Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Thirty-six

Posted by ilbebe on January 1, 2009

My time with my ex-girlfriend Jenny is fraught with instances where it should have died a quiet, natural death but soldiered on towards the Big Suck it eventually ended in. We were neighbors when we first started dating, and the first night I made any advance on her was a week before Thanksgiving, 2001. She was having a party at her apartment to bid a mentally unstable friend who was moving back to West Hollywood to live with her grandmother farewell, and I figured Jenny’s emotional state would be ideal for taking advantage of. I got ridiculously drunk before I showed up at the party, and thus when I found Jenny and I alone in her room admiring a bag of her hair she intended to donate to an organization that made wigs for kids with cancer, I freaked out and went to the bathroom to get my head straight. This involved washing my face and repeating What The Fuck Are You Doing into the mirror for several minutes. When I came out, she asked Were you talking to somebody in there?, a valid question in this era of cell phones, but a the time a polite way of saying I’m On To You, You Nutcase. I mumbled some excuse and left the party, making some poorly timed uses of the phrase “gay” in a derogatory sense on my way out.

Feeling re-emboldened a few days later, I knocked on her door around three in the morning, drunk and holding a bag of tortilla chips. She let me in, we talked for an hour, and I left. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my roommate Tom and I were watching American Pie II when she knocked on our door, and an entire evening of confused flirting ensued. A few days after that, she came over to formally ask for a date which I agreed to, baffled that she was still talking to me. For our date, I put on the only sweatshirt I owner that wasn’t fraying at the edges and took her to the bowling alley to play air hockey, then to a party where my band The Sleeze was giving our debut performance. We slogged through three full songs of our own composition and ended with an aborted cover of Molly’s Lips. No one in attendance was particularly amused, but oddly enough, the date continued, and Jenny and I wound up making out on her couch late that night while watching The Wedding Singer.

I was unable to make it to her parent’s house the day after Christmas because my car broke down. On my twenty-first birthday, I was dragged back from the bars only to get in an argument with my shoe, forgive Hitler, and puke my life away and pass out in the bathroom with no shirt on. I recall coming to in the bathroom with no lights on, sandwiched between the toilet and the wall, and thinking I had been put in a straitjacket. Her account of what happened in the middle of the night is waking up and hearing me moan, then say “A horse! They turned me into a horse!” On my friend (and ex-girlfriend) Kaydee’s twenty-first a week later, I ditched Jenny to roll around with Kaydee in a parking lot. Seriously, we were rolling around in a parking lot. This did not help Jenny’s suspicions that I was still in love with Kaydee, a suspicion that had started when I called her Kaydee the first time we had sex. On another night at the bars, she accused me of hiding from her when I’d actually been on a back patio whose existence she was unaware of, and my retort was that she had no instinct for boozing. I don’t recall having sex that night.

But there was beauty, so much beauty. She got me a delicious bottle of lambic for Christmas after we’d been together for only a few weeks, saying “Well, if there’s one thing I’ve determined, it’s that you love drinking.” One night we got in an argument that we worked out by making out in an alcove during a downpour, a teenage dream of mine. I loaned her money to cover the deposit on her new apartment while I was on a road trip, and came back two days early to help her move. She got grease stains out of my favorite pair of brown pants which I had thought were a lost cause, convincing me she was a fabric sorceress. I sang karaoke for the first time, Livin’ On A Prayer, a few days after her twenty-first birthday during the summer, and she sang back-up, and massaged my knees and my ego after I bruised them both during the performance.

Then I broke up with her over the phone about nine months into the relationship, a few weeks after her cat had been run over and a day after she’d dropped a class because she felt overwhelmed and depressed. To this day, I can’t fully explain my rationale for breaking up with her. I wrote a sarcastic song of apology about our break-up and played it for her, but before I could get to the apology part, the sarcastic mean part made her cry and she left the party. I shouldn’t have been surprised when she completely stopped talking to me a few weeks after she started seeing someone new, and from what I hear, she’s still with that guy six-plus years later, so maybe we just weren’t meant to be. The only time I’ve seen her in the past two years was when she made an unexpected appearance at a New Year’s Eve get-together at a mutual friend’s apartment in Alameda last year, and when I went to say hello, nothing came out.

Hopefully next time, if there is one, we’ll have the chance to catch up, but for now, wherever you are, Jenny, I wish you well. It’s taken me years, but now I mainly think about the good times. In the fog of our youth, that’s generally impossible, but I suppose it takes those growing pains to recognize when you’ve got it good. I’m looking back at 2008 and there’s a fuckload of things to think about, but what’s right in front of me are thirty-six chapters and an introduction that I’m proud of. I have no idea where this will end, and maybe I won’t finish this writing in 2009, but come what may, I’m excited. I hope you are too. Happy New Year, each and everyone, to you all and all of yours. Peace.

5:48PM, 12/31/08

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