I’m on the fake news again!
She’s fiddling with the keys on her key chain again. Slightly rubbing them together, almost popping them off the ring. Fidgeting. She’s just fidgeting. It’s a nervous tic, something that she finds herself doing often but doesn’t remember starting. Just passing the time. Trying not to look at her phone. She doesn’t want to see how many minutes have passed, or, rather, how many minutes haven’t passed. It’s still the same minute. She’s still waiting.
The bartender hasn’t acknowledged her yet. She wants to look busy, like she has a purpose for being here, but she doesn’t want to look so busy that the bartender thinks she’s not ready to order. She’s ready. Shot of tequila and a tequila soda, please. Hopefully the booze will cut through her nerves. She hopes no one strange approaches her. She hopes no one tries to talk to her. It’s part of the peril of being out in the world – being subjected to strangers who might impose their will on you at any moment. Although, that is why she’s here. To meet a stranger. Hopefully someone who will not be a stranger for long.
The candles in their little cups flicker romantically. This would be a great place for a date. Or, it is a great place for a date, but it’s hard to think of this as a date. It’s more like an exercise in putting herself out there. Practice. Fake socialization. Just to get back into the swing of things. Even though she knows she’ll be spending most of this date day dreaming about checking her text messages in the bathroom in the hopes that someone more interesting has texted. Well, not someone. Not *him* that’s for sure. Even though she does miss the frequent incoming text messages and the modicum of security that he brought to her life.
She smiles at nothing in particular. She hopes that the man who is coming to this bar isn’t creepy or annoying. Getting to know people is such a chore. It’s so tedious. Mostly because it’s always such a let down. It was the last time she tried to get to know somebody. Just…a total waste of time. Why can’t people put out the cliff notes to their personalities so she can make better decisions about who to date. For example, a little note card with past trauma, attachment style, love languages, and a rating on a scale of one to ten on how good they are in bed. It always sucks to spend a couple nights with a person only to find out that they don’t eat pussy, or they hate trans people, or they think that sex workers deserve to get murdered. It’s exhausting. It’s like a full time job that she’s not getting paid for. Which is why she closes her tab. He’ll be buying her drinks as soon as he shows up. If he shows up.
Oh, yeah. That’s me. I just learned about attachment styles last week, and, lo and behold, I have an avoidant attachment pattern. Fuck. I thought that I was being glamorous and feminist the whole time by treating men like shit, but it turns out its some form of mental disorder. *huge eye roll* God, why can’t my pathological tendencies just manifest them as cheeky cultural commentary rather than lifelong afflictions? That would be really convenient for me. I’m trying to rock the whole ‘dismissive avoidant’ thing as being ‘aloof and mysterious’ rather than ‘lonely and entirely shut off from the world.’ I like my mental health problems to be sexy, not pathetic. Ugh, I guess this explains so much. Sigh. I guess self awareness is the first step.
I’ve gotten used to it. Being alone. Staying inside. Not leaving my house. I never drive anywhere anymore. I don’t go to bars. I don’t see my friends. And I kinda like it. At first I was panic stricken by the possibility of being stuck here, alone, for a very long time. But now? It feels natural. It feels okay. It feels like I might be sad when things change again, and they will change, in a new way that will be strange and foreign all over again. I will be panic stricken, yet again, by the prospect of returning out into that big, scary world out there. It has been so kind to me lately, neatly at bay, away from me. I am no longer involved in it, and because of that, I have a new sense of calm in my life. Even as the anxiety of how I will survive from this point forward morphs and grows into something more sinister, I at least have the calm of not having to try. Not having to pretend to be nice to strangers in the street. Not feeling guilty for staying cooped up in my home all the time. I have been vindicated in my self isolation, and I know that as soon as it is taken away from me, I will be sad in a strange, new way.
Maybe I have always been like this. Maybe I could always do this. Perhaps that is the most frightening prospect of all – that this loneliness is not lonely at all.
“It’s just so…difficult for me.”
I look at my niece as we sit at the kitchen table. My mother is in the other room with the rest of my family – six kids, four adults and her. I can tell that my mother is on the verge of tears just by the quiver in her voice. It’s a quiver that I am well acquainted with. I’m most familiar with that quiver accompanying some sort of invective about how much I have disappointed her. Perhaps that explains my automatic reaction, the creepy crawl all across my skin, that sudden pang of anxiety.
Being here is incredibly uncomfortable. But I came here anyway because it seemed like the right thing to do. I come once a week to say hi to my nephews and nieces and trick them into getting exercise because this quarantine has been pretty hard on them. My mother and I don’t really get along, although we’ve put that behind us for the time being.
When I came here earlier, she was shuffling around her office, hunched over a bit. The sciatica must have been bothering her again. There were so many new accoutrements around the edges of her office: a foam roller, special cushions for seat, the cane. She is pocked with the other standard signs of aging: her hair is thinning. Her body is sagging. Her face is wrinkled. Everything that would give you the impression of feebleness.
“Having them stay here is very, very hard.”
My mother is talking about my younger sister, and her husband, and their four children. Five years ago, my mother let my sister and her family move in for six months while they looked for a house. Yes, of course they stayed longer because who doesn’t want free rent? And that’s what my mother would have everyone in that room believe, although I know the truth of it. I doubt that my sister can leave. My younger sister has never been able to leave my mother. On the other hand, I can.
As I hear her orating in the next room, I can’t help but remember why I stopped coming here for the past two years. It’s this shit. This bizarre, manipulative, almost unquantifiable bullshit that she pulls all the time. It’s insidious, or at least it probably is insidious to my sister. I see it clear as day.
My younger sister comes into the room. She cleared everybody’s plate and is now clearing mine, too. I don’t say anything to her. We don’t really get along. It’s a long story. She tried to kill herself and blame it on me. I wasn’t having it. So I haven’t talked to her since then, which I know makes me sound cruel. So what. I’m cruel. I know.
I wonder how she deals with it. Not just this, but everything exactly like this that my mother does to her in smaller, subtler ways. She goes outside. She’s probably crying. I do nothing, because this is none of my business. Sure, it was my business years ago, right when she turned 18, and I told her that she should come live with me. That she should get out of that house and away from our mother. She didn’t want to leave our mother. She made her decision. I did try to save her one time. Once was enough.
My mother has been drinking. I can hear the clink of the ice cubes in her wine glass. I need a drink, too, so I go to the fridge and pour a glass for myself. Like mother, like daughter.
Earlier in the day, my older sister and her husband came over. My mother had given my older sister’s husband a roll of tin foil. Which seemed fairly anodyne, but apparently it was a thing.
“He uses too much tin foil! He needs to use the silpats! Don’t encourage him!” my older sister shrieks. (Apparently silpats are an expensive, reusable rubber sheet. I don’t know. They’re into that kind of stuff.)
My older sister’s husband smirks, since his tin foil use has been vindicated by my mother. I, on the other hand, am horrified by this dynamic. I don’t even really know how to begin to tell you why. To me, it is a microaggression that is probably piling on top of all the other finely orchestrated microaggressions that my mother has committed over the years.
I should probably let you know that this is my older sister’s second husband. Her first husband got addicted to meth at the ripe old age of 41 and tried to murder her. All of this after they had four kids together and had been married for twenty years. Perhaps this is why I’m horrified. My mother loved my older sister’s ex-husband. Whenever my older sister and her ex-husband fought, my mother always sided with the (now) ex-husband.
Isn’t this just more of the same? Granted, this guy isn’t going to go out and suddenly get addicted to drugs, but, still. Didn’t my mother learn anything? Such as, perhaps don’t antagonize your daughter by fomenting discord in her marriage? I don’t know. Maybe I’m missing something. I mean, I am missing something. I’m missing the part where my mother is loving and nurturing to my older sister. Or my younger sister. Or me.
So I leave. Before things get too uncomfortable. Because that’s what I do. I’m good at leaving. It’s a strong survival instinct that I have cultivated over the years. As soon as things get abusive: RUN.
Of course, I wait and finish my wine because, oof, after today, I need that. I slurp it down, grab my bag, call goodbye to everybody, and scurry away.
My mother walks me to the door.
“Goodbye! I love you!” she says to me.
“You need to be nice to people,” I hiss at her.
She smiles and waves goodbye. She was too drunk to know what I was talking about.
I had to break up with my quarantine boyfriend. I wish I were sad about it, but I’m not. Instead, I spent 30-45 minutes thinking about the relationship, and now I’m on to thinking about bigger and brighter things. I guess in a way it is a bit sad. I had been hoping that quarantine would just be a giant fuck fest, and that we would lie in bed for 7 weeks and fuck and eat strawberries or some other corny shit like that. But when it didn’t turn into a 24 hour fuck-a-thon, I realized: this is so not my speed.
What I love about break ups is: how can my account of what happened not be one sided? I aspire to be objective when it comes to looking at my break ups, but I’m designed to act my own best self interest. Just like you are, too. In my mind, I outstripped him sexually, intellectually and emotionally, and he started to deal with it by being withholding. Like that was the only way he could maintain power in the relationship. It was really disappointing because I’m a huge fan of uncomfortable vulnerability, but, then again, if you’re not prepared to be outshone by someone in every aspect of your life, how are you supposed to react? It takes someone who is really intelligent and in touch with their emotions to admit that someone might be smarter, hotter or more loving than they are. It takes an even smarter person to figure out how to deal with that in order to maintain a functional relationship. For me, it was another lesson in partner picking. Although, you’d think I would have learned by now: I can’t date people who don’t meet me on my level of intelligence, emotion and sexuality. It’s a recipe for disaster, especially because I’m a woman and men are conditioned to think that they’re supposed to be the dominant partner in a relationship.
Although, speaking of ‘dominant partner,’ it’s not like I didn’t give him the opportunity to be dominant. Y’all know what I’m talking about. This guy had the nerve to tell me that I was being (and this a direct quote) “a brat.” A brat!? Fucking duh, I’m a brat. I’m lifestyle! That’s my exact kink! But he acted like it was a bad thing. Which was so confusing! Like, hello, just spank me or some shit. Instead, he was just mean to me about it. Having my partner be mean to me is not a kink. Sure, he said some stuff that I will 100% cop to. He also called me an asshole. Yeah, I’m an asshole. It’s the cornerstone of my personality. I’m pretty upfront about being pushy, needy, demanding, selfish and high maintenance. So it’s not like he was blind sided by it. I was very displeased that he wanted me to eliminate one of the fundamental tenets of my personality. I literally can’t do that without sublimating my entire emotional core and personality. I’d much rather by myself, alone, than spend time around someone who thinks that my personality is by its very nature unattractive. Also, in my defense – he didn’t even see the tip of the iceberg of my assholeishness. I wrote that mean blog post about him, and in a fit of mercy I took it down because that’s the type of caring, generous person I am. So, if he couldn’t handle me at my very nicest, he wasn’t going to be able to handle me when I started to get comfortable around him.
So, in response to his comment that I couldn’t “be an asshole just because I’m attractive” – well, buddy, welcome to the real world, because fuck yeah I can do that. I can be as much of an asshole as I want, and it has nothing to do with whether or not I’m hot or smart or funny. It’s just who I am. As a person. Love it or leave it. Or, rather, love it or else I’m going to fucking leave you. Which I did. I left him.
Cheers, everybody! Happy quarantining! I love and miss all of you ❤
All the news that’s fit to talk about on YouTube! I did a little guest spot on this TV show, News Television For All. Gast forward a couple minutes to catch ya girl. Also s/o to Nessa’s #MayDay ad – can’t wait for that 100% off sale! In fact, I’m not going to wait. Going to hit up that 100% off sale at Safeway tomorrow.
Like, comment, share ❤
In non coronavirus related news, I spend all of my free time these days doing tedious things that I hate, such as writing a query letter, searching for agents, and sending pitch letters. I. Fucking. Hate It. It’s basically just waking up every morning and opening your heart up to getting rejected by strangers on the Internet. I know what you’re thinking – that’s what men do for online dating. But, no, no! This is different. This is me, trying to launch a new career. I’m basically doing work, for free, with no guarantee of ever getting paid. I don’t get to go on a dates or hope and pray for the literary equivalent of a hand job. I’m really just starting my day, sending out 20 emails, and knowing that 20 rejections will come back to me over the course of 4-6 weeks.
I tell myself that this is ‘character building’ but I think I already have a lot of character, so why am I doing this to myself. Clearly I’ve succumbed wholly to the delusion that I am the next, great American writer. (Even though, see last post, and what is the point of being American anymore?) Man, I knew I was a masochist, but getting pissed on and choked out during sex is a lot more fun than pouring all this blood, sweat and tears into inevitable rejection. Also, a lot more rewarding.
Anyway, wish me luck, and hopefully in two years I’ll have a physical book that you can thumb through and then not read.
If there’s anything that all of this had helped me learn, it’s that I really don’t give a fuck about other people. I know, I know, this is supposed to be a time when we all come together, when we all put effort into caring for each other. I’ve seen the chalk murals in the driveways of houses where children live that read, “Be Kind!” I’ve scrolled past all the feel good blog posts about how all of this will bring humanity closer together. I’m aware of the people in need, the inequality they face and how the system brings them down. Yet still: I don’t fucking care.
It was something that I had always known about myself, but I was used to trying to fit into society. I had a good job, and my coworkers liked me. I had a good living situation, and I got along with my roommates. I had lots of friends, some of them close, some of them passing, and we’d all have a good time going out to bars together. I kept in touch with my mother, even if at times she got on my nerves. Spending so much time around other people had slowly chipped away at me over time. Or perhaps it’s that altruism is infectious, and it would have been impossible for me to be as truly selfish as I wanted to be and still maintain the veneer of a normal life. Who knows.
All I know is that as soon as I stopped being around all those people, I stopped caring for them immediately. I stopped caring about what they did, what was happening, and, most importantly, what they thought of me. When I stopped caring, I realized that I also didn’t care about anyone in the large, faceless mass of society. I didn’t care if any of them got sick, if any of them died, if any of them lost their job, if anyone lost their apartment. I didn’t care about the economy, the weather, or the traffic.
Well, maybe I cared about the traffic. It’s been nice being able to drive 120 mph on the freeway at any time of day. It’s especially nice today. Normally it could take me an hour and fifteen minutes to get to San Jose, but today I’ll make it in thirty five minutes tops. Pedal to the metal, not a care in the world. If the world ever goes back to normal (big emphasis on the if), I’ll definitely miss this. Now that everyone’s trapped in their houses and there’s no place to go, traffic laws have become almost obsolete. Not that I really cared for stop signs and red lights in the past, but there was something holding me back from putting my foot on the gas when I was supposed to have my foot on the break. It was a rote politeness. It was the decent thing to do. But now? Well, society might be collapsing. Who has time to break at stop signs when society is collapsing?
I wouldn’t be particularly concerned if society did collapse. Sure, there would be things that I’d miss. Fully stocked grocery stores. Online shopping. Art museums. Not that I went to art museums very much back then, but it was nice to know that they were there. I wonder if musicians will still exist after this. If we’ll still get new music. Not that I listen to much new music, either. I had settled on a play list full of Three 6 Mafia, Tommy Wright III and D-Lo on my old school iPod for this drive down to San Jose. But if society does collapse, I hope that musicians still make music. I hope humanity doesn’t totally abandon its love for beauty after the simple collapse of the domestic democracy. That would be a shame.
But who knows if society will collapse. Maybe it will just change. It had already started changing. I like some of the new changes. I like wearing face masks everywhere I go now. I had always had a penchant for face masks. I’m not a huge fan of facial recognition technology or the surveillance state, so I was already fully stocked with an array of fashionable face masks. What can I say. I always liked to look good during a robbery.
However, I do not like the lines at the grocery store. I was never a fan of night clubs for this exact reason: I don’t like waiting in lines. I don’t believe in waiting in lines. It’s dehumanizing. Although, it’s not the lines I dislike so much as the security. I liked it in the beginning, when the grocery stores were mayhem, and it was easy to walk in and walk out with a bag full of food. Alas, stealing from the grocery is mildly more difficult now. Poor me.
I looked down at the instructions I had written out on a piece of paper and taped to the dash. It was dark out. I hadn’t driven down here after night in a long time. I was a bit concerned about missing my exit, but even if I did, it would be okay because it’s not like missing my exit would slow me down that much. I’m a smart person. Even without my phone, I’d be able to find my way back to the freeway. Worst case scenario, if I couldn’t find the house, I could just come back tomorrow. It’s not like I had anything to do tomorrow. No one had anything to do ever, really. Sure, I still had work meetings that I had to sign onto for two hours a day, but let’s be honest. No one was getting any work done. How could we? The end of the world was way too distracting.
I understood why my job still made us do those work calls. It was an act of mercy in some way. They wanted to give us structure, even though there was no work to be done. It helped to make sure that no one on the team started spinning off the rails or completely losing touch with reality. Plus it was good for some of my single colleagues who probably looked forward to work calls as the highlight of their day. I could tell who was loneliest based on how much they had to say during the work calls and how much they tried to drag it out. As soon as the work call was over, they’d have no one else to talk to.
The work calls were also a way to distract us, like children, while the leadership tried to make it look like they knew what they were doing even though they were just as in the dark as we were. They wanted to keep us busy while they came up with a plan so that by the time they figured out what to do, we’d be in prime working order. That was fine by me. I knew I was lucky to have a pay check. Plus I didn’t have anything better to do.
My roommates, on the other hand, were starting to piss me off. Unlike my colleagues, with whom I had professional boundaries I could rely on in order to keep them at bay, my roommates seemed perfectly content with making their problems my problems, too. It irritated me to no end that we had to have weekly mental health check ins. I didn’t really care about how they were doing, or what they were crying over today, or how stressful things had become. I knew how stressful things had become. I didn’t need a reminder. I didn’t need them nagging me about washing my hands, or asking where I had been when I was out, or insisting that I spray down the entire house with rubbing alcohol once a day.
I wasn’t particularly concerned about the virus. I knew that if I got sick, I’d probably get better, and even if I didn’t get better, death seemed fine to me. Although I know that’s not what everyone cares so much about. Their main concern was that if I got sick, there was no avoiding infecting other people. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. Vulnerable people were going to die, but the vulnerable people were always going to die eventually. I didn’t know them. I wouldn’t miss them. Even if people I cared about got sick, even if they died, I would be okay.
I wasn’t particularly concerned about the economic impact, either. Sure, a lot of my friends had lost their jobs. I was probably going to lose my job soon, too. But it would be just like the last time this happened and we all lost our jobs. We just so happened to be part of the unlucky ones, the disposable working force. I knew that it didn’t matter if it was a pandemic, a hurricane, or just a bad day on the stock market. Our economic status had always been and would always be precarious. We were always on the brink of financial ruin. It just so happened that this time, it was the pandemic that pushed us over the edge.
At the beginning, I had hoped that all of this would just erupt into mass chaos. In a way it did. In a way it didn’t. For me, it wasn’t chaotic enough. It probably never will be. I thought that we would have gone out there on the first night to start looting. I was looking forward to driving up into the hills and squatting in mansions and robbing rich people at gun point. I wanted to break into Saks Fifth Avenue and steal as much as I could carry. I was read to burn down City Hall. I figured, fuck it, no one’s looking, let’s kill all the rapists while we’re at it!
Instead, the reaction felt fairly anodyne. Rent strike? That’s it? That’s the best we could come up with? How many times had I seen people post things like “Eat the Rich” or “ACAB” only to reveal themselves to be Instagram posers who still pay full price for their groceries and waffle about paying rent on time. I guess if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself. That’s why I’m driving to San Jose in my shitty, grey 1997 Honda Civic at 10pm on a Tuesday night.
Maybe things will change after all of this. Maybe they will get better. Maybe they will get worse. I’m not terribly invested in either outcome, mostly because I know that things will continue, regardless. And I will still be here, like a cockroach. I don’t really want to be here, but, I’ll admit it, I don’t really have anywhere else to go. Maybe I’m being uncreative, but maybe I don’t need to be creative. I’ll survive whatever comes next. That’s a given. Besides, being inside and alone doesn’t really bother me. I’m doing quite well, actually, thanks for asking. I’m not one of those insufferable extroverts. I don’t need my self worth to be defined by other people. I’m not dying for attention or physical touch. I don’t feel badly for anyone who is suffering from lack of social oxygen.
However, I do feel badly for the children. They don’t deserve this. This isn’t their fault. I think that’s where we really messed up. But, then again, that’s usually where we mess up. It’s why I’m driving to San Jose.
Yes, I did manage to find my exit. I’ve never been to this part of San Jose before. It is exactly as middle class yet unrefined as I thought it would be. I know, I know, you’re probably wondering: how did I find the address without raising any suspicion? It’s wild, really, the kind of things you can find on the Internet. People are really into putting all their personal information out there. It wasn’t very hard to find the address.
I think I’m almost there. Oh, I’m feeling very excited. Perhaps being cooped up in my house has been taking an emotional toll. I mean, I wouldn’t be here, doing this, if it hadn’t. Although, this isn’t an emotional toll. This has been an emotional opportunity. I’ve spent so much time getting to know myself. There have been parts about myself that I never knew existed until the pandemic. And I never would have known they had existed if it weren’t for the pandemic. Sure, maybe I could have spent three weeks on a yoga retreat and gotten to know myself within that context. But that would have been so contrived. So privileged. Being forced into isolation creates a different psychological context. Facing the daily anxieties of society on the verge of collapse has unearthed some emotions that I don’t think I ever would have touched otherwise. It has been beautiful.
Oh, here I am. This must be it. I was glad to see that he lived in his own house that he rented. This would make things much easier for me. It was a modest one bedroom house. It wasn’t in total disrepair, but it was obvious that there hadn’t been much upkeep over the years. That didn’t surprise me. I didn’t really expect a man like this to live somewhere stately or to care about things like creating a beautiful and comfortable living environment for himself.
I knocked on the door. I saw the light in the living room was on. The TV was blaring. He was probably sitting in front of it in some ratty arm chair, too close to the TV, making his way through a twelve pack of Natty Ice. What else would he be doing? What else did he have to give to the world? I knew he lived alone. Not that I was surprised to learn he lived alone. A man like that? No, no one should be burdened with loving him. Or living with him. Or even having to ring up his groceries at the grocery store. But – calm down. One step at a time, baby girl. You got this.
“Who dere?” he said in his scruffy voice through the door. God. What a horrible voice. The very sound of his voice made me shudder. But that was okay. I wouldn’t have to hear it again after this.
“Hi, hello, sir, can you please help me? I’m lost and I don’t know how to get home!”
He looked through the peep hole. He saw he standing there, on his stoop, in my plaid mini skirt and high heels and pig tails, looking helpless.
“Hm, okay,” he said. He opened the door. I could tell by the look in his eye that he was excited to see me. He let me in.
“Lemme help you. Come in, I’ll write down some directions for you. Do you want a beer?” he said, ushering me to the couch. It looked exactly as ugly on the inside as I thought it would. Everything in there was faded, stacked up, slightly rancid. There was no touch of color, no flicker of joy. Just the functioning of a house, with a couch, and a chair, and a table, and, yup, there it was. Oh – so close! Not a twelve pack of Natty Ice. A twenty four pack of Miller Lite. I had almost guessed right.
I didn’t want a beer.
“Yes, I’ll take a beer,” I said. I walked behind him towards the beer, and as he bent over to grab a beer I did what I came to do. I stabbed him in the neck.
I didn’t hesitate. I knew that it would take more than one. I just had to keep stabbing, straight into the neck, down towards the lungs. There was so much blood, but I knew that there would be a lot of blood. I just kept stabbing. And stabbing. And stabbing. And stabbing.
Okay, breathe. Take a breath. Is he dead? Yeah, he’s dead. There’s no way he can still be alive. Too much blood. The blood is everywhere. Fuck, that’s a lot of blood. Okay – no, don’t panic. I knew that there would be a lot of blood. Just – okay, what was the plan? Oh, yeah. Take it all off.
In a flash, I stripped off my heels, the thick wool tights, the mini skirt, the long sleeve shirt, and the gloves. I balled them up with the knife, stuck them in the bag, put on the latex gloves, and went back to the car. I started the engine and drove away at exactly the speed limit.
Don’t get lost. All I had to do was not get lost. I had to get out of the neighborhood without being too suspicious. A girl driving away in nothing but her underwear? Very suspicious. All I had to do was get back to the freeway, then I would take the long way back, cross the bridge, and toss everything out into the water. Just keep driving. Don’t think about it. Just keep driving.
I had to change the playlist. Time for oldies. Something soft. Something to calm my nerves. Oh, that’s right, my nerves. I had done myself the favor of stashing a mini bottle of mezcal in the cup holder. Time to drink that.
As soon as I crossed the bridge, I chucked everything out the window. Okay. That wasn’t very hard was it? I’m doing okay, right? The Isley Brothers made such great music. How do I feel? Do I feel great? Good? Bad? My heart is definitely still racing, but that will subside. Did I get away with it? Oh, fuck. That was wild. That was intense.
Suddenly, I was back home. I pulled down the block a bit, in front of the park, and opened the mirror. Yes, there was blood on my face. But I had alcohol wipes for that. I wiped my face off. I I grabbed the dress and jacket from the back seat. I put my shoes on. I’d need to take a shower immediately when I got in. Okay, one last check. How am I doing? Am I a changed woman now? I looked myself squarely in the eyes in the mirror. Nah. Same me.
I tip toed back into the house. I was hoping you’d be asleep when I got in. If you weren’t asleep, I was going to tell you that I spilled sauce on my legs and needed to shower. But you were asleep. Thank goodness.
I grabbed the bong and sat on the toilet, getting stoned. I took a long shower. My heart was still racing. I would need my heart to stop racing.
Of course I couldn’t sleep. I tried not to think about it too much. I surprised myself. I wasn’t particularly concerned with what had happened. In fact, it was easy. Easier than I imagined. Sure, my heart was still bursting out of my chest with anxiety, but that would pass. I would fall asleep. I would wake up, and I’d still be myself. I looked at you, asleep next to me. You looked beautiful. I knew that when we both woke up tomorrow, we’d still be us. But the world would be a better place for you tomorrow. You just didn’t know it yet.
You found out a few days later. Your cousin called you and told you. I knew that this was going to happen, so I was prepared. I had a bottle of vodka on hand as well as your favorite icecream.
“He’s dead,” you said. The phone dropped from your hand in shock. I knew you wouldn’t be happy at first, but eventually you would be happy. And that made me happy.
“Are you okay?” I asked with the sincerest concern.
“I…I don’t know. All I’ve wanted was for him to be dead. And now that it’s finally happened…”
You burst into tears. And I was there for you, with open arms.
“Come here, baby. It’s okay. At least you know he’ll never hurt you again.”
You struggled for the first few days. But that was okay. I was ready for this. Eventually, your depression passed. You came out of your funk. You started smiling again. You started drawing again. The lock down still hadn’t ended. I’d sit in the living room and take my work calls, and you’d work on your comic strip while watching TV. We’d spend the rest of our time in bed together, watching movies and eating the rib eye steaks I stole from the grocery store. It was like heaven there with you. I know people say that the quarantine is a trial run for living together, but I always knew I could have done this with you. All I had ever really wanted was to be with you, undisturbed by the rest of the world. All I ever wanted to do was take care of you and have you there by my side. I love you. Isn’t that what love is? Isn’t that would it should be?
“Man, I really thought that I’d be more productive during this quarantine!” you said to me.
“That’s okay. You don’t have to be productive. The point of the quarantine isn’t to be productive.”
“You’re just saying that because you love me. But I bet you’d love me more if I finished this fucking piece!”
“I couldn’t imagine loving you any more than I already do. But I’ll try.”
You smiled at me. It was so good to see you smile.
“I do think that something good will come of all of this,” you said.
“Yeah, like what?”
You looked at me with intent. Your voice lowered a bit.
“I think the point of the quarantine is to become the very best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be.”
I smiled back at you. “Well, then I think we are having a very productive quarantine.”