How can my greatest love also be my partner in a doomed affair? It seems ridiculous and impossible, yet I was there – I was a witness – and I can testify that I spent 15 years of my life in the possession of a love so unique, a connection so rare that there was no word for it. I was lucky, but not in the found-a-four-leaf-clover-in-the-grass-and-a-$20-bill-in-an-old-coat-pocket lucky. No it was more like chosen lucky. I was aware that there were plenty of people in this world smarter, richer, prettier than me, but after you I was quite certain I was more fortunate than all of them combined. What I possessed was infinitely more valuable than any object, any achievement or fine physical trait. What I had was something like a personal gift from an unseen force residing in the cosmos; I thought I might be the recipient of the universe’s version of the Mega Bucks doled out to the Most Fortunate every 100 millennia or so. How I felt? It had to be something of this magnitude and it carried me along with my feet always one or two inches from the ground.
It fueled me. It was mania. I remember when we first met you were literally the first and last thought I had each day and you occupied nearly every moment’s thought in between. I was Obsessed. I required little sleep and I barely ate. I’d open my eyes at the crack of dawn, in spirit and demeanor the equivalent of a Broadway musical star– sitting straight up in bed, immediately wide-eyed and stretching my arms over my head. I may as well have been belting out sappy love songs. Then I’d bound out of bed, dress quickly and rush to a campus computer lab eager to dig into the missives you left for me while I slept. The three-hour time difference in our lives allowed me to return the favor and I’d fire off gushing responses like a silly teenager describing how when I was your wife, I’d wake you each morning with the softest kisses on your face. And then a blow job.
It was a day like any other early in our romance when Josh, one of my male roommates (there were six total), blocked me from leaving our summer sublet. I’d spent the day doing the bare minimum as a summer session student while bouncing between computer labs and campus pay phones (no cell phone, yet), keeping our love afloat like a concert beach ball. It sounds like a lot of work, but it was effortless. You were my only thought, concern, interest…care. I’d returned to my apartment briefly to pick up my ATM card and a jacket, knowing what was ahead for the evening: chatting online with you (back then it was called IRC – Internet Relay Chat – as I’m sure you recall), then I’d hit the bars while you did the bare minimum to remain employed, then, tipsy, I’d settle into a mostly empty computer lab in a remote part of campus to chat with you some more before going home to call you from my balcony after I was sure the guys were either out for the night or sound asleep.
As I plucked my keys from the table by the door, Josh stopped me. You had an instant dislike for Josh, remember? You thought (and you were right) that he wanted to fuck me. He was my boyfriend T’s closest friend, so I thought you were just being insecure. Josh told me to sit down and I did. He said he hadn’t seen me eat in days and that I wasn’t leaving until I ate something and talked to him. He fed me lemon chicken and demanded answers.
A month or so earlier it was T who convinced me to sublet a place with him and six of his mountain biking friends. I’d recently bought a mountain bike myself — remember? i called her Tori because she was red/orange — and had even learned to hop the logs on the trails, so of course it seemed like a good idea. But, after security deposits and moving plans were made, T decided suddenly to spend the summer sailing with his family off the coast of Maine and left me to live for three months as the only girl with six hard-drinking guys who liked to get loaded and play with Josh’s Glocks.
It was early May, the beginning of summer break, when T packed up his Bronco and drove out of town leaving me standing hurt in the driveway of “our” sublet. I doubt he’d even made it the 20 miles or so to Route 80 before I’d bought a plane ticket to LA (I’ll show him) and confirmed that my room in the house in West Hollywood, owned by a man who made a living hand painting perfect geometric designs on motorcycles, was available.
I was flush with cash then, which really just meant I’d gotten a new credit card, and I rented myself a convertible. I spent a week hanging out in LA with my friends, meeting Johnny Depp at the Viper Room (you know I had to mention that), before I decided to wander down to San Diego for the writers’ conference I’d noticed in the Weekly. My personal demons were catching up with me at the time and I was drawn particularly to the memoir writing workshops.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
So when Josh started grilling me about why I was acting so weird and demanding to know who I was fucking on the phone every night I became defensive, blurting out shit about T ditching me and essentially driving me away…to California…where I met “this guy” at a workshop. Or, at a bar after the workshop.
K, I told him everything. I sat there over an untouched plate of lemon chicken trying to explain what had happened. It was amazing and beautiful and magical, I told him, and…
Josh cut me off, looking disgusted. He’s married and HOW old, he demanded? I didn’t answer.
“You fucking tell T or I will,” was all he said before adding, “And fucking eat something would you?” He stormed off and I slipped away to find an open computer to tell you everything.
Watch out for him, K, you urged.
He wants to fuck you.