Thursday, October 31, 2013

The first sleep

One of the best compliments I ever got from a new boyfriend  involved napping together. To me that first sleep says a lot about a relationship. 
photo by Paul Schnegge 

LIZ, 29 (to her non-live-in boyfriend of less than a year)

The thing is...the problem is you're not good at sleeping, with me. At first I thought it was because of me, that we didn't fit. I don't know, maybe that's it.  You're a horribly insensitive sleeper. And it's not because of the snoring, I can deal with the snoring, that could be cute. It's just sometimes you hold me, obligatorily, and you let go, and I wake up and you're across the bed. And sometimes I inch my hand, my arm, to touch yours and you flinch. In your sleep you flinch. The most real honest deepest part of you flinches minutes, hours after being intertwined with me.  It doesn't matter- it doesn't matter how intimate we are before or after, because then you can't touch me. Unapologetically, you just don't want to. You flinch.

 And i remember the first night, before you told me that you had a problem with it; with sleep. Before I noticed the pacing and Charlie Rose, and that stuff...before I knew that it was a thing with you.  I'm laying there awake, so utterly alone, wanting to just touch you, be held. And I inch over and just let my leg hover near your hand, just hover, and you roll over. You just roll away. And I felt cheap and used and alone. And I stared at your ceiling, and I watched your fan move, and I thought I guess that's it. I'll wake up early and he'll offer to make coffee I'll say no thanks and I'll go and we'll both know what it was. If there was any confusion before, the after always makes it clear what it is.  But we woke up the next morning and I stayed for breakfast, a sympathy breakfast I thought, and we walked to the train and you held me, you held me tighter than I had ever been held in my life. Like you didn't want to let go, like if you did, something would happen. And you do, you always hug me like that with this extra squeeze at the end - like you're afraid to let go. Like if you let go you'll just crumble, and who knows maybe you hug everyone like that? Maybe that's just how you hug?

 I love you. Against all my better judgement I do.  I love you when you're awake but when you're sleeping, when you're sleeping there's a part of you that doesn't want to let me in. It's this unapologetic cold part. It's  there when you're awake too, I guess.  I'm starting to see that. Maybe it's there when you're lost in work, or disappear for a few days. When you go someplace else and just let me talk, and pretend to listen when I go on about school or my family. It's there in those moments where you're just done, and for a split second it's like I'm a stranger. It's rare, but it happens.

 This whole time, nearly a year now, I've been afraid that that's actually you. I've been afraid that you at night, the you that flinches, is actually you. It could be, because you're not trying to be polite, or a good a guy, you just want what you want.  And what if  what you really want isn't me?  Would we both be better off? You spend half your life asleep, and what if we don't fit?  What if you were just nice and made breakfast? What if I just left and you didn't walk me to the train?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cry to me.

(Just imagine Solomon Burke's "Cry to Me" in the background fading out).

DEBRA , 45 to her younger co-worker, who is in a bathroom stall.  

I don’t mean to do the whole I’m older than you thing, but I am. So I will. I don’t know what this is about, or why you left the room, and I know you’re embarrassed that it happened like that, during the presentation. Okay, that was unfortunate. You can get some extra tears out on that one. But you can stay in the restroom as long as you want. If you want I can tell the guys that you’re on your period and your grandma just died. No, don’t tell me what or who it is, I don’t want to know. Just stop saying, “I’m sorry” Okay? Just stop. Stop. Please stop. Don’t be sorry just get it out.

(She sobs even more.)
It’s fine. Really. And you’re not crazy. Stop saying you're crazy. Stop. Sometimes it just happens. You know me. I don’t feel emotion. I mean I pretend to socially. I fake care so people like me, but it’s not my thing. I get sent cute pictures of puppies and I just sort of feel sorry for them, and the people that wasted 2.5 seconds of their life looking at them. But years ago, this was before I got married. Joe and I had only been dating for a couple of weeks and he ended it, did the whole slow fade thing. I didn’t care, he was just some guy. 

And I’m uptown at Fairway or Zabar’s getting something to go visit my great aunt.-  I think it was a knish- and I just start to cry. And I’m crossing 72nd street, standing in the middle of the street, and I’m just sobbing. Sobbing gripping onto this knish for dear life.  I almost fall into the ground I’m crying so hard, and I’ve never… This went on for what felt like three minutes, just squatting and crying like I was going to throw up.  Heaving. I was crying so hard that I just started laughing, laughing like an insane person in front of Urban Outfitters, just laughing through sobs.  Teenage girls were just staring, and I’m in a standing fetal position on the cement with a knish.

The thing is I wasn’t crying about Joe, he wasn’t important enough for that. I was crying about me.  I was crying out me. I was crying out everything that I hadn’t. Everything that I was afraid of that I knew and that I didn’t know about. I was crying for everything that I hadn’t felt, and then I was happy that I had the chance to feel all of it.  I was ringing out my system.  So I finished. I've completely lost control, which I don't do. I have mascara just pouring down my face, my eyes look like raisins, and my hair is a mess. I look like a mental patient. And I rounded the corner, and the fucker is standing right there. Joe -who lives downtown mind you- is standing right there, and I thought. “Okay now I am ready, now I can do this, now I have space for this”.

It’s like getting the flu. If you get it once a year it’s healthy because it purges your system. Not to be gross, but you get things out. And I think that’s what you’re doing now. You’re cleansing the system. You're making space. And that’s okay; it’s just easier to put it on a person.  But that person's just a person. I'll watch the door if you want to keep going. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Drunk Girl Prophet

SARAH or MEGHAN (You're not really sure, it was loud). 

You ever want to say to someone- to a guy- ‘You can’t treat me like that, because I am magic….because I am special.’ But you can’t, you can’t say that because you’ll sound like a fucking insane person. It goes beyond being immodest you’ll sound like a nut job. And why? You know, why can’t we say that we’re special and we deserve that back? I mean everyone’s special relatively right? Actually no that’s wrong everyone isn’t… that girl over there...not special. But we deserve like the same level of specialness…speciality. Magic-ness. I don’t know, it’s the wine. I’m saying this cuz of the wine. And like that, like I’d feel stupid saying this without the wine. So, thank you wine.

But yeah, no, we can’t like call people out on their shit, because that like makes us weak. That means like we’re sensitive when really we’re just like sensitive to people being assholes.   No we have to pretend that we’re okay, that we don’t care, that we’re okay with these random texts of "Hey how r u?” How am I?  “I’m confused as to why you can text me yet not see me like a human. I'm confused as to what you're getting from this. I’m confused as to why I’m even responding, I’m generally just confused.  How am I? Confused. I am confused that is how I am.” Like my grandmother didn’t get random phone calls of ‘Hey what’s up’ and then a hang up.  Like you had to have like an actual conversation, like you had to be human, like you had to connect or at least pretend to connect. You didn’t like waste your time.
            (She touches both your shoulders, pulls you closer)

You, you are MAGIC, and I’m just gonna be like some girl you met saying it. And you can like write it off like those crazy people on the subway who spout prophetic things after insanity. But you ARE.  So YOU are NOT going to SETTLE. You have these eyes, these eyes and they see stuff, they see too much, and it’s like hard you know, to like float. Like this, this right now for you this, this party, this bar, this is hard because you see all the bull shit. I like just met you but I can see that you see the bull shit. You you are MAGIC so don’t you dim that for anyone. Don’t you float on the surface, and if you have to leave shit like this early you leave… you leave.  But just like trust it, okay? Cause you like listen, beyond your eyes and ears you listen. And it hurts to hear and see so much, but you hold out. Okay?  You hold out for that person, where you're like 'Yeah that's it', and you'll like know cause like you'll be nervous in a good way. And in the meantime when those guys ask you how you are “How r u?” like 1:00 AM you say “I’m fucking magic”.