It was when The Unforgiven came out and we were all teachers at a place that was transcendent and we were from all over the world, similarly aged – ish, in our 20’s. We had freedom, support, and the world was at our feet.
She was in New York and I told her not to come. It was my birthday – I was turning 24. She was 29 or so, I think, maybe 30. Stunning. No matter how you sliced her, she’d come up roses.
And she loved me.
It was the complexity of places and upheaval and a little of seeking to fill voids that did us in. We were both different than our colleagues, most of whom just unlatched from their momma’s titty, and we had the relationship of the ages and even at other facilities they spoke of us, they knew b&a, or, a&b.
I loved her completely until I didn’t. I was 23 when I told her not to come. What the fuck did I know?
We were all in the back of the house that one time having a fire. Hanging out and having the best time. Slowly we each drifted away to bed – g’night, night everybody, until it was just she and I. L (she is important to this story) was there for a while, too, sniffing up to me. She made sure a knew when she left.
We talked about going back to Columbia and ignored the fire so it would die down. She wanted another masters in something, itchin’ to get back to school. Boy, I used to love talking Anthropology with her. And stuff. The talks we had – how many times did we save the world… I said I get it but I’m not going to new york with you and I’m not going to have that sort of relationship where I can’t hear your voice when I (need) want to or I cant touch or feel you near me when I need (want) to. Where I can’t do a thing with you. No.
We were dying, we were done.
And then she was gone.
L was sneaking around while she was still around, while we still had our year of together. Subtle, you know, as it’s done. I paid her no mind until I did.
When a left, I had no chance at all.
L looked like Wynonna Ryder (sp?) and went to high school in a castle in Europe. She played violin and was smart as a whip. She had everything and nothing and she broke my heart.
a was gone. I was at the lake that one time, alone. L had followed me there. It was nice, we were chatting. It was twilight. A sudden storm came up and she jumped up into my arms at the first loud crack. It was total fuk’n hollywood and I was all done.
I held her for minutes because when you’re looking into the woman’s eyes who just leapt up into your arms and she’s looking at you with that face there’s no time. There’s no looking away. She was all done, too. Game or no. I was there, too.
Everybody was angry with her because everybody KNEW I was a‘s and everybody was angry with me because I didn’t allow them to live their romantic fantasies vicariously through me. It was that simmering loathing you knew was there. It didn’t last long, but, these were my friends and colleagues.
My birthday was coming up and a called me from New York. I didn’t want to hear from her because we were done and I missed her completely, though I was with L and all in. I didn’t want to hear her voice to remind me that I was 23 and what the fuck did I know? She said she wanted to visit me and I told her not to come. Not in a mean way at all but I reminded her that we were broken up.
Because I was with L and I had made that choice. I didn’t say it like that but I needed to stand by my choice because I needed to be OK with that and move the fuck on and live my life and get over her. I said during the phone call to not come and that I was seeing someone else. I fukn told her, I was honest and transparent and I wasn’t trying to hurt her in any way – it was so painful talking to her and it took forever to say things – so painful hearing her voice and telling her not to come. She wanted to visit me and I told her not to come.
I got a phone call that Saturday morning. It was my birthday. I was in bed next to L, waking up. Someone came to the door to announce the call and it was the morning and I just woke up and a was on the phone.
I took the call and I said I told you not to come – you asked me if it would be a good idea and I said no, don’t come – and she said she wanted to see me.
I didn’t want her to see me with L because I was embarrassed and guilty and I didn’t do anything. I didn’t want her to know she was right about L when I was oblivious because she didn’t need any of that kind of burden, she didn’t need any kind of pain and I was at the end of my rope trying to spare her and I hated every bit of myself and I didn’t know what to do.
She asked me to pick her up. My car was broken, in the back, parked. I didn’t have a way to pick her up and I told her I don’t have a way to pick you up, my car is broken. She said, “borrow a car”.
I wasn’t leaving her stranded.
L, can I borrow your car?
“Does she need to see me in bed with you?”
“She knows you are with me, why is she here, what’s her problem?”
I took L‘s car to fetch a and I was fetching my ex-girlfriend in my current girlfriend’s car. WTF!?!?! Before all this nonsense my 20’s were off to a rocky segueing into an amazing go.
This was when the first cliche set in. This was the one time I ever felt like a cad. It was clear that L was rebound and that I still loved a but she left, man, she went to NY. We broke up. And L and I dug each other.
She came in on the bus so bus station – I knew where it was. I got there quickly, my foot knew who was there. I was talking to myself the whole time and I’m shit for advice when I need it.
There she was and I was angry for not being able to prevent what I knew was going to suck. I was happy to see her, though and she hugged me and I was fucking done.
Shoot me now.
“This is L’s car, isn’t it?”
The conversation was formal on the ride back. Gross. We were trying to be cool. You know. Oof.
Everyone was up in the house by the time we got back and everyone was happy to see a. Everyone loved a and a&b, the idea of it, what it was in the life we were in. Everyone was real happy to see a. Except for L. And me, ish.
When L came upstairs the day was over for all of us. Each of her footfalls was gloom and doom and our friends buffered a. Eyes were on me and I didn’t have anything worth saying to say. I sat on the couch.
The talk was of Columbia and New York and we were, all of us, not liking at all that a sat on my left and L on my right.
It was like somebody ran over a baby.
Nobody had any clue at all what to do so we just made it worse. We decided to go see a movie. We decided to go see The Unforgiven. And guess how the seating went at the theater?
Those of us that weren’t currently neck-deep in romance drama knew that they had made a terrible mistake 10 minutes into the movie. What a bleak-ass cherry to top a bleak-ass morning.
Arriving back at the house they ran and they were smart to. L decided that she had had enough of a‘s meddling bullshit (he’s my man, now) and a didn’t have anywhere to go. Of course she was welcome at the house, of course she could stay there, but, would you?
L started acting like my girlfriend and a went off to visit with k. It was the eye of the storm. L wanted to discuss all manner of slamming a into getting tf out, I bowed out and said I wasn’t happy that she was here, it was a shit day, but I’m not gonna treat anybody badly. She harrumphed me and went off.
My brief time alone that afternoon was short-lived as a came back and wanted to talk with me. She said many wonderful things and she was right and beautiful in her manner and hopeful in her heart and then she lost me. She tried to buy me. She told me how wealthy her family was. It wasn’t what she wanted to say to try to win me back but she was desperate and that was her move. That’s what came out and she knew she lost me before she finished her sentence.
I wished her well and don’t remember her leaving. Someone else took her back to the bus station.
In Fight Club he says he wanted to destroy something beautiful. In august of ’92 that’s what happened, when, over the course of a month, culminating on one particular Saturday, a beautiful thing was thoroughly destroyed. The only person this day didn’t take a toll on, house-wide, was L. She shrugged it off and we were done before a new month was up.