Friday, August 21, 2009

The Montpelier and Worcester Diaries: Naked Tuesdays, Now With More Naked. And Bears.

[This is how Perfect makes me feel most of the time-- upside-down and deliciously light and airy.]

Sometimes, procrastination is a good thing. Sometimes, by fluke, happenstance, or fate, my procrastination genes just take over, and then things occur to which my procrastination cocks its’ little head at me and says, “See? Aren’t you glad you waited?”

This is one of those times. The scoop I had for you Tuesday night is nothing compared to the scoop I had for you today. Or, for that fact, all that is STILL nothing compared in light of what just happened an hour ago.

Procrastination: Making me a better blogger. Truth. But for this entry, we’ve got to go back in time a little bit for it to all make sense.

Monday, August 17th, 2009, night:

It has been six days, 300 miles, six hours, and two states away from each other since I have spoken to Perfect. After fleeing from Burlington home, and from home to Saugerties to help my trainer get her L judging license, and then gone back home and after dragging feet and heavy heart, made it back to Burlington, I, although not completely at peace with him, have calmed down enough to realize that I can still be angry and miss him at the same time, and maybe it’s time to start mending some bridges hastily burned. I send him the world’s most simple text to bridge that gap of silence that has lain uncomfortingly, heavily, and ominously between us:

“Hey killer.”

I go to Cait’s to help her sort through the latest miscommunication mess with her boyfriend, and while there, receive a text back from Perfect. In the heat of the heated moment with Cait, I look at the display on my phone that shows his name and throw it back into my bag with a disgusted, “You. I don’t want to talk to you now.” Cait gives me a look that merits an explanation for me, and she hears out my disgruntled raging at one of her best friends with the calm air that I had previously been reserving for dealing with her.

“He’s just like that sometimes—he clings for awhile, and then he needs his space. It’s not you; it’s him. It’s something that he does. And he was clinging to you when you were together—I’ve never seen him cling that hard to a girl he’s seeing ever before.”

Hmm. Food for thought.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, midday:

I am having a picnic on my bed. It’s Naked Tuesday, and I have a spread of all things good to eat and Season Four of SATC, which I swear I will run down the laser imprints on “Ghost Town” and “Baby, Talk Is Cheap” with all the watching that I’ve been doing in, oh, the past two months.
I pause the screen on Carrie’s email to Aiden, and re-read it for what must be the 50th time, feeling it hit all the same old familiar chords of, “Amen, sister!”

“Another big problem—I’m surrounded by memories of you…in my apartment, on the street, that little Moroccan restaurant we ran into when it started pouring rain on us and you kissed me over the cous cous. (Rookie tactical mistake not to have a memory-free environment. Why did we have to go so many places?) Anyhow, I’m not holding out hope that you’re going to change your mind about us. You probably have a new girlfriend now, or several new girlfriends, and I missed my window and I’ll just have to live with that. …Because I know now (too little too late, or better late than never?) that what we had was real and rare and special, and they way it felt to kiss you is the way I always want to feel.

I hope you write me back, but if you don’t, I understand. Just know that I’m thinking about you, and I miss you, and I’m still sleeping on your shoulder when I close my eyes at night.”

In the middle of this, I realize that maybe it would be a good start to text Perfect back and let him know I’ll be in town today to go swimming. His response startles me into fits of glee and hope the likes of which I haven’t seen in myself since the no-baby culmination of last summer’s pregnancy scare.

“Man you guys pick the worst days! Lol, I am seeing my friend for the last time and then hanging with my friends from Mass! Lol.”

His frustration, despite the LOL’s to lighten it, was palpable.

“Hahaha, then it really is the universe’s timing fault and I’m not being crazy and you’re actually not also being a crazy person and avoiding me?” I asked, giddy with glee.

“I am so busy!” he replied.

I called him on the fact that that wasn’t a real answer, though thanked him for refraining from commenting on the me being crazy bit, and we continued seriously talking about our lack of good timing/seeing each other for awhile, among other things. At one point, while discussing packing for his departure to college, he replied to my observation that packing is always the hardest with a, “No! I am a guy, remember?”

“Hahaha, yes,” I told him. “I think we established that fact.”

It was the first time since the dissolution of our mutual union (how many different ways can I say “break up,” I wonder?) that the fact we had in fact, seen each other naked and had sex came up. For two very flirty and sexual people, it was the equivalent of jumping on thin ice, especially since we used to be champion sexters. I wondered if he thought it was as big a step for us as I did.

I ended the conversation a little after, citing the fact that I had brownie cupcakes to go bake. “If I don’t see you today, see you soon?” I asked after we both decided that since my timing for visiting him always seemed to suck, it was on him to plan the timing from now on.

“I will try for it,” he answered, and he meant it.

It was further drilled in when I closed with an “ok killer—later,” and he did something he hadn’t done in a few weeks—sent me back a closing statement of his own, a nice little wrap-up, the bow on the top of the conversation.


Trying from him is all that I ask for—if you try and it still falls through, than oh well—at least I know the thought is there. I sat back at the end of our lovely three hour conversation, and I felt good. We had discussed what I wanted to with him, and had assured each other that avoidance was not the issue here—timing was. I wanted to see him. He wanted to see me in return. We were both being logical and grown-up about discussing things in a mutually beneficial way. Finally, I was doing things right.

It wasn’t until a half an hour later that I realized we had just had another very “relationshippy” talk. Too “relationshippy” for two people not in a relationship. Stumped, I sat back and surveyed the facts. We talk almost every day for hours. We still, with varying degrees of success, want and try to see each other. We still work through our problems respectfully, commitedly, and truthfully. We are, basically, still in a half of a relationship, just minus all the fun parts, like sex and sharing a bed and shower.

“Just resign yourself to the fact you’re stuck with me and everything will be so much easier,” I wanted to say. “Why are we not together?”

Really—why are we not together?

Naked Tuesday, AKA: Tuesday evening:

Last Tuesday, Naked Tuesdays came to be as a sort of inside joke between Alli and I. While we were at the Pots in varying bad moods over the weather and situation Perfect had put us in earlier by basically what was taken to be blowing us, or, well—me especially—off, we had snarkily been joking around about how if he did in fact make his way the arduous half a mile down the road to the swimming hole, he would find our clothing splayed over my Civvy’s hood and jump to the conclusion we were skinny-dipping. Which would lead to him dropping trou immediately and then crashing into the woods to find us, in fact, clothed. Which would lead to some hapless giggling from me, who has, after all, seen it all before, and if I can’t pounce on his naked form, at least give me some hysterical laughter about the absurdity of the situation of there being a ready and willing woman and no boning to be had. And Alli would merely, in her cattily sardonic way, raise a lofty eyebrow and say, “Heeeey, Perf. What is it, Naked Tuesday?”

(This, by the way, is still one of my favorite mental-picture daydreams. Because it could really happen. And this is exactly how it would go.)

We ended up instating Naked Tuesdays as a tradition of our own when we, as usual, got naked on the side of the road to change after swimming. So it was only logical that this Tuesday, the fledging tradition would carry on. And you know, since we’re on a secluded back road, why not dare to go topless? I hate those tan-lines, anyway. And if you’re topless…why not just be naked?

Skinny-dipping isn’t new to me. I’m from the land of the hippies, born from hippies, grown up in a Naked House, and befriend by skinny-dipping fanatics. An exhibitionist by nature, it doesn’t take much to convince me to get naked. The feel of water on bare skin is amazing, despite the fact I am pretty sure my tits made like balls and curled into my body once submerged in the I-can’t-even-explain-to-you-how-chilly water, because they were definitely more small and perky than I remember them ever being on warm dry land. Like every other relationship, you need to take your roommates out of the apartment too, for some quality bonding time. So it was, however, my roommate Kim’s first time skinny-dipping, and when she and Alli both realized that along with the fact it doesn’t take much to convince me to drop my garments, it also doesn’t take much to convince my naked ass to do stupid, naked things, they dared me to go streaking down the road to the car for the camera.

Let me state now that what Alli and I, in the four previous times we had swam at the Pots, had only watched a grand total of two cars pass by. Already today, in our Naked Tuesday adventure, there had been five. I considered it only a chance on time before the next passed. But hell—gas money and an ice cream were on the table for me. I really did need that gas, and I’m never fool enough to pass on ice cream. (I am a woman, you know. The Holy Trinity in life is SATC, sex, and ice cream. And if I can work all three to coincide together, all the better.) They would allow me my bottoms, just for propriety’s sake, but these were my mom’s vintage teal string bikini bottoms, and damn is the elastic on those weren’t finally giving in to Father Time and refusing to stay on or anywhere around my ass when I was doing anything other than stand still. Diving and say, running, made them flee for the safety of my ass-cheeks faster than you could say “thong,” and I’ll be damned if I was going to waltz slowly down that dirt road, which would be karmically begging for someone to drive by.

Instead, I clutched “the girls” and ran, scaring the shit out of the neighbors’ dog as I came tearing down the road, one arm thrown across my bouncing chest, the other flailing with my car keys. The poor dog crashed out of the bushes on the other side of my road from my car, took one look at me, jumped straight up in the air three feet, and then turned tail and booked it back home. I don’t blame it—wet, cold, half-naked, and with my bikini bottoms hiding somewhere the sun don’t shine, I would have ran from me, too. And of course, right as I scrambled back down the hill to the swimming hole with camera held triumphantly in hand, a car passed. Well, I hope they enjoyed that sight.

All toll, seven cars passed that evening, including one that may or may not have been John, Knight in Shining Honda Armor’s mother. So, seeing as Worcester is an exceedingly small town, I feel confident saying roughly half of the town has now seen me naked. Well, that’s certainly a way to get my name or, um, body out there for general knowledge. Take that, Worcester girls! Do you have an ass like this?

The evening was further drawn to a close and a conclusion of theme of “What The Fuck?” when, while driving away into the growing blue and blackness of the night on Minister Brook Road, as we were all singing along to Big & Rich’s “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy,” (one of my newly re-claimed favorite songs,) a ginormous black bear loped across the road in front of me. Luckily, Alli was in the middle of filming one of our infamous travel videos, and she caught the sound, at least, on tape, as the three of us started shrieking like, you guessed it—girls. Actually, I was doing a sort of voice undulation from shriek to bellow. “BEAR! THAT was a BEAR! That was a MOTHERFUCKING BEAR!!!” About 30 seconds of girlishly flurry and exclaiming later, the car once more descended into silence, and then we all picked up at the next chorus with nary a word about the wildlife. Another example of why women adapt to change so much more quickly than men. All the men I know, especially some of the men I know, Perfect included, would be back on the side of the road where the bear ran into the woods again, tire irons in hand, making plans on how to best subdue said bear with their bare hands, debating the manliness of the situation. My roommates and I, on the other hand, had had enough “bareness” in our day to let the bear become an interesting side-note and go on with life.

Earlier, when we passed the gas station/convenience store in Worcester, I had noticed, (ok, maybe not so much “noticed” as “saw and started wailing,”) that Perfect’s 4Runner was parked in the parking lot with “For Sale” signs on both driver’s side window and windshield. Other than the fact that I am inexplicably attached to this car that has tormented me so much because, although they say that every third car in Vermont is a Subaru, let me tell you—another every third car in Vermont is a Toyota 4Runner, and roughly half of them are from around the same era or color that Perfect’s trusty, growly 4Runner is, and I see them EVERYWHERE, it also brought up the question of, well, if we had been looking for the 4Runner in Montpelier all afternoon, and it was here…what was Perfect driving? Damned questions aside, I gazed longingly at the hulking shape across the dark lot as I fueled up. Alli noticed my longing . “I don’t think I’m going to get to christen it,” I told her, a hint of desperation clinging in my voice. “He and I talked about it, but I don’t think it’s going to happen before it gets sold. It’s going out there, to someone else, undefiled!”

“Or you could see if it’s unlocked and roll around naked in it,” she said, trying to cheer me up.

Once with gas in the tank and all members of Apartment 607 and the excursion back into the car, I drove across the lot to linger by the 4Runner’s side. If you haven’t caught on by now, I’m a car girl. I’ve always been hopelessly attached to cars, starting back in my childhood when I named the family station wagon after the car in “Robocop” and clung to its back bumper sobbing when my parents traded it in. Now, I channel my interest through more productive ways, such as reading “Car and Driver” and “Road and Track” magazines and identifying all the parts under the hood of the Civvy and talking shop with my male friends and mechanics. (Though I still do name all my cars.) As I idled next to the 4Runner, Alli, once again playing devil’s advocate, looked over at me. “Do you have lipstick with you?”

“Of course,” I said, a little affronted. I may know where to find an engine belt, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a girl! “I’ve got my make-up bag in the back seat.”

“Kiss his windshield,” she urged. “He’d love it. C’mon.”

“I think I’ve already done enough reckless behavior today. I think that may be pushing it.”

“Come on. You’ve done this much. Might as well top it off. It’d be great. I dare you.”

If you can’t tell, daring me gets shit done. I slicked on MAC “Lustering” and smacked a kiss against the driver’s side window right over the white paper with the price on it. “And if he asks if it was me,” I told Alli as I jogged back to the Civvy and slid in, slamming the door, “I’ll say it was for good luck to get it sold.” Not.

I went home, and, still elated and a little punch-drunk from my afternoon of bliss and daring, left Perfect a Facebook post, of course. “Ohhh lordy, Mr. Perfect, when you miss things, you REALLY miss things. Well, roughly half of Worcester has now seen me bare-ass naked, and I scared someone’s dog to hell and back by accident when running down the road. And did you know, you live near very large black bears? Because guess what? One ran into the road in front of me. (All involved are fine. Though there was lots of screaming.) Can you beat that evening?” (Please keep this post in mind. It is very important later in this continuing story.)
It wasn’t until the next morning, standing in the shower, that I realized this Naked Tuesday had been the 18th—the two month anniversary of the Great June ’09 Downsizing of Perfect and I.

Thursday, August 20th, 2009:

While walking downtown with Emily and relaying the events of Naked Tuesday with her, the point came up that Perfect had never, in fact, responded to my Facebook post. This is nothing new, however—even when we were together, he would rarely respond. In fact, he only ever sent me a grand total of two Facebook messages. So I generally don’t sweat it, other than being minorly pissy about it to myself at odd moment, like when I’m standing in my closet, putting my jewelry on and it pops into my mind. However, Emily is affronted.

“He could at least text you in acknowledgement or something, even if he doesn’t post back!” she told me. “I mean, really—he likes to text you—can’t he at least give you a “hey, got your post—sounds like an interesting time,”?!”

I’m more blasé about this, but let me tell you something now, because this little demand of Emily’s also becomes quite important a little later on—the Universe is manifesting right now, right this second. I know you may not be into New Age-y shit like this, but I am, and I’m telling you, it’s true. So open your mouth. Tell it what you want. It’s listening right now—make your demands and prepare to be surprised.

Friday, August 21st, 2009, midday:

I am sweaty and sore from the gym, unshowered, disgusting in the midday humidity and muggy heat, and sitting on the porch of a campus dorm with Cait, listening to her tell me how everything is now great with her boyfriend. I refrain from saying “I told you so” in a fifth grade cadence. Instead, I decide that as long as we’re talking about The Boys We Were Previously Mad At, I may as well tell her Perfect and I talked and made up. As I explain to her our conversation, I start to see an odd light in her eyes, and Cait begins to wiggle like, again, a fifth grader, waiting to be excused for a potty break. I know this particular wiggle. She’s got something to share with the class.

She lets me finish my story and then quickly and almost breathlessly adds in. “Girl Who Slept On The Couch The Night You Slept With Perfect is mad at Perfect for the way he’s been treating you,” she says in a tumble of words.

“Oh?” I ask. Girl Who Slept On The Couch The Night I Slept With Perfect is now—haha, how funny life works out sometimes—now a casual friend of mine through Cait and Perfect.

“Yeah. I guess he was talking to Joellen about you and she told Jordan and Jordan got mad at him.”

Her wigglyness is putting her in danger of falling off the porch’s railing by now. My curiosity is piqued as well. “Oh, do tell,” I implore her.

“I guess he was talking to Joellen about how “oh, there’s this girl that I really like hanging out with and I really like her and being with her, but we just never see each other and I’m always busy when she’s around.” And Joellen was like, “well, you need to not be busy and you need to see her if you like her. And stop being stupid about it.” And then Jordan ripped him a new one and was like, “she still likes you, so stop being stupid and making excuses and see her again.” And I want to talk to him about it, too,” she added, spent from carrying the information so long before getting to deliver it, sighing contentedly.

Let me recap, here: Joellen is Perfect’s oldest girl friend, a partner in crime since they were both knee-high. She’s the friend I was supposed to meet the day of the “Save Our Style” clothing debacle, and the friend that Perfect always said I would get along with famously because we’re so similar. With Baby Mix back down South where he goes to school, John pretty much convinced I am great and Perfect is stupid for being stupid and letting me go, and Cait having conflicting interest, Joellen is who Perfect is left with for the whole “confiding things”.

Thankfully, Joellen is a girl, and like most girls, can’t keep something to herself when she feels strongly about it. And again, thankfully, we have mutual friends all too eager to beat the tom-toms and pass the word along. So, long story short: Perfect, after re-immerging from his “I’m a painfully practical man and I’d rather deny myself my feelings than get hurt” two month stupid-coma, managed to confide to someone who, despite never meeting her, likes me enough to beat him senseless with female logic and pass the word on to another girl who also beat him senseless for it, who then got the news to Cait who made sure to deliver it to me.

Now it was my turn to almost fall off the railing.

I vibrate home with happiness and mentally start to conduct my speech for the next time I see Perfect. It begins with a crooked smile and an “Are you done being stupid now? You wasted two perfectly good months of summer you could have been getting spectacular regular sex and having fun, you know,” and ends with something like, “why don’t we give it a try? It doesn’t have to be serious or a relationship—it can be casual. I have no disillusions that you’re not going to be meeting new people and flirting, and so am I. But I get out of classes Friday afternoon, have weekends off, and don’t have to be back until midday on Mondays. I could probably visit you twice a month, if you’d come up once a month. We can see how it goes, and then decide from there if it will work, or if no harm, no foul, it won’t. Honestly, we might as well.” In the middle, there’s a bit of “I’ve missed you; you apparently still want to see me and aren’t over me; maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be; we talk all the time; we might as well still be together for everything we do…yadda yadda yadda.” You get the drift. You’ve heard it all before. Now it’s time for him to hear it.

I'm hoping to win him over with faultless logic and sparkling charm. You know, the things he likes.
Or, if that doesn't work, a sneak-attack on his libido. Which he also likes, too. I figure it's all a win/win.

Friday, evening, Return of the Sexter:

Friday afternoon, Alli convinces me to go see “500 Days of Summer.” It was phenomenal and witty and stirring, but that’s beside the point. The point is, I ate movie theater popcorn again, and when I came home later, became disgustingly sick. I have since reached the conclusion that movie theater popcorn is not compatible with clean, body-is-a-somewhat-holyish-if-just-admiring-shrine well-eating Carissa’s digestive system that is used to things like home-cooked pasta and things without preservatives or many chemicals. Clean, gym-worshipping, well-eating Carissa, devoid of marijuana, fast food, microwavable shit, and high calorie snacks, just isn’t made to eat that anymore, and let me tell you—my body lets me know. Racked up with pain on my bed, cold-sweating profusely while burning up, trembling, and nauseous to smell, sound, and light, in boxers, a bra, and bun, blanket over me and fan directing cold air at my prone body, I texted Perfect, the person I always go to with my gym-related questions. “I don’t suppose with your cast-iron stomach there are any foods you can’t eat after going to the gym because they make you feel nauseous and break out into cold sweats and tremble?”

I passed out for 45 minutes, waking up when he texted me back after he got out of work. “Lol, nope!”

“Awww, fuck, then I’m actually ill,” I found it somewhere within myself to will my thumbs to text back. “You were supposed to say something like, “of course—eggs make me want to die” or something!” (Note the exclamation point in my text. I was obviously feverish, because since Perfect, I usually abhor them and leave them out of my punctuation and up to him.)

“Sorry, yeah, sometimes it’s not good to work out and then eat right after!” (See what I mean about leaving him the exclamations points?)

“I didn’t—I ate 3 hours later but apparently movie theater and Skittles on an empty and freshly worked-out stomach is a no-no. Imagine that.”

“Oh, wow, I don’t know, then!” And now, ladies and gentlemen, for what you’ve been remembering those two previous Important Things To Remember For: “What was that message about you being naked and seeing a bear about? Lol.”

A.) Perfect always adds a complimentary “Lol” onto the end of a statement if he thinks it will be too personal, because, and he’s right in this, it usually down-plays the real and houndish intent behind it.
B.) I sent him that message three days previously. He’d been thinking about my naked body and bears for three days now. Score.
C.) …that may have been my intent in using the words “bare-ass naked.” What can I say? I’m horny as fuck.

I explained the post, all while cackling maniacally about both the fact that Emily was going to lose her shit when she heard that he actually did exactly what she asked from him, and also about the fact that my naked body, or even the hint of it, still gets him every time. Men. They are so easy sometimes.

“Haha, well, I mean, people like naked bodies,” Perfect responded a few hours, a lapse in service when he went home, dinner, and then a foray back into basic humanity complete with cell phone coverage after I finished the story. “So I don’t think it matters too much who saw you, lol.”

“Yes, this is true. Hopefully, I’ll never meet John’s mom, or if I do, she won’t recognize me with clothing on. The same could be said for the rest of the people who went by. That road is normally not that busy. It was unfair. And it was worth it still, all considering the potential public embarrassment. Or, rather, em-bare-ass-ment, hahaha.”

And then, my friends, that’s when things started heating up, and the Return of the Sexter began.

“Lol, so you were totally naked?” Perfect asked. (See what I mean with the “LOL’s”?)

Is sexting with an ex you want to get back together with bad? I wouldn’t have even considered this change in events possible before this morning—I was still shocked when it, ahem, came up tonight. The other day I was just lamenting the lack of anything sexual between Perfect and I—again, hello, manifesting universe! If I didn’t know what I had found out this morning, I never would have let it happen. But being armed with the knowledge that Perfect is apparently on the same wavelength I am and finding his way back to the path of Us, I um…went along with it. There was only one moment where I looked across from the living room into the kitchen where Alli was cooking dinner and asked, “So, do I call him on this? I mean, it’s been five minutes since the last text—he’s definitely jerking off to this, and I’m letting him. Do I call him out and say, hey, you’re getting off on this and what am I getting, or do I just let it go and thank god it’s happening again?”

Alli wisely stayed out of this. The mention of Perfect whacking off usually does her in.

The only thing that keeps me from being inappropriate at night and sending Perfect texts like the one I wanted to send him last night—“I’d like to eat you alive,”—is the fact that he lives out of cell coverage, and even in my state of extreme hornyness I realize that it will probably be around eight hours before he would get it, which makes it the next morning and some potentially quite awkward morning texting conversation explaining why I thought it was a good idea to send that in the first place. However, I just realized—in nine days when he moves to college, he’ll be in service 24/7. I won’t have that moment of time-judgment. I will be…gulp…judgment-free.

And god knows where this is going with Perfect. All signs point to a veer back on-course, and since the universe, as I said, is listening right now, than please, listen to this: GET ME AND PERFECT BACK TOGETHER NOW THAT HE’S REALIZING HE’S BEEN AN IDIOT. Or, you know, now that he’s horny again and looking to make amends. That works, too. Anyway, give us a second chance. Please.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Promise.

I am going down to the boardwalk overlooking the river to smoke a cigarette. When I come back, I will go straight to work on a blog post. I promise.

The best part is that it's so humid and muggy here that I honestly cannot be bothered to actually put real clothes on, so I'm going out in boy's soccer shorts, a college t-shirt, flip-flops, and a messy pony-tail. No one would recognize me now except for the people I went to elementary school with when this was my basic uniform. Maybe I'll be mistaken for a local townie and get hit on by the high-school drop-out boys that affix NASCAR emblems to their 1990's trucks. Oh, the pleasure! I am almost embarrassed to be seen with myself.

But really, one bad, nasty little cigarette and then I'm back and to business. I promise!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"You May Have Changed Me, But I Made Me."

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things that make us. Nothing existential—I was done with the practical knowledge of physics after CP Physics senior year of high school, and I’m a lethargic pagan with Zen tendencies and religion usually gives me a throbbing headache. More like, the little (and sometimes not so little) things that makes someone up—the little pieces/parts that are unique yet universal.

Maybe it’s the fact I’ve been home so much lately. Going back to the house I grew up and seeing the people I grew up with and sleeping in the same room I did for 18 years of my life (even if I wake up bolt upright every first night home now mid-panic attack because I don’t know where I am,) makes me think about the person I am and who I’m becoming.

There are the little universal things: most daughters use the same brand of make-up as their mothers because that’s what they started experimenting with when they hit middle school or puberty, whichever came first. (To this day, I’m a Clinique girl—foundation, blush, eyeliner, mascara, lip color and all. Thanks, Mama.) Most people still eat at the same time they grew up eating dinner—I’m stuck around 8 or 9 PM because that’s usually when my dad’s wonderful culinary ventures were finally done by. Fathers remain, as John Mayer said, the “god and the weight of their [daughters’] world.” My father is still the person I seek the most approval from—he’s the one I desperately want to like the guys that actually make it home.

(Hmmm, interesting side-note: you know how Freud and psychologists always say that women look for partners like their fathers? I tend to disregard this claim, but this last little endeavor of mine got me comparing notes. Perfect’s birthday is the day before my father’s. My dad also threw discus quite spectacularly in high school. They both like wood-working. They both hunted in their youth. They’re both painfully logical. They both have far more female than male friends. And they both like things THEIR way—their timing, their plans, their deal. They both seem to be hopelessly good at anything they turn their hand to. I believe they are what you would call a “Jack Of All Trades, Master Of All, But Bored Very Easily In Their Pursuits.”)

There are the things you’re born with: a predisposition for warm weather, cool drinks, and good music. A love of cities and men with hazel eyes. Short calves and shorter stature. The same blue eyes, blonde hairline and forehead that everyone else on your dad’s side of the family has. A tendency to talk quickly, even more so when you’re either A.) mad, or B.) in Jersey. The way you sleep on your right side at night and curl up in the fetal position. How you laugh. What words you stutter—“rural,” “tinted windows,” and “Hawaii.” A love of jewelry and cars. Luck at the racetrack and the blackjack table. Baby toes. Dry humor and an inquisitive mind.

There’s the things that are harder to explain: how you can always, always—road blocks, detours, maps lost, bad directions given—find your way home. Like a homing pigeon. I can always point you in the direction my home is. I can tell you how to get there from the east, west, north, south, and which way is bound to have bad pot holes in the road.

Home seeps into your veins. Both my parents are New Jersey transplants, but I’m a Vermont Girl through and through. My night vision is phenomenal from running through fields at night, holding a beer bottle in one hand, and the can of gasoline for the bonfire in the other, or holing up in a playground’s tunnel tube with a polar fleece blanket and bottle of vodka in the middle of winter with the Twinny. I’ve ridden in the bed of a drunken friend’s truck and gone muddin’ and field driving. I could drive a Gator or Kubota before I could handle a gold cart. I drive better on dirt roads than paved ones. I own a pair of Carhartt pants for the winter, and I slip into the Vermont vernacular of “hun’nin’” and “fer” and “yer” and drawling out long and flat vowels as easily as I picked up contra dancing and wearing plaid. (That was “hunting” and “for” and “your,” for those of you who don’t speak Backwoods.) I cleanly killed a 150 pound doe on the opening day of fall hunting season, even if it was with my car and not a rifle. One of my favorite prom memories was when they played Big & Rich’s “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy,” and the glittery and well-coiffed and be-tuxed dance floor turned into a massive hoe-down.

And I’ll admit, there’s something appealing to me in the date described when they sing, “‘I’m a Thoroughbred,’ that’s what she said in the back of my truck bed as I was getting’ buzzed on suds out on some back country road. We were flyin’ high, fine as wine, havin’ ourselves a big and rich time, and I was goin’ just about as far as she’d let me go. But her evaluation of my cowboy reputation had me beggin’ for salvation all night long, so I took her out giggin’ frogs, introduced her to my old bird dogs, sang her every Willie Nelson song I could think of, and we made love.” (I think I actually may have done something like this—one of my high school beaus knew to cut the engine of his Wrangler a hundred yards from the end of my driveway and coast to the mailbox, where I would meet him after sneaking out around midnight with a six-pack of Bud and the knowledge that my parents were fast asleep, thinking I was on the other side of the wall in bed.)

And then there’s the things you accumulate along the way: Your education, or what you so choose to take with you from it—to this day, I can relay physics theorems with you and the major players in the American Revolution and positively OWN a five paragraph paper complete with opening paragraph with thesis, three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph that ties them all together in air-tight and faultless detail, but get me a calculator for simple math.

The people that helped shape you: teachers, friends, authority figures. Alli, my riding trainer, is my second (much younger, much more entertaining) mother, and the person other than my father who guys should really go out of their way to impress, pulling out all the stops—handshakes, “yes ma’am,” “no, ma’am,” “pleasure to meet you,” and all. If I bring a guy to the barn, that’s when they know I’m serious about them—not when I bring them home. My parents I can survive you meeting without much of a to-do, but meeting my horse and my trainer is like meeting my child and therapist.

Past relationships you bring with you—scars, lessons, and all. Every new guy I date has to deal with the damage and triumphs of previous boyfriends. After the Inappropriately-Aged Boyfriend, I acquired the need to know, in brief terms, where, with whom and what guys were doing when not with me. (That’s what a cheater will do to you.) After Catholic Boy, virgins were nixed from the dating list. After the Douche, men who followed through were given priority. The Flaky Artist started the Tall Boy Obsession. Legs taught me what abandonment feels like. Jersey Blunt gave me a taste of what a real guy is supposed to do—call back, text you first occasionally, and like to include you in what they’re doing, even if it is helping him sell his wickedly good weed. And Perfect gave me that guy that every other boy in the future will despise: that ex that’s still around, on my phone and a few towns over, who did everything right; the Golden Boy; the one I still can’t say one bad thing about, even when pressed. I can give a shrug and a “He drove me crazy, but he put both toilet seat and cover down, what more do you need to convince you?”

I recently pulled my senior year book out again, feeling a little nostalgic at the end of another summer as I watch people getting ready to leave for their first year of college. I remember that newness, that feeling of “thank god; I’m finally outta here!” and the fears that came with it: Will I like my roommate? Will I make new friends? Will I be homesick? Will the classes are too hard? Will I get caught partying by the cops? Will the girls be cute? Will the guys be hot? Will all my stuff fit into my dorm room? Will I have to share a bathroom? Will my roommate sex-ile me? Will I be sex-iling my roommate? Will I get good grades? Will my professors like me? Will I like my professors? Will the food suck? How often will I get to visit home? Will my friends from home stay in touch? Will I like it there? Will I grow up?

I now look back on this, and I can give a firm “yes” to all of these things. And if at first it seems like “no,” give it another try.

In my senior bio, my future plans and quote were wise beyond my years. Somehow, my 18 year old self knew back then that College Carissa would need to open that page up, and see something other than the fact that it is never, EVER a good idea to include your current boyfriend or girlfriend in your bio—something I failed at, mentioning Catholic Boy and our romps in the Tech Room twice. Instead of focusing on this, I left myself two pieces of gold: “‘I’ve done the math enough to know the dangers of a second-guessing.’- Tool, and future plans: conquer the Amazon with a mongoose, and when that’s not exciting anymore, raise sheep in Ireland with a gorgeous farmer. (Or go to college, be happy, and love one man, or many.)”

It was telling already, even then. Along with the picture of me accosting a life-size Beef-eater bedecked teddy bear with a leg and am arm over it like it was a giant, furry stripper pole in London that accompanied it as my senior portrait.

I’ve always enjoyed a bit of shock value. That remains the same.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Runaway Girl Does Shop Talk.

I legitimately ran away from Burlington today. Granted, I have a reason to be gone, and it’s a good one, but don’t let it fool you—even if I hadn’t had one, I would have fled that town today like the fugitive from the Cold, Hard Truth that I am.

Or, at least, I tried to flee quickly and quietly. That’s hard when your car’s front right brake is making a sound as if someone is sanding it every time your tire rotates and it feels like a part of your front end is crumpling every time you actually dare to apply the brakes. Luckily, my mechanic guys are less than a quarter-mile from my apartment. I was able to baby the Civvy there and pass it off to them with sound affects and a worried look. As they diagnosed, I tested the multiple lines of my cell phone between my money dealing for repairs with my father, my freaking out about money dealings with my friends, and my texted second-opinion mechanic’s advice from John, who got to reassure me multiple times that while not replacing the “nearly shot” rotors wasn’t great, and the fierce vibration the new brake pads gave under foot when braking as my nasty rotors wore them down (damned if I didn’t get new pads, financially doomed if I got matching rotors—after all, the Civvy’s alternator was just fucking rebuilt last week and the car serviced to the tune of over $300,) I would be ok and not die.

Let it be stated that John has the patience of a saint, the good sense when it comes to women of a seasoned sterling boyfriend, and the capacity to make me a raging fan-girl because of both.

It’s never good news when the mechanic comes and sits next to you. He looked at me with a mixture of wariness and pity—this college girl obviously in over her head, clutching her cell phone like it was a life-line and she could possibly squeeze both another dime and some good luck out of it—and leaned in. “Do you have a dad or a friend or a boyfriend who works with cars?” he asked me.

Nothing like a complete stranger pressing a sore point. Do Not Go There. Abort Mission. No Talking About The Elephant In The Mechanic Shop. “No…” I started flatly, remembering how Perfect followed Cait all over Burlington playing Boy Mechanic, and then paused, remembering John, presumably on the other end of his phone line, pressing key pad buttons to tell me what to do, always the Knight in Shining Honda Armor. “Actually, I have a friend who works at a Honda dealership?” I finished, the end of my statement rising up like a question. Is John really a friend of mine? Would he really follow through on his word and be willing to help me out?

“Oh, he could probably get the parts much cheaper through his dealership discount,” the mechanic told me, getting more animated now that I had given him something he could work with me with. “He may even be able to replace them himself. It would be much less expensive.”

I loved Mechanic Man at this moment. Most would be telling you that they are the only person capable of caring for your car properly, and at an exorbitant price. This is what returning a mechanic’s wrench will do for you, it seems—you watch out for them, and they watch out for you.

My favorite caveat from my Mechanic Man friend was the words of wisdom he gave me as I climbed into my driver’s seat. “Pump the brakes a few times and test them out. Don’t tail-gate. If your rotors get really hot and you slam on the brakes hard, they could explode. And then the only way you’ll stop is when you hit something.”

I looked at him, wide-eyed. “Or when I pull the emergency brake?”

“Yeah, that, too.”

Excellent. I am driving the Amazing, Exploding, Vibrating Car. We are one sex-toy step up from the Ford Pinto.

On the way home, I got to ponder life a lot. Specifically, though while it may suck sometimes, today really is not when I would want it to end. I cannot die pissed off with Perfect. And the more I thought about Perfect and how mad I still am at him, and how lovely John is, even through my frantic texts to him, the more I wanted to just stop running, stop driving, stop the car, pull over, and collapse.

I’m not a crier. I just find it emotionally and physically exhausting. I can’t muster up the emotion enough to care to cry. Nine times out of ten, if I do cry, it’s out of frustration. Get me angry, get me frustrated, and there come the waterworks. Hurt me, cause me pain—no thanks. I’ll sleep it off. If I feel like I really need to cry, I get into the shower and let the water hit me in the face so I can pretend the droplets streaming down my face and off the tips of my eyelashes are my tears. Just feeling them makes me feel better. Crying, I find, is over-rated.

Because I’m home, I substitute the Jacuzzi bathtub for the shower, though I also love the shower, particularly for singing in, as when you get pitch-perfect, the glass walls emit a lovely reverberation. I was, admittedly, a mistake of my parents. They weren’t expecting a child in their house on the reclusive mountain, and so were in the process of fully-loading it when my mother discovered she was in the family way. Large entertaining deck? Check. Jacuzzi? Check. Library? Nope—make that a child’s bedroom. My father, the sort of guy who doesn’t deal well with his plans being changed, didn’t speak to her for a week. (That, I just find unfair. It takes two to tango, after all, let alone to do the horizontal no-pants dance.) The Jacuzzi is my thing—it’s where I learned how to doggie-paddle, where I used to wash my below-waist long hair through elementary school, and when stress found my life around the same time as high school and the start of manual labor jobs and then demanding retail jobs, it became my oasis from the world.

It’s still one of the first places I go to when I get home. I light all the candles I’ve hoarded into the bathroom from all over the rest of the house with my cigarette lighter, my worst of the Bad Habits. I’m partial to my light because it’s so multi-use friendly—I’ve used it to light up; most of my closest friends have used it; boyfriends have used it; it’s been all over with me through the good, the bad, and the indifferent; it’s lit the road at night, warmed fingers in the winter, and lit candles in again, the good, the bad, and the indifferent. (I’m actually quite a sentimental person about little objects like this. If you look around my room, you’d notice all sorts of little trinkets—stones, shells, bottle caps, ticket stubs, hair ties, pieces of paper, and the big one, fortune cookie fortunes—all with memories behind them. Little touchstones, some with lessons, some sweet, some bitter, some bittersweet.) I let the water run until it’s steamy like a sauna in the bathroom, and then me, book, bathtub and moonlight-filled skylights get re-acquainted.

This may be one of the few times in life I really just breathe. There is something about candle light, water, and music that just strips me down and makes me let go of the things that I normally keep balled up into a tight little bundle of nerves that keeps me vibrating with thoughts and worries day and night. I don’t—ha, as if this should come of any surprise—let go of things easily. Usually, the Jacuzzi, like the barn, is one of those places I let go, if nothing more than out of habit, knowing that I should.

Tonight was different. Tonight was hard. Tonight, I couldn’t keep my attention on the book’s pages, or in what I was doing, or even in the zip code I was in. It seems running from Burlington to home wasn’t far enough to go to lose the things howling and nipping at my heels. It seems as though I’ll have to go even farther. Yes. I am the kind of girl who runs away from things. Last time, it was to get away from Perfect the night we slept together and he spent the night. In the morning, I had to leave by 9 AM to meet my trainer to go to Jersey. This time, although technically it’s to go help my trainer again, it’s really to get away from Perfect again, and all the things left unsaid. (Both times I’ve run away from Perfect, I’ve been wearing the same underwear. This makes me wonder about how much of it is what’s in the panties. Am I really a big pussy when it comes to him and relationships?) So far, I’ve put over 2 hours and 60 miles between us, and it’s still not enough. I’ll let you know when I can figure out when to stop running.

So I finally fell backward and lay at the bottom of the tub, wondering if I could just live there, head underwater, buffering the sound of the world. Me, the Jacuzzi and I…that’s all. Maybe I could hide at the bottom of the porcelain pool forever. Maybe no one would come looking for me. Maybe I could get my mom to deliver meals in twice a day for me. She always says how she misses me; why not move home to avoid life? I had everything else I needed—hell, I’m already in a bathroom, lying in a tub. I have all the water I could ever want or need. There are windows directly above me, a radio, and reading material. With my head underwater, ears flooded, the sound of the radios bass and my heartbeat are the only thing I can hear. No thoughts. No worries. Nothing to run away from anymore. Silence, I don’t get so much of anymore.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Perfectly Pissed Off: The Montpelier and Worcester Diaries

I hate going to bed angry, and I am most definitely going to bed angry, worn down-and-out, and emotionally tired and drained tonight. I feel like the human equivalent of laundry—doused, cold, beaten around, and hung out to dry by my arms and legs. And, maybe in this case, heart.

Today, around 11 AM, I made the executive decision that I was going to Montpelier today. I was going on a day Perfect was working so we could drop in and I could finally, FINALLY see him, and I was going to take Alli so she could finally go into the rock shop she wanted to see, and I was going to go today when I didn’t have to worry about things like Mother Nature or timing or dragging other people along and making schedules copasetic, and I was going to the Pots because the weather was absolutely gross and hot and humid, and I was going now while I knew I still had gas and money and time to do so.

I was so done with waiting. I woke up impatient and restless, and goddammit, I was doing something about it. I was finally fed-up enough that I wasn’t scared of “invading Perfect’s territory” or feeling weird about dropping by. For almost as long as I’ve known him, we’ve had an inside joke that I always kid about while we text and he’s at work. If he complains that it’s been a slow day at the copy shop, I’ll ask him, “what? No one needs 500 copies of the complete works of Shakespeare?” Alli happens to own the complete works of Shakespeare. The plan was to lug the book into the copy shop, plop it down on the counter, say, “Hey, we need 50 copies of this…by tonight,” and then grin, lean across the counter, put my hands on his shoulders and say in a tone of wonderment, “So you do exist! How’s life?” All in all, I was only asking to take up maybe five minutes of his day. If he wanted to go swimming with us when he got out of work, it would be his call. I just wanted to see his face.

It seemed perfect. But almost nothing ever lives up to that expectation.

Alli and I tooled around (Ok, so maybe more appropriately, we skulked around, walking fast down the sidewalk opposite of the copy shop when we had to pass it. “What are you doing?” Alli asked me as I peered into a hobby shop’s window as if I had infinite interest in baseball cards and Beanie Babies. “Avoiding eye-contact with the copy shop?” I was.) stopping into shops and getting coffee before she finally smacked me over the head and told me to get on with it. “What’s he going to do?” she asked me.

“Charge out of the store and yell at us to leave Montpelier?” I offered.

She snorted in derision. “What, charge out of the store and shout, “YOU! I BANISH YOU FROM MY TOWN!”?”

We cracked up, and walked up the front steps to the copy shop. “You go first,” I told her. “I don’t want to be the first through the door.”

Stepping through the threshold, her face got a similar panicked look to what I’m sure mine looked like, and she pushed me in front of her. I scanned the store. A guy with sandy blonde hair was walking into the back. A pretty brunette manned (womanned?) the register.

‘Fuck my life,’ was my first thought. ‘He works with his type.’

“Can I help you?” Shop Girl asked us nicely.

“Yeah,” I said, feeling slightly foolish but using my own retail-friendly voice, an octave higher than my regular speaking voice, more girly and friendly and winsome. “Is Perfect working today?”

Looking like she was asked this question fairly regularly, she glanced into the back. “Sorry, but I think he just left,” she told me.

“Oh, ok. Thanks,” I told her before my silent partner and I beat a hasty retreat. On the sidewalk in front of the store, I dialed his number, waiting for the rings to count down to his answering machine with his startlingly low voice, making a face at Alli when he didn’t pick up.

“Hey, Perfect—you must have known we were coming, because Alli and I just stopped in to the copy shop with the complete works of Shakespeare for you. We’re in town because it’s gross out and North Beach was apparently a zoo, so we’re gonna go swimming at the Pots in about an hour. If you get this, call or text and maybe we can meet up, stranger.”

Two minutes later, sitting on the State House steps, my phone rang with a text from him. “Haha, I actually went to the store down the way and am back! Lol, but I gtg home to help my dad do money stuff online cuz he can’t do it himself! Lol.”

Manslation: “I’m back at work, but leaving soon to go help my dad figure out my financial aid, so don’t bother stopping back in.”

After decoding the Perfect-ese, I texted him back. “Ok, well, Alli and I are eating and drinking and kicking around town for at least another hour before we head to the Pots, but if you get your stuff done with your dad, head down and try to meet up with us, killer!”

Girlversion: “Are you fucking kidding me? You don’t have five minutes? But, ok, that’s a valid reason to go home. And at least you explained you weren’t hiding in the back of the store, cowering in a broom closet. And I appreciate the “haha’s” and “Lol’s.” But really. I want to see you.”

Perfect’s answer? “Ok.”

Manslation: “Don’t count on it.”

By now, I was defeatist and Alli was simmering mad. “Seriously. We’re 30 seconds away from his work. He really can’t stop by and say “hi” on his way out of town? I’m sure his dad wouldn’t care if he was 5 minutes later. You haven’t seen him in a month, and he is 30 SECONDS AWAY. Are you going to call him on this? You better be calling him on this. I'm done making excuses for him. I'm done being on his side. I'm done being nice to him.”

She was right. I knew she was right. So I followed-up with another text, gently insistent. “Or, you could stop on the State House lawn on your way out seeing as we’re 30 seconds away. Also, is John around?”

This is where I went wrong. This is where I should have learned from the same mistake I went through with Legs in the phone conversation after our cease-fire coffee date this past May. You never, EVER tack on another non-related note to the end of what you really want answered from a man, because, scientifically proven, they will answer the last and less important and pointed question and ignore the first. Ladies, learn from my mistakes—ONE QUESTION OR STATEMENT AT A TIME IF YOU WANT AN ANSWER OR IT TO BE ADDRESSED.

Sure enough, Perfect texted me back with a “Nope, road trip with his dad!”

Manslation: “I am ignoring your insisting and pretending that you never asked me that other thing which We Will Not Speak Of.”

Girlversion: “You’re being avoided. This is complete bullshit.”

I wear my anger well. Like designer clothing that took me a lot of time and money to get. And when I’m wearing it, I want to show it off. I have a red head’s temper in a blonde’s body, and I can carry a grudge like no body’s business. As this was the first time I’ve ever been mad at Perfect, really angry with him, I was beside myself. Yes, I have been pissed-off at him before, but now—now, I was ANGRY. Smoke-coming-out-of-nostrils, bodily-harm-inflicting MAD.

At this point, I knew better than to even text him anything back, because the Turrets-worthy deluge of derogatory swears coming out of my mouth were more than likely to come out of my finger-tips, too. Perfect was a “douchebag.” Perfect was a “fucktard.” Perfect was an “asshole.” Perfect was a “dickwad.” Perfect was, the most mild of them, a “jerk.” Alli kicked in her two cents with an “asshat.” We debated the merits of throwing drinks versus swinging heavy purses at his crotch versus throwing the complete works of Shakespeare at him versus hitting him with the Civvy. This continued all the way to the Pots. If he was driving home and we caught up to him as we were both going to basically the same place, was I allowed to tap his bumper? How quickly could we get out friend Kristen of the tire-slashing fame to get to Montpelier? If he was biking home, could we drive in front of him and then open the car door on him? As I stood on a boulder in the middle of the river at the Pots, I looked at Alli with a scarily contemplative face. “Where can I get a rifle really quickly?”

“You’re not planning on killing him, are you?” she asked, alarmed, and then finished her question with the statement that was the real cause for her alarm. “You can’t leave me stranded here to run from the law. I can’t drive standard!”

“I just want to threaten him with it. But I just remembered that he hunts and probably has more than one rifle in his house. Which could turn this into a Texas stand-off. Which isn’t quite what I’m looking for.”

All I wanted was vindication; not someone to get law-inducingly hurt.

Once the girl-crazies were over, we settled down into more lucid and logical thinking that didn’t involves de-balling or dismemberment. “Ok, so I’ve been nice up until now,” I said to Alli. “Now, I need to ask him why there would be any reason he’s avoiding me.”

“Right,” Alli said, nodding affirmatively. This month’s Cosmopolitan touted “Is there any reason why” to be the new Rosetta Stone for communicating with men. It’s a passively-aggressive phrase and addresses that there’s an issue while asking men to explain it in a way that they can’t help but give in to. If a guy just says “no,” then he looks like he is, in fact, avoiding you and avoiding talking about it with you. Which then leaves it open for you to say something like, “well, I feel like you have been, and…” If he says “yes,” then he’s also generally going to follow that up with the reason why. It’s seemingly the question that men can’t resist answering. I love it.

Alli and I decide that “Fuck You” is the theme of today’s adventure. We blast Buckcherry’s “Crazy Bitch,” because we might as well wear the song if it fits. (Fun fact: Perfect had never heard that song until I played it for him when he came over to chill for hours the day after my birthday. He got a shit-eating little-boy grin on his face at the lyrics “get the video; fuck you so good” that I could for-see a future request if we had stayed together. And then he played me Ashanti’s “Only You.” Go listen to it right now, if you never have. Seriously. This is why he frustrates me. I play him “Crazy Bitch” and he plays me a romantic song about wanting to be close to someone who you’ve never felt like this before about someone.) The pictures of the day all include middle fingers blazing. We instate Naked Tuesday on the middle of Handcock Brook Road (yes, Handcock Brook Road,) in an act of defiance. We decide to go fire-engine-red bras blazing and drive shirtless into Montpelier. We sit in the car at Dairy Crème, out of the now-steady drizzle, and stew. I go home and spend over an hour talking with Emily about what happened, what could possibly be going on, and how to fix it. Or, end it.

Still, though, I’m seething. Ok, so in my thinking, there are two possibilities to explain his behavior. One, and the one I feel as though most people, including my mother, are in agreement with, is that it’s O-V-E-R and his not seeing me is the way he’s trying to get this through and that He’s Just Not That Into Me. I do realize from a perfectly logical point of view, this could be very true. I always prepare myself for the worst. In my mind, he’s already off grinding on and fucking every pretty young brunette he can get his massive hands on and laughing with John about what a crazy bitch I am.

Option Number Two is the one that the closet, desperately hidden-away romantic in me is wondering about: that he’s still not over me and doesn’t want to exacerbate his feelings by seeing me. A month ago, this was the case. I understand the thinking, because when I see him, the undeniable attraction makes me want to dry-hump his leg at best, strip down and lie prone on the ground at worst. This would also explain the problem I have with Scenario One—when a guy wants you out of their life (and believe me as I know from Legs’s experience), they’re very good at totally alienating you. If Perfect was done, gone, moved on, over with it and didn’t want anything to do with me, he wouldn’t be texting me still. He wouldn’t be talking to me. He wouldn’t be talking with me for HOURS. He wouldn’t be flirty. He would be genuine with his “I’m sorry”s and “haha”s. He would be MIA—unreachable by phone, computer, friends, and satellite. Witness Protection might as well have swallowed him up. That’s how guys do things. None of this half-in, half-out bullshit.

So why no face-to-face? If there were to be one of us avoiding the other, by all rules of logic, it should be me. He was the one who ended it. I was the dumpee. I should be the one avoiding all contact and stiff-arming him like I do with the rest of my exes. From his side, either he’s much more deviously smart than I gave him credit for, or he honestly just has great excuses at perfectly inopportune times, but he has a perfectly good excuse for not seeing me every time t comes up—I’m not exactly going to say, “No! You can’t go to your camp with your family!” or “No! You cannot help your father with your financial aid!” So we’re at this odd sort of stand-off: he either can’t or won’t or refuses to see my for whatever reason—timing, busy-ness, latent feelings—and I’m hemming and hawing about getting down to business, buckling down, and actually talking to him like I have to. But still, in the over-all scheme of things—5 minutes today—was that really too much to ask for?

I am so mad I didn’t listen to his song, my lullaby. I am so mad I didn’t want to see his face on my computer. I am so mad I didn’t want to sleep in the bed we slept in together. I pop my iPod earbuds in, drink a Smirnoff, then another one, and chase them down with a flat beer, but at this point, I don’t care. I feel nothing. I feel nothing other than exhaustion and slight nausea and the headache starting from the noise outside, but I don’t think drunkenly screaming “Fuckkk youuuu!” out the window at the jackhammers on the rotary at 2 AM would solve anything. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and quickly turn. I look like someone who knows better wearing pain and regret and accusation plain as day in my eyes, on my face, in the way my shoulders slump and the corners of my lips curl gently down, let down but not expecting anything better. They were the smart ones. As I wash my hands at the bathroom sink, I know that my reflection in the mirror looks like someone I don’t want to be, so I look away. I fall into bed, throw my hands over my eyes, and just be in my hollow nothing-ness. Sometimes, it’s just easier to look away.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Open Letter to the Damned, AKA: Perfect, If You Find This Blog, Read This.

In the 1957 article in the Atlantic by Nora Johnson that this blog gets its title from, she states, “Promiscuity demands a certain amount of nerve.” So does writing things like this blog. I recently had to edit a past-post that included my full name after it was brought to my attention that when you Googled me, you came across my blog on the top of page 2. Now, it’s pushed back to the last page, and I really hope that, say, Perfect doesn’t have the time on his hands to Google-stalk me and find this.

But sometimes, I think if he were to, it would save me a lot of time with the explaining and having to do the whole “talk about my feelings and relationship” thing. I’m a writer by love, nature, and trade, obviously. It’s so much easier for me to write what I’m feeling than actually have to look at a person I have all these thoughts and emotions about, and in most cases, deeply care for and have to say hard things to them. So, I do things like this: I write open letters. Sometimes, I hope the people that they’re intended for find them. Other times, I’d be perfectly happy if they never saw the light of day in that person’s eyes. It’s just getting the words out there, somewhere, anywhere, that helps me to get it off my chest and out of my head.

I’ve got two such letters today. One is short and not so sweet, born out of frustration and the fact that I can’t seem to tell the people that I love when I’ve had enough. The other has more depth, as it’s written for a character in my life who we all know, and some of us love, who just can’t seem to find a time to get close enough to breathe the same air in the same space I am so I can say this to him. As of today, and a failed trip to Worcester, I’m at my wit’s end, and really starting to consider writing this and somehow getting it to him if he doesn’t get that fine ass of his to Burlington within the next, oh, WEEK. Summer’s ending—he’s leaving, I’m going to be getting busy with my jobs at school, and there are still things left very, very unsaid between us. What do you think? Do I write him the sort of letter that he, in his helplessly, lovably narcissistic way would probably keep for the rest of his life, and his grandchildren would find years and years from now and be like, “woah, Grandpa, you were a lady-killer! You put this bitch through the ringer!” (Yes. His grandchildren would speak exactly like that, smoke a pack of Camels a day, and die early in ATV- and too many Pabst Blue Ribbon -related accidents. Actually, we may be talking about my potential future grandchildren. His would never use the word “bitch” to describe a woman. His would wear plaid and flannel and denim and be musical and unfailingly polite and everyone would love them, just like him.)

To certain girls who have perfectly lovely boyfriends who they constantly can’t seem to help but make drama with and then complain about said drama to me: “I don’t want to hear it any more, really. You’re a great friend, and I love you to bits and pieces, but I just can’t handle listening to you bitch and moan about things that half the time are your doing. At least you HAVE a boyfriend. At least you’re not totally, hopelessly, foolishly crushed over a guy who doesn’t seem to want you back.”

To the boy who made me so very, very happy, and then, so very, very confused with good chances of happiness-showers to break up the gray days: “My only regret is ever letting you go, letting the time and the distance get in the way of the words that I wanted to say to you, but never seemed to get the chance. Well, here they are. Some things, you cannot avoid forever, no matter how hard you try. I can’t avoid saying this, and you can’t avoid hearing it.

You know what? It was scary for me, too. I’ve never brought a guy home. And I’ve never let them stay the night at my place. And I certainly haven’t let them come back and spend hours and make themselves so comfortable as you did. And after you left, I had a panic attack about it, about how happy you were and how comfortable and natural it seemed. And you know what I did? I thought about it, about why it scared me, and then I got over it and said, “hey, whatever happens, happens. I know the way I feel, and I shouldn’t let fear and worry and the past and stupid stubborn independence get in the way of that.” I got over my scares. Which is why it just kills me that you let yours get to you.

I was willing to work. I was willing to put time and energy and gas and money and emotions and sweat and tears and laughter and joy and sadness and pain and maybe even after time, love, into this, and I don’t think you know that. I don’t think you know that I’m not the type of girl to just give up when you hand me an obstacle. I don’t think you know that challenges are what excite me, and finding a way through them is something I consider crucial to life. You’re willing to risk life and limb for the adrenaline rush—diving, biking, traveling, whatever—but you seem unwilling to try when you see the potential for pain emotionally. I, on the other hand, can’t fathom any good reason for taking the risk to hurt myself for fun and entertainment, but when it comes to emotions, I am reckless in them and how and where and to whom I hand them out, and I think I live a better life because of it. You cannot live always worrying about getting hurt; it stunts your growth and opportunities. And it drives me absolutely CRAZY that you can live your physical life one way, but be so cautious emotionally. I’ve been hurt, too. I’ve been cheated on and literally abandoned by the man I loved and never heard the words “I love you” in return, but I’m still here, playing the game, asking for more. If you’ve already lost so much, what do you have but more to gain? Yes, you’re going away soon, and yes, life will be changing for you, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose all of what you used to have or have now. You’re going to find that there are some things worth taking with you, some things you never want to lose, and some things that are willing to work with or for you to make things happen. “Change” doesn’t have to mean “let go.” Change can be mutable, fluid, and accommodating. I was more than willing to change with you, let you test things out, and see what would happen. Yes, you were right—it would hurt less to end it now than in the fall if things didn’t work out, but it still hurt. We still lost things—a summer of fun, the chance for something, weeks and days and hours. What did we gain by ending? We had a great month—then, what?

When we last talked like this, you told me what you thought would work. I agreed that your logic was sound, and to try it. (You are such a logical and methodic and thoughtful person, and I am not. I am illogical and spontaneous and challenging and blunt.) Now I’m telling you, bluntly, that it’s not working. I’m not happy. This, whatever this is between us, or more to the point, whatever is not going on between us isn’t working for me. I’m finding that despite time, and distance, and our agreement to be friends, that I still miss you, and how things were.

I’ve met a lot of people since we ended; hot guys, smart guys, nice guys, funny guys. Guys who cooked. Guys who spoke French. Guys taller than you. Guys who complimented me. But none of them were quite you. None of them seemed to be what I wanted, or what I needed. And every time I met a new guy, I found myself missing you a little more.

I miss you waking me up on the morning on your way into work, and I miss how I used to not have to debate with myself if it was ok to send you a text or call you or not. I miss your voice and your hands and your smile and your laugh and your heat. I even miss the way you made yourself so comfortable dislodging pillows on my bed; your hair, and your dog’s hair that I still find in my sheets; the thought of you being there for me when I needed you for anything from a bad day and the blues to a friend’s pregnancy. I miss the way you talked so easily with my friends, and the way you would look at me as we laid side-by-side in my bed, ridiculously tiny for the two of us, yet somehow never cramped. I miss rolling over in the night to face-plant in your underarm hair that I could braid, and the way you looked mortified and then chuckled as I rolled back over quickly. I miss you steaming up my car in the rain so I had to turn the defrosters on and kiddingly berated you for your metabolism. I miss watching how much you could possibly eat, and how you can eat a cupcake in just two bites. I miss your kisses and your stellar hugs and the feeling of being safe tucked in close to your chest. Obviously, there’s a lot I miss about you. This isn’t even the half of it.

(It also kills me that drunk sex with me is the only sex you know with me. Um, there is no delicate way to put this, but I am much, much, MUCH better than that. I have tricks that have tricks, and that night I was so loaded that I forgot to lip-nibble! I FORGOT TO LIP-NIBBLE! That is beginner’s stuff! That is, like, the foundation on which they built the pyramid of Good Making Out! Let’s not even get into what personal favorites of mine I forgot to bring out and play during sex…you get the point. You’re wandering around the world thinking that that is how I have sex, and I’m telling you right now—it’s not. Please, let’s go for a ride again. You owe me four shots of vodka and mutual orgasms, anyway, before I consider us even. I do not RSVP to a party and then not come.)

Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that I worked with you once to reach a conclusion that suited you. (Personally, that was unfair. I would do almost anything you ask me to, including putting on flippers and diving into the sea to pretend I was a mermaid for the rest of my life. Just saying.) Now, I’m asking you to work with me and possibly re-work something to suit both of us. Awhile ago, I was told that you still had feelings for me. Granted, it’s been a long time since then, but I tried my hardest to get to you; it just never worked. If you still have those feelings, or even a shadow of them, I want to try again. This time, With Feeling. You taught me so much in such a short time—how to open up and trust someone; how and why I would want to be honest with someone; how to talk about what I felt or needed; what a good relationship should look, feel, sound and even taste like; that I don’t, and shouldn’t, have to settle for the guys who either won’t or can’t give me those things; and what it feels like to be with someone who actually cares about you. I never had my doubts, just so you know. I may have been by turn jealous or suspicious or had low self-confidence or was confused, or doubted myself, but I never doubted either your feelings for me, or if you were doing right by me. You always, even still, do right by me. I couldn’t, and I don’t, ask for more than that.

Why can’t we meet in the middle? How can we fix, mend, repair, or re-start what was lost? If we can’t, if it’s over, and you’re done with it, then just know—I do miss you, and I do still want to be a part of your life and have you be a part of mine, and I thank you, so much, for both showing me a good time and what was possible. I had fun, killer.”

In other, non-related news, I just saw a porn in which a girl got ejaculated on her tramp stamp. I don’t think they were going for irony, but they achieved it. God bless American couples with video cameras and a desire for self-voyeurism, a bad break-up, and a vindictive ex-boyfriend. (Another reason why if you do decide to make a video, there should only be one copy, which the woman gets to keep possession of.)

So, I’m a little loathe to post pictures of Perfect here for obvious reasons, like, using his image without his consent, or him finding this blog. (Somehow, I think it would be worse if he found it with pictures of him rather than just, you know, with all these posts and posts and posts about him…I don’t really get the logic behind that thinking either; I’m just weird like that.) Anyway. I’ve found this ( ) guy, who is, funnily enough, like a version of Perfect 1.5. (If you were wondering, the real Perfect is version 2.0.) They look similar enough—same hair, similar smile, similar eyebrows, both from Vermont, both musically inclined. The real different is that one of them plays shows and tours, and one of them does not. (I found the stay-at-home version.) Just give Jer a bass instead of a guitar, a deeper speaking voice, longer eyelashes, another, like, fifty pounds and biceps that could be nicknamed Thunder and Lightning, and (you’re going to have to trust me on this one,) make him a little more rugged and handsome, his music a little less pop-y and more brooding, and you have Perfect. I really debated adding a link to Perfect’s band’s page, buttttt…again, maybe a little too close for comfort.

I’d really like you to hear Perfect’s music, because that boy has the voice of an angel. Really. Me, Miss Not-In-Touch-With-My-Emotions; Miss Keep-It-Bottled-Up, Please; Miss I-Love-Hip-Hop-And-Alternative-Rock—I get a little gooey every time I hear him sing. Ok. So maybe not a little. Maybe like, a lot. Maybe like a puddle of girl on the floor, seeping through the cracks. Maybe like, he wrecks me. I’ll admit it. Once he played one of his songs for me in bed one night and sang along to me, that was it. I was done. I listen to it every night now—it’s become my lullaby. It instantly transports me back to that night, and how warm and bubbly and safe and comfortable and happy and, yes, drunk I felt. Once you’ve had an experience like that, there’s just no going back. I've been sleeping the best of my life since then, lulled to sleep by that song. (It's "Breakdown", if you really want to know, and the part that Perfect says he hates the most is possibly my favorite part of the song.)

If anyone really wants the link, ask for it personally, and I’ll give it to you. I can’t let you doubt Perfect’s musical integrity after listening to someone I tout as him, but a lesser version. Also, I don’t want any of you dying from curiosity. Also, I’d love to in an off-hand way get his band more coverage, because as I told him when we were together, it’s virtually a sin that they don’t plays gigs and don’t actively record more. And John, my Knight in Shining Honda Armor, is his absolutely amazing self-taught guitarist. Adorable and talented John, and perfect Perfect together. Who could resist that? Can I please consider this both Doing A Good Deed and Helping A Friend Out? Please?

Now, I have a cake to go have and eat it, too. Isn’t life grand?


P.S-- Oh, ohohohohohh, I have to admit: I've been having the most crazy-realistic dreams lately. Even if I may not be getting a lot of action lately, my subconcious is. I had dreams about Perfect and sex with Perfect two nights in a row, so detailed that I could feel his hands on mine, the smoothness and softness of his skin and hair, his body-heat and sweat and weight on me, and then last night, a dream about-- surprise, surprise! Talk about a blast from the (not-so) past!-- Jersey Blunt, and let me tell you, the feel of his package did not disappoint. Here's hoping for more such dreams tonight, whoo-hoo!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happily Ever After, Or Something Like It.

My lovelies.

I am so sorry about this last week of incommunicado. I've been HOME-home, and busy being lazy. I've been working on three columns, but none of them are shaping up in quite the way I like. So more work is being done. In the meantime, I have a short little post for you, just to tide you over and keep y'all a little less bored.

Last night, I received a phone call from my mother while sitting home alone, watching the "Ghost Town" episode of SATC. (Ha. Fitting. The irony is not lost on me.) "We're at Beer Friday," she told me. "Want to come down? Bring your dad's jacket and the beer in the fridge. We're at SkaterBoy's and Princess Leia's. Oh, and H is here." "H" is the guy that my parents have been trying, fruitlessly, to introduce me to for the past two years. When this all started, he was 26. Now, he's 28, causing my mother to ask me, "Is 28 too old?"

Yeah, mother, generally, it is, but since all I was doing was further drowning myself in a wallowing pit of despair and missing Perfect while watching Carrie and Aiden (who are a great TV version of Perfect and I, by the way,) make up and make out, I decided that hey, this would be interesting one way or another. So I shrugged into my new last-season AE bomber jacket, slipped into my Dansko motorcycle boots, and went on a "what the fuck do I have to lose?" adventure.

Ok. Usually, my mother and I have very different taste, but H apparently stood for Hot. He happened to be in SkaterBoy' and Princess Leia's kitchen with my dad when I walked in, and as soon as I walked through the door, we gave each other a once-over. He was a smaller build then the men I usually go for (the tall and built types,) but he was golden tan with short and thick blonde hair that looked like it had the texture of a Brillo pad and bright, bright blue eyes. Actually, the best way I can describe him is to say that he looked like a condensed, blonde Prince Harry with smaller features. An introduction and a few minutes into conversation later, I found out that he cooked, was Swiss by birth (AHA! That explained a lot!), had a goofy laugh, and was into biking. As we walked out the dark porch together to meet the rest of the crew by the brick bake oven with which SkaterBoy was making homemade pizza, the Swiss Prince turned around at the bottom of the stairs and held out a hand for me. "Here, it's a little dark."

Um. And you're a little adorable.

Furtively, I texted Alli. "OH MY GOD. He is so cute!"

"Sleep with him," she said.

"Um, how about I try for a phone number first?"

"No, do it-- literally. Sleep with him."

"Yeah, like that wouldn't be awkward or anything. "Hey, mom, dad-- I'm gonna bring your friend home to our house to have sex with him in my childhood bed with the horse wallpaper still on the wall!""

"You have a point," Alli conceded.

At the end of the night, I ended up getting neither a phone number or laid. This may be because the Swiss Prince apparently has a girlfriend. Whom he ignored a phone call from while we were talking. "I like your boots," he told me. "I noticed them earlier."

"Thanks," I said shyly. "It was either between them or sneakers."

"Oh, definitely better than sneakers. And they're Danskos! I'm wearing Danskos, too! I love them."

His phone rang, and he stood up to fish it out of his short's pocket. He flipped it open to look at the caller ID, and then flipped it shut again, sending it straight to voicemail, and sat back down again. His eligibility stock went up.

"Earlier, The Girlfriend called him from Boston, and before they hung up, he told her he loved her," my mom told me on the drive home. His stock went back down. Why, whywhyWHY must all the good men be either too young or taken? WHY?

And then, I'm having to field off things like the Facebook message I got from a random guy who found my profile picture on a mutual friend's page. "Wow! You are absolutely gorgous!" he said. "Single?"

Two days later, I got around to emailing him back, having decided to be nice and give him the time of day for going out on a limb and having to balls to at least do that. Though he wasn't my type by far, I thought it best to encourage this sort of behavior, and make it at least a somewhat positive experience and not something where he was just ignored. More men need to just take the chance and do stuff like this. If they did, I guarantee dating would be a whole hell of a lot easier. And I thoroughly believe, as I wrote in Moss on the Moon, and told Perfect the night we slept together, if a man wants to stick it in, then he's gotta be the one to make the moves.

Hey, it worked for Perfect and I.

So, I sent the Eager Emailer this in return: "Happily complicated with a phenomenal guy, but thanks for the compliment, though I will disagree with both the spelling and the use of the word "gorgeous"."

Ok, so I lied a little bit about being "happily" complicated, but it's better than just saying "hair-rippingly, head-bashingly, crazy-makingly complicated" and telling the truth. Sometimes, a little white lie is better.

"Sorry about the typo!" he sent back. "Still beautiful reguardless."

I didn't even want to get into that typo, too.

Meanwhile, I am reminded by his Facebook wall that Perfect has a type which I do not fit in. (Another reason I was always so unsure about what was happening.) Pretty brunettes tall enough he doesn't have to double in half to kiss them like he had to with me with long, thin limbs, big brown eyes and thin little catty smiles seem to do it for him. I am a tiny blonde with a small and muscular body, big blue eyes, and a big smile that shows off all that money my parents put into it when I was little. I have an alto voice, bawdy humor, and varying ideas on what is Wrong and Right. I'm sure the girls that he likes would absolutely despise me. I am nothing like them. Which always makes me wonder why he was into me. (For the first time in my life, my overly-cocky personality was hit with a crippling bout of negative self-confidence.) And now, when those sort of girls are ALL he seems to be accepting friend requests from his new college, and those sort of girls are the ones posting on his wall about how "they need to do that again soon!", I can't help but to get down about what "that" possibly was, and start to get the desire to throw things, preferably whatever is in closest reach. (A stapler? The shoe sculpture I did in 8th grade? A mug?) Then again, the realistic side of me has to add that it's highly doubtful that if it IS sex that they're talking about, someone would post that on a Facebook wall. At least, I hope people have more class than that.

Especially when Perfect has already told me he may, again, be MIA tomorrow for our trip to Worcester, as he may be "at my camp with the fam. We will see." I'm learning "we will see" means "I'm actually too nice to let you down, so I'm going to cleverly disguise a "no" and hope you feel better about it." Also-- Perfect has a camp?! But I've decided if tomorrow is again a no-go, the boy is driving himself to Burlington to see me, politeness on my side be damned. He owes me at least that in gas and common courtesy at this point. Plus, I really need to unload those t-shirts to him. Though I will miss them, I admit.

I've been wishing on so many stars, finding four-leaf clovers for it, and going through so many of my little OCD rituals to assure it that if I don't get my Happy Ending with Perfect, (oh lord, we're going to ignore the innuendo-filled phrase there,) this optimistic girl may give up a little bit of faith in Luck and Good Things Happening To Good People. What is the point in meeting someone who changes all (or most,) of your Bad (Dating) Habits, makes you straighten up your act and start to believe that maybe settling for the bad boys, the inconsiderate guys, and the douchebags isn't at all what life can offer you, and that maybe, just maybe, there are such things as instant connections and people who really care for and about you, and will be willing to do all the Little Things to prove that to you, even in some cases, After The Fact-- what is the point of all this if you don't get your Happy Ending? That you know that there's someone out there who did all this for you, and maybe there are more of them who will in the future? Ugh. Un-sign me up. I'm an Instant Gratification Girl. No waiting, please.

Speaking of waiting, now I must fly, or else I will literally miss the boat!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ruckus On State Street: The Montpelier and Worcester Diaries

Last Sunday, I put $10 worth of gas in my car, filled my tire with a slow leak up with air, and loaded Alli and Emily into the Civvy for a girl’s getaway day to Montpelier. There are some things that girl friends have to do with each other as mandatory summer friend-community service, and road trips are one of those things. We had an iPod full of summer driving songs, sunglasses, cell phones, and a need to all get out of town. It was one of those days that just feels amazing for a reason you can’t put your finger on.

By now, I’m a champ at driving 89 into Montpelier and getting around town. Because parking was the only thing that I hadn’t done before in the city, we decided to take the easiest option out, park at Shaw’s, and walk. We figured we’d be killing two objectives in one go—getting some exercise, and window-shopping. We stopped in to Splash and Spangle, which is basically Montpelier’s answer to Burlington’s Bella Donna and Queen Anne’s Lace. A rock shop (and by “rock,” I mean those things you find on the ground, but of the pretty variety) on the corner of Main Street and State Street caught Alli’s eye, but unfortunately, it was closed. That’s what you get for going city-hopping on a Sunday.

Capitol Grounds, however, was open and bustling. I ordered a Capitol Chill—their version of a Coffee Coolata—with hazelnut flavoring from a barista who looked so familiar it weirded me out until I came up with the only excuse possible—she was either one of Perfect or Cait’s Facebook friends whose profile picture, and so, face, I’d seen before. We both gave each other curious looks, so I think the feeling was mutual. That’s the one weird thing about Facebook—far-flung friends of friends aren’t strangers anymore when they’re staring you in the face on someone’s comment wall.

After getting our iced coffees and such to go, we wandered right past Perfect’s place of employment (and no, my curiosity did not get the better of me and I did not peek into the front windows like I wanted to so badly,) and to the State House’s lawn and front steps where we followed Alli’s idea to “really stir up something crazy so if Perfect or John hear about it, they’ll know it was us,” and put my native Vermonter’s tax dollars at work by turning it inside-out to be our “we’re twenty-somethings with a camera and taste for adventure” playground. There were cannons to be climbed on, statues to mock, lamp-posts to swing around, marble to be danced on, trees to be climbed…you get the drift. If there is one thing that you cannot accuse me of, it is taking myself too seriously. I still love to play like a little kid. The pictures posted here from that day are proof of it. The first thing I did upon approaching the lawn was to kick off my flip-flops and go skipping off, shoes, coffee and Ralph Lauren purse in hand.

We spent about an hour lounging literally on the Capitol, having girl-talk, sorting out the world’s problems, making lewd and salacious comments, and generally soaking in the gorgeous and finally present sun’s rays. As we started our trek back to the car, a motorcyclist checked us out so hard he almost tripped his moving bike over by overcompensating. We laughed openly at this, although I think that we all know that while we may make fun of guys for doing this now, there’s going to be a time down the road when it doesn’t happen anymore, so secretly, or not so secretly, we cherish it now.

Not so cute was the old flat-black-painted pick-up truck of three twenty-something guys. It was cute the first time they passed us heading out of town, as the half-naked and attractive guy in the passenger’s seat hung a little further out the window to grin at us as we grinned back at him, maybe a little too convincingly, because when they passed us again on route 12, passenger now hanging his upper body out of the car to get a good look at us, they pulled over, let us pass, and then pulled out behind us. And proceeded to follow us almost all the way in to Worcester. Normally, Alli, Em and I are pretty cool customers—it takes a lot to flap Alli, whose father is an ex-UFC fighter and who herself can take down an over 200 pound man singlehandedly; as for myself, having too much bravado for my own good and an ex-Marine for a father who taught me a thing or two, “fear” usually isn’t a word in my vocabulary—but after the flattery of this event wore off, it left us rather worried. Thankfully, I knew two different ways to get to where we were going to the Pots, and one way travelled right past John’s mom’s house. It was decided that if the followed us up Minister Brook Road, we would pull into John’s driveway, hoping he was there and all 6-foot-one, lanky sapling body and sweet nature of his could save us. We would go to Perfect’s house, just up the road from John’s, only in the utmost dire situation. The idea of landing unannounced on his doorstep that had never been shown to me, merely explained where it was, chilled me more to the bone than the idea of having to tell three Montpelier guys to back off at a local swimming hole. Alli, the official road trip video girl, got this entire episode on tape. Possibly the most self-telling moment of this entire situation was when after I bombed across a bridge under construction to try and put space between the Civvy and the black truck that remained close to my bumper, Alli caught my distress mantra on tape.

“John, be home, be home; oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please,” I chanted under my breath, and then after glancing back into my rear-view window, did the only thing that came naturally to me at that second: opened my mouth and wailed Perfect’s name is distress.

“PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERFEEEEEEEEEEEEECT!!!” (Um. Ok. Granted, I yelled his real name and not his nickname, but you get the idea.)

Perfect, all 6'3" and 204 muscular pounds of him with his voice that sounds like it originates around his kneecaps, could certainly give our pseudo-stalkers pause. Perfect, with all the time I spent next to him, reassured me by nothing more than proximity. Perfect, the hulking manbeast of sheer strength and belly laughs, still is categorized in my mental Rolodex under “Protector.” Perfect is still the first person I think of for help when in a crisis.

…And Perfect was at home and so, out of cell-phone range for receiving any calls either about our needing to be rescued or to meet up to swim with us.

Luckily, the pick-up truck of men pulled over when we crossed the border into Worcester, probably thinking that they’d followed us far enough with us showing no signs of stopping or pulling over. We continued to the Pots happily, if not shakily, passing John’s house—sans a John, so that plan wouldn’t have worked—and went swimming in the refreshingly glacial waters. Knowing that the plan had been to try and meet up with Perfect and/or John to inject some testosterone into our Girl’s Day, Alli and Em both kept a close eye and question on my well-being when that plan fell flat due to Verizon’s lack of cell phone towers on Worcester Mountain. What bothered me even more than the fact that neither of them were there was the fact that I had inadvertently stumbled upon the fact with the “help” of the guys in the truck that Perfect is still my go-to guy in a time of need. I still, maybe foolishly, rely on Perfect to protect me, get me through things, and be there for me, when in reality, I don’t really know if I could trust in him to do those things for me.

In the long run, however, it seemed maybe better off that the guys hadn’t met us. We all ended up getting creepy little crawly bugs from the stone waterslide in our bathing suits, and there was a lot of bare ass being shown as girly shrieks pierced the air, prompting me to come up with the term “Beasty Cave” as a synonym for “vagina.”

“You know,” I said to Emily. “That’s where I keep my pets. Sometimes, a one-eyed snake even lives in it.”

On the way home from Montpelier, after working myself into a righteous anger with Alli and Em about how Perfect was now “officially avoiding me” or so it seemed since it had been bordering on a month since we had last seen each other, I received a text from a perfectly contrite Perfect.
“Sorry,” he said. “I was out of service all day! How was it?”

I can’t go from rampantly pissed to cooingly pleased with him so quickly. It’s bad for my health. Or, at least, mental stability. I have also since decided that Perfect owes me the last four shots of my vodka that he got drunk off of and an orgasm. Then we can call it fair.

Meanwhile, my roommate Kim’s younger brother and friend have been living with us for the past week, which I’ve actually greatly enjoyed. Men you can tell to pick up their shit and not have to feel bad or sugar-coat it. In fact, sometimes, they even wash dishes, take out the trash and vacuum without being asked. Louis and Matt are both 17. I sense great promise in their futures as boyfriends and husbands. Watch out, ladies.

I’ve loved having them around for a few reasons. One, younger men are what I call “great soft-assassination flirting targets.” Basically, you can practice your game on them, let them hone their skills on you, and everyone feels good without feeling like they need to follow through on anything. These 17 year olds know I’m not going to decide to just hop into bed with them—as I said to Alli, “You have friend standards, and I have statutory rape standards.”

I may feel this way because it seems that younger men are less intimidating. A 23 or 24 year old I never would have slept with the second time I met him, but Perfect was 19—and so, safe to me. I felt no need to impress him or pretend to be more mature and less raunchy; in other words, I felt no need to be someone who I am not. In my past dating experiences, especially with older men, I have always morphed into some weird hybrid between who I really am and who I think they want me to be. It never goes well.

Secondly, I’ve realized that a lot of my straight male friend’s advice is coming from a different age group than Perfect is in. Most of my guys are 20+ with life experience behind them and a little more maturity. Living with two almost 18 year old boys has given me the sounding board of the younger set.

“Why,” I would ask them. “Would a guy be so into you, make plans to see you, keep in touch with you every day, do all the cute things he’s supposed to, and even more, and then suddenly say he needs to stop? Why would a guy go on and on about plans with you if he was only going to break up with you a few weeks later? Why would he say things like, “I’m looking for a relationship,” and “It sounds like you need a good relationship with a good guy—I’m a good guy,” and “I’ll visit from college,” or “It’s a 3 and a half hour drive, but would you visit?” or “Wait until you see how jacked I get from all the lifting I’ll be doing,” or “Maybe I’ll have to come and travel with you when you’re studying abroad in the spring”?”

“Because he wants to get in your pants,” Matt said matter-of-factly.

“I’m going to be blunt with you,” I told them. “We’d already been there and done that. He started saying these things after.”

“Oh, then that’s completely different. He really liked you, then,” Matt amended his statement. “If he was still making plans to see you and saying that to you after he got what he wanted, than he really meant it.”

Do you see what I mean? Most of my guy friends are too old and have too much tact to say things like “when he got what he wanted.” But it’s the truth, isn’t it?

“Distance scares guys,” Louis added. “Especially when things get serious. If he really likes you and you live 45 minutes away from each other now and it’s going to be more once he moves, then he’s going to get scared about it not working out and him getting hurt.”

“Is that why he jumped ship so quick?” I asked.

“If a guy really likes a girl but thinks he’s going to get hurt, yeah, he’s gonna get out of what he thinks is trouble. Believe me, I know. I’ve done it,” Louis told me. “You need to let him know you’re not scared.”

I think I see the logical equation of the younger male: feelings + distance = scared, so run away. This varies inversely with the logical equation of most females: feelings + distance= work at it and try harder to prove you care. Hmmmm. Our math does not seem to compute, here.

Speaking of Perfect, and 3 posts back, as with most of the supposed meetings with Perfect as of late, it never happened. (But thanks for all the input, though! It was so heartening and really appreciated in my time of indecision!) He and his Amazonian friend were already gone from Church Street and at the UMall by the time I got my shit together and texted him. “I feel like the end of the world is going to happen before we see each other again,” I told him. “Or, at least, you know, the beginning of school. Well, I’ve got to go home this weekend, but I’m sure we’ll be back to Montpelier sometime soon. And you owe Cait and I a girl’s visit to Burlington, sir!”

Suddenly, the atmosphere in our conversation changed completely with the register of his next text. “LOL, why’s that, haha?” he asked. Ok. So. Let me tell you something about Perfect. Picking up attitude in his texts is actually very easy. A single “ha” means displeasure, annoyance, or he’s humoring you. A stand-alone “haha” is his trademark—it’s in almost every text he sends, somewhere. (He’s just a very laughy and exclamation-pointy person.) An “LOL” is more coy. He’s genuinely pleased with something. And an “LOL” and “haha” together or a winky-face is Perfect for “flirting.”

I was flabbergasted more than anything. What am I supposed to say to that? I know the start of a flirty Perfect text when I see one. I know an opening for sexting with Perfect when I see one. And I hadn’t seen one since June. Frankly, I was more happy to know it’s still on the table than anything—I was worried it wasn’t even still in the dining room. But really? Now? Now he wants to get all flirty and hear about how miserable my life has been without him and how I want him back?

I did what any self-respecting girl would do: I weighed my deep desire to tell him yes, I really missed him, and he should visit so that we could ravage each other everywhere we were supposed to—the party shower, his 4Runner, my already broken-by-Perfect bed—with the amount of perverse pleasure he would get out (or off on) knowing the wanting he caused me. And so I sent him back this:

“Because we both miss you and SOMEONE is always busy or MIA when we go to Worcester, that’s why, hahaha!”

For the records, I only use “hahaha” when I’m trying to lighten my texts or add a flirty edge. I’m sure he knows this by now, too.

“Ok, I get it, LOL,” Perfect sent back, keeping the same tone, and it made me wonder, did he really get it? Really? Did he understand at all what I’ve been going through and meant by “we miss you” really meaning “I miss you but am too chicken-shit and wary to say it yet”? Did he really mean to open the “way we used to text” back up and dredge up Memory Lane? Does he really want to know why I want him to keep visiting and stay in my life? I hope so. I hope he really got it. And I hope I don’t have to say all of this alone.

As we wound our conversation down, he promised to come visit soon. He said he’d be around next time we came to Worcester. He even said he’d come up to go clubbing if we could work out a copasetic time. Hmmmm. It’s a start. Is it a start? And how much time do I have to get my lines ready? Maybe while I’m home nannying this week I need to start practicing saying “I miss you, and I miss us.” It’s not that hard—“I miss you, and I miss us.” “I miss…”