a mechanism in the needle to keep it in place, and he ripped his vein pretty badly by pulling on it like he did.

His father put S in my car to go home with me hours after the overdose. My words of him not coming home meant nothing. I was too weak. I was too tired of being drug across rooms and spit upon and choked.

I would do anything if it meant not angering him.


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