I’ll be writing for the next month, the last month of my twenty-eighth year, to purge stories from my “romantic” history (inspired by recent abandonment).
In an effort to not be such a bitch, I’m going to protect the anonymity of my past lovers by calling them all Eddie. I have thereby entitled this series, “Eddie, I hate you”.
I met Eddie two months ago. He left me this week.
I cannot stop listening to Dolly Parton.
It’s all I can do to keep from falling in love with you
All I can do to keep from letting it show
Yes, it’s all I can do to keep from falling in love with you
All I can do to keep from letting you know
These are the same songs I listened to a month ago when I was sure I was falling in love. Now, I’m sure of nothing. Dolly Parton makes me cry.
I meet Eddie when my first love leaves me.
First Love isn’t my boyfriend. He isn’t even my lover. He’s just the first man I’ve fallen in love with. It’s a different story, meant to be written on a different day but First Love’s departure is where Eddie gains opportunity.
My first love leaves me with a phone call. In tears, I download Tinder.
I have never been on a dating app. I have never wanted to go on a dating app but I have been challenged to meet new people since I’ve moved home from Montreal. The presence of First Love made it easier to avoid the fact that I was completely alone. Though we were nothing like a couple, hardly even friends at times, the fantasy of this First Love appearing at my door kept me from wanting anyone else to appear.
After he phones me to tell me to Go Away, French doors blow open and The Eddies tumble through.
It is not hard for a woman to find a match on Tinder. Just make sure you post a photo and someone will like you. I match with many men.
That evening, I spoke to a man, I made a date with him. I go on the date and it isn’t that interesting but it was admittedly nice to forget my dramatic exit from a man previous and sit with a new person just to speak about movies, families and, at one point, a strange aggressive ranting passion regarding population control (His passion, not mine).
That first date is nothing.
I go home and don’t really care to go on any more dates but I have broken the Tinder ice and I am intrigued.
I am matching and chatting, innocently, diving into chat corners where I all of a sudden realize “this guy sucks” and I move onto the next guy in a non-sanctimonious pattern of curiosity matched by disappointment. It takes a few days for a friend of mine to suggest “You should try Bumble”.
“What’s the difference?”
“It’s like Tinder but the men are better. And women have to send the first message. And if he doesn’t respond within 24 hours, the match is deleted.”
It doesn’t sound “better” but if it is “better” I don’t want to miss out.
I download Bumble.
The men are better, somehow, but still a lot of them have no chatroom etiquette.
I grow frustrated. I give in.
I have many many many many many sexual encounters on Bumble.
The question “what are you doing” appears constantly. I start answering it with false sexual promise.
It begins with a man who takes it to a level I find to be just the best combination of humorous and terrifying. It is just the combination of feeling I usually write my work with, just the combination of feeling I use to remember every memory I ever have, excitement takes over, I keep going.
He starts using domineering language. I don’t know what I am doing. I try telling him what to do but he proceeds with “Did you just give me a command? Don’t command me.”
I giggle alone in my bed.
On this first evening of sexual encounter, I fall asleep completely exhausted.
The following evening I get another message from the domineering First. He inspires a new tangent of sexual engagement. I do have things to do but I take sex on the go, walking grocery aisles while answering the call of the wild, walking home, stopping to pretend, through textual exchange, that I am masturbating.
These engagements are on Bumble therefore all of these men are men I have message first.
I use the standard “you’re cute” to get them to respond and, if they do, I explain I only really wanted dirty things and did they want to “play”. If they do, they do. If they don’t, they usually ask for more details and then eventually agree.
Eddie never let me get that far.
When Eddie responds, he had asks me a specific question about my dog or about whatever idiotic Yoga Pose picture I have on my profile. Whatever it is, it’s a really smart question.
At this point, I find him a little annoying. He’s getting in the way of my sex. But then, I like him. I like him for an innocence he knows nothing about. He’s cock-blocking about a dozen men, taking my attention away from them, keeping me from helping whatever is happening to them on the other end of the bumble chat and he has no idea. He’s just legitimately “bumbling” along through this conversation, asking me the most inane questions and each one makes me like him more: Do you have any specific food aversions, how do you feel about people, at one point he just blurts out “I smoke, spit, swear and drink a lot”
“Ok. Did you just feel it was time I knew that.”
“I just wanted to get it out there.”
The conversation continues in and out of personal but then not-so-personal topics. I am meant to go to an event tonight and I don’t want to go. Eddie is telling me to go, encouraging an adventure. He would come with me, he says, but he lives in East York, far from Parkdale, where I live.
It’s at this point that I realize he likes me or at least he might like me.
In another moment, he asks “which Café I tend”.
I haven’t even worked my trial shift at work yet so I am not technically hired but I tell him the name of the café anyways.
“I do fancy myself an Americano,” he bumbles.
“You would come to Parkdale just for a coffee.”
“I would come to see you.”
Again, I think about him liking me.
We speak all night.
I get legitimately turned on by him, somehow, but now I can’t tell whether or not it would be incredibly strange if I proposed some virtual sex. Maybe leave it. Maybe see if he wants to meet and then, maybe then…
“Do you usually speak to people this long on here?” I ask.
“Me neither. Usually the conversations are either boring or filthy.”
“Is that what you want?”
“I really don’t know.”
“We can get filthy, if you want. I mean, if you want.”
“It’s up to you. We can keep talking or we can have sex, it’s totally up to you.”
It’s up to me? When is it ever up to me?
“I think we have to have sex now because I’m too turned on to lie still…”
And we do.
He’s better at it than anyone I’ve spoken to in two days.
When finished, we keep speaking and we fall asleep talking to one another, agreeing to meet the next night.
It’s storming rain all day.
I get home around two PM and text Eddie.
“It. Is. Pouring.”
He replies two hours later and we speak a bit about the rain but he’s driving (Eddie, why) a truck (Even worse) for work and people are having accidents so he has to focus on driving but he’ll text later.
I tell him to be safe.
Hours later he tells me he’s “home safe and sound.”
I’m really excited. Just to hear from him but also to hear from him in reference to a concern, to the idea that I could care for him. It is an exchange of sincere concern. It makes me happy.
I meet him at a bar by my house. I can’t see anyone who might look like him there. Just as I’m about to sit he taps me on the shoulder. He’s very tall. I’m scared now.
We sit at the bar. I think we’re both nervous.
We drink. He drinks beer. I drink Jack Daniels.
It takes an hour for me to learn that he was a soldier. Everything before this fact is impersonal. Some things have been cute to speak about but most conversation has been relatively shallow. I learn he’s a soldier and I’m impressed, I feel physically impressed. I ask more questions about him. I learn a lot of things. I don’t even think about liking him, I just do, I just like him, I just sit there and like him.
He tells me he’s going to go to the washroom. He gets up. He kisses me.
I have never kissed a man while sitting at a bar. I’m not sure I like being so aware of the bartender. But. I like the spontaneity.
I don’t know what to do when we leave.
I tell him we can go to my place.
I don’t know if I am doing the right thing. I know I want him to come over but I don’t know if I should ask him to for the sake of dignity. I also know he lives really far away. I also know men leave me often. Opportunistically, I take him home.
I tell him we have to walk my dog. As soon as we enter my building Eddie, who works construction on large homes, is fascinated by the wood. Literally the wood, the structure of the building, he doesn’t stop commenting on the building materials used to support where I live. I think it’s really funny. He is quite serious.
He’s adorable with my dog.
He’s adorable on the dog walk.
He kisses me a lot. I feel bad for my dog, on the other end of the leash. I tell Eddie to wait.
At home, my dog jumps to sit beside Eddie on the couch.
I sit in front of them. When my dog leaves the couch, Eddie tells me to come sit with him.
I sit beside him. I am sitting really closely beside him. Whatever feeling this is takes over, this feeling of complete timelessness, spatial incomprehensibility, unsustainable sensations in every nerve, each piece of me is happy, happiness, it might be called, happiness just sitting next to a stranger who I like speaking with amidst kisses.
He asks me if we should go to the bed.
I say ok.
He says, “Are you sure?”
Am I sure? No man has ever asked me if I am sure. I am not sure, actually. I don’t say that but we stay on the couch. We do go to the bed eventually. The sex is nervousy. Afterwards we smoke by the window. Eddie tells me he feels special. I don’t know what to say. I also feel special. He wants to see me this weekend (it’s Friday morning). I have plans. We make plans for the following weekend.
Something happens with an important client. He cancels. I understand. I’m not upset.
We make plans for the next weekend.
I meet Eddie at the same bar we originally met at. We’ve been speaking every day. Once again, I’m excited but nervous to see him.
It’s a little awkward at first. I decide the problem is the setting. We leave for a different bar.
He tells me it’s my neighbourhood so I need to take him somewhere. I don’t go out, ever, so I don’t know where to go. I choose The Gladstone because I do like it there and it’s a block from my house.
It isn’t busy when we get there but we then learn that we’ve stumbled upon karaoke night.
I hate karaoke.
Eddie loves karaoke, a personal fact I both love and hate about him. He loves to sing. He loves to sing sea shanties which…fine.
We spend the night listening to people sing and trying to pick him a song. I sign him up but then we leave before he’s called because we’ve been touching a lot at the bar and I want to take him home now. them
I like him in my home.
I like that he likes my dog. I like that he’s very tall and I can curl up into him. I like that he’s terrible with language but he can’t help saying exactly what he thinks, making his statements frank and immediate. I like that he’s incredibly sensitive, he says very thoughtful things and sometimes those thoughtful things have the corny nature of a Hallmark card which makes me laugh because he’s so tall and burly, what business does he have emulating a gift shop entity but, I like it. I like that he builds things, I like that a lot. I like that he sees detail, he notices every detail about me, even embarrassing details which end up feeling easily normal once he points them out in passing. I like that he thinks I’m beautiful. I like that I believe he thinks I am beautiful. I like that he laughs not at my jokes but at my nuances.
We have an evening.
When he leaves, and he doesn’t stay over which makes sense to me somehow, I look at him and wonder why I like him. I haven’t sorted out the above list yet. I don’t like feeling vulnerably intrigued by a man but, he could probably take care of me and that’s really comforting. I could probably take care of him too which is an even better feeling. He leaves and it takes me seconds to fall asleep.
I speak to Eddie every day. I tell him a large portion of “everything”.
He told me to do that. He told me he wants to hear every thought I have and I don’t believe he wants that but I feel comfortable at least floating around that goal.
Eddie makes plans with me for the next week.
He’s really busy.
I’ve heard all about his work, how busy it truly is, he has two jobs, both involve him working outside in the heat, it must be exhausting, I totally sympathize. He continuously cancels on me but I don’t think too much of it.
He ends up at my home on a Friday night. We’re both tired. I don’t want to go anywhere. I feel bad, so early in our relationship denying the excitement of an excursion but I really just want him in my home again.
He’s tired. I’m tired. We lie down and catch up.
A lull allows for sex to sort of begin but it doesn’t go anywhere.
He had told me the last time he was here that he’s not the most sexual person, that he just likes being with someone and I’m the same way but for some reason I haven’t told him. He puts quite a bit of effort into me and what he thinks I might need physically. It’s nice but I haven’t yet found a way to reassure him that it’s ok.
I ask if we can lie in bed, just lie there.
We talk. He mentions that he feels like I’ve kept my writing secret from him and he’s curious but he doesn’t want to make me read him anything. I get my computer. I read poetry to Eddie in bed, an activity that sounds laughable to me but, to be fair, I didn’t volunteer the occasion, he asked. He asked with sincere hope that I would do it.
I read him the first piece.
I look at him, lying there.
“I don’t know what to say.”
“No, it’s really good, you’re really talented. You’re really talented. I don’t know what to say. It’s like. I think I’m angry. I think I’m angry. At men.”
“Yeah, that’s sort of how people usually react.”
“I want to hear more.”
I read him more.
The reaction becomes redundant but I like it.
“You’re really really talented.”
“I’m really impressed.”
“Do you get sad?”
“You mean, am I prone to sadness?”
Well, Eddie, if it wasn’t obvious, I’m glad at least now we know: I get sad. You get sad.
He texts me that he had a fun night.
I’m terrified I’ve scared him away with my sadness.
He says the opposite has happened.
“You’re a very interesting person.”
“Yes, that’s usually why men leave. They don’t like the complexity.”
“I really like the complexity.”
I don’t know if I should believe him but he repeats how excited he is about me and my work.
I fall asleep.
When I wake up, I begin wondering if we’re really becoming a couple. I wonder if he’s my first boyfriend. Or, if he will be. I keep thinking about it. I want to ask him but I have to wait until I see him again. He lives so far away that I hardly ever see him. It even feels like a long distance relationship sometimes. It feels like he’s in a completely different city and I just feed him details of my life to keep him as Here as possible.
We make plans for the following Friday.
Eddie is sick.
When he’s feeling better he says “this weekend for sure”.
It’s Friday. Eddie is nowhere. All day, night, I wait to hear what we’re doing, I ask him, I hear nothing.
Finally around 10 PM I get a “Hi” and then a “Sorry” and then I see some typing occurring. I hear nothing else.
It doesn’t even make sense. It’s a complete departure from Eddie. It’s just not him. I feel fooled. Insulted. Stood up.
I stay up all night being angry. It feels insane, it is a little insane but it’s also what I’m doing that night because Eddie stood me up. As an added layer, this is my weekend and I’m upset that I newly have a job that takes all my time and energy away, I planned to spend what little time and energy I have with Eddie and he doesn’t even tell me why he’s not here.
The next morning, I’m in the park with my dog.
Eddie messages “hey I’m really sorry, my dad is sick and my phone died and my brother and I had to take him to the hospital, I’m really sorry”.
I am walking through the park, Dolly singing to me,
Here you come again
Just when I’ve begun to get myself together
You’re shaking me up so
That I really know
Is here you come again
And here I go
I tell him it’s fine, I’m so sorry about his dad and if I can do anything let me know. I feel badly that I was angry. I feel badly for Eddie. He’s everyone’s hero, that’s kind of his caricature which is why the Soldier thing is no longer impressive, it’s really just who he is. I really like how critically determined he is to be responsible. Even when he’s failing at it. I worry about him.
Eddie says he’ll text me when he’s dealt with everything.
I speak to him that night. He decompresses with me about his family. I feel badly for him but I’m glad he’s here.
The next day I discover I need to take a trip to Montreal in a week.
I message Eddie that we won’t see each other for another weekend. He says he can come over tonight, but it might be late, he just has to see what’s up with his family and he’ll text in a bit. This makes me happy.
He bails because his family needs him. This makes me sad.
He makes plans with me for Wednesday night, my night off. At this point I’m hesitant. I don’t like making plans on my night off because I’m usually tired but I do want to see him. I say ok.
The prospect of seeing Eddie has gotten me through days at work.
The emotional mess of this relationship is beginning to take over.
When he cancels I am not sure he really realizes that I work all week knowing that I would see him. The hormonal let down of him bailing would of course drive me to anger. I can’t help it. I would be so excited and then so let down, cut off from excitement so suddenly. It is more emotional than it needs to be. He apologizes constantly but I don’t want him feeling badly either. We speak about it. Neither of us wants the other to feel anything bad which, at this point, corners us into a beckoning. There just isn’t any time.
I work Monday knowing Wednesday is coming. On Tuesday I hear from Eddie in the morning right before I go to work. Half way through my shift I see a message from him telling me that he’s just so busy, it never ends for him.
“Are you still able to make it tomorrow?”
I expect him to say he’ll be there no matter what. On other occasions, nights where I’m tired and doubtful of a lot of things he’s said “I’ll be there as soon as I can”. On this occasion, when we have an actual plan, I expect him to just make it happen but instead he says
“I’ll be coming in from out of town pretty late”
“So is that a no”
“I’m really sorry”
“Ok. It’s ok. I understand. But, it’s really shitty to be bailed on this often. Either you can be here or you can’t be here but, decide, and let me know. I like you so this is sad but I can’t think of you all day and not see you. That’s the worst feeling.”
“I understand and thank you for understanding. I like you too and I’m here too but I just have put too much on my plate right now.”
“Well. If you like me enough you’ll make time.”
I close work crying.
I go home crying.
I still talk to Eddie.
He’s less available.
Ordinarily I’m initiating conversation.
I keep hinting that I want to see him.
He avoids it.
We have a very endearing conversation where I tell him I still want to see him but I don’t want to say so because I don’t want to be a weirdo. I choose the word “Weirdo” and I don’t know why.
He says “you’re my favourite weirdo”
I almost cry.
He says we’ll see each other soon. We make indefinite plans to watch the second season of Planet Earth together because we’re both fantastical nature photographers.
I feel better and then, Eddie disappears.
Days later, I am out with a friend, I am texting him all night, we are having a conversation and then he just stops responding. He disappears. Never gets back to me arbitrarily. Doesn’t get back to me for weeks.
I lose my mind.
It’s the strangest thing. He just isn’t here anymore.
I go weeks, trudging through anger. Messaging him occasionally, deleting his number and then finding it again.
I get drunk at a work party.
I come home. I have to message him.
“Can you please just say something.”
He says nothing.
I start texting another guy, getting my foot out the door to go have sex with him and I hardly know him but I’m just drunk and angry, desperate.
Forty minutes later. I message him again. I have to. The transcription reads:
“It’s hurtful. And you’ve successfully fooled me into believing you aren’t like the men you claimed were condemnable and now I can’t believe you’re just another man I’ve slept with and, believe me, I’ve never bothered humiliating myself with quite this much effort but I’m not sure what else to do, I know I should get it and give up but I keep wondering if you’ll yell at me “
Finally he says.
“I’m very sorry about the last week, I’m in steinbach Manitoba. A very close friend of mine has passed away and I’ve been here the past week helping his family get everything in order plus the ceremony. The funeral is tomorrow. I’m really sorry I didn’t let you know. I just got your messages and I understand why you are pissed.”
I don’t feel bad. I feel relief.
“Oh god, I’m not pissed. I knew something happened I’m just crazy and I wanted you to respond”
“I honestly haven’t looked at my phone for a week, I’m sorry “
“I figured something happened but it seemed so suddenly strange and unsettling. I’m sorry too”
“I’m sorry, you are fine and a normal person”
“Haha that’s honestly the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in a while. Are you ok?”
“I’m ok. Sorry about all this”
“Don’t worry about me, I’m sorry I sent you mental messages (but I’m not that sorry)”
“Hahaha I like you’re grit”
“I was upset!! It was so strange. But then I knew something must have happened”
“I’m not a asshole, at least I try not to be. I may come off like one sometime but it’s only because my like is fucked up”
“You’re not an asshole at all…at all! And I think most men are assholes which is why it was especially upsetting when it seemed you were going out of your way to be an asshole just to me. This is how my brain works. But I’m really sorry about your friend, it’s touching that you stayed to help”
“Unfortunately it’s not the first”
“Mosquitos here are as big as my fist”
“That’s disgusting. Did you hear they found an alien in Peru?”
“Someone told me that and I don’t have a single detail. But I wanted to tell you right away. Because you love aliens”
“I do so much. I gotta go away for a little I’ll text you when I have wifi next. Xoxoxo”
The “xoxoxo” is a first. It makes me think. I write
The morning seems more possible.
Everything gets done including a complete rejection of the man I was supposed to hook up with the night before.
I think about my own feelings. I clean my whole home while listening to episodes of “Say Yes To The Dress” in the background, listening to Love stories from women who are about to live their lives with the men they love, “He’s the love of my life” each one of them speaks truthfully to the camera and I keep wondering if that’s what’s happening, if this constant caring exchange, the exchange of genuine interest and concern between me and Eddie is really leading to Love and if, even though this is the first time it’s happening, if it’s happening now so that it can happen forever.
Maybe it’s crazy. But, isn’t that usually the point?
He isn’t an asshole. I agree with him. He does have a lot going on. It’s bad timing. That happens. It happens. I hear it happening, people get close when they can and if they have to stray during their relationship they do but they come back together because this is the love of their lives, the person, The Eddie.
Days go by and I am not obsessive anymore, I am no longer angry, I am merely excited to hear from the Eddie I still think might be The Eddie.
I know he’ll message me back when he gets wifi and then he’ll come home and I’ll tell him to come over and he will, he just will because he’s been away and he’s hurt and I can care for him. I care for him. Who have I ever cared for? My dog. And Eddie.
I have stopped checking my phone constantly for him. He needs space. It’s fine.
I stay active, maybe even become more active on the dating apps mostly because I am bored but maybe even to prove that I am still open, I am still only casually committed to this person, I am still cool.
I don’t like any of the men I am speaking with. Within minutes each of them becomes a cliché or a jerk or an ingrate, one of them even sends me photos of his naked chiseled body all day while I am at work. I find the stream of photographs more comedic than erotic which helps me realize that I don’t really care for abdominal “packs” of any kind. I speak to a cynical business developer, a drunk Abercrombie model, an avuncular lawyer, a young man who tells me he hasn’t had sex in a year and he’s looking for the right “opportunity” (don’t we all love when Women become opportunities). I wait for Eddie.
It is four days since hearing from Eddie.
I am at a bar with a friend.
I am having a great time.
I don’t check my phone until I do.
Eddie has sent me two messages.
I sent him a photo of my dog swimming days ago claiming it was “inspirational” in case he needed a lifting.
“Love the picture. Hey I’m not going to be in Toronto for a while everything is really messed up with me right now. I’m sorry about everything.
I’ll let you know when I’m back if you are still interested in seeing me, once again I’m so sorry”
I stop listening to my friend.
My organs begin to cry.
It takes me ten minutes to tell her, “I heard from the soldier”.
I read her the messages.
“At least he told you,” she says.
I try to pay attention to her. I try to have a good time. I do an ok job at faking some kind of presence.
We leave when our drinks are done.
I wait for her outside.
A woman asks me for a cigarette.
She’s homeless and hunched, old. She looks destroyed, her grey hair frazzled by the climate, her clothing sagging where it shouldn’t, tight and pulling where it definitely shouldn’t.
I give her a cigarette and stare at my phone.
“Is your boyfriend making you cry?”
“He’s gone?” She likes this answer.
“He left me. He’s gone.”
“He left you?” She laughs. “Here. Take this sandwich. I have two. Take it. Meatball sandwich.”
“I really can’t take your sandwich.”
“Then you should eat it.”
“I bought two!! Take it. Please.”
I take it. I smile a Cheshire smile if only to sanctify this surreal exchange with a moment of contrived magic.
“Thank you so much.”
She touches my face. “You’re going to be ok! Don’t throw that sandwich away. It’s meatball! My favourite. I bought two.”
“I really appreciate it. I’m putting it in my bag, I’ll eat it when I get home.”
“Where do you live?”
I am not telling her where I live for fear she will ask to move in with me.
“I live at home.”
“Where do you live? Where is home?”
I realize something I have never realized before: This woman who lives on the streets used to be healthy. Her grasp of home is intelligent. She knows what a home is. She used to have one. She used to be healthy. I nearly cry. Who loved this woman? Where is he now? What lesson did he teach her to make her laugh at boyfriends today? What is in this sandwich?
My friend appears with her boyfriend. They’ve offered me a ride home. The woman has begun telling me that she was a chef once in Toronto for two years. She loves food. Especially meatballs. Ergo, the sandwich. Her favourite.
I leave with my friend. I look to the woman. She catches my open eyes and beckons loudly “take care of yourself”.
In the car I listen to my friends discuss the single people they know, why those people are single, who they should be dating.
We all notice a man in a bathrobe standing in his doorway, kissing a woman goodbye.
Everything is an omen.
I get home. I eat the sandwich in case it’s magic, in case she was magic, in case, just in case it will help. I walk my dog. I go to bed watching more TLC.
I wake up. I walk my dog. More omens: A tampon lies completely smashed on the sidewalk, a man with a cane asks if I’ve ever been raped, it rains. I go to the grocery store and I buy a lot of food even though I realize with sincere regret that I don’t want to eat any of it. I place the food on my counter at home and I sob. I spend the morning sobbing and sleeping, my dog lying on the ground, rolled over, empathizing. Neither of us eats anything. I know that my dog’s scheduled and serviced hike later on will cheer him up and supply him with a healthy appetite but I also feel I’ve wounded him and I sob further.
I can’t get dressed. Nothing looks right, I don’t look right, I can’t look at myself. My self looks at me. What an idiot.
I need to cover my bed. My dog will come home from his hike and be muddy, he’ll jump on the bed, his blanket is in the dryer, I need it, I need to cover my bed. I need it. I become consumed by this task. I reach into the dryer. Everything is still wet. I have dried this load four times. I have washed this load three times because the dryer hasn’t been drying things sufficiently and I don’t have enough time to sit home re-starting the dryer so my stuff sits there until it stinks. I have no clean linens. I reach into the dryer. Damp fabric graces my skin. I scream.
My dog hides under my desk. I kneel on the floor, hugging his blanket, nose buried in the smell of mildew, sobbing.
I have to go. I blanket the bed with mildewed fleece.
I get ready for work but I cry on the way there and my mascara runs.
My boss asks if everything is ok because I look “under the weather”. I tell her it’s just some drama in my personal life. I use the word drama because I think it will imply that I’m merely witnessing some conflict and I don’t really have any of my own.
I’m not sure I do have any of my own.
I picture Eddie and, though he spared me the details of his tragedies, I’m assuming they are quite painful. I empathize with how overwhelmed he is. I’m not mad at him. If anything, I like him more. For being honest. For being responsibly emotional. For being incredibly brave.
My boss and I agree that work is a nice distraction. I sob through my closing duties. I go home. I order a lot of food. I can’t eat any of it. I place it in the fridge with my groceries wondering why all my usually heroic consumptive habits are no longer working.
I stare at the images on the television. I can’t hear anything. My dog is smiling at me. We fall asleep.
I wake up in the morning.
Something is in my stomach.
I sit in the washroom expelling rivers of waste for what feels like a week. I don’t cry because the image of a woman crying while shitting is too remarkably tragic considering the actual simple tragedy I find myself living through.
It’s just love.
Unjust but just love.
And we didn’t even get to loving each other yet.
I walk my dog. I listen to Dolly. She sings to me
Single bars and single women
With a single thought in mind
I don’t cry because I swallow.
I focus on the smell of Trinity Bellwoods in the murky summer morning, the grass, the cottage-like Hello of the dew and I just hang on. Until what. Until it’s all nothing again.