Getting Right As Rain

October 15, 2013 at 1:07 am (Cussed Dumbers, Sweet sticky things, That's not funny...)

dwarfAs is typical, the most important things happen when you’re knee-deep in busy, and prying eyes are watching, but Rain and I had a very public moment, in which things got right.

It took two weeks, but we finally had The Talk.

After the initial blow-up and subsequent eviction of my sorta-live-in girlfriend, I’d wondered if we’d be apart for a long time, if I’d see her again, or I’d be weak in the knees (or a couple feet higher, to be exact) and welcome her back with no consequence. It took several days for her to get up the nerve to visit me at work, and she stayed close to the door in case I blew up at her. She knows I have a temper, and would never hit her, but I don’t think she was ready for the verbal onslaught I am capable of when righteously pissed. She made sure there was someone around, just in case.

On the two-week anniversary of me putting her out, she showed up at the store…

She made coffee while I got Uncle Cliffy to watch my register. We walked outside, she lit a cigarette and knelt down in front of the store. A couple panhandlers approached, “Hey bro, got–”

“Get the fuck away from us right now.” I hoped my eyes were glowing red. I meant them to be.

They went back to the bum-pile sitting about ten feet away. I tried to cocoon us into a just-us space, but it was a busy Friday afternoon on a major thoroughfare in the biggest city in Oregon. Good luck with that. So… We tuned out the world and reconciled in front of the bums, God, Uncle Cliffy and everybody.

I pulled her to her feet. I looked her in the eyes. She looked away, embarrassed. I brought her chin back around, her eyes locked into mine. “I love you, Rain. I have loved you for a long time. But I have to be able to trust you.

“I know, babe.” She rested her head on my shoulder and began sobbing, “I… AM… SO… SORRY.” It came out as a muted wail.

I pulled her close. “I know you are, and THAT’S exactly what I needed to hear. We can move on now.”

She looked to me for clarification. “You’re not mad at me anymore?”

“Oh, I’m very fucking mad, and very fucking hurt. You took the one thing that means something to me, other than you. I have to be able to not worry about things in my sanctuary, and you violated that.”

The tears ran unabated. “Baby, I wanted to tell you, to talk about it. I just, I don’t–”

“I know it’s the addiction, not you. I know how you are, deep down.”

That brought on a new wellspring of tears. I looked up from our bubble, to see Uncle Cliffy and all the sidewalk-seated Dirt Urchins watching the show. Sorry kids, this is more Oprah than Jerry Springer today. Uncle Cliffy made a ‘Take all the time you need’ motion, and the kids were slack-jawed. Yes, I have a girlfriend, and yes, it’s that cool black woman you all call Mama. Now leave us the fuck alone.

I held her without speaking for about two minutes. She pulled back, “Do I still have my eyebrows? I think I left most of my face on your shirt. Again.”

“Guess I will be able to see your face whenever I want. For the rest of tonight, anyway. Speaking of which, you want to come over after work?”

She looked up at me, with the same expression my dog has when she’s had an accident in the house. “Are YOU sure you want me there after all this?”

“I’ve never stopped loving you. But–” I tipped her chin up to where our eyes were locked again. “I’m going to borrow a line from The Sopranos. ‘Next time, there’ll be no next time.’ You’ll be shooting up through plaster. I will cut something off. I will– Are you getting scared yet?”

Her eyes glistened, from tears and now flecks of joy and relief. The corners of her mouth twitched as she fought not to laugh. “Yes,” she said meekly. “Well, no, but yes. I get ya.” She started laughing, and our five-minute moment came to an end. She kissed me full-on, much to the shock and dismay of the gutter-bitches looking on. Sorry kids, but we ain’t THAT old.

She didn’t come home with me that night, and hasn’t yet. She did meet me after work one night, where we took a walk under the bridge and did things teenagers and people in love do when they think they can get away with it. We are speaking, we tell each other we love each other. I mean it, I believe she means it, and I believe she’s staying away because she knows she can’t trust herself. This is what tells me she really loves me. It’s not because she’s bled the well dry, but because she doesn’t want to poison the well.

Because she knows: Next time there will be no next time.

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