The start of a horrible love story.
| “Take it seriously,” They say. “You don't take it seriously.” They continued. As if the bright clean banner of Coronation Catering and DJ services granted them respect for serving the rich and famous nobodies of one of the nation's most mediocre capitals. “It's about time you take it seriously,” They conclude. It was my duty to fill all requests with a toothy grin drawn on my face or else they docked the pay, which they did often and easily.
I respond with a serious tone, which quickly depreciates, and before they detect any lingering irony, I head for the double doors, my gates of serenity. At last, alone with the evening air. From sound to silence, a more stabilizing swap of senses has never been invented. It's as if the sun and moon could alternate by the flick of a switch. Dark to light. City to sky. It's my only welcome to the outside world now that Sarah is gone.
Sarah. Each night, a full plate warm in the oven awaited me, and she sat in the overstuffed corduroy recliner, eager to share her day. It was almost overwhelming, the spirit she had late into the night, like a lit firecracker. She could wax on and off various topics without a thought to storyline. Her mind was a labyrinth of events and ideas fueled by a memory canister, leaking as quickly as it filled. I sometimes wondered how she managed to leave the house and return in one piece. A method to her madness; some phrases are feeble words for one's entire life until they grab hold of your ears and yank you around a bit. She had many methods for her feral brain, which showed up in heaps down the line of our quixotic relationship, many of which I've since learned to recognize in others.
Weeks after Sarah's and my divorce, I met Kim. Beyond 'Kim”, I don't recall much about her. She was a ghost on my arm. I can't even say whether she asked me out, or the other way around. We met at a party or a bar. Alcohol was surely involved, because a week later she was still around. It was as if I suddenly had a shirt in my wardrobe that I hadn't noticed before; and only just realized I'd been wearing it for a week. Instantly, I realize I don't even like the shirt. It's frayed and an odd color that lost social significance due to overuse by corporations. So, I discard it, only recalling much later how odd it was to end up with a shirt out of nowhere. That was Kim.
After her, I dated Bryana, an unsorted divorcee with a liquid smile. Her fresh bleached hair and perfect Korean-crafted nails shouted of New Me. It was as clear as the crystal in her collection that she was rebounding. I was a prize to bounce in the face of her ex-husband. Her methods of madness mimicked Sarah so closely, I nearly laughed between her bouts of red-faced bluffs to leave me. I knew too well a woman in that position prefers company to justice. Yet, eventually, a man in my position prefers solitary boredom to guilt-loaded sex. Every excuse Sarah used on me, I used on the bleached hair divorcee and her perfect nails. It was over before it began; which retrospectively, wasn't soon enough.
Then came the quiet storm, Marie. A sharp girl with a face to put in a golden frame and a heart of slow acting poison. The end of our honeymoon period was a record three days after we met, unbeknownst to me. Her method, however, was to wait a three month period to drain all fun and joy from each minute detail of my life, then launch a front-line assault. That last month, I stood in the shower every night, water ran across my lips and I mouthed the words of our break-up. Then I stepped out and my lips inevitably glued together after seeing her naked skin, silky as caramel waiting in bed. Her scheme was militarily crafted. I was sucked deep into enemy lines, unable to fire out. She sat in bed and stared into me with those unforgiving eyes. Then one night, she pulled the trigger.
“You want to leave, but you don't have the courage. You literally sicken me.”
I'm destined to hear mighty words from tiny girls.
She went on, “You disgust me in a way I've never felt before. You've sunk me to the level of a prostitute, but you're even too cheap to pay. I stuck around these months in hopes to see some sort of redemptive qualities emerge from your tiresome unambitious life, but my initial instincts held true. You are a dying boy, foregoing manhood and plodding straight to an early grave due to inactivity.”
I suppose I hadn't been focusing on a future at that point, sure. “Fuck you.”
She went on with a self-righteousness matched only be demi-gods and film producers, “I expected that much from you. Proving both cowardice and predictability.”
She was zoning in for the kill.
“Is that all, can I go now?”
She leaped off the bed, still glistening from her shower. A shining disaster moving closer. She put her dainty hand on my chest.
“Listen to that heart beat. Even now your lusty brain doesn't know what to do. It's as skittish as a trapped mouse. You want me.”
She was right. I wanted her, despite her steel tongue and cold locked soul, I still wanted her. It's moments like these that Sarah's madness saves me. When I hear my own thoughts, my twisted logic and rational lies, I see her again. Her bold eyes with a pitiless search for dirty truth. There she stands in front of me, making me apologize for both of our mistakes. Not anymore.
“Maybe some other time.” I walked out, riding the quaking waves of her anger. Anything I had owned in her apartment was soon after flying out the window towards my already bruised, black sedan.
Finally, the most recent wreck of a relationship, and oddly most bitter reminder of Sarah's incalculable hold on me, Wendy Johanson. She majored in philosophy, much in the way I majored in bottom barrel jobs and wanton memories. We deserved our long prison sentence together. Payment for our blasé style of commitment. She accepted my request for her number without a thought, as though I had asked her to pass the salt. Warning signs from Sarah lit up. Perhaps this one is different. Good different. Beyond this world different, because a girl who hands out her number like a flier for Chinese food will get you on a quick circle to nowhere. And that's how my last two years with Wendy Johanson went, circling the pain of nothingness. On our last days together, a blinding anger built within me. Wendy did nothing to elicit it, unless doing nothing counts. Two years of silent hope brewed into a rage of disproportionate levels. Out of nowhere, Wendy was gone from my mind. She ceased to exist in my emotions and I stopped all communication, as though we had never met. The easiest and hardest part was that afterward she never spoke a word. She had wanted to do the same. She may be thanking me right now in curses.
But that rage remained. And here I am, a DJ without borders, within the tri-county area, and stewing in a heat of misguided emotions, that any moment I could burst. Spontaneous combustion. After feeling this way for so long, I begin to believe in anything. Alternate dimensions, aliens, reality TV. Anything makes sense after you learn to live with constant pressurized bubbles of mixed emotions.