His scent lingered on my skin. I held my hand to my nose and breathed him in. Burning candles were the only remains of our second date. That, and of course, that smell. Thick and strong, like flesh and iron and blood. Raw. Visceral. I closed my eyes and thought of him, letting my imagination take care of the rest.
This weekend I went out to coffee with this guy I know from work. He just started a few weeks ago and he’s pretty cute. I told him I’m a writer and that I plan to finish my novel soon and he said, “No way! That’s awesome. I’d love to read your work.”
He said, “Maybe you could read my stuff, too?”
“Sure,” I said. “What do you write?”
He tells me fiction. He says he writes literary realist fiction and that sort of intimidates me. But we get coffee (NOT at the shop we work at) and chat and he’s really cool. I told him I’m not ready for anything yet. I told him about my rocky break up with Tyler and how it’s hard for me to trust people.
Prior to our meeting we agreed to each bring a short story to exchange. So we’re reading each others’ work, sipping on our lattes every few paragraphs and as I’m reading I realize: this guy can fucking write. He’s way better than me. Of course, he’s a different style and writes in a different genre, but still. Suddenly I’m way more intimidated. I can’t focus on what I’m reading because I keep thinking about what he’s reading. All the mistakes I’ve made. And ohmygod what if he’s repulsed by it.
But I swallow my worries and keep reading. When we finish we both look at each other and I’m waiting for him to speak, but since I’m afraid of what he’ll say, I talk first and tell him, “Yours was so good. I’m a little embarrassed actually.”
I didn’t want to admit that, but I did and there it was and now I hoped he’d breeze over it. But he didn’t.
“Thanks, but why are you embarrassed? I loved yours, too.”
It took some talking, but after a while, he convinced me that he hadn’t judged me. Which was good. Then I asked him if he’s been published and he told me he hadn’t. I asked him about self-publishing and that’s where the story takes a turn. Basically, my new man-friend is not a fan of self-publishing, which has been my plan from pretty much the beginning. It sort of hurt at first, hearing his reasons, but he made some good points. Anyone can publish whatever they want and often time it’s bad — really bad — and anymore, he said, people are looking for an easy money maker like Fifty Shades of Gray.
It gave me a lot to think about, but in the end, I’ve decided to stick with self-publishing. It’s just the right fit for me, and I’m really going to work hard to create a stellar novel. Hopefully my new friend can help me with it.
One thing is certain, though. There’s only one thing sexier than a man who likes to read, and that’s a man who can write really fucking well. I hope our next date goes better and he can come over for some hot and heavy literary foreplay (as in reading, you perverts).
After work I go home and pour myself a big glass of cabernet sauvignon and eat brie and bleu cheese and crackers. Ever since high school, I would pinch my cheeks to gauge how drunk I am. Well I drink until I can’t feel my cheeks and then I pour myself some more. I’m going to be honest and don’t judge me, but I love being drunk. I’m actually happier and the world seems lighter and my boldness is increased ten fold. So I sit in my room with candles burning and a cigarette in my mouth, typing out this long letter to Tyler that I had decided I was going to send to all his friends and family. It was an exposé on his secrets that he said he’d never shared with anyone.
Suddenly: Knock knock knock.
It’s almost midnight. My roommate is out and I’ve the place to myself, so I decide to just ignore it and hope whoever it is goes away. Then I hear a knock again and a moment later my phone buzzes and there’s a text from Tyler. “Are you home?”
“No,” I type back.
“Your car is in the parking lot,” he replies.
Keep in mind I’m drunk, so I don’t have my wits. I think of a million different things to say, but don’t text him any of them. Instead, I just close my phone and wait, but then he texts me again, begging me to answer, begging me to just give him a chance. He’s sorry, he says, he’s sorry and he misses me and he shouldn’t have said those things about me at my work. So there I am, drunk, lonely, sad, and clearly unable to think. I get up and open the door and there he is, standing their with flowers. He hands them to me, says he’s sorry, and turns to walk away. I watch him pad down the hallway and just as he gets to the stairs, I say, “Tyler, wait.”
He turns and just looks at me, his face is pathetic and sad and it looks like his skin has no life in it. “Come here,” I tell him and he walks back to me. I say, “You really hurt me today.”
“You hurt me a lot in our relationship. That’s why I broke it off.”
“I’m an idiot.”
With the scent of the flowers I’m holding in my hand, and the wine, and the heartbreak, my brain fizzes out and despite my better judgment I hear myself saying, “Why don’t you come inside.”
I say, “Lay down with me.”
I tell him, “One last time.”
The rest is like a dream. I hear the click as I lock my door. We don’t speak. Our feet make soft creaks in the carpet and floorboards. My door opens. It shuts. There’s no romance to it. No beauty. We turn our backs to each other and strip. I slide into bed. He slides in next to me. As our hearts beat faster, so does our pace. We don’t kiss. We don’t look each other in the eye. But it feels good. I remember the room being blue from the moonlight and the way the candles smelled and a nearly empty bottle of wine on my bedside table.
After we finish, Tyler and I look each other in the eyes for the first time. He slides his body off me, and goes into the bathroom. I dress. The toilet flushes and the sink runs and then Tyler comes into my room. He doesn’t look at me and I don’t look at him. I walk past him and go into the bathroom and when I come back out, he’s gone.
Click here to read Part 1.
I was at work a few months back, making a latte or cappuccino or something, and in walks Tyler. I see him and ignore him. My manager knows about our break up, so when I finish the drink I’m working on, I approach him and tell him my ex is here. He takes over at the register and finally it’s Tyler’s turn. He places his order and everything is fine. When it gets time to make his drink, my manager takes over and I make a B-line for the break room. Before I get there, I hear, “Dallas!” and I keep going. Suddenly, there he is, behind the counter, holding me by the arm.
“Dallas, we need to talk.”
“Just go away!” I say. Our break up wasn’t easy. It was me who broke it off with him. He didn’t like that. He wanted to talk, but since I’m me, I ignored him and I was hoping he’d just fade away, like carbonation in a long forgotten soda.
“Dallas, please,” he says. “I still love you.”
By this time, my manager has stopped making the drink and rushed over to us. He puts his hands on my shoulders and says, “Time for you to go.”
“I paid for a drink,” he replies.
“You forfeited that drink when you harassed my employee.”
Tyler let go of my arm and backed away. He stared at me with more hate in his eyes than I’d ever seen on anyone. This coming from a guy who just told me he loved me. This was the man who bought me flowers on the day I was sad for no reason and would get up in the middle of the night to get me butterscotch pudding when I woke up craving it. He stops just a few steps from the door and says so loud everyone can hear, “You’re employee is a slut!”
He says, “Did she tell you that we fucked in the parking lot?”
“Get out!” my manager shouts.
“And at the Christmas party. At your house. She gave me a blowjob.”
None of this is true. He’s lying just to hurt me. I mean, sure we slept together, but we didn’t do anything like that. And even if we had, he had no right to use it against me like that. My manager moves so quickly he feels like an apparition. He charges at Tyler and that little coward shuffles out the door and runs to his friends waiting for him in their car. They peel out and then we’re left in harrowing silence that rings like death. I don’t look, but I can feel everyone staring at me, judging me, thinking some slutty whore just made their drinks. But my manager, as cool as ever, says, “Sorry everyone for the disturbance. I’ll be around shortly to give you a coupon for a free drink.” He looks at me and says, “You’re okay. It’s not your fault. Go take a breather.”
I push open the door, the squeaking of the hinges sounding like a desperate plea for help. I sit down, put my hand in my palms and cry. I’m not a crier. I keep it all inside. I try to be tough, but this time, I just started crying, the tears coming down like thick gobs of glue, sticking to everything. I don’t know how long I’m crying, but I hear the door squeak open and soon a hand is on my shoulder.
My manager says in his calming tone, “Shh, shh, shh. It’s okay. It’s okay.” He sits down next to me and I instinctively turn and put my weeping head on his shoulder and he holds me and pats me on the back and keeps saying, “It’s okay.”
He tells me, “I don’t think you’re a bad person. No one does. Your ex is the bad one. Not you. It’s not your fault.”
I cry until my tear ducts are dry.
This precisely why I was hesitant to start a public blog. I’m HORRIBLE at keeping it up to date. But really, I think that’s a good thing. It means I’m living my life! I’m out there enjoying the world! Never have I spent days alone in my room smoking cigarettes and drinking wine, only to come out to use the bathroom and occasionally shower.
I cannot believe I’ve got something like 42 followers. That’s ridiculous and amazing! I’m promise I’ll be keeping this up better. In fact, I’ve got some real life stories to tell and I’ll be posting them soon. I just wanted to let you all know that I love you and I’m feeling much better now. (More on the reason why I wasn’t feeling great to come.)
Hugs! (and kisses, I’ll give you kisses, too)
I’m not much of a poet, but I dabble. So here’s something I’ve been working on. Hope you like it.
Ashes rest on my nightstand where
they missed the tray. We laid in bed
for hours when the snow fell
and made love under heavy blankets,
drinking hot chocolate spiked
with scotch. Singed holes in my sheets
remind me of your memory and the ashes
remain untouched, a fragment of us.
I’ve been down the last couple of days. My boyfriend and I had a huge fight and broke up. Now I can never find the right words while writing. I write a paragraph and erase the whole thing and start over. It’s frustrating. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude, but it’s difficult. Okay, I’m done with the poor me rant. I’m going to get back to it and see what wonders I can get to spring from my fingertips.
But if anyone has a good distraction or a recommendation to get rid of writer’s block, I’m all ears.