So when I hurried to do laundry this morning, I should have known better and just ‘got there when I got there.’ The lady at the Candy Store was chatty, and it took her an eternity to count out my nine dollars’ worth of quarters. When I was fifty feet from the MAX and it left without me?
I sat next to either a sketchy stripper or a hot homeless gal, I couldn’t tell which. She was doing her makeup from a large duffel bag while we waited. Seventeen minutes later, I was on the MAX, two stops away from the laundromat and my next two hours of amusement. Oh joy!
I shared the laundromat with a skinhead and his also-stripperlike girlfriend. They didn’t seem to be doing laundry. They sat there, eating a jumbo box of butterhorns and played with their phones. Stepping outside only to smoke, they appeared to have no legitimate reason for being there. None of my business…
I put an extra quarter in each dryer, figuring six minutes would be mold insurance. (“We must NOT smell like must!”) I played on Twitter, texted a couple buddies. Mostly I enjoyed the uninterrupted solitude. The Neo-Nazis were being vewwy-vewwy quiet. Bless you, smartphone inventor! I folded at a leisurely pace, and, since no one was inside, I changed clothes. Clean jeans, favorite black pocket tee. I added a clean hoodie for insulation, and got back to overthinking the folding of the wardrobe.
As I stepped out of the laundromat, I saw the Green Line pull away. Great, now I had seventeen minutes to walk three blocks. I stepped to it. I have learned that all that dickin’ around can get you distracted to where you miss the next departing bus. I occupied a bench, and almost nodded off. Another seventeen-minute interlude, accompanied by the dulcet tones of Paul McCartney and Wings. We gonna get hi hi hi…
After an eternal wait, the train came. I dragged my black-bag-disguised granny cart of clothes into the handicapped section. Opting to stand for the two stops, I scanned the train car. I was still sleepy from dozing at the bus bench. I smiled at the pretty young lady walking my way. She seemed persistent in making eye contact. She kinda looked like, no way…
It was Angel.
“HI!” She nuzzled up next to me, and kissed my cheek. I reciprocated, suddenly feeling like a genius for changing into clean clothes at the laundromat.
She looked darling as ever. I hadn’t recognized her when I’d scanned the MAX car, but as soon as I saw her twinkly smile I was warm and fuzzy as ever. My train stop came way too soon. I told her, “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Now I’m gonna go home and think about you some more…” I gave a love-pat to her squeezably-soft backside.
If I’d caught that first train I’d have not seen her. So I offer a hat-tip to the gods of random, who managed to reward my patience with a hug and a squeeze from someone I’d been missing terribly. I had a spring in my step, and suddenly I wasn’t sleepy anymore.
Blessed by an angel with butterfly wings.
And the hits just keep on coming.
Over the past few years I’ve been in several relationships with women. Some more serious than others, but none too serious. It seems as though the seasons of love are changing again, and Fall is approaching.
Rain moved out around Thanksgiving, and hasn’t been back to visit once. She comes to my work, and I see her at her place, or downtown, but she doesn’t come to the house. We aren’t fighting or ‘separated’, but we aren’t as cozy as we used to be. Drifting apart.
Meg grew intolerable over time. I don’t know if it was a change in medication, ongoing meth use or plain ol’ insanity, but she turned on me and lit bridges on fire. She was a best-of friend and occasional discreet lover. She had delusions, and even tried filing a police report. (The police never came.) I miss her, and think of her every day, but I don’t contact her. I had to step away.
I’ve made friends with a couple women, but have been wary of pursuing anything further than bong-hit-buddies. I just ain’t ready to jump feet-first into the water; I need to lay by the side of the pool for a minute.
But there’s always Angel!
For the past decade Angel and I have had a flirtatious ongoing friendship. I always assumed we’d hook up some day, if we were both single at the same time. (It almost happened, but only for about a month, and simply didn’t take off.) We’ve maintained contact via text message. The other day when I was by her landlord’s office, I used it as an excuse to text her. The tone of her returning text seemed different. Cooler.
Then she texted, “Is it cheating to talk just talk with someone when you’re in a relationship?”
My heart sank, then something came over me. An enlightenment. I was even more free. I have never been able to let go of a woman until I know she’s going to be okay. It sounded like Angel was most okay. Good for her.
I texted back, “If it feels like cheating it probably is, they say. I understand, and if that’s what’s going on I wish you the best. I’m right over here, and always will be. Maybe I’ll let you instigate the texting from now on.” I tacked on a smily-face emoticon to remove any perceived snark, and sent.
I followed up almost immediately with, “But don’t mistake my quiet for lack of interest. I will always have a crush on you.” I hit send.
“Aw, you rock. Thanks.” There they were, Angel’s last words.
I brought up all messages for deletion: 200 exactly. Wow. It seemed like there would be more.
“Oh, this and that. Off work. Why you ask?”
“Because I have to come downtown for court, and I’ve missed you. Thought I’d say hi, and maybe even reapply to work with you…”
My heart hit the ceiling of my brain before bouncing southward to my crotch and back to chest level. “Angel back in town? I’m stumbling and stuttering with excitement already!”
“My court is at 1 PM. Want to meet before or after?”
“Do you have someone to go to court with you?”
“No. I’ve never even been in a courthouse, don’t even know which one to go to.”
“Would you like me to go with you?”
I was grinning ear-to-ear. “Text me the address of the courthouse. I will be happy to go with you. But… I have some marijuana to deliver first…”
Angel: “Sorry, thought I told you. Friday was my last day. I’ve been transferred to Southeast.”
Me: “I knew you were thinking about it. Sigh, guess the only sweet chocolate I taste is this fine blunt here. I’ll hold out as long as I can!”
Angel: “I miss you. We’ll meet up soon.”
I knew it was coming, but I’d hoped she’d procrastinate, be overridden by management, etc… Fact is, after nine years downtown she was tired of the faces and places, and wanted a new view. They moved her to Eastport Plaza, which is not the white trash capital of the world, but not as diverse as our fine downtown.
I would be reminded as I caught the MAX, on my way to say hello…
“They are just like my old ones. Nike Air Monarch, black, size 13 4E. My last pair were good for five-hundred miles, I figure.”
She was grinning.
“And don’t start singing that fucking song!”
“I would walk five-hundred miles;
And I would… aughh!”
When I find something I like, I stick with it. It’s the bane of all my girlfriends’ existence, I’m sure. My “look” changes about every ten years. My clothes, a little more often, but only because I have a bunch of the same kinds of things.
Pocket tees have been a staple since 1990. I wore sweatpants for twenty years, but switched over last year to denim jeans. I do have a pair of camouflage cargo pants for when I feel like going back to my outlaw hillbilly roots, but I wear them as laundry pants most of the time.
Bottom line, stuff wears out. It was time to refresh.
Rain’s departure has come with little fanfare this time. Out of respect for her (and us) I haven’t been saying much. My family and co-workers have been through our break-ups many times before. I’m sure folks say “Oh, they’re just fighting, they’ll be fine next week.” For the longest time, that was true.
But, in recovery, they talk about rock bottom. “How do you know when you have hit rock bottom?”
“You’ll know when you get there.”
I’m pretty sure I’m there.
Just call me Pudding Pop.
A couple weeks ago, as I was working, I got a text message from Angel. “How you doin? It’s been a while.”
I’ve been told my face lights up uncontrollably when I see someone I have a crush on. I must have been projecting beams of light at my phone. “Great! How are you?”
“Good. Dumped the BF, for good this time. Third time’s a charm.”
We’ve been sharing relationship drama for years now, both of us holding out for a day when our respective partners would see the light, that we are the bee’s knees, and why don’t you treat me right, etc… When things boil over, we run to each other.
And she was texting me on a Saturday night at 10 PM. I know her well enough that she’s always in bed or “in bed” by 9:30. And she’s thinking of me?
I had to brag, so I pulled out my mildly-stupid phone and Tweeted, “Runnin’ with the devil; off work, meeting a friend to do semi-responsible things. Then we gonna tear it up…”It’s been a blessing to meet a girl who likes weed as much as I do. She gets my philosophy behind it. She rarely drinks alcohol, so when she suggested we go out for a drink, I had a better idea. “Why don’t I get us something to drink? It won’t be alcohol, but you’ll get goofy as fuck, minus hangover.”
“I guess I trust you, shady mister.”
So I went to the weed store, and picked up a couple of medicated vitamin waters.
It was Saturday morning, and I was restless. Rain was out doing her daily routine, and I had the day off. I’ve been working an average of six days a week, and a full day off with no expectation of being called in left me feeling a little lost.
I ate a magic lemon bar and went for a walk. Let’s see where Saturday morning takes me…
I’ve always been a creature of habit. When I find something that works, I stick with it. This can lead to ruts. I dislike ruts. This year has been a season of change. A LOT has changed. But, as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
This is the story of my 99-cent Ironman watch, and how it’s on its third life…
I quit updating my social status every time I caught the eye of a new girl, or caught up with an old one, or dumped one forever, because nothing is forever (yet) and I am a pussy when it comes to being firm in my convictions.
Besides, I’m not sure any of us knows what we really want.
Things seemed hot and heavy with Angel, then her boyfriend came back to town. Rain is off heroin, living downtown and doing fine. Meg is having her own unique set of crises, but the Marshal is out of the equation, and I am her go-to guy.
And I am seeing all of them.