Hating you became my job, and I love to work, we used to fight about it all the time. I hate you from 9–5, and then I try to forget you, to do something else, to save my energy to do it again tomorrow, only better. Some days it’s easy, you make it easy and I’ve gotten better at it. I practice. Other times I run my memory. 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. What had I overlooked? I find moments, tiny seconds between the happiness and I isolate them. I take a photo of them in my mind and that’s what I use for the day.
Hating you is the easier than other jobs I’ve had. Easier than running the rental, leaving to my parents house in Venice was too inconvenient, too much effort for you anyways. It’s easier than forcing myself to stop caring and never make you never leave the living room. By the last Summer you were hardly alive there, in the living room.
It was easier than cleaning up after you. Picking up your clothes, re-fluffing the couch cushions and refolding the blanket where you laid for a year. Easier than picking up the paper coffee cups you left on the coffee table for weeks, getting them in time before they left a mark. Easier than getting the marks out of the vintage wooden bench my mom and I had found on the side of the road on Lincoln. You do it with a blow dryer the internet said, but I could never figure it out.
Easier than falling asleep with you in the other room in New York, hammered, writing about clothes and drinking SoCo and water until 5 am. Joke juice we called it. Easier than falling asleep with you in the other room in Los Angeles, sober, bitter, ruining our sleep schedules and keeping the dog awake as you hated writing about something you loved, music.
When I get tired of hating you, when it feels like real work, I remember my Grandma’s 80th birthday party at The Ivy and how you refused to go. How I had to buy her birthday present for you and bring the card to you in bed to sign. How you made even that feel like too much work. And how I lied to my family and let them praise your thoughtfulness as she opened her fancy, perfectly wrapped, candies. How my mom told me not to invite you if you weren’t going to be in my life much longer and how mad I got because I knew she was right. You made it easy that day.
I remember when you told me you’d never date me while I was still naked in your bed one morning. Back in your old apartment off the Flushing stop, the one with the balcony. How unworthy and stupid I felt and that I believed you even though you were wrong. I hate how easily I forgot what you had told me when days later I was your emergency contact in the hospital. And how I put on makeup at 5am before getting there, still trying to impress you.
I remember how to hate you when I think about you drinking and how long it took for you to stop. How no one believed how bad it was and the time I wasted trying to convince them. I remember how to hate you when I think about waiting outside for you to bring me into company Christmas party in Brooklyn. It was raining and I was in the most expensive dress I own, other people complimented it. I got sick from being wet while you stole drinks from an open bar and puked into a trash can in front of everyone we knew.
Hating you is easier than the job I lost the day we met. The job I didn’t show up for because I wanted to spend a few more hours with you making out at that comic book themed bar across from the Family Dollar on Broadway. I used to get to the club at 11 and leave at 4. I made $100 a night at that job, and spent $20 on the ride home, because you know I don’t take the train after 10. It wasn’t hard, it was boring. That’s what most jobs are. That’s something you never understood. Everything had to be fun and meaningful and have purpose.
I hate you when I remember getting home from New York the final time. I saw you took the TV, even though I know it was yours — technically. The one place where my mind went silent was gone, where I went after a long day of hating you. I get reminded how to hate you when I make myself lunch and remember being in that bodega in South Williamsburg, drunk at 9pm on a Tuesday. That’s where I was when you called me to leave me. I was ordering a sandwich — turkey on a roll.
When it gets close to 3, 4, 5pm, the end of my shift, sometimes it gets hard to hate you. It gets hard when I remember us in your blue Prius, you teaching me how to drive. Thinking about your patience with me, the dog, and how one day you’d be a good dad. I get distracted from hating you when I remember Ojai, Malibu, Palm Springs, and how I relearned California through you. The time you figured out how to buy the train tickets from Narita into Tokyo when I was exhausted and had given up.
Sometimes I take the day off from hating you because I remember us glued to the couch for ten hours, permanently reshaping the cushions with our bodies and how we would alway let the dog sleep in the bed. How that felt better than the dozen countries we had been to, or the hundreds of dinners, the thousands of dollars. The times you told me I was close to fluent when I spoke Spanish in Cuba and Colombia and how good it made me feel, like I was really Spanish. How much you loved that I learned to make Southern food for you, not the stupid healthy versions. I even made sweet tea.
Hating you is hard when I remember how you once described us as “you plan, and I show up” and how I used you as the standard to hold all the men my friends dated, leading to the demise of their relationships. When I think about being on the 5th floor of an apartment in Koreatown, looking out at the palm trees, drunk and crying about how I knew you’d love me no matter what. “Even if my legs got cut off,” I said, and you said I was right.
It’s hard to hate you when it never felt like settling. How meeting you never felt a day early or a day too late. When I remember how I never felt guilty for sleeping together only hours after we met, and how when I found out you had fucked someone else just hours before me, I didn’t care, wasn’t jealous, I knew it was different. I struggle to hate the person who told me one winter in Topanga Canyon that he knew I’d become a hippie when I was older, and talked about all of the dogs we’d have as we both worked from home somewhere beautiful. And who for a while, really wanted that.
I’ve done jobs I’ve hated more than hating you. Like the job that we moved to Los Angeles for, the city you loved before you blamed it for everything. The job that paid for us to move your fancy mattress across the country, the one I still sleep on. It’s easier than the job you quit in February, the one with the hour long commute and that boss you couldn’t stand. The job you had before it got really bad.
I would rather hate you than not think about you at all. There was no in-between with us. I went from having never known you to loving you. So since I can’t unknow you or love you anymore, I made hating you my job. And you know I love to work.