Thursday, April 19, 2018

Last one for tonight


“Meredith,” he says, “I want to tell you something.”
           He used to be a drunk. I knew that. It’s not like he told me explicitly on the train, but I figured it out easily enough. You don’t speak at an Alcoholics Anonymous conference if you don’t have some experience in the subject matter.
           “I loved someone once,” he says.
           I lift my chin and look him in the eyes. This sounds like Confession Time. I like confessions.
           “We were never together. We were friends. But we were way more. We would sit in the car and talk until two in the morning. We texted constantly. She helped me get sober. She helped me to see that there was more in life than a bottle.”
           My stomach starts to hurt. But why?
           “I mean, she wasn’t perfect. She was demanding as hell. She’d text and get pissed if I didn’t respond straight away. She wanted honesty at all times. I mean, she wasn’t easy.
           “But I loved her more than I think I may ever be able to love anyone again.”
           Oh my God. How old is Paul? Nineteen, twenty? And they say kids my age are dramatic.
           “You’re looking at me like I’m crazy.”
           “You are crazy,” I say without thinking, out of some weird form of anger that I can’t really figure out. So this guy loved someone. So what? “I mean, you were never even together.”
           “Sometimes those are the ones that hurt the most. Look at your situation.”
           And that is why my stomach is hurting. Would Matt be able to say the same about me? Does he even love me? And at this point, what exactly are we to one another?
           “Yeah,” I say. One-syllable words. That’s pretty much all I can handle at this point. Except curiosity comes up and the question comes out before I can figure out how to stop it. “So what happened with you guys?”
           His face slams shut. Something turns a key, locks it. But he speaks anyway.
           “You know, Meredith, sometimes a relationship gets bigger than the people involved. That’s what happened with us. There was just too much to handle. Too much between us. We couldn’t be just friends. We couldn’t be more. We just couldn’t be. You know?”
           I don’t know. If there was so much between him and this phantom girl, woman, whatever, how could they possibly let go of one another?
           “Who ended it?”
           “I did.”
           He’s obviously in so much pain. How could he do that?
           “Sometimes,” he says, “the person who ends it is the one who loves the most.”
           “How?”
           “They have more invested, so when they’re not getting their needs met for whatever reason, they call it quits.”
           “You miss her?”
           This time he doesn’t say anything. His face shuts and stays shut.

More


I had some sort of blackout. That much is clear. Something happened. That’s obvious. I have to keep repeating these facts to myself because it’s pretty much what I know.
All else is a mystery.
My worst fear has come to life.

From the book


“Meredith,” Matt says, and turns my face to his.
It’s about the least romantic thing you can imagine. His fingers on my skin feel like the fire has shifted, been blown upward, embers dancing across every bit of territory they can find. At home, fires like to jump the freeway, blown by winds whose only job is to hurt.
His lips on mine: an invasion.
His tongue in my mouth: terrifying.
And yet I respond. Why?

Realization

Editing BEARDED LADY and understanding exactly what got me here. It was a hell of a lot. A lifetime, to be precise.

Stepping out

I'm usually a lot more bullish on parenting than I am at the moment.

I took Baz to Fourth Street for lunch. He whined and refused to eat anything I got. Then my shoulder bag snapped in the middle of paying for everything. Then this woman with a giant stroller kept blocking us at Peets.

Then ... Totland.

Enemy territory. I hate Totland with ferocity. While I was pushing him on the swing, one nitwit was trying to scare another nitwit about preschool. "You're already late," she said, gesturing to the other nitwit's year-old kid. "I mean, when people find out they're pregnant, that's when it's time to get on the list."

Aw, bullshit. We got into New House without a problem when Baz was 16 months. No muss, no fuss, no crying or promises of undying loyalty and awesome Yelp reviews. Just a shitload of paperwork and there you go.

Right now he's eating his second round of peanut-butter toast -- pretty much the only thing he's eaten today. Actually, it's peanut-butter hamburger bun because that's what we've got. And Jack is coveting it. Actually, no. He just ate it.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Stirring the oatmeal: from BeliefNet

Stirring oatmeal is a humble act–not exciting or thrilling. But it symbolizes a relatedness that brings love down to earth. It represents a willingness to share ordinary human life, to find meaning in the simple, unromantic tasks: earning a living, living within a budget, putting out the garbage, feeding the baby in the middle of the night. To “stir the oatmeal” means to find the relatedness, the value, even the beauty, in simple and ordinary things, not to eternally demand a cosmic drama, an entertainment, or an extraordinary intensity in everything.