It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 4

September 7, 2011

My Those Quiet Eyes Become You

“It’s like the smell of burned toast. You made the toast. You looked forward to it. You even enjoyed making it, but it burned. What were you doing? Was it your fault? It doesn’t matter anymore. You open the window, but only the very top layer of the smell goes away. The rest remains around you. It’s the walls. You leave the room, but it’s on your clothes. You change your clothes, but it’s in your hair. It’s on the thin skin on the tops of your hand. And in the morning, it’s still there.” -Seven Types of Ambiguity

I pull up in front of his house and put my car in park, then turn off the engine. I sit frozen for a moment and then open my mouth: “You don’t have to do this. You can just leave, go home. He doesn’t have to know you were ever here. Just drive away and pretend…” But that’s what I’ve been doing, isn’t it?

I’m ready to get out of the car, but I find myself clenching the wheel like it’s the only thing preventing me from falling off of a cliff. My sight isn’t blurry, it’s like it’s nonexistent. My eyes well up with tears, but I keep them at bay and clench my jaw. Shaking, my hand pulls the keys from the ignition. I open the car door and take a step out. Walking is challenging. It’s like there’s a force pushing against me, a gravity pressing in the direction opposite the house. My body is fighting me. Then I see his car, and I find my calm.

61. He always drives when we’re together.
62. I’m his front seat friend.
63. He puts his hand on my thigh when he’s driving and hasn’t seen me in a few days.
64. His car is the only thing not cluttered in his life.
65. Except that his trunk is overflowing with junk.

Climbing up the steps to his front door, I feel like my shoes are made of lead. When I finally make it to the stoop, I clam up in front of the door. I feel dizzy just looking at it. It’s hard to breathe. I can feel the heat in my face. It must be red. I shut my eyes. Take a deep sigh and summon the strength to pull my hand into a fist. As I raise it up to knock, it freezes inches from the door.

66. He has an adderall prescription despite having graduated college nearly a decade ago.
67. It changes the smell of his sweat.
68. His natural scent.
69. How it makes me lose my mind.
70. And then nauseates me.

My right arm is paralyzed. Even if I could get my fist to knock on the door, I wouldn’t be able to hit it hard enough for The Writer to hear from inside. I grab my right wrist with my left hand and pull it close to my chest. A dog barks. Its owners, a couple with graying hair walk past gabbing about their new car. I turn around, holding myself, eyes glossed. They don’t notice.

71. His tumor, which I named Fred. (He doesn’t really have a tumor.)
72. But he thinks he does.
73. How he absolutely cannot dance.
74. The way the length of his hair goes from perfect to ridiculous in just a day.

I turn around and stand closer to the door. There’s no air inside me. I’m a balloon, ready to float away. I wait for a gust of wind to take me into the sky like the nannies in Mary Poppins. But southern California isn’t stormy London, and this certainly isn’t a Disney movie. The best I can do is lean up against the door. It’s so comforting having something else hold me up that I can hardly fathom the thought of having to support my own weight again. I truly wonder if I’ll ever have the strength to even ring the stupid doorbell, so I shut my eyes and try to pass the moment.

75. How he’s surprised every time I remember something special about us.
76. How sparse his facial hair is.
77. How his memory is about as short as his emotional capacity.
78. His innocent, quiet eyes.

I open my eyes. I pick my forehead up off The Writer’s front door and stand up straight. “What the fuck are you doing?” I ask myself. “Seriously, what is your fucking problem? Are you stupid?” I smack myself across the face as hard as I can, which honestly isn’t that hard. I sit down on the top step and bury my face in my arms. “You’re fucking pathetic!” I scream into my arm, trying to muffle the noise.

79. How much I can tell about him based on the state of his hair.
80. I know every piece of clothing in his wardrobe.
81. How he uses axe body spray because he thinks it makes him seem younger.
82. I definitively know more about one thing, and he respects me for it.

I hop up and manically jump up on the stoop. “Do it. Just do it. Do it. You can do it.” I stick my hand out flat, ready to hit the doorbell. But it’s like my arm is petrified. “No. No, no, no.” I turn and sit again. When I pick my head up, a woman in her 50s, wearing a bright pink shirt and white pants has stopped to look at me. When she notices I’ve spotted her, she turns and scurries away. If it weren’t so psychotic, it would be hysterical. Or at least endearing.

83. I have a toothbrush at his house.
84. He has one at mine even though he almost never sleeps there.
85. He hates conflict.
86. How terrified I’ve become at the thought of losing him.

Stepping up for another round with the doorbell, I use my left hand to support my right hand as I try to smash it into the little button. But I really just can’t. “I can’t. You can’t. Don’t ruin this. Please, don’t do this. Please.” I get my hands far enough that they’re touching the bell, but not pressing it. I feel like I’m going to die. But you see, I’m a clever kid, so I use my right foot to kick in my left leg and fall over, my weight pressing into my arm and by extension, my hand mashes into the doorbell. I hear it buzz as I collapse against the wall. (I did just trip myself.) I scramble to collect myself, not wanting him to see me crumpled up on the ground. But even as I stand up and hear him shuffling out of his bed and toward me, it feels like an eternity. And I panic. Then am overwhelmed by nausea. Please don’t throw up. I gulp and know I won’t. I have no idea what I’m going to say. Well, what’s important? Why are you here? I ask myself. I recite about three sentences before my thoughts clam up. And then it happens. The door opens.

Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 3

August 28, 2011

On The Car Ride Down

“You cry, but you endanger nothing in yourself. It’s like the idea of crying when you do it. Or the idea of love.” -Angels in America

The next morning, I wake up feeling a little Zombie like. I can’t manage to stay out of bed, and at 1:30, I remember I have to go to Sunday Funday. I assume The Writer will be there but have neither the critical nor emotional faculties to even deal with his presence, so I bite another xanax in half and swallow part, slipping the other half in my pocket.

When I pull up to Noah’s house, I realize a couple of problems. First, there are only four cars on the street. The second, none of them belong to Clark. Luckily, my janky ass car isn’t spotted by anyone. So naturally, I drive away. I don’t even pretend to pretend to think I can hold a conversation with a couple of strangers right now. Driving through the hills, however, is wonderfully calming. Except when a car comes speeding around a bend and there’s about two inches between me, it, and certain death.

After my daily dose of near-death, I need a little grace, a little soothing; I call Ann, one my dear friend from New York. We haven’t been keeping up like we should, but she remembers most of the boy details from my visit. “Listen poodle, do what’s good for you. You know what that is. And if he doesn’t want something, you can’t force it on him. These things have to work themselves out…” My phone keeps cutting out. The Hollywood hills have notoriously poor reception. I call her back, but we’re cut off again almost immediately. She didn’t say what I wanted to hear, but she did say the truth. And this talk with The Writer is for me, not him. That’s why I’m the one initiating it. I just hope I don’t do something embarrassing like faint and fall into Noah’s pool or walk into a giant window…again. That would suck.

I sit, parked in front of some random house for five more minutes. Some yard-workers look at me, and I realize how pathetic this is. I put my car in drive and take my foot off the brake. The wheels roll backward as I slide down the hill a bit before slamming on the gas and narrowly dodge a mailbox. I’m pretty sure I hit a garbage can, but it didn’t fall over, so I’m going to say it doesn’t count. Did I mention I’m not the best driver? I plug in my iPod and blast “Who’s That Chick” by David Guetta and Rihanna. “Who’s that chick? Who’s that chick?” I sing shaking my shoulders and dancing. “I’m that chick!” I yell at the top of my lungs, cruising back toward Noah’s.

I park behind the line of expensive cars, and pump myself up. Normally, I’d feel ridiculous, but…really no I wouldn’t. I have no more shame. Who’s gonna stop me? No one. I bounce on my heels and roll my shoulders then launch myself up Noah’s driveway with a hip little strut, which would probably look better if I actually had an ass. I decide to tone it down a tad when I reach the house. Taking off my sunglasses, I spread my arms and yell, “the party has arrived!” Noah and the half dozen guys I don’t recognize look at me blankly. Me…cuz I’m the party. An exceptional start to an awkward Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 2

August 20, 2011

I’d Like To Tell You All About It

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.” -Billy Joel

The next night, I’m feeling under the weather. I consider skipping Wolf’s party. My throat is soar, my eyes are scratchy, and I have a slight cough. But how could I miss this? What would it say about me? No one would really even notice, but I would know. Besides, all of the ridiculous drama that I imagine will climax tonight will make for a wonderful story to share over drinks with friends. So I ready myself, and get in my car. I’m pumped. I feel a little adrenaline. A little anxiety. Dread is the exact emotion I’m feeling actually. But whatever. Who doesn’t have a precise fear of the unknown? What’s on my mind, you ask. Well, I’ll be meeting Dalton for the first time, which frankly doesn’t sit well with me no matter which way I angle it. He’s predetermined to hate me. I have no idea how I’m supposed to begin to interact with him. We’re sharing what in some way belongs to the other. I’m nervous about seeing Wolf and meeting his other “boys.” It’s immature, but I’m genuinely curious how I compare. I don’t really care about seeing Turtle or Warren, but I am anxious about what they might say to or about me. I know what I’d say to either of them; something along the lines of “oh, hey.” And while I’m considering all of this, one thought lingers above the rest. It’s like a constant static shock somewhere near the top of my spine. What will I say to The Writer? I promised myself to talk to him the next time I see him. Talk about everything. And that time is tonight. I don’t know where to begin. What I have to say is simple. The situation? Not so much.

I start my car. Before I switch gears into reverse, Clark calls. Relieved, I turn off the engine and remove the keys from the ignition. “Hello?” “Hey buddy, what’s up?” I used to hate it when people called me buddy, but Clark has the kind of authority where it doesn’t bother me. “I was just calling to check in with you,” Clark continues. “Oh, I’m just heading to Wolf’s party,” I tell him. “Cool, me too. I’ll see you there then,” he says conclusively. “Great! Can’t wait.” It’s extremely comforting knowing Clark will be there. He always has my back one way or another, and my back is going to be rather exposed this evening. Especially because I’ve decided not to drink, given my not feeling so hot.

I arrive at Wolf’s about an hour after the party kicked off. But the sun is still glimpsing over the horizon…a sign that I’m here too early. I knock on Wolf’s door, and no one answers. I hear people around back though, so I let myself in. My eyes dart around searching for Turtle first. Turtle has the temperament of a scorned overweight junior high cheerleader, and while he doesn’t pose any real threat to me, I’d prefer to steer clear. Number two on my search-and-avoid list is The Writer and/or his ex. I haven’t met Dalton, but I’ve seen pictures, so I know what he looks like. I feel some kind of weird kinship with him. He’s what came before. Deep down, I pray to whatever someone like me would pray to that Dalton flaked out and The Writer would come solo. It would take a lot of stress of the agenda I have for the evening. And it’s not too much of a stretch, especially considering Wolf and Dalton never really seemed tight. And finally, Warren. At this point, I’ve come to believe he’s insane. Like truly unstable. As luck would have it, not a single one of them is present. By the time I make it through the house and onto the back patio, I know I’m in the clear. That’s when I realize…my anxiety about who would be there was misplaced. What I should have been worrying about was who wouldn’t be there. I don’t recognize anyone except Mr. Wolf, and it’s his party.

Wolf and I haven’t really spoken in a couple weeks, and all of a sudden I feel guilty. Other than a couple of simple misunderstandings, he’d always been very genuine and kind toward me. Not to say that I plan to rekindle our fling, but I displaced frustration I had with myself onto him. My shoulders tense up and my breathing becomes shallow. That’s when Wolf notices me. I do have impeccable timing like that. “Hallo, you!” I give him a weak smile and a strong hug. “Happy Birthday,” I muster up with appropriate sincerity. “I see you’re cooking. Your favorite!” I inch closer. “Well, grilling but yes.” He has to correct me. If I wasn’t so uptight at the moment, I’d find it charming. I even go as far as to grin but imagine my expression looks more like a wince. As more people arrive, Wolf greets them, and I stand, watching for a moment unsure what to do with myself. I lean on one leg and pull out my phone, pretending to text someone like I used to do at high school parties where no one wanted to talk to me. I’m literally making myself crazy. My shoulders are so tense, they’re practically touching my ears, and I think of more things, more reasons why I can’t free myself from the man I care for so deeply:

16. He’s the only person I’ve ever liked sleeping next to.
17. He made me fall in love with cuddling.
18. How weak I’ve become to not give that up.
19. How hard he tries to do right by me.
20. How often he fails.

I hear a laugh. That’s when I snap out of it. Clark and Noah are sitting at the table right behind me. My chest heaves a heavy sigh. I slap on a smile, which I hope is big enough to blanket my enormously exposed insecurities. “Hey cuz,” Noah says with a wink. I bend over to give him a hug before embracing Clark. He hops over to sit on the cooler, offering me his seat. “You’re the best,” I tell him. “What have you been up to?” He asks me. I tell him about New York and we talk family matters, which calms my nerves. Then Noah interrupts to introduce a friend. “I don’t think you’ve met The Model,” Noah says. I turn to shake his hand and nearly swallow my Adam’s apple. The Model is gorgeous. Perfect teeth. Perfect hair. Perfect skin. Perfect jaw. Everything. The reason I’m really so faint though is his uncanny resemblance to Jake, the first boy I ever fell for. Same facial hairline, beauty mark on the same spot on his cheek, exact hue of his eyes. Noah elbows me, getting the wrong idea. The Model, just like Jake, is way out of my league. And for those of you tuning in, I’m buried under a mountain of someone else’s emotional rubble. “H-hi,” I sputter. “Nice to meet you,” The Model says, making me feel much more comfortable. The four of us carry on some conversation, and I mostly say things that make me feel stupid. I actually feel kind of drunk despite not drinking anything but water.

When I feel I’ve worn out my welcome with the people I know, I do the rounds…only to discover I know no one else. I recognize a couple of lesser-known actors, who I have a lot of respect for but can’t summon up the courage to introduce myself. Everyone’s mingling, so I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. Where is The Writer?

21. He uses wipes instead of toilet paper.
22. He only takes baths.
23. If he was here, I’d probably be just as quiet. But I’d be content just standing beside him.
24. He expects me to wait.
25. But doesn’t care if I don’t Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 1

July 26, 2011

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 Read the rest of this entry »


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