In the spaciousness of everything, in all the time and all the things I've yet to know about the Cappo Comedy Writer, to say I didn't expect this was an understatement. I'd deliberately employed a careful cocktail of nonchalance, terribly low expectations and detachment to this endeavor. In fact, I'd even hesitate to call it that as if naming it would bring the Furies upon me. Is it ironic it gets the same treatment as Voldemort? Oh yeah, this whole thing is That Which Shall Not Be Named.
"Oh, boy, are you still mad at me?," he wrote again one day. I ignored it.
"Hi, really, are you ok?," he asked again the next day. I ignored it.
"Ok, so I really wasn't just saying hi back then," he admitted the day after that. I ignored it.
"I'm really sorry. Please stop being mad, please. I think about you all the time and I didn't know what I was doing. I don't think of you that way at all. Don't be mad anymore. Please?," he pleaded again. "And yeah, I get you're into someone else now," he finally added.
"I'm sorry," I practically choked in disbelief, "But are you actually ANGRY that I'm free? This, this is what you're mad about now?"
"Kind of, yeah. I won't be able to stop myself from pestering you," he sounded seriously miffed at this revelation while I gawped at how the conversation had turned.
I'd lied this far, I might as well stay consistent. "This really doesn't change anything. I'm IN LOVE with someone else, you are too, things could change with her, it could be a ploy you know that. Besides, it's been years. You've ignored me for YEARS."
"I kept all your messages," he said quietly. "Every one of them since 2009. Should I delete them?" I hated him instantly for telling me that, then realized this was precisely how he felt. "No," I sighed tiredly,"it's your history, I've no right to tell you what to do with it. Besides, I kept yours too. And I wrote you stupid messages I never sent." This was misery. I stared at my phone willing it to burst into flames.
This time around, I read his annual apology with unfettered irritation. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry for everything and how I behaved. Please don't feel like you should respond - I just hope you get this and know that I still think about you and feel awful for what I did," he wrote and after a few minutes of my silence, sent another message adding,"I wanted to say my behavior isn't because I'm this sort of person but other reasons. I'm sorry."
fifty shades of chicken: a parody in cookbook
Every year since 2010, he had returned with an apology. Normally it was a solitary email that never went anywhere. There are many ways to say sorry, but only a few to prove one means it. He never lingered after each one, never when I responded with kindness or some attempt at coaxing him beyond the minimum of contact he allowed himself. Never with an explanation.
I'd surmised after all this time that it was a lot like Lent and penance, all I had to do was watch him flog himself in guilt. Be silent like the wailing wall. Maybe this was really a conversation he was having with himself and I was nothing but a construct he could direct things to.
I waited to be amused, but there was something patently unfunny about it. In fact, I was angry. Terribly so. At myself for having even cared in the first place, though that couldn't be helped now could it? But mostly at him for disturbing my peace.
Beyond his "ghost-bolting" as the Golden Venus would term it, why after all this time, was I angry? I could feel the heat creeping up my cheeks, my hair curling at the flushed warmth. I believed as always that the mystique men inadvertently employ is something women undeservedly bestow them. There is no mystery. At all.
Here was a man who couldn't leave well enough alone, for every selfish reason I could think of. He had sent me the message 4 days before my birthday, right as I was resolutely planning the birthday dinner to end all birthday dinners, right when I all wanted to do was to celebrate pulling through certain even yet unfinished chapters in my life. And now this?
The truth is my adventure with Mr. X had taken a lot out of me, more than I expected it to. And at this very moment, I'm engaged in the act of trying to give my time with him a place of some honor in the hallowed halls of memory, while trying to find some peace with having since parted with him. Because that's what happened.
Was it really an adventure? Should I call it an encounter instead? The time we had together was too brief but full enough that it felt like a small lifetime I'd dreamt of. It had all ended one Friday when finally he called to tell me The Truth. Without fail like it had always been for me, whether through coincidence or intent, it came. "I've been thinking about this.. this Us," he started. I was making some flip remark and slightly sexually harrassing him, but just hearing him say that dried up all my jolly humor, I waited for him to finish. "I just think, if it doesn't end now, it will at some point. I mean why go through with it if it won't last?" He sounded miserable.
It's the third day of September, a Saturday and I'm at a cafe. The holiday weekend has thinned out the usual crowds, and I see the same faces I normally see when I'm here. Those of us who use this as a second office, as a way to do some work without being alone in a room with yet only more of our own thoughts. The familiar faces of strangers can be a comfort, a sense of company in solitary endeavors. I'd dragged myself here after a day of lolling around in an effort to get back to the page.
So much has changed since that conversation with Carmen San Diego. For one, having been freaked by the slip-slide to Wonderland, I'd arranged for Carmen San Diego and Mr. X to meet. Well, that and the fact that Carmen San Diego has extensive experience with film and animation, something I thought she could give Mr. X insight on. We'd spent a night out at a comedy club where the comics were enthusiastic and the show ran long. Carmen had to leave for yet another trip, the fact she was even anywhere long enough for this to happen was a bit of serendipity, and I was grateful for her Scorpionic take on Mr. X. I was nervous enough to seek a second opinion, in case in fact I'd actually hallucinated the rapport. A Scorp Opinion no less would be hard core.
She slyly whispered it before she had to go, my face buried in waves of lusciously scented Carmen hair, "Honey, it's FINE. He's a good guy and he doesn't give a crap you're older. Quiet but confident, I really like him. I'm going now so you can hump each other to bits, k? Love you." And off she went in a fragrant caramel streak of hair and tanned skin.
"Where are you, baby?," Carmen San Diego asks in her low, full voice. "You've been awfully quiet, are you with uhmm...,"she pauses trying to place a name without success, "Uhmmm?"
I laugh naughtily, I couldn't blame her for not keeping up after the past months' Rotational of Lovers. "With Mr. X..I was with X. He came to see me. Yesterday." I confess.
I'm draped over the couch, stunned and exhausted after having dropped Mr. X off back at the pier a few hours earlier. And after a night of very little sleep. The lingering kiss he gave me insinuates itself back into replay as I hold my breath, waiting for Carmen's reaction.
"Mr. X?," Carmen San Diego repeats slowly,"Wait, is this the guy who got fired from the Opera because of you? Who doesn't drive and lives an hour away? I thought you said the entire thing was impossible. Based on the logistics alone. You said." Oh, God, I think. I did say all that. How could I possibly articulate what just happened, I decide not to try and flatly blurt that out, "I don't know what to say."
"What happened? Are you ok? How do you feel?," she probes carefully, her Scorpionic Sonar quickly deploying after noting I was markedly less eloquent than usual.
After Mr. X lost his job at the Opera, something he partly credited me for helping him "transition" from, he was a bit vague on what precisely occupied his time. Sure there was the band and the animation project but there was this other Thing he was nebulous about. He'd reassured me his gigs were sorted and that he had the Thing lined up post the Opera fall out. Being a Capricorn, I didn't for a minute doubt he'd have the work question settled. But what exactly the Thing was, I had no clue.
And..still no Area 51
It wasn't bar tending or waiting tables, but the Thing required odd hours. I went out on a limb and even threw out Night Librarian, he just tut-tutted it away and said I wasn't to worry. So I didn't.
Frankly, I didn't think I'd ever meet him. I didn't think he'd cycle two hours in the blistering sun to see me, or that we'd need more than an afternoon to write each other off. Or that we'd fall so fast down the chute to Wonderland. Who knew? I certainly didn't.
Maybe I was a bit naive. Nod in unison if you will. Hence, it was on the bliss of such ignorance I'd purported that perhaps Mr. X's New Thing involved selling his Gigolo Wares on Sunset. In fact, before we met I refused to ring him on account of "how it may possibly distract your clients when your python thong starts blinking with lights & vibrating madly as you slide down the pole, after all where else would your phone go? I wouldn't want you injured in mid-gyration, or upsetting your generous gay clients." We laughed about it, even more so after we met as clearly, gay or straight, he wasn't cast from the Gigolo mode. Unless one had a thing for mountain climbing.
I'd recently floated my theory on how Men Love to Be Heroes and how they love them an Honest to Goodness Quest. The more far fetched the better. Really, it explains NASA, countless missing explorers and I suppose, why we have maps. I'd awoken on the Saturday to be greeted by skies so sharply blue, I inhaled happily for the sheer pleasure it gave my retinas. It turned out to be a busy day, after having refused to see B the night before and staunchly doubting Mr. X's intentions, I threw myself into work and carpets.
Sinbad, my carpet guy, was a sweetly jolly Persian family man in the habit of checking my flat for things that needed repair. He had changed my kitchen floor a few years ago, back when the Sewer was still around. He had sharply chastised him then when my dining table swayed slightly after Sinbad thumped a thick hand on it. His actual words to the Sewer were as I recall it, "What's wrong with you? You should take care of her, you suppose to be man, you should fix things." For a tradie, he certainly didn't hold back. I had blushed shame faced for the Sewer, but it proved yet another thing I've long suspected. That when it comes to each other, Men can really sniff other men's Bullshit out.
Getting ready for re-carpetting was going to be a pain, but it was nice to have someone fatherly around. Sinbad patiently discussed the subtle differences between taupe and camel as if he hadn't done this twenty thousand times before. We were going over pile height when Mr. X called to let me know he was on his way. "To here!?," I asked both surprised and panicked. "Yeah, it's going to take me a few hours, but I'm rolling." he informs me, "I AM cycling you know."
The lovely thing about a holiday week is that most people schedule their trips around it. With less staff around, the office is quiet as a convent. There's joy to be had in simply working, this is usually the case when you're not answering countless emails people send off to make it look like they are when they're not, or going to one pointless meeting after the other. Or even, over-hearing the put-on cheeriness of the usual brown nosers smearing themselves up and down the hallways.
When your gag reflex isn't getting engaged, it generally becomes easier to concentrate. I'd finally conquered a piece of technical writing I'd grappled with, so much so the Saggable Boss begrudgingly admitted it "sounds about right", unable to find fault with either my data or the fact that regular human beings can make sense of it. I'm solo-gloating at my desk when Mr. X calls again, who after greeting me perfunctorily by asking for the Saggable Boss makes it known that wasn't at all the real reason he'd rung. "So..,"he twangs, "are you really NOT going to Face Crack friend me? I got in trouble for it, you know."
I feel immediately guilty, "What do you mean, got in trouble?? This is just your second time calling here, how can you possibly have got reamed for it already?"
I try to sound nonchalant, since not even minutes ago Kentucky had used the same ploy by telling me how woefully he missed someone (i.e. me) when I'd asked him how he was. He came across so forlorn, I immediately pictured his bright golden head bent low with pining while he used a foot to wistfully trace my name in the dirt.
I'm sure he was freshly intact in his dust-free air-conditioned office, but Men it seems, are very highly skilled at Beguilting and have no issues extrapolating the same techniques they used to obtain toys in childhood to well, obtaining You. I'm silently shaking my head with the requisite eye roll when Mr. X explains how a co-worker had ratted him out.
FA on feathers, fangs, furies and all sorts of folly, yes, even the serious kind.
content copyright 2011
Yep, my life, my insanity, my copyright. If you like what you read, let me know :)
Did I use your image & attribute it incorrectly? Sorry! Let me know and I'll take it down. "Sssshhhh" image on blog header by Deborah Azzopardi. It's an amazing print now available thru Ikea.