I was mad at you for such a long time. That sounds so damn stupid and obvious. It’s like, “Well no shit, I was angry.” I wish I could make it more poetic. I wanted to turn this bullshit into something beautiful, but it just wasn’t. It was ugly, brutal bullshit.
I honestly thought we were some June and Johnny Cash shit. You’d kiss my shoulders and ask to hear my poetry. I’d read you something, and you’d just sigh, look at me with those oceans. I wanted to swim in you, I didn’t give a shit if the waves were choppy or the tide was coming in. I just wanted to be with you.
The night we drove up into the Hollywood Hills and just stopped the car. I’d seen that view before. It wasn’t new, just some lights. A city. But the proximity of our bodies sent my head spinning. You leaned against the fence and told me about your family. I wanted to just kiss you and hug you and look at all those stupid, beautiful lights with you. I thought, “Wow, I bet nobody has ever seen something this breathtaking before.” But I wasn’t talking about the view of the city.
But we weren’t June and Johnny. We were the movie version. You were some method actor, and I was the poor girl you were running lines with. Only, I didn’t know that’s what we were doing. I thought we were falling in love.
You projected love for another onto me, and when you realized I wasn’t the girl you dreamed of, you let go. You pulled out the smoke and mirrors yet again, and did your famous disappearing act. Our fingertips unlocked and you pranced away like it was nothing. Like I was nothing.
And I believed, falsely, that I was nothing.
Maybe that’s why you shut the door to my apartment and walked straight into her arms. I wasn’t enough, or she was just more. I wasn’t your June. She was. I was a body and hands. A mouth. Someone to hold all your skeletons in my closet, to stroke your back and ego when you needed love. But she was more. And I fell to the fucking floor as soon as I heard your footsteps stomping down my staircase.
I stayed there on the floor, looking up at the ceiling and making note of each crack and imperfection. I’m so fucking stupid, I just kept telling myself. I couldn’t get up from that stupid floor. Everything was stupid. I hated you. I hated myself. I hated her. I hated that a week before, you came to my hometown and fucked me in my childhood home. You fucked me in the house my dad died in. I fucking hated it all.
I was in some shell-shocked denial, the kind that took a hold of my legs and gave me some weird paralysis. I didn’t want to believe you were that kind of man. Or maybe, that I was that kind of woman. The kind of woman who could be destroyed by someone walking away. I had lost my dad. I had lost more important relationships. You shouldn’t have meant that much.
I didn’t want to admit that the pain was so physical. I didn’t want to admit how much I invested in you. I didn’t want to hear your words like surround sound, “I haven’t felt like this in such a long time. Maybe ever.” Stop. “It’s damned fucking insatiable. I can’t get enough of you, Ari.” Stop. I couldn’t even use my stupid legs to get back up.
A week later, I went home. I was so sick with everything that had happened and it was one of those, “I just need to hug my mom” moments. I was so terrified I’d run into you on campus, or worse, run into you with her. I knew my legs would give out if that ever happened. I’d be just strolling along, headed to my screenwriting class, and there I’d see you both.
Happy. Cute. Blonde. Together.
And I’d fucking want to die and my body would stop working. My legs would stop. I’d fall over. I’d be back on the floor in front of everyone and say, “No, I’m fine! Don’t worry!” and she’d look at me with some disgusting sympathy. Like, “Ohh, you poor thing. I’m sorry! We didn’t mean for this to happen. I feel so bad!”
I just couldn’t deal with it. I needed to go home and hug my mom.
I got home while my mom was still at work. I opened the door and dramatically flung my near-lifeless body on the couch. I was just done. I wanted to hibernate for a solid five months. And then, when I started to silently cry, a furry angel jumped up and joined me. Dylan, the dog we rescued only a month after my dad died, nestled her way into my arms. I cried and she kissed me. I buried my head into her neck and just sobbed into this beautiful, loving creature.
She loved me in a way you never did. And the sad truth? I’m not sure you know how to love anything the way that dog loves. But I do.