Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What the hell, Karma?

Wow. Okay.

Those two words were the beginning of the end of my blink-and-it's-over relationship with Brian. 

It all started when he picked me up from my apartment at 8 sharp, perfectly on time. He came all the way to my door instead of just pulling up across the street and texting me or honking his horn. I was a little breathless when I answered the door; I wasn't used to guys actually being on time so I was running a little late myself.

He smiled at me when I opened the door, looking dazzlingly put together. Then, his expression changed a bit.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Oh, nothing," he sighed, looking at my scarf. "It's just that coral's not really your color. You know, blondes and all." He paused for an awkward silence as I just stared at him. "Never mind. You look just as stunning as I expected." He smiled again, easily.

We walked out to his car, a Mini Cooper. Not really my usual type, I'm more of a pickup truck girl, but my usual types were usually assholes so I guess some change is good.

He drove us a little bit outside of town to a French place, Le Petit Something-or-Other. It's amazing how far my French skills have slipped since college. I could barely read the menu, but I didn't need to. Brian read off our orders flawlessly. I wondered for a moment if he was batting his eyelashes at our (insanely hot) waiter, but I told myself to get a grip and save my crazy jealous rages for a few months from now when I have him hooked and he can't leave me.

About halfway through the meal, I excused myself to the bathroom so I could fix my hair, which had surely mutinied by now. When I walked back into the dining room, I saw Brian leaning in a little too close to the waiter. Brian slid him a small slip of paper and they both giggled. When they saw me coming, they both quickly straightened up. Brian launched back into our discussion of Audrey Hepburn movies as I sat down, talking a bit too quickly. I mean, I know I'm the super jealous and occasionally unreasonable type, but something was definitely weird here. 

I know he sensed my suspicion because I was definitely not trying to be slick about it and he seems to have pretty good interpersonal skills. I just wanted to watch him squirm a bit.

After a few more minutes of sizzling under my mild glare, Brian sighed and leaned back into his chair. "Okay, Anna, I'm sorry," He started, then hesitated.

"Whatever for?" I asked innocently with slitted eyes.

"I haven't been completely honest with you," he said. 

Here we go, I thought.

"I, um, well, gosh. I really don't know how to say this. This isn't who I am. I would be more open about it, but I don't know how my mom would react, so... Okay I'll just spit it out. I'm not really into you, Anna. And it's not you, it's me."

"Oh, that's original," I shot back.

"Hey, I'm trying to be honest here!" he almost shouted.

"Wow. Okay. You know what would have helped? Maybe if you'd been honest with me earlier! And why the hell can't you just say it, Brian? You. Are. Gay. Just fucking say the words."

I hadn't meant to scream that, nor had I meant to take the last of the baguette and hurl it at his stupid face. Nonetheless, the restaurant manager wasn't all that concerned with my intentions and briskly escorted me out in the worst Walk of Shame I've ever endured in my life that ended with my being banned for life, with Brain trailing behind sheepishly.

Unfortunately, the night still wasn't over. I stalked off in the general direction of downtown, knowing that it was several miles away.

"Let me at least give you a ride back!" Brian shouted after me.

"Fuck off!" I yelled, and started walking faster. He got in his car and pulled up next to me on the street.

"Please get in."

I scowled at him. "I said no. Now get away from me."

He continued driving alongside me for another minute, but eventually gave up and drove away.

The walk home took two hours. About forty minutes in, it started sleeting. I shivered and pulled the offensively-colored coral scarf tighter around me, starting to regret my stubbornness. Until I saw the beckoning glow of an ABC package store looming before me.

I bought two fifths of Fireball, knowing it would be gone in just a few days with the way my life was going at this point. I started on the first bottle to get me through the rest of the walk.

I don't remember getting home, but I woke up in my bathtub with a pounding headache and a fever of 101. But I will literally let myself die before I go back to the Minute Clinic where that unbearable Brian works, so I'll just have to make the forty minute drive to the other clinic tomorrow when I'm not so damn hungover.

I wish he'd given me a sweatshirt or something so I could set it on fire and leave the ashes on his doorstep with a note threatening to kill what he loves. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Good things happen to bad people

I'm a bad person. I've accepted that.

I'm not evil or anything, just selfish. And not particularly harmful, so that's a plus.

Today, I went for a run because I ate several pints of Ben & Jerry's and drank way too many bottles of wine this past week and I'm not ready to let myself get fat yet.

As I ran, I thought a lot about my selfishness. I decided to stop being that way.

Whenever someone else was on the sidewalk, I moved out of the way first. I stopped to let people go in front of me and smiled at everyone. I started feeling better until I realized I was being way too self-congratulatory for my simple display of common courtesy.

So I spent the next ten minutes running harder because I was mad at myself.

I looped around downtown a few times and then decided to get a little lost. As I was running out past the train tracks, a small, fragile old woman frantically waved me down.

I took out my earbuds and asked if I could help her. She replied, "Helen, if you can't, no one can."

I had no idea who Helen was or what this woman wanted but she seemed nice so I followed her. She chattered about how she wished the leaves would come back and how her cat kept trying to sabotage her baking endeavors. She led me to a small blue house with peeling paint. In the front yard was a large pile of sticks, logs, and old pieces of plywood that looked like they had been ripped off an old building. Next to the pile was an alarming number of lighter fluid bottles.

The woman turned to face me and grinned. "I have a plan to bring my birds back."

I wondered if I should run.

She didn't seem to notice the freaked out look on my face and went about explaining her dilemma and how she was going to fix it.

"Helen, I hate the cold," she chirped. "And not just because my fingers freeze up. My birds always leave when it gets cold and I miss them. But now I know how to get them back!"

I warily asked her how she was going to get her birds back.

"By making it warm again, of course!" She looked at me like I was crazy. "I'm going to make a bonfire so it won't be cold anymore so my birds will come back."

Logically, her plan had no flaws.

Seeing as I had nothing better to do, she had offered me cookies, and I was worried that she would start a wildfire if I left her to her task alone, I stayed. We went about sorting the different types of wood and then started to set up the fire. We poured out about half the lighter fluid.

At which point we realized that neither of us knew how to build a fire. The lighter fluid would flame up briefly but the wood just wouldn't catch. It wasn't ready to let go of winter yet.

So we gave up and went inside to eat cookies. She showed me pictures of her family, and while I learned her name was Mable, she never seemed to register that my name wasn't Helen.

It wasn't until I heard a knock on the door that I realized how late it was.

Mable sprung up with surprising ease for such an elderly woman. "It's Brian! My favorite son!" she squealed. I tried to stammer out a polite excuse about how late it was and how I had to leave, but she wouldn't hear it.

"Helen, you sit back down on that couch and behave yourself."

I obeyed.

When she brought Brian in to say hi, I was really glad I'd stayed. He had the most dazzling smile. I know it sounds cheesy and cliche, but you can't blame me. He was so gorgeous I can't think of normal words.

Now here's the crazy part: I didn't even say anything stupid or weird. I suppose I seemed normal (even though I was in my sweaty running clothes and I don't even want to think about my hair) because we really hit it off and he even walked me all the way back to Dreamwood Terrace! (He was such a gentleman, he didn't want me walking back all alone).

He thanked me for putting up with his mother, and I didn't have to lie when I said I didn't have to put up with anything, I really enjoyed spending time with Mable. He told me that he lived in one of the townhouses farther south to be near her, joking that he didn't want to actually live in her house because it would scare all the girls away. I laughed, not necessarily at the joke but more at the idea that it would be possible to scare a girl away from a guy like him.

We got to my apartment way too soon. We stood on the sidewalk for a moment, the first awkward silence in our entire conversation hanging between us.

"So, um, Anna," he started, at the same time I said "well, uh, yeah--" and we both stopped short.

"Sorry," I shuffled from one foot to the other. "You go."

He paused. "Um, I've, well, had a pretty good time talking to you..."

I tried not to beam too obviously or start twitching.

"So, would you... maybe want to get dinner sometime or something?"

I didn't explode. Instead, I graciously said yes, gave him my phone number, and made it all the way into my apartment before screeching and breaking into a victory dance.

I have now earned my spot in the Smooth Talkers' Hall of Fame.

That's going on my wall next to my useless French Lit degree.

Monday, January 19, 2015

From Apartment 21

The snow is piling up outside and the bills are piling up on my coffee table.

The pipe on the second floor has burst and the water is staining one of the walls in my living room.

The smell of weed is permeating my apartment from the air vents. Probably the burnouts on the third floor, but I'm not about to go look.

Today is the day I get to sit around and not do anything and just feel sorry for myself. It's my and Ted's anniversary.

I pull a bottle of wine out of the fridge and a pint of Ben & Jerry's half-baked from the freezer and make my way to the couch. I stare at the pile of bills on the table, willing them to disappear but knowing that they won't. In a moment of fury, I send them scattering across the room.

I can't do anything. My trust fund is running out and my job doesn't pay hardly anything. This isn't the bills' fault, though. This has Ted written all over it.

When we moved in together, in May 2010, I stupidly agreed to open up a joint bank account with him. He spent over half of it on drugs and TVs and pool tables and even strippers one weekend, I spent close to the rest of it bailing him out of jail or paying lawyers' fees. Oh, and I bought him a damn car for his 30th birthday. A damn Range Rover.

When I think about why, the first conclusion I came to was love. I was so in love with him that I was completely blinded to what he was. But I don't think that was it. I think I just wanted someone to need me, to rely on me. I thought that the fact that he needed me meant he loved me. I was that dumb.

The pipe burst continues to drip, drip, drip down my wall. My face is wet with tears and I curse, silently. I'm weak. And I have a terribly foul mouth for a lady. I can't fit anywhere right.

By the time I break out of my thoughts, the bottle of wine and the pint are both half gone. If I can't find the answer to all my problems at the bottom of this bottle, it's gotta be at the bottom of the next one.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Joy of Spending Time with Family

Wouldn't you know it.

My last cousin just got a ring for Christmas. She is twenty one years old, and her fiance is an ass.

My ring finger may be bare, but at least I'm not engaged to an ass. Or so I tell myself to make the sideways glances sting a little bit less.

It's actually quite annoying that this is still such a huge issue for my family. It is the twenty first century! I am an independent woman perfectly capable of supporting myself! Of course, this argument would be more convincing were I not underemployed and living in the smallest, dingiest apartment Dreamwood Terrace has to offer. Oh well. It's the only argument I have left to make my mother shut up for all of two seconds, so I suppose it will have to do.

I begged out of the family festivities early Christmas afternoon to avoid the pointed comments about my biological clock ticking. I swear, it's like some of the incredibly well-brought up members of the Baker family have absolutely no filters. I should just start a relationship with a woman and adopt babies from foreign countries so they'll just disown me and get it over with.

I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. It seems that I have no filter as well.

Anyway, I drove back home at around 1:30 with a box full of gifts I had no use for. I trudged into my apartment, locked the door, and did not emerge until today. This probably isn't healthy.

I finally went out today because I completely ran out of food. Well, there was a piece of my aunt's casserole in the fridge, but let's be honest, I'm never going to be that hungry.

I walked back to Dreamwood Terrace with my bags from K. Roger's, pushing through the thick fog that seems to have been here since I arrived. I was so focused on the ground that I ran right into someone as they left the apartment building. My groceries crashed to the ground, eggs smashing, milk spilling, as I uttered a string of expletives that were entirely inappropriate for a lady. The person I had run into just chuckled. I looked up to see a guy I had never seen before, shaking his head.

"What?" I demanded, not un-huffily.

"Nothing", he replied. "I've just never heard those words used in such a combination before."

His name is Cole Harrison, and he turned out to be quite nice, actually. Apart from his snide comments about my language, that is. He helped me pick up the few groceries that had escaped destruction and carried them to my apartment with me. I was a bit distracted from the story he was telling me about moving here from Ireland by the impressive collection of red and purple bruises blooming across his face. I didn't want to ask and seem rude, however; he seemed like a very private person.

I like Cole Harrison. He is way nicer to me than any of my sub par family members.

I hope no one slips on the cracked egg slime outside our apartment building.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I've heard way too much tsk-ing in my last few days.

It's not proper for a young lady to live on her own in an apartment, you know.

I know my grandmother, and my mother, and my aunt are all disappointed with where I am in my life right now. I am too. I'm 29 years old and I'm not living in a big house with a white picket fence, a nice husband, and kids. And a dog. I want a dog.

I'm an outlier among the women in my family. My mother, grandmother, and aunt all got engaged during college and dropped out to get married. They all married wealthy men and had kids by the time they were twenty-three.

The closest I've ever gotten to having a kid was my ex-boyfriend Ted's dog. Ted and I lived together for four and a half years. I thought we would get married, but as usual I was wrong. The dog is the only thing I miss about that relationship now. He was a mutt, and he was great. But I had to leave him behind with his scumbag owner, unfortunately.

After I left, I couldn't find an apartment that would allow dogs. The only place I can afford right now is a tiny unit in Dreamwood Terrace, which is where I'm currently unpacking. One bedroom, one bathroom, and one combined living room/kitchen/dining room. The apartment still feels like it's filled with the sounds of disapproval coming from my family members as they came over to see my new place.

The only thing on my dingy white walls is my degree in Husband Hunting. Just kidding! I wouldn't have gotten a degree in Husband Hunting. I obviously failed at it. It's a B.A. in French Literature from the University of Virginia. I didn't think I would need a job when I picked my major, honestly. So now I'm a waitress.

This is not the way I thought my life would go.