Birthday Bashed

January 24, 2012

“And I’m up while the dawn is breaking, even though my heart is aching. I should be drinking a toast to absent friends instead of these comedians.” –Elvis Costello

A couple days later, it’s my birthday. I get up early and take my friends to the bus station. “Are you sure you don’t want to come?” They ask. They’re leaving for San Diego this morning. “I would,” I tell them again, “but I don’t have the money, and I really want to look for a job.” But mostly, today, I want to get my head on straight and that means getting some work done.

After sitting in traffic for an hour, I arrive home and finish putting notes on the movie outline that I’ve been working on with The Writer. I email it to him before sending him a text, announcing that I had done so, along with an invitation to write with me this afternoon. Feeling highly productive, I continue on my writing streak and decide that today I will finish another script I’ve been working on, inspired by my college years.

After two hours, the nagging sensation from being ignored strikes my last nerve, and I can’t take it anymore. Why is he ignoring me? Doesn’t he realize it’s my birthday? A sliver of me is furious, but I bury that temperament as I dial him. The phone rings. And rings, and rings. I can feel my blood pressure rise as my call is about to go to voicemail—except he picks up at the last moment. “Hey, you.”

I’m knocked on my ass—so much for being vicious. “Hi,” I say. From the noise patterns of the call, I can tell he’s in the car. And from his tone, I can tell someone is with him. “What’s going on?” He asks. “I was just going to see if you wanted to get lunch and maybe write.” The feeling I have while waiting for his response is akin to the butterflies that come with an intimidating job interview. “I’m actually on my way to lunch right now. Actually, can I call you later?” Actually, I have no air left. “Shah,” I answer, unsure of which word I am trying to gasp out. BEEP BEEP BEEP.

So that’s it. I’m all alone 1:30 in the afternoon on my birthday, and that how the remaining ten and a half hours are looking. This is good though. I wanted to be productive. Loneliness and productivity are great lovers, so I take out a concentration pill, cut it in half and swallow. I examine the remaining half of the pill and think, Fuck it, before swallowing that part, too.

*     *     *

Hours later, I’m around page 42 when it starts to bother me again. He didn’t even acknowledge that it’s my birthday. I decide to call again. “Hey,” I say a bit more aggressively when he answers the phone. Now I’m feeling (and probably sounding) slightly desperate. But it’s my birthday. I can do whatever I want, right? Read the rest of this entry »


Prideful Flailing

January 9, 2012

“Things were getting worse faster than we could lower our standards.” –Carrie Fisher

It’s Pride weekend in WeHo and just a few days until my birthday. To help me celebrate, my two best girlfriends from high school come to visit for the weekend, which is extremely beneficial toward my sanity, whose status is currently “in flux.”

After showing the girls around town for a bit, we head back to the hotel where they’re staying and choose a place for dinner. “I think I’m going to invite The Writer,” I announce. The slight hesitation before their response indicates to me that they think this is a less than stellar idea. But I’m already aware of that, and I’m pretty sure they’re a little intrigued. A few minutes and a text conversation later, The Writer agrees to meet us.

The girls and I arrive at the restaurant a few minutes early, and to be honest, I’m a little nervous. Partially because this whole thing is super fucked up. But also, I want my friends to like him. In some weird way, he’s like a badge of honor.

By the time we’re seated, The Writer still hasn’t shown. I get a text from Trick Bradley: “I’m wasted in WeHo.” “Good job!” I respond. That is what you’re supposed to do during Pride, after all.

The Writer is now fifteen minutes late, and I’m a little irked. Finally, he bustles in with his dumb grin, and slightly mismatched outfit. I know this look; it’s the haven’t-done-laundry-in-a-month. He spouts out about 50 words in ten seconds—a mixture of an apology for being late, annoyance about the status of LA traffic/parking, and what a lovely restaurant this is. His grievances melt into an introduction to my friends. I’m interested to see how this goes.

As the conversation starts, The Writer is surprisingly normal. I find myself at a loss or words, but that is how a good observer is supposed to behave, right? I get another text from Bradley: “I’m with David. We’re getting back together.” David is Bradley’s ex, who he’s been heartbroken over the past couple of months. Only, I’m confused: “Wasn’t David with his boyfriend as of yesterday?” His response? “We’re in a three-way relationship.” Gay polygamy—now there’s something to write home about!

Focusing my attention back to the matter at hand, I find myself astonished. The Writer is giving insightful advice about the menu items without sounding like a major doucher. After we order, he starts into engaging, knowledgeable discussion about the universities my friends attended. Who is this person? He’s unbelievably charming and an exceptional conversationalist.

You know that imaginary competition that people have when the break up? If one person lets himself go or gets a fugly new lover, you know you’ve won? Read the rest of this entry »


Thank You Should Go

December 24, 2011

“Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.” –Tender is the Night

The Writer calls me the next day. When his name pops up on the screen, I ignore the call. My life was one way before and today it’s not. It wasn’t my choice, and that makes me feel helpless. I’ve recoiled.

The voicemail he leaves is concerning the movie pitch that we’re supposed to write together, so I give it a few minutes then call him back. “Hey,” he exclaims like a little boy, excited to hear from his father who’s been away on a business trip. “Do you want to come over and work on this outline?” “Sure. When?” “Come now.”

It’s rush hour, so it takes me almost an hour to get there instead of the usual ten minutes. He texts me as I pull up in front of his house: “Are you still coming?” I ignore it, as I hustle up the front steps. When I ring the doorbell, the door opens almost immediately. It’s Dalton, his ex. I choke Read the rest of this entry »


Guess Who’s Coming to Party

December 22, 2011

“I believe we’re all in denial about the people we love.” -David Geffen

I was wrong. Things didn’t get better. The next day, I survived the worst hangover I’d had in years and have since remained thoroughly unemployed. But I’m determined to pick myself back up. I continue to go without seeing The Writer and do my best not to correspond with him. And it works. Sort of. Despite being in an unprecedented state of denial, I find myself manically productive and thriving socially. Between my strengthening friendships and returned interest to forging ahead on my career, I don’t even think about The Writer. Until I get home at the end of each night, and I lie down in my cold, empty bed. I find him in my dreams. He infects the thoughts I am already thinking the moment I awake each morning. That, plus I find myself spooning my clumped-up comforter. It’s a surprisingly decent lover despite its lack of body heat.

But even as he’s not here with me, I cannot seem to fathom my not waking up with him.

*     *     *

It’s Sunday afternoon, and my friend Cash gives me a call. “Man, I haven’t seen you in forever!” He says. “What are you up to?” I ask. “Smoking a bowl at home, you should come.” “I’m good,” I answer. “Well, I’m headed up your way later to go to a party. You should come with,” Cash tells me.  I agree and we meet at a trendy build-your-own burger joint around six.

“The sweet potato fries are delicious,” he tells me an insisty kind of way. The waitress approaches and greets us. Cash puts his serious black man face on and very directly inquires about the exotic burger sauces. After answering, she pauses then nervously opens her mouth. “You’re a no bullshit kind of guy, aren’t you?” “You know it,” Cash says. I start cracking up. Cash concludes about 80% of his sentences with laughter. “Oh, and this bitch will have himself some sweet potato fries,” he says melting into a chuckle. “Don’t tell me what to order,” I say in a mock-catty way. “I’m paying. You’re poor.” “That’s so sweet of you,” I say.

By the time the food arrives, we have caught up. “So what exactly are we doing tonight?” “We’re going to my friend’s birthday party.” “Who’s your friend?” I ask. “Dalton…The Writer’s ex. Have you met him?”  “Where is it going to be?” I ask without answering him. “The Writer’s house.” I look around like I’m about to make a dash for the door before realizing I’m only in a restaurant. “I can’t go,” I say with a certain amount of urgency. “Why not? You get a booty call or Read the rest of this entry »


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