I Hear It In My Head Real Low
“The only fright that’s caused my flight was love.” –Anonymous
It’s Thursday night, and I’m walking up The Writer’s steps. I watch as the sun sets into the hills. I’ve walked up these steps a hundred times and today is no different. I wonder if it ever will be. I pause at the door and take an exaggerated breath before pressing the bell. “Hiiii,” he says with his dumb grin, opening the door. Then he pauses and smiles snickering, “Why do you always look so depressed when you get here?” I ignore the question, sliding my arms around his sides for a hug. “What do you want for dinner?” He asks. “I’m indifferent,” I respond. “You’re always indifferent,” he says. I shrug and clear off my side of the bed…where I see a denim jacket. Not his denim jacket–he doesn’t have a denim jacket. I do his laundry, I know all of his clothes. “This is cute,” I say. “Yeah,” he says not really paying attention. “Is it new?” I ask holding it up. He looks up from his computer to take brief glance. “No, I think it’s Dalton’s.” “I love denim jackets,” is all I can muster. I place the jacket on the floor on top of a pair of jeans…also not belonging to The Writer, and get on the bed next to him.
“But really…what do you want for dinner?” He asks again. “Really…I’m indifferent,” I reply. He searches a couple websites for recommendations as if he doesn’t already know all of the options. “I kind of want pizza,” I finally say, getting hungry. “Pizza makes me puffy,” he says.
This is a new and probably short-lived “thing.” The Writer thinks he’s allergic to wheat (or more specifically pizza) causing his face to swell. When we go out, he refuses to order anything with wheat but insists on picking over my wheaty dishes. As a reactionary response, he’s become ridiculously obsessed with pizza when he’s drunk. It’s simultaneously adorable, endearingly irritating, and entertaining–much like The Writer.
“I’ve already had a carby meal today. Are you trying to make me fat?” He asks. “Don’t be dumb,” I say, pressing up against him to see what’s on his screen. “Maybe we should order from two places,” he says. “No, it’s fine. I’m really indifferent. I’ll order from wherever.” “I want a salad,” he says. “Now you’re really being dumb. You can get a salad from literally anywhere.” He agrees to order from the pizza place. “Can you call?” He asks. “Sure,” I say. He hands me his card. When the person at the pizza place picks up, they ask me for the address and cross street, which I have memorized. As I’m placing my order, The Writer stops me. “Actually…I want pizza too.” “Hold on,” I say to the person on the phone. After he provides some needlessly complicated explanation of what he wants and why he’s justified it to himself, I cancel the whole order and ask for a large cheese pizza. “And with those Parmesan packets,” he says. I nod holding up a “just a sec” finger, and he says it again, loud enough that the lady taking my order probably heard. “Can we get some of those Parmesan cheese packets?” I ask politely. “Yes sah. Twenty minute,” she says.
Thirty minutes later, we’re starving and the delivery guy has arrived. Only when the doorbell rings, he’s not at the front door. “He’s not here…” I yell to The Writer, who’s still in bed. “Huh? Oh.” Apparently there’s a secret doorbell by his garage…his house in kind of confusing. He gets up and walks barefoot down the sidewalk to meet the guy. The guy walks him back toward the front, and I hear The Writer say this “How much do you usually get tipped?” I don’t know why he says shit like that. Especially when he orders in several times a week. I just shake my head, and he walks back into his bedroom with the pizza box. Starving, I fling open the top and shove a slice in my mouth. “Oh my god. Where is the Parmesan?” It’s not there. They definitely forgot, but you’d think it was a fucking national state tragedy. “I don’t see them. Do you want me to call and have them…” “No,” he says disdained. The tantrum-level theatrics going on here force me to hold back a giggle. And then I don’t care. “I think they did it just to spite you,” I tell him. He doesn’t think it’s funny…then he does but only for a sec. “They’ve been plotting this against me for weeks!” “I bet they’re the ones who fucked up your back, too!” All to withhold The Writer’s Parmesan.
As we’re eating, a piece of tomato is about to fall off his pizza, but I catch it with a napkin. “You’re so much cleaner than Dalton,” The Writer says. He spilled everything all over our bed. “Yeah, and you didn’t?” The Writer pulls up the bedsheets and points to a couple stains. “Coffee, grape juice, more coffee, spaghetti sauce…” “Gross.”
When we’re done eating, The Writer takes the pizza box and puts it on the floor. “No,” I say, getting up. “Me civilized person. Me put pizza box in kitchen,” and I leave to do just that. When I return, he’s totally entranced in his email, so I start surfing the web. I find a website which takes screencaptures of people’s outraged Facebook statuses. Only, these statues are in response to satirical news stories. Pretty much all of the posts are dripping with a painful lack of education, cripplingly bad grammar, and religious fundamentalism–comedy gold. I show The Writer a post which is a response to a fictional multi-billion dollar, government funded abortionplex. How could that get funnier? People believing it’s real. Responses range from “ppl are litarally unbelievable” to falsely attributing quotes to Mother Theresa to blaming STDs on the use of condoms to calling it an “8 billion dollar baby Holocaust.” The camp and hyperbole is simply too much, and we nearly die laughing. After almost an hour of this, he tells me he’s going to post it to his Facebook. “But don’t comment on it,” he tells me. “I want people to think I’m the funny one.” “Oh, you’re positively hilarious,” I assure him with a certain amount of sarcasm. I feel so natural with him. He’s my best friend.
As we start to settle down for the night, we get a little chatty. “When are you going to get your nose surgery?” I ask. “Why?” He says worriedly. “Does it look messed up?” “Of course not!” I say. I honestly want to know so that I can plan on taking care of him–not that we’ve really discussed it.” “I’m not getting it anymore. Unless I absolutely have to.” “Why not? It’s broken.” “I don’t really need it and it’s like $5,000. I don’t know though. Maybe I’ll have some taken off.” He says in slightly smug way. The Writer’s nose is a little larger than average, but it’s neither unattractive nor distracting. It’s cute and suits his facial features. “Don’t.” “Really?” He asks. “I’d be upset if you did. It’s perfect the way it is.”
We decide to watch a movie, and he decides it’ll be The Rules of Attraction. “Have you seen it?” He asks, searching around the room for something. “No.” “Hey, have you seen my movie binder anywhere?” “No,” I say sleepily. He disappears out of the room, and I hear him shuffle around this house. A few minutes later he returns. “I swear to god, if Dalton stole my movie binder, I am never speaking to him again. He’s the most selfish…” “I can just download it,” I say. This calms him down a little bit. He texts Dalton to ask if he stole it. I’m not sure why–I mean, would you admit to stealing it? Dalton says he doesn’t know where it is.
We make it through most of the movie before I start dozing in and out. “Ian Somerhalder was so adorable back then, wasn’t he?” He says to me. “Mhmmm,” I reply. “Are you falling asleep?” He asks. “Mhmmm,” I answer. He shuffles through the covers for a moment to find the remote and shuts off the movie. I’m facing toward him–not optimum spooning position. He slides his foot between my ankles, facing me and pulling me into his arms. He holds me like he’s going to hold me forever, like we’re never going to wake up tomorrow. I’ve never felt so close to someone like this in all my life. I feel him sit up a little for a second. I don’t know why, but I like to think it’s to watch me. I fall asleep as his thumb gently brushes my cheek.
* * *
The next morning, The Writer’s alarm goes off early. He has a lot of work to get done. “Wake up,” I huff, digging my shoulder into him. He pushes me away and rolls over, so I wrap both my arms around his chest and flip him over on top of me. “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” “Leave me alone!” He bellows. “Fine. Five more minutes.” “K,” is his response. We go through this about seven more alarms before he finally agrees to get up. “Do you want me to go get us some Starbucks?” I ask. “No, I’m just going to take some adderall.”
I get up and go to the bathroom, much to his relief. I turn the faucets on the sink and start to brush my teeth. Looking in the mirror, I realize: You have a toothrbush here. You care about him so much. You belong here. Just tell him make it happen.
I go back into my constant inner debate: He knows that you like him. He likes you. Things are great. What’s there to talk about? Everything’s been said. You’re only going to mess it up. But then there’s the truth. I care about him more than I should. He knows that, too. And why shouldn’t things be taken to the next level? I know I’m not in love with him, but there’s an endless list of things that I love about him. Reasons I can’t seem to escape him from, whether cute or insanity-inducing:
1. I care about him way too much.
2. But I know I’m not in love with him.
3. He chews spearmint gum all day and all night.
4. He’s my best friend.
5. He’s out of his fucking mind.
I finish brushing my teeth, and go back to the bedroom. The Writer is picking crap up off the floor because he’s finally hired a cleaning lady. Although, I’m pretty sure he needs a cleaning army. I help him pick stuff up–it’s like a field day my inner neurotic psychopath. I tell him to go start working and shut the door. (Instead he gets in the bathtub. Yes, he is a grown man. No, he doesn’t take showers.) I throw out his mountain of junk mail, which has surpassed the size of his nightstand. I take every stray article of clothing and shove it into his half dozen laundry bins (several of which are makeshift). I organize his drawers and his junk into piles, seeing things I probably shouldn’t see. Finally, I grab what might just be every glass in his house and carry them over to his sink. “All done?” He asks, coming back into the room, wearing only a towel. “Just about,” I say as he searches for something to wear. “Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just, you know, open your closet and find clean clothes? You know that can happen if you dedicate just half an hour every week to laaaaaaundry!” I say, shouting like an elderly game show host. “It’s just so tedious,” he says. “Don’t even. And it’s kind of therapeutic, by the way. That’s why I do yours.”
I finish pre-cleaning for the cleaning ladies–god, I’m such a housewife–and we get in bed to do some work. When they arrive, The Writer instructs them to clean the rest of the house first and says it in Spanish, no less! The Writer claims to know Spanish from speaking with his father’s employees when he was younger. It’s both fairly impressive and a little ridiculous–just like him. I suspect picking languages would be easy with a personality like his.
When the cleaning people finish the rest of the house, one of them knocks on the bedroom door. The Writer answers, and we head out. The lady takes one look into the room and her expression transforms from bored to utter disgust. “Did you see that?” The Writer asks. “Do you think it’s because we’re gay?” “No,” I say. “I think she saw the mutant mold strain climbing out from under your bed.” We get our stuff together and head out the door for lunch. “Do you think I need to tip them separately? They’re through a service.” “I wouldn’t know…I clean my own shit.” Given that I’m now unemployed, I think about telling him that he should hire me the next time he wants his place scrubbed down. I decide to hold off.
As we drive down his street, he asks me about my anxiety. “I went off the anti-depressants,” I say. “Why? Did they make you unable to cum?” “No, I could still cum just fine, thanks.” “Then why?” He asks. “Loss of feeling,” I answer. “Not like body parts going numb. Like someone yelled at me at work, and I thought to myself ‘this should upset me,’ and my conditioned response was to say something, get upset. But before I said anything, I realized there was no emotional drive, no actual reaction. That scared me. I don’t want to lose my feelings.” “But you anxiety is back?” “A little, but I’d rather feel everything than nothing.” “Why? I don’t understand.” “You wouldn’t.”
When our food comes at the restaurant, we talk about his movie. “I hope it shoots somewhere cool like Portland. That way they can hopefully budget in my living expenses, and I can live there for a few months. Or maybe I’ll to go back to school. Somewhere far away like Australia.” “What would you go to school for?” I ask. I don’t hear his answer becaue what I really want to say is “don’t say stuff like that.” It hurts.
“Where did your burrito go?” He asks suddenly, snapping me back to reality. “I ate it.” “But where did it go?” He asks again, pinching my stomach. “You’re so skinny!” He continues, poking me. “First of all, you know about my metabolic disorder! (I don’t have a metabolic disorder.) Secondly, I don’t know…I have this tendency to inhale phallic foods in one fowl swoop. Burritos, subs…” “Hot dogs?” “Hot dogs are disgusting,” I inform him. “Yeah, but they’re so good. And pahllic.”
“Hey, are you going to Wolf’s party tomorrow?” He asks. “I’m…not sure,” I answer truthfully. It’s Wolf’s birthday, and he’s throwing his annual birthday BBQ at his house. According to the Facebook guest list, attendees will include all of my favorite people: Turtle, Warren (more on him in a sec), and drum roll please…Dalton, the ex himself! “Oh, come on!” “It’s going to be terribly uncomfortable.” “Sorry to break it to you, but you’re not exactly the only boy in Wolf’s life…” “No, I mean like Turtle’s going to be there.” “Oh, right!” He laughs. “And Warren…he decided to block me on Facebook because I declined his uber creepy invite to go naked hot-tubbing with him. (The naked hot tubbing was the not-uber creepy part).” “You, too? Warren did the same thing to Dalton when he moved back here. Then he friended one of my straight friends and did something similar, so I called him out. I was like, you’re a creeper, Warren. And he lost his shit. He’s just super unstable. But whatever, don’t worry. You have company on the blocked list. You should come to the BBQ though. I think I’m gonna take Dalton. It’ll be nice, you can meet him.” I nod unenthusiastically.
The Writer drives me back to his house and asks me to come inside. “I can’t. I have a lot to get done today.” “Alright,” he says a little disappointed. “I had a great time last night though. See you tomorrow,” I say.
When I get home, I slam the front door. Tears start pouring down my face–I can’t keep doing this. I absolutely cannot. It was hard enough before. But now…knowing he has someone next to him, his head on my pillow, the next night, every night I’m not there. It’s too much.
6. He’s remarkably selfish.
7. He doesn’t realize it.
8. His thankless ability to horribly mismatch cute sweaters with horrifyingly non-corresponding pants.
9. His adorably dumb grin.
10. His chest feels better on my head than any pillow ever has.
I don’t understand how in a matter of hours I’ve gone from being in the most intimate state of my life to feeling like a dirty mistress. I have no real rights after all, even social ones. They could get back together, and I wouldn’t be able to say anything. We aren’t together. This thing that we’ve built the last four months could be dissolved overnight, and I’d have no right to be mad. At least not publicly.
11. He looks like a little boy.
12. He acts like a smarmy teenager.
13. He abhors his adulthood.
14. His mother writes him letters. And he keeps them.
15. Every night we’re not together, I wish we were.
I know what I know. I’ve put up with, put myself through a lot. But I’m not stupid. Pain is pain. Sometimes it feels good. Not this time.
I’m going to talk to him. The next time I see him.