And then I ruined it all by saying, “I don’t want a relationship”. You shrugged and said, “That’s exactly what the previous guy said,” and you told me about this guy you met on Tinder who was in a long distance relationship. You told me that he was a decent guy with a pretty good body and pretty big dick, but he always kept insisting that he didn’t want anything serious because he was moving on from his girlfriend and that he was confused and bla bla bla, and then I thought, What do I say to get out of this? How do I emerge from this to make sure neither of us are undamaged? and then I blamed you and said, “Well when we first fuckin’ spoke you said you didn’t want to get married,” and you said, “I said married, but I still want to be in a relationship,” and, tapping on the glove compartment, you said, “I shouldn’t have given so much of myself away right away. It’s what I always do wrong,” and I comforted you by saying, “Nah,” and this little debate of ours would continue for the entirety of what we had.
For some reason I was thinking of high school during the first time Carol had dinner at my place. I was thinking of how my classmates and I would always look out of the windows, at the cars passing us, hoping that someone would be doing something sexual. We spent hours in silence, our eyes scanning for a girl giving some guy a blowjob, or a handjob, or at least a guy jerking himself off. There was this one guy in the bus, Todd, who would always yell, “Look at those white pants! I bet she’s wearing a g-banger.” I had no idea what the hell a g-banger was but I’d always nod and say, “Yeah, I bet she is.”
I made Carol pasta and garlic bread and served us both wine.
“I think the world needs to be more positive,” I told her.
“Why? Positivity will get you nowhere.”
“When did you become so jaded?”
“When I realised that things were exactly like the movies and exactly not like the movies.”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“You don’t know what?”
“I don’t know how to reply to that. I mean, we’re pretty lucky.”
She shrugged. She looked at her wine like it was an old friend about to leave for a long, long time. “Some things just don’t turn out the way we want them to.”
I knew what she was hinting at but I pretended not to know. At some point in our phone conversations she suggested that she wanted to be in a relationship and at some point I suggested that I didn’t want to be in one. We debated for a long time about it but nothing about what we said chipped away at our own selfishness.
We drank wine and I said a few things and she said a few things and I knelt her down and did what I had to do with her. In bed, our voices were hushed, as if we were keeping secrets from the world.
Book I’m re-reading: Wild Sheep Chase
1. YOUR SMALL TITS
2. YOUR FLAT ARSE
3. YOUR BIG THIGHS
4. YOUR PRETTY FACE
5. YOUR INFINITE SMILE
6. HOW YOU SHAVE YOUR ARMS
7. YOUR MONEY
8. HOW YOU ALWAYS GAVE WHAT YOU HAD
9. THE FOURTH TIME I MET YOU
10. YOU MADE ME BELIEVE I COULD DO BETTER
HERE IS ONE THING I DON’T MISS ABOUT YOU.
1. YOU’RE A CUNT
It was August twenty-something four years ago, and it was hot but it was raining a little bit, and you were upset but I didn’t care. I didn’t know where you’d been and you wouldn’t tell me, and I yelled a bunch of things but you wouldn’t listen to one word. You stood up and ran and I ran after you, and you hugged me and we were out in public and people were looking and you wouldn’t stop crying. When you calmed down we found a place to sit, and we talked about things from the past: the Swarovski thing I bought you once, the four-hour drive, the time, on my birthday, when you bought me a wallet and wrote me a card and I cried. I drove you home, and that was the last time we spoke. It’s been years, and you’ve moved on and I’ve moved on several times over, but it’s as if I’ve left a large piece of me behind with you and it’s impossible for me to get it back. I wonder if you ever notice it lingering around, waiting for you to change your mind. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do. I’m a functioning robot. But you’re there, in the background of everything in my life, dictating what I’ll think about when I sleep and wake up.