The Time Traveler’s Mistress

You’re exactly what I would’ve wanted ten years ago…

I began 2015 making a new friend.  Texting on my glowing screen as the champagne corks popped as loud as the fireworks and smoke filled the air with the new year.

Eighteen.  Red hair and fishnets, band-aids over her nipples because bras are too restricting, she knows her way around a six-string, and she can sing better than most girls on MTV.  And she writes, beautifully.  But most importantly, she’s into me.  You are exactly what I would’ve wanted ten years ago.

I have not yet stumbled across the point-of-no-return of thirty that brands me permanently’ as an adult.  ‘I’m still young’ I keep telling myself.  And by god I am going to do this.

I can smell the damage on her like a slow gasoline leak.  Its invisible acrid-sweetness permeates into everything she does, every decision she makes.  Wealthy parents who bought her every advantage except for self-preservation, a sordid past of boys with bad intentions, and most importantly– an affinity for assholes with fluffy hair and brooding dispositions.  That is the biggest crack in her windshield-world view, bending and refracting the burning light of my own failures and self-loathing, and illuminating me into something artistic and sparkling.  This is going to end in flames, but it’ll probably be fun most of the way down.

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I’ve always wanted to use this picture in a post.

And in a way, we fit.  Me trying to wrench back the hands of time to ten years ago, and her trying to grown up enough to match my stride.  I get a snap chat.  I Learn what “bae” and “fleck” means.  I use them in conversations, sparingly.  I keep hoping her youth is going to rub off on me like two crayons banging relentlessly in a pencil case tossed down a flight of stairs.  It wasn’t too long ago she was toting a lunch box and clutching crayons in her tiny fist.   I push the thought from my mind.

She wants to play backgammon at all hours of the night, until I’m burned and chaffed.  I wake up and she’s already started a game with my unconscious-petrification.  While driving, while hiking, while she’s on the phone with her parents.  It reaches the point that I’m dehydrated from match after match, where the sparks that usually ignite are unable to catch, and all those commercials for little blue pills that I once laughed at, now begin to terrify me as an imminent future.

morpheus-offering-the-pills
“…if it lasts for longer than four hours, please seek medical attention.”

I’m startled by the realization, our symmetrical bodies thumping in rhythm is not enough.  I want good conversation.  I want to drink wine at the beach.  I want a future that extends further than class and maybe finals week.  She makes me feel old.  Her problems: parents, friends, school, seem minuscule compared to the ever looming “oh shit what am I doing with my life?”  And I find myself chiding, scolding, and giving advice more than being a partner.  And then it hits me: holy shit I am her surrogate-fill-in for her father.  I am daddy issues banged out with handcuffs and hickeys, and maybe that’s why she really likes spankings.  And I am everything wrong with a lot of things.

But it was fun.  And I’d probably do it all again.

…If I were ten years younger.

Bump it with:

The Last One Found

I go into this new year, with hope.  

I  believe that life is getting better, that my best adventures are still ahead of me, and this journey is just beginning.   I believe the love I’ve shared were all just precursors to something greater.  And I will count my scars and be grateful someone cared enough to go that deep.  I hope that I will find you soon.  Because I’ve been living my whole life to be in love.   I know, that’s a stupid thing to say but before I could remember wanting to be a lawyer, or a writer, or anything in between… I remember wanting to have someone.  I’ve been on an endless game of hide-and-seek’ and all the other kids have all been found and are already eating their cake.  I’m the only one left wandering the halls and looking under stairs…  but if I’m still here then it means you’re still looking.  With those bright eyes– come find me.  

 

Bump it with:

The Courage of a Kiosk Salesman

I wish I had the courage of a Kiosk Salesman.   I know they’re the bane of the holiday shopper, lacking any storefront or the confines of four walls, so anyone who passes within their vicinity is a potential customer.  Like a small dog on a short leash in an open yard, they go after anything– fearlessly.   And it’s not the salesmanship or the bravado I envy, no it’s being impervious to rejection that rolls like whiskey off a duck’s back.  (that imagery doe) They continue undaunted, hawking their wares.  And if they can sell cheap lotions and strips of clothing with such dedication, why can’t I sell me?

Because it seems like every shut door is a tally on some invisible scorecard in the back of my mind that says “Maybe you’re not as special as you thought” It’s one more stolen jelly bean from a swiftly dwindling jar of my self esteem, and The Universe is getting diabetes from eating me up.

I log in to a stonewall of smiling faces, of heights and ages, and this information that’s supposed to lead me to ‘the one’.  And I’ve been letting loose arrows by the quiver, and they all get delivered and met with:
Read By

While the Kiosk salesman gets a shake of the head or a wave of disinterest, I get a tiny notification that my carefully crafted message was seen but not reciprocated.   And the sting of that is potent.  Because this is the best of me on display, carefully crafted and showcased in my avenue of strength– writing.  With the chosen photo out of thousands that makes my chin look chiseled and my arms look like they can carry more than disappointment.

This isn’t me disheveled at the supermarket in my wine-stained-work-clothes chatting up some girl in front of the frozen pizzas, where she can laugh and walk away and I can tell myself her boyfriend was just more interesting today.  No, this is the best of me rejected constantly in a place dedicated to people searching for love.  And It’s not Okay Cupid, to turn me into your pin-cush-‘in of what could-have-been.

Because you were supposed to make this easier.  But lately, I’ve get the feeling like you’re just one more door for me to look through and see the rest of the world dancing by.  And I promise to behave myself and not to step on toes this time, if I could just have one more dance partner who leaves me in awe, mouth-agape with nothing to say.

And maybe I should stop talking.

I should stop talking.

I should.

Bump it with:

“…sometimes a blowjobs not enough.”   haha best lyric ever.

The Bridge of Closed Doors

I’ve closed doors that can never be reopened, and on the other side are the unborn ghosts of a lifetime together; big house, big dogs, children, and laughter.   But I know, She goes on to find someone better, to grow old with someone who can cherish her in a way I could never.  And in a way, I did that, with a graceful bow and a sidestep through the curtain, and I’m certain I’ll never be at this point again.  And it’s just as well.  Sad smile, exit left.  Chin up.  No regrets.  

I pull down each closed door and stack them one upon the other on the floor.  Each one raises me higher and takes me a bit further– planks for me to walk, out over uncharted seas in an an ever growing arc of my history, of who I was leading to who I could be.  But eventually it’s no longer one more step’  over the restless black abyss, until we plummet to our death… no it was that last moment until our long lonely walks– intersect.  And our feet are steady, and the wood holds fast.  A bridge.  Abridged. We meet– at last.

Bump it with:

The Old Man and the Machine

This is her third time walking down the frozen foods aisle.  Could it be she’s not looking at peas, she’s looking at me?  She glances across the five feet between us and smiles, brushing the hair from her face.  And it’s no coincidence that her eyes are locked with my eyes and she’s not looking away.  And brain no make mouth talk good.  Durrr.

And then she’s gone.

So from now on I’m going to live as if’ my body was on temporary loan.  In actuality I am one hundred years old.  Broken in a darkened room, as the storm rages outside.  Decrepit and decayed, clinging to life through respirators and tubes coursing into my veins.  And through magic or science I’ve sent back in time to inhabit my younger body for the last few hours I have left.  I’m not going to rob any banks or stick my dick in any electrical sockets, because hey that’ll catch up to god ole’ old me eventually.  But I’m going to live life this body is stolen by an older wiser me with no time for regrets.  And I’m going to be brave, and fearless.

And I’m going to eat ice cream.

So the next time a pretty girl is looking at me.  Brain will make mouth talk good.

And I’ll say, “Hello”

Bump it with:

Nope, it’s not the Universe that’s broken… it’s me.

I think I’m past my fatboy stage of dating.  At first I was like a kid in a candy store, cramming whatever I could get my hands on into my proverbial relationship maw.  *Nom Nom Nom* girlfriendz everyqwherzz!!  I kinda burned through a few bridges.  But I’m learning.  What’s good on paper and in theory isn’t always good in practice.  What I think I want, and what I actually am happy with are two vastly different things.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

– I will meet a lot of amazing women, but knowing at what point to say no and walk away is just as important as knowing when to stick around, and that’s just as a much an intellectual decision as it is an intuitive one.   Just because “She’s good” doesn’t mean “she’s good for me”  and I need to be a bit more selfless in letting people go and be good for someone else.  Once I quit, I need to quit for good.  No sloppy re-tries, no second hand boomerang romances.  No drunk texts.  No falling back into sex.  Just done.

To this end,  I figured out my text messaging system (Go sms pro) has a private box where I can put numbers and conversations I don’t want to show up on my normal texting screen.  I started using it as a burial ground for conversations and relationships that fizzled, so I’m never tempted to rekindle them again.  I don’t have to block her, but I don’t have to see her either.  If she messages me, it’ll show up and I can always dig it back out, but at least from my side I can have some finality when something is done.

– I can’t do pushovers anymore.  Any girl that’s content with giving me a twenty minute massage without getting something in return, well she’s not strong enough for me.  Because once things get comfortable and complacent, I’ll take advantage and spoil myself, and then I’ll get bored.  And I’ll end up being that guy married-with-two-kids who’s banging the secretary and picking up prostitutes on business trips.  I hate that guy.

– I always thought women are the gatekeepers of sex, but maybe it’s partially my responsibility too.   Sex too soon is like opening Christmas presents two weeks too early.  Yeah the toys are fun, but it’s not Christmas unless it’s opening presents at the right time, on the right day.  Or to quote 100 Girls “There’s a certain way a man stares at a woman he loves. The man looks like a boy on his birthday. And he treats the woman as if she were a gift that he’s waited so long to open and now he can’t wait to see what the treasure is inside.”  I’ve been a victim of my own sexcess, and while my loins are thanking me, the rest of me feels as if I’ve shot myself in the relationship foot… yeah you sort out that imagery.

– I think my own puritanical sense of propriety needs to be adjusted.  I’m almost thirty.  Everyone in my age range has been at this dance for a few years, I shouldn’t be surprised if the girls I meet have had their dance card filled out a little.  Not everyone has been in monogamous-lockdown like me for the past ten years.  And I think that has greatly stunted a lot of my growth where I’m still viewing the world with doey high school eyes.  If you’re here with me, and you love me that should be enough.  We’ll crunch the numbers later.

So that’s what I’ve learned I’m back at square one.  Alone, but smarter.  I think.  I’m searching for a sense of awe.  That grade school flutter, when I see her and I just know that’s the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.   I’ve been getting it in small doses, but then it fades.  And maybe that’s the problem.  I am looking for someone to impress me, when in truth I should be working on being impressive and the rest will follow.

Bump it with:

I think I broke the Universe

At first I was scared I broke the universe.  The world around me had suddenly and magically aligned where all of a sudden I was getting absolutely everything I wanted.  I’d see a pretty girl in an aisle at a store and I’d chat her up, and five minutes later I’d have her phone number.  I’d go out to a bar and trade 90’s Karaoke songs with the smokey eyed girl in the corner, and somehow end up leaving with her.  That childhood friend I grew up racing matchbox cars up the church pews, somehow she wants to play a whole different kind of game.

Something about being so damaged had made me completely fearless.  I had already seen the absolute worst a relationship could do to me, I was now impervious to the sting of rejection and completely fueled by the fear of being alone.  In normal people it works the opposite, building upon a foundation of confidence begets more confidence.  But for me it only manifested once I was at a critically low level of self-esteem.  Like a mother lifting a two-ton truck off of her infant child, my brain and mouth had somehow surged with courage that my body or my heart did not have the capacity or the ability to wield during my taken life.

Most people wake up with a hangover and a severe sense of buyers remorse.  I woke up high-fiving the drunken me from the night for whatever I said and did, marveling at how I was punching waaaay above my league, and somehow nobody else had taken notice but me.

And then I started to get scared that it wasn’t the universe that was broken but me.  Maybe I died and this was my slow segue into heaven (or much more likely, hell).  Maybe I’d somehow slipped into a coma and this was just my mind’s way of keeping itself busy while the rest of me rotted away.  or maybe, just maybe I was developing mutant powers.  I had always wished for mind control powers as a kid, (well initially I wanted claws like wolverine) but I always thought if I concentrated my brain enough (I did this to the point of giving myself earaches, because I think my idea of “concentration” was just flexing my inner ear muscle really hard) I could bend people to my will.  Maybe this was my powers manifesting 20 years later in some weird sort of payoff for doing dumb brain-exercises as an eight year old.  Because it wasn’t just bar floozies, it was girls I had dreamed of dating in high school, wanting to discuss art projects over hot water poured through ground beans, or crepes and running in the morning, and god I hate running but I’m going to do my best to keep up because your smile seems brighter than the sun.

And suddenly, so many doors had opened up I would have to start sprinting just to get through them all.  So I was running all the time.  And then girls saw me running and said, “hey this guy is going places” so they started keeping pace too.  And I started talking about what I was doing, and where I wanted to go– and people followed.  And suddenly, I wasn’t alone.

And so, I think I broke the Universe.

Because I’m actually.

Oddly.

Kind of happy.

Bump it with:

Perfume

Elevator

I first caught her scent in the empty elevator. The tiny mechanical room was filled with her presence, wafting in the air as clear as if she were standing there’ right beside me.   I breathed her in letting her smell wash over me.  I  imagined myself a blood hound, picking out shreds of evidence from her aroma.  I imagined her: sassy and sophisticated, wearing boots, toting books, and GMO free groceries, into the tiny elevator just moments before me.  Serendipity and happenstance had made us miss each other by minutes, and all I was left with were wisps’ and mystery.

Her essence was ethereal and light like lilacs and cotton candy.  Not the heavy-handed perfume of a woman demanding to be smelled, like a trashy low-cut bodice with blossomed-bossoms exposed, expecting to beheld.  No, this was a woman of class and substance, full of culture and fine art that it left an indelible mark upon the world around no matter where she traveled.  Alas, I stood there in the tiny room with four walls, speeding upwards to my home –alone.

I scoured the elevator in the weeks to follow for any traces of her, finding only the smells of takeout dinners and groceries, the sweat of working men and other unpleasantries, but never her smell.  Some days the elevator smelled of cleaning solution, bleach and simple green erasing any trace of her.  Slowly, I began to give up and her sweet scent was almost erased from my memory.

One fateful day I was riding the elevator  up to my apartment, playing absently with my cell phone.  A figure entered the elevator, interrupting the solitary confines of my elevator ride.  So preoccupied was I, with my device I didn’t even bother to look up.  But suddenly the elevator was full of that wonderful familiar smell, the scent I had been searching for weeks before and had all but forgotten.   At last I had found her, and at last I would be able to confess all the love in my heart.  I glanced over:

“Sup”   Said the burly bearded hipster next to me.

“Sup.” I replied.

….And that became the longest, most uncomfortable elevator ride of my life.

A Mouth Full of Hot Air

Every once in a while you meet a person whom you never want to hang out with again.  The problem with me is, over time I allow myself to forget everything that was horrible or annoying about that person, and I find myself hopefully optimistic the next time they want to hang out.  It’s like getting a whiff of something particularly foul smelling… like blue cheese; you want to take a second sniff just to be sure that yes, it was in fact as horrible as you first thought it was.  Tonight was my second whiff, and it was equally as foul.

She’s pretty like I remember.  Especially in pictures on her social media pages, she knows just the way to tilt her head and angle her breasts to make herself look stunning.  She’s perfected presentation on the two dimensional stage that is the internet.  She gets in my car, still pretty, still equally as glossy and made up and as elegant as those photos.  Then she opens her mouth, and then the night begins to crumble.  The car ride is only fifteen minutes, but by the end of it I am exhausted.   She goes through my ipod, commenting about each artist or song.  “This artist sucks, I can’t believe you have this”  “These guys used to be so good.  What ever happened to them?”  I open my mouth to answer, and she’s already on to the next band “My best friend dated the bassist from this band.  But then they broke up”  The band or the couple? I ask.  “I dunno.  Oh my god I haven’t heard this band in years, play this”  She bounces through my playlist in the same rapid fire succession, playing each song for fifteen to thirty seconds before skipping on to the next.  The entire car ride is a series or previews, both of conversations and of songs, nothing meaningful or interesting, just little starts with abrupt ends leading into little starts again.

She gets down to the local music, she seems to know someone from every band on the island; it’s like playing a one sided game of seven degrees to Kevin Bacon, but I am completely oblivious to the names she is dropping or the people she is mentioning.  I nod my head absently, waiting for a break in the carpet-bombing cascade of language.  There is none.

We park and walk to the bar.  She’s still talking.  I marvel at her cardio; her mouth has been going practically non-stop and she doesn’t seem even close to being out of breath.

“You’re cute, do you wear makeup?”

“No” I reply.

“Good you shouldn’t, makeup is for fags.”

The couple walking opposite of us on the sidewalk glares at us angrily.  She is oblivious to the toxicity of her own mouth.  And continues talking.  Her vocabulary is littered with colorful pejoratives, “This girl’s a bitch” “That guys a cunt” “This girls a slut” and on and on.  There are about five mutual friends between us.  These colorful euphemisms are used to describe all the people we both know.

We end up at some seedy bar in the heart of the sprawl (at her direction), where apparently she knows everyone there and can get us in for free, and get us free drinks.  Neither of which happens.  The bouncer she is  “super good friends with” is really more of a casual acquaintance, like a person you pay money to when you’re getting into a place.  Not a super good friend, unless the guy who bags my groceries sometimes is my super good friend.    I pay our cover charge.  We get in.  Nobody she knows is there working.  In fact it’s almost as if nobody knows her here.  She glances around the bar:

“Oh there are a lot of black people in here.  I’m so tempted to say nigger when there are so many black people around.”  I think it’s important to note, that in this type of situation when mentioning a taboo word, one would normally say the taboo word in question, softer than the other words.  Nope, she blurts it out louder.  Eyes turn to us.

“Please don’t.”

“Does that ever happen to you?”

“No.”

“Don’t you just want to yell it?”

“No.”     …because I’m not a seven year old child.  I have self restraint and I know how to behave myself in public around people of different races and cultures…  This seems like a lot to explain.  “Please don’t.”  I repeat.  Her eyes dance, intrigued by the fact that she’s been able to shock me, or nullify me into silence. I don’t remember what we talked about much.  I don’t think I was an active participant.   Still we drink, hoping the alcohol will somehow lubricate things.

She runs into an old acquaintance who actually was from one of the bands we were listening to.  He chats her up, and I am left on my own to watch the TV.  This actually makes me very happy.  Her rockband friend, senses he too has  made a terrible mistake and begins to try to engage me in conversation to break away from her.  I prefer the TV.  My responses, though friendly, are cursory at best.  We go through two more rounds.  Maybe it’s the beer, but her  friend is actually quite nice, a lot more fun to talk to than her.  His stories are interesting, about crack addicts and break ins and about how aging affects a musician’s ideology.  She keeps interrupting, trying to pull the conversation in another direction.  I pay for our tab and we leave.

“I’m hungry.” she complains.  I myself was actually a bit hungry, and buzzed enough to believe that forty five minutes of this couldn’t possibly be that much more harmful to my health.  I was mistaken.

We arrive at a takeout place in the odd hours of the morning.  Drunks like us stumble in, order their food and make their way over to wooden tables to eat.  We sit down.  She’s rambling about music again.  The fact that I had five bands on my ipod she recognized somehow makes us kindred spirits.  She pulls out her phone and begins playing music on her phone.

“This is the song I was telling you about.”  She pokes at the tiny screen, as her tin-thin speakers rattle out their brittle rendition of whatever piece of music she wanted to share.  It’s muddled and sharp, bouncing off the walls of the dining hall.  “Don’t you like it?”  Other patrons look over at us in irritation.

“Maybe you can show me that later.”  I gesture at the couple sitting five feet from us, separated only by a narrow wooden partisan, now sharing my personal hell “It’s kinda loud.”

“But I want to show it to you now.”  she insists.

I touch her hand and lower the volume on her phone.  “Why don’t you show me pictures instead?”  Her paperclip sized attention span is redirected and she begins thumbing through her phone.  I must confess, my intentions were slightly nefarious here.  She seemed like the kind of girl who would keep nudes of herself on her phone, or at the very least something of her in skimpy lingerie.  No such luck.

Instead I subjected myself to a slideshow of her friends, her co-workers, her pets, guys she is stalking, things she happened to take pictures of, some rocks on the ground, dirt, accidental pocket shots.  Each picture comes with a personal narrative and back story.  This is not a conversation mind you, but a presentation, a non-stop assault of words in rapid succession, leaving no room for comment, question, or discourse.  I made the initial mistake of thinking this was a conversation.  Slowly, I was pared down and reduced to single word answers.

“Yep.”  “Uhuh.”  “Interesting.”  “Cool.”

And when her presentation became too overwhelming, I started simply grunting.  I finished my food.  She had barely touched hers.

“Wow you eat so fast.  Everyone tells me I eat so slowly.”  I had so much time to eat while your mouth was moving for the past fifteen minutes.  

She talks about music the whole drive home, listing all the bands she’s seen and the people she saw them with.  Mind you, we still only have the same five mutual friends in common, none of which are the people she is talking about.  These are just people, a long laundry list of empty names to me.  Perhaps she’s unaware of how friends, or individual human experiences work.  The stories shift rapidly.  I’ve given up on trying to follow them long ago.  My mind wanders.  One of the video games I play, has the option to surrender during a match if the other team is winning by a significant amount.  The players on your team need to agree to surrender for it to happen, and then you just sit back and wait for the game to conclude itself.  I feel myself subconsciously clicking the surrender button.  I count the streetlights as they pass overhead.  I imagine what I will eat for breakfast tomorrow.  I imagine this night being over.

We get to her place.  Please leave.  She thumbs through my playlist, again playing fifteen seconds of several songs.  She talks about the bands again.  Please, just leave. And then, she leans over to kiss me; it’s an over eager kiss where her face makes forceful contact with mine.   I feel her tongue at the seam of my lips.  I turn away coughing, pretending to have something caught in my throat.

“You’re really cute.” she exclaims as she tousles my hair.

“Thanks.” I reply. Please just leave.  I’m a little surprised by my own aversion to her.  Somehow her mouth has nauseated me beyond what her body can offer. Please just leave and get out of my car.  I drum my fingers on the steering wheel anxiously. She sits there, toying with her seatbelt awkwardly, running her fingers don the length of the strap.  It sits pressed between her shapely breasts, like a silver river of safety.  Am I really saying no to this?  She opens her mouth.  Yes I am.  She fidgets with the buckle.   Oh god is she stuck?  Am I going to have to free her like some trapped animal trapped in a snare?   Finally she unbuckles her belt.

“I had fun tonight.”  She smiles at me.

“Me too.”  I lie.  That’s what you’re supposed to say right?  Even though it was a terrible evening?  Me too.  Fun.  Yeah.  Please just leave and get the hell out of my car.  She kisses me again, I evade it with my cheek.  Sensing the evening is done, she leaves.  And I am alone in silence with my thoughts for the first time in the evening.

I get home.  My wallet is significantly lighter, and my self-esteem more battered than before.  I was almost face raped.  This is what it must feel like to be a girl on a shitty date.  She texted me some gibberish later on in the night.

I’ve yet to respond.

…Man, I hate being single.